24 October 2006

How do you dole out the Halloween candy?

Moxie guest-starred on Kristen Chase's ClubMom blog, The Mom Trap, last week, and shared her suggestions on distributing the Halloween haul of sweets. I generally let my kids (7 and 3) have a piece after lunch (or after school) and a piece after dinner. After a while it loses its appeal and they forget about it.

What's your plan for doling out the Halloween haul?

(I have more candy-dispatching ideas which I'll post the day after Halloween.)

More: Halloween hacks

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Our church has a Halloween Candy "tithe" on the Sunday after Halloween. Our kids get in to it and donate more than 10%, sometimes up to 50%. They also pick and choose. They started out picking the the ones they didn't like, but then, after we told them that it was for kids who didn't have as much as them, they started picking things they liked, saying, "I think they would like this chocolate one too"

I know the candy IS donated to a nearby shelter/food bank, but I think that they don't give the candy out all at once, maybe a little at a time over the year. Less well-off kids have enough trouble getting nutritious meals that they don't need pounds of candy.

The get to indulge in a few pieces on Halloween night after TOT'ing (and it's all been looked over by mom or dad).

After that, it goes in our candy basket and is eaten the same as the candy we have the rest of the year. Maybe a single piece after lunch if they ask. Depending on behaviour of the day and how well they eat dinner, 1 or 2 pieces after dinnner as their dessert if they want. Occasionally a piece gets slipped into the lunchbox as a surprise.

I think if people aren't going to let their kids eat the candy they need to (a) limit the time spent trick or treating on Halloween night or (b) entice them to do something else that night, like attend a Halloween party. Our local rec centre hosts one every year.

I've also read about parents taking their one and two year olds out trick or treating. I think they're too young to know, or really care. At two they can just dress up and help hand the candy out at the door. Why send them out to collect bags of candy?

In our house we've always told the girls (now 5 and 7) that Halloween is the Season of Sharing. "People are sharing their candy with you," I say. "So you have to share your candy with us." And they do.

On Halloween night we have a healthy dinner before we go out. When they come back they eat 5 - 7 pieces ... we have veto powers. They can't eat seven candy bars for example. They get one slipped in their lunches and after school they get about 3 pieces to replace the dessert they'd normally be eating at dinner. And no, there's no dessert at dinner. :)

At this rate the candy piles don't get very small very fast. So we try to share with as many people as we can.

I should also mention, we don't have candy lying around the house the rest of the year. So really, this is the only time they get to indulge the sweet tooth.

We're similar- they can pig out Halloween night (but we don't go to many houses so we don't start with much) and they usually self censor after a half doz or so pieces. If not I'd set a limit. Then we eat it after meals or for snacks for what feels like forever. They never have candy except at holidays so this is a special treat.

And! My dentist appointments (when I was a child) seemed to always to take place a week after Halloween and a week after Easter. Any candy not gone was to be disposed of before the dentist appointment. My mom's method of getting it over and done with.

The Halloween Witch comes to our house on Halloween night and my kids leave their candy out for her (they can keep a few things that they really like) and in turn, she leaves them a little toy or a book.

The kids get excited to see what she's going to leave for them. The plus for me is that I get all that candy!!!

I remember trying a couple of things, including making them brush their teeth after each piece, doling it out slowly, and so forth.

What worked best was letting them eat some that night, and then putting it all in the fridge. Out of sight, out of mind...and plus it's all frozen hard. After a month or so I'd throw it all away, because they'd forgotten it was there.

Oops, I meant to type freezer, obviously.

I guess I'll be the dissenter here: We give their candy haul a once-over (taking out a few choice pieces for our efforts, lol) and then let the kids pig out. Halloween day and for a day or two afterwards. Then they get good and sick of sweets for a long while, and the damage to their teeth and weight, etc. isn’t dragged out for weeks or months. I remember reading long ago that dentists and doctors preferred this way, but it only really makes a difference if you don't normally do the candy thing anyway (which we don't).

I always allowed my older daughters to eat as much of the Halloween haul as they wanted, whenever they wanted. After the initial rush after Trick or Treating, they either saved it and ate a piece or two a day (usually the oldest daughter) or ate it all within the week (younger daughter who is now the middle daughter). Eventually, they learned that the "piece or 2 a day" model resulted in a longer period of having candy & started rationing it themselves.
I really think that for us, allowing them to learn how to moderate their own behaviour in these small ways was overwhelmingly positive & plan to do something similar with my youngest (who will be 1 on Halloween!).

We started out letting them eat as much as they wanted the first night. Horrible results. We've since learned that one of our kids has GI trouble that sugar makes much worse. Not fun.

Our kids also have terrible teeth (soft enamel), so the dentist is very serious about no sticky/gummy treats.

Our kids are way into MONEY. Saving, investing, spending, charity, you name it, money is COOL.

Put those together, and we came down to the following:

1) Trade away the no-no-for-health candies one-for-one (we buy a bag of candy they may have and like, swap out things they don't-like/don't-want/can't-have).

2) Count out enough of their favorites for them to enjoy without getting bored. For us, that's been 30 servings. Store those readily available (the first night they do get a 'good amount' but not absolutely pig-nuts).

3) Buy the remaining loot at a dime (or a quarter for large items) each.

They still get the 'jackpot' experience of TOTing, we still get some control over the health issues that total anarchy-in-consumption would trigger, and everyone is happy. We also can snitch from the stuff we bought off them, or donate it, or dump it at work, etc.

we give it out sparingly for the first week.after that, the leftovers go in to the freezer to be used later to decorate the christmas gingerbread house.

Every family is different. In ours, we really enjoy trick-or-treating. So we go for a really long walk, visiting nearly every house we can until they're tired. We come back and pool all of the candy onto a tray for inspection. Then the kids can take turns choosing their very favorites from the entire cache until their teeny halloween buckets(which are presented Halloween morning stuffed with non-candy goodies from us) are full. It's usually 12-20 pieces of candy in each at the end. They get a piece each day after school. The rest goes slowly with hubs to the office or donated.

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