The seemingly unlimited amount of candy was, and still is, my favorite part of Halloween. It is more or less an excuse to binge on sugar, which is definitely not healthy. Candy and sugary treats are Halloween staples, so how do you combat the copious amounts of sugar without completely ruining Halloween…
Do Not Make It a Habit
One day of excess sugar will not be the end of the world…just make sure that the Halloween festivities do not continue into Thanksgiving. It is so easy to let the candy take over the household, but as long as you do not allow this to happen it will not be a problem. If you put the candy where it is not readily available, chances are you will forget about it until you go and hide next year’s stash…unless you and your family have a giant sweet tooth. Not allowing a daily mini-binge on candy is one of the most important ways to deal with inevitable Halloween sugar overflow.
Pay Attention to Portion Size
With the number of goodies that children bring home after Trick-or-Treating, their candy can easily last a lifetime. If you portion the candy appropriately, there is no reason to say no to one bite-sized treat during the day. While some people think it is best to have a candy fiesta on Halloween and then cut off the sugar completely on November 1st, I argue that a piece of chocolate a day keeps the doctor away.
Positive reinforcement is an easy way to get your children to do as they are asked, so why not use their Halloween candy as reinforcement? Make a chore chart with different tasks or behaviors that earn the kids various amounts/types of candy. For bigger tasks such as cleaning their bedroom, give them 3-5 bite-sized candies of their choosing. For something smaller, like feeding the family pet, give them 1 bite-sized candy or a lollipop.
In the Halloween spirit, dress up as a pirate and tax your child for every 20 pieces of candy they bring back to the boat. The larger the loot, the more there is to tax. This not only ensures that you get some Halloween candy, but also that your child has less.
Tell your children that they can have a set amount of candy, but can “trade-in” some of their pieces for additional screen time, money, or whatever bargaining tool you normally employ. Isn’t anything better than a child crazed from a sugar high?
Pool all of the children’s candy together and automatically take half of the candy for dad and mom to take to work. Just like in fantasy football, allow the children to “draft” their favorite pieces. They are allowed 11 pieces on the first night and then 1-2 pieces until it is all gone. If you really get into it, you can even pretend that some of the “players” get injured and are taken away.