Are you ready for a candy filled house? In less than two weeks, houses across the country will be filled with chocolate snack bars, chewable gummy candies and sweetened beverages (yes, little hugs are still around!). For years kids have been dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins and having school parties. Many kids wait all year for this night. For most, it is the “candy collecting” and actual trick-or-treating that is the fun part. While I’d love to persuade every parent to send in only healthy Halloween treats for parties and convince every house on my block to offer only healthy treats for trick-or-treating- I doubt I would have much success. So, while this night represents treat terror for many parents (and dentists) – it does not have to be so dreadful. Before you think about taking the fun out of this age old tradition- try turning the focus to something else. Rather than limiting the “loot,” let the kids go wild for a night and use the diversity of the candy to make original creations.
To start with, open the candy wrappers and let the candy open to the air. This is a good time to talk about the shapes of the candy, the colors, the textures all while letting the licorice harden and the chocolate get stale. Categorize the candy based on how it will be used. Gather materials such as glue sticks, scissors, construction paper, Styrofoam cups, etc.
With younger kids encourage creativity- use round candy for eyes, chocolate candy for hair, gummy candies for ears and a nose. Kids will also have fun creating a Halloween Haunted House by gluing the candy onto the sides of a cardboard house. Younger trick-or-treaters will be happy making a one story, square house while older kids will have more fun creating a Halloween mansion. The bigger the house- the more candy gets glued onto it so encourage multiple stories!
Of course, the kids will probably want to enjoy eating the candy as well. Allow the kids one or two pieces and be sure to keep it out of site. After a few days, the novelty will wear off and the kids will be on to something else.
Still have candy left over? Consider these other ways to utilize the Halloween candy:
- Donate it to a local food bank or shelter. While it is not the healthiest choice a few pieces may be a welcomed treat.
- Consider a sending a treat package overseas to our troops- they’ll appreciate being included in the holiday festivities.
- Make treat bags and visit a local long term care center. Have the kids pass it out to the residents. They will appreciate the visit.
- Recycle it on Halloween night. Allow the kids to go trick-or-treating and then leave their candy out in a bowl for other trick-or-treaters. (This typically only works with the little, little ones!) It will be gone in an hou
Most important- keep the focus on fun. Have a Happy Halloween!