Tricks for Dealing with Halloween Treats

Does the thought of Halloween candy sitting around your house have you feeling a bit spooked? You can still enjoy this festive holiday while minimizing or even avoiding the sweet temptations. Here are some tricks for dealing with the treats:

  • Wait until the day of Halloween before purchasing candy to pass out, or try waiting until the week of Halloween and keep the bags sealed and out of sight until the trick-or-treaters start arriving.
  • Buy your least-favorite type of candy – you’ll be much less tempted to dip into the candy bowl if you don’t like the treats.
  • Choose healthier treats to pass out, such as small packages of popcorn, trail mix, pretzels, dried fruit, or granola bars.
  • Consider giving out Halloween-themed toys instead of candy. Craft and party stores have a wide selection of fun,  inexpensive party favors such as temporary tattoos, whistles, stickers, bubbles, spider rings, and—my personal favorite—zombie eye patches.

What to do on November 1 when there’s leftover candy calling your name? Get it out of the house! I love the Halloween Candy Buyback program—here’s how it works:

  • Drop by a participating dentist office to deliver your leftover candy after Halloween. Contact your dentist to find out if they are participating, or go to www.halloweencandybuyback.com and enter your zip code to search for a list of local participants.
  • Your candy will be weighed and you (or your kids) will be reimbursed per pound (usually $1 per pound of candy, although some dentists may offer another form of “buy back”). Many dentists also enter donors into a raffle for a chance to win additional prizes. This is a great incentive for kids to donate their excess candy!
  • The candy is then sent to Operation Gratitude, who uses it to create care packages for troops stationed overseas.

This program is a fantastic way for little ones to enjoy a reasonable amount of candy on Halloween and still have a treat (through cash and raffle prizes) after the holiday, all while supporting a good cause. Plus, it eliminates the post-bedtime dips into the candy stash by Mom and Dad!

Food banks and pantries, homeless shelters, and nursing homes may also be good options for donating your leftover candy. Think twice before taking it to the office though—if you don’t want to be tempted by the candy dish, chances are your coworkers don’t either.

Happy Halloween!

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Tracy Severson is an outpatient clinical dietitian at OHSU. She moved to Portland from Tucson in 2010, and has worked at OHSU since 2011.

Tracy works with the OHSU Surgical Weight Reduction clinic and Cardiac Rehab program, and also provides medical nutrition therapy for General Adult Outpatient Clinics at OHSU.

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Jessica is the Social Media Manager for OHSU.
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