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. If that isn’t convenient, 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. Another benefit of providing non-food treats is to help make Halloween more inclusive for kids with food allergies as part of the Food Allergy Research & Education’s (FARE’s) Teal Pumpkin Project. All you have to do is paint a pumpkin teal or print and post a sign from FARE to indicate you are participating (teal is the color of food allergy awareness).
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 Buy Back 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 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…
Tracy Severson, R.D., L.D., is the dietitian for the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the Knight Cardiovascular Institute. She specializes in nutrition counseling for cardiovascular health and weight management.