Monday, October 22, 2007

Halloween Candy Solutions

Our kids have no less than 3 Halloween candy-gathering events coming up: The Intel Family Halloween Party, our church "trunk-or-treat," and the big day, October 31st. I'm not expecting Intel to load us with much in the way of candy, but the trunk-or-treat is a candy jackpot. Kids make the circuit around church parking lot over and over again until trunks run out of candy. Cars are parked close together and kids get the equivalent of 2 hours of neighborhood trick-or-treating in 20 minutes or less. Finally, we have October 31st. I'm not too worried about Jonah and Isaac's candy haul. However, Ethan's candy gathering abilities have increased over the last few years and I'm anticipating he will bring home an obscene amount of candy.

I'm not looking forward to this candy influx and I personally know that a few of you feel the same way. (Adele...any comments?) My increasing dread prompted me to write an article for listing several creative ways to get rid of too much Halloween candy. Of course I had to be sweet and gentle about the suggestions I gave because I don't want to offend anyone who might have more scruples than I when it comes to dealing with kids and candy.

But here, on my blog, I can be honest. I can tell you how I really feel, share my secret strategies and bare my soul, so to speak. Here is the number one thing I do to reduce the amount of Halloween candy in our house...

(If you are one of my children, I am going to have to ask that you stop reading this post immediately. Now! Stop! I think I hear Dad calling you. Did I tell you there are cookies in the kitchen? Go!)

...I steal my kid's candy.

Well, I suppose "steal" is a harsh word. Let me explain.

When the kids come home from any event where they accumulate candy, I remind them of my rule: For every candy wrapper I find around the house (not including the garbage can), I get to take 1 piece of candy from everyone. I would honestly be happy if they just kept the candy wrappers off the ground as the litter that ends up all over my house is really my biggest gripe with Halloween candy (Easter is a whole other post.) For some reason, however, this threat seems to have little effect. With in minutes, wrappers start appearing on the floor, in between couch cushions, and under beds.

The second thing I do when the kids come home is exercise the "mommy tax." This is the payment I get for dressing them in cute costumes and letting them out the door in the first place. The mommy tax usually relieves my boys of their Mounds and Almond Joy bars, which in their eyes, is a big win/win. However, not that many people are giving out Mounds and Almond Joys anymore (finally caught on that kids hate coconut, I suppose) so my mommy tax has dwindled. I also accept Jr. Mints and Smarties as part of the tax, but the subjects complain mightily when they have to part with those candies.

The third thing I do is go through the kids candy haul and confiscate anything with a stick. Well, that pretty much includes lollipops. I can barely handle M&M wrappers on the floor, but sticky lollipop sticks stuck to the carpet and furniture practically send me over the edge. (Yes, as a matter of fact I do live with animals!) Like I said, my threats don't seem to keep kids from littering all over the house, so I just make a little pre-emptive strike on the lollipops and the days following October 31st go a little more smoothly.

A few days after Halloween, I estimate how much trash I've picked up around the house. I then "thin out" the candy stash as significantly as I can without drawing too much attention. This isn't really stealing because the kids were fairly warned about the consequences of leaving wrappers on the floor. If they do notice candy missing from their stash I simply show or tell them about all the wrappers I've picked up. That shuts them up pretty fast.

Other than the Mounds, Almond Joys, Smarties and Jr. Mints, all confiscated candy makes a one-way trip to the garbage. Using this strategy, along with encouraging the kids to eat their candy as quickly as possible, I'm usually able to clear the house of candy with in 5-6 days.

I actually found a few creative suggestions for other ways to re-route an excess of Halloween candy during the research for my article. I’ll try and post a few kinder suggestions in the coming days, along with a link to my article.


Catherine said...

I think this is mild. My best friend in California lets her kids have one piece of candy every day for a week and then throws all the rest in the trash. She's always done this so the kids don't complain (she claims).

Isn't there a lot of junk food that goes around during the school Halloween parties too? Why? There's got to be a better way.

claire said...

when you think about it,Halloween is a stupid idea. We all buy ten pounds of candy and then resort it around the neighborhood, the kids come home and get sick and the parents throw it all away when they're not looking. Dumb!
My only suggestion is that according to Gary, it is much better to eat candy all at once and then brush your teeth (like you suggested) than it is to let them eat candy at intervals throughout the day.