Halloween can be a tricky time of year for parents. It's such a fun day for kids who love to dress up in costumes and go door to door trick or treating, gathering bags filled with chocolate, chips, and candy but it can be frustrating for parents who are trying to ensure that their kids aren't overdoing it on the sugar every night. There are a few ways that parents can limit how much candy their kids are eating without being the person that sucked all the fun out of Halloween. Here's some advice if you're looking for some clever ways to make sure your child's sugar high doesn't last until Christmas.
Don't Trick or Treat on an Empty Stomach
Trick or treating is so much fun for kids of all ages but sending kids out to collect endless candy on an empty stomach can result in some serious snacking along the way. Even kids who know they need to have their candy checked by an adult before eating may be tempted to binge a pre-wrapped chocolately treat or five while trick or treating if they're hungry, so try to make sure kids get a quick dinner before heading out in their costumes.
Planning ahead is key to making sure kids are fed because every parent knows just how hectic Halloween can get. Prep or buy something a few days before the big night that you can heat and serve or quickly throw in the oven so you're not worrying about dinner and getting your child's face paint just right.
Not only will this help prevent mid trick or treat snacking, but it will also give kids enough energy to make it around the neighborhood.
Regulating how much candy your kids can eat can seem a bit harsh for some parents, especially on Halloween night. Kids are so excited when they come home with their trick or treat bag full of treats and they can't wait to sort and count all their candy and of course, eat as much as they want.
Letting kids indulge for one night isn't the end of the world, and can even make setting limits on how much they can eat in the coming days that much easier. Just make sure kids know to stop before they eat too much or they'll be going to bed with a sore belly.
For lots of kids, money talks on Halloween and while they absolutely like candy, they love some cold hard cash. Parents who don't want their children eating candy until Christmas can always offer to buy it back from their kids. Maybe your child has their eye on a new video game or toy they've been coveting and they're willing to trade their bag of sugar for a mutually agreed upon price. If you really don't want your child eating their seemingly endless bag of candy ask if they'd be willing to put it up for sale.
Even if they don't want to sell the entire bag they may consider selling some of it so that both parents and kids can compromise on how much candy they can have. You can offer a price for the whole bag or even a cost per item to see what works best for everyone.
If you have younger children who may not appreciate the value of the dollar you may want to consider asking them if they'd be interested in exchanging their Halloween candy for a toy. Lots of parents use the "Switch Witch" who comes on Halloween night and takes the child's candy, leaving them with a toy they've been wanting.
If you don't want the Switch Witch coming without your child's knowledge talk to them ahead of time and ask them if an exchange of candy for a toy might be something they'd be interested in. You certainly don't want to traumatize your child by taking away all their candy without their knowledge, but they may decide they want that new Lego set, video game or doll more than a sackful of candy.
Make a Plan
Not every child will want to swap their candy for cash or toys, so parents need to have a plan on how to approach candy consumption before the big day. Discuss with your children what you think is a reasonable amount for them to eat on Halloween night as well as the following days until it's gone. Make sure your child knows that you'll be in charge of handing out the candy to make sure they don't over-indulge, and maybe put one or two fun-size treats in their school lunch.
Sort It Out
Having kids sort their candy on Halloween night not only lets parents get an idea of just how much their child has collected, but it also helps children sort their candy based on how much they like it. Making your child sort their candy into piles of their favorite and not-so-favorite lets them prioritize what they want. Parents can slowly take the not-so-favorite candy away and throw it out without children even realizing it's gone.
If you find yourself with an excess of candy this Halloween, either because you bought it back from your child, the Switch Witch came and swapped a coveted toy for the candy haul or you simply bought too much, there are many places to donate your unwanted candy. Consider sending treats to Operation Gratitude, Treats for Troops, or even local children's hospitals or Ronald McDonald house. Halloween Candy Buy Back is when local businesses and dental offices partner up to buy back Halloween candy from children.
Kids really do love to give back so explaining that they can donate their candy to the troops or to children who may not be able to go trick or treating makes them not only feel in control of giving away their candy but also makes them feel really great about where it's going.
Halloween only comes once a year but there's no need for your child's sugar rush to last for months.