Bringing Balance: The Candy Dilemma

How do you deal with the abundance of junk food in your home after Halloween?

It can be really tough to reconcile those mounds of candy and chips with a family practice of junk food moderation for the rest of the year.

  How do you explain why it’s ok for them to eat thousands and thousands of calories of non-food in two weeks when they’re only allowed to have it once in a while the other 50 weeks of the year?

There are ways to avoid a month-long household sugar high (and the resulting immunity low) and escape with your parental integrity intact.

The Halloween Fairy is one fun approach:  Kids get to set aside a certain number of their favourite treats to keep and enjoy over coming days or weeks. The Fairy comes during the night on October 31st and and trades the rest of their loot for a toy.  The problem with this approach is that if the Fairy doesn’t visit all of your kids’ friends’ houses too, it probably won’t be long before the jig is up on this one. Schoolbus chatter could deep-six this strategy far too early.

The Buy-Back is my preferred solution. On November 2nd, I opened up my Halloween Candy Buying Store after school. Here’s how it works: All complete crap of unknown origin (i.e. neon coloured suckers and marshmallow hamburger thingies, etc) go in the garbage, and my kids are good with that. That stuff isn’t worth anything at the Store and they understand why. Then they get to sort the rest of their loot and sell back to me what they want. They both love cold hard cash so much they sell me back at least 2/3 of their bag. Math lesson, label-reading lesson, and negotiating skills training all at once. Don’t worry, they get to eat their share of junk, I just make sure it’s not all at once
and that they eat a lot of extra veggies this week too.

The Hide and Forget is my secondary strategy.  A couple of days after the Buy-Back goes down, I hide the bags.  Out of sight, out of mind.  They start to forget about what’s left pretty quickly.  Eventually, I throw it out, and if they remember weeks later and ask where it is, I tell them it went bad (Although this is probably technically impossible with most of it!).

What do we do with all the candy?  Well, a little goes to Dad’s office, a bit might go in the freezer or baking cupboard for cake or gingerbread house decorating, but most of it goes where it rightfully belongs.  You got it — the trash.



Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better!  She is a mother of two terrific nine-year old kids. For information and recipe ideas, visit her website or pick-up her cookbook

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