Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What to Do with All That Candy

I've been wracking my brain for the past couple of days, trying to find inventive ideas for what to do with this sudden glut of willpower-bending carbohydrate on our dining room table.

We are not a family that has candy in the house a lot. It's a special treat. Most often, I keep some in reserve to buoy my children's spirits on a long hike or a marathon drive.

But the haul they pulled down on Halloween has me wondering about my options. As I see it, here they are.

Option #1: Give a Free-Candy Day, wherein I watch my kids binge on sugar until they turn green and then turn them outdoors to run off the energy. The benefit of this approach? The festival atmosphere of it. And the fact that often they will be so engaged with trying new varieties that they will leave several kinds of candy unwrapped but untouched. As I clean up, that will go into the trash. The downside? Super-sugar rush can't be healthy. And the binge will absolutely need to be followed by a tooth-scrubbing.

Option #2: Dad and I eat It, wherein we watch our waistlines gradually balloon until we can no longer see our socks. Or, alternately, watch each other get broader in the beam until we have to buy super-wide chairs. Also, the children will get increasingly suspicious of what goes on in our household after they go to bed, saying "Hey!! Who stole my candy!!?!" and aiming accusing looks whichever parent has chocolate breath. (Although tasty, maybe this isn't the best choice for us.)

Option #3: Set Treats aside for the Future. Certain types of candy (like M&Ms or plain chocolate) can be used as baking ingredients (think cookie dough). Hard Candy could go into our hiking/long trip supply. Gummies will keep to use as great birthday cake decorations. At most, this would reduce the candy haul by about a third. But, sadly, the candies that will make the best baking ingredients are also my kids favorites.

Option #4: Donate It, wherein my children weep inconsolably because we gave their hard earned sweets to the food pantry or family shelter where they would be gratefully accepted. No one said doing good for others was easy. But the key to this one is willing children. I'm not sure I would have that, but it might be worth a try.

Option #5: Turn it into Cash. Dentists in our area actually pay kids to turn in soft, gummy (which is to say tooth-corroding) candy. They will pay per piece or per pound. I wonder, though, how satisfied my little capitalists will feel walking away with fifty cents in exchange for their sweets.... Still, it's worth considering.

Option #6: Experiment with it, wherein my kids give in to their inner mad scientists to see what happens when they crush, melt, dissolve, and mix them. I provide the materials (soda, cold and warm water, vinegar, oil, my microwave and freezer) and aprons. And I give my kids a chance to be as creative as they want. I have to say, other than the mess, I don't see a downside to this option. I even found a website with candy experiment ideas. Totally worth a try.

Option #7: Use Candy as an Art Supply, wherein the power of Elmer's glue combines with the lure of bright colors. My artists can find ways to use their candy to create. (I think this is a good partner to Option #6; it's just as messy.)

Of course, the key to my personal well-being after Halloween is getting the candy out of sight. So, whatever we do, we'll need to do it quickly. Or Mommy's going to need new jeans this Christmas... (just sayin'.)

If you have other ideas, though, lay 'em on me. In the meantime, I'm going to muster my willpower and keep out of the Dining Room!

- Midwest Mom


  1. My kids would love numbers 6 & 7. My strategy is not to mention it, then try to strike the right tone in a month or so when they've barely touched it that alas, it's stale and old and we have to pitch it. Maybe we'll try 6 or 7 instead this year. Sounds like fun.(?)

  2. Mix it with lots of water and use as body spray. Men (and children) will find you strangely irresistible.

  3. ... and (depending on the candy) they may find you rainbow-colored, Lesley!

    Great idea! :)

  4. When I was a kid, all Halloween candy had to first pass through my father after trick-or-treating. He sorted through it, threw away anything that looked suspicious, and skimmed at least a third of it off to bring with him to work. I guess he worked with a lot of people with no kids! Still, with 6 of us kids in the family, even with this reduction we were eating Halloween candy until at least Thanksgiving!

  5. It's funny, they binge on day one and two, by day three they're kind of sick of it so it sits and disappears little by little. I do make bars with some of the mini candy bars though--the recipe's in the Cake Doctor cookbook and are always a hit.

  6. Mom24 - I know.. don't those look like great ideas? I wish not mentioning it would work on *my* kids, though. It doesn't. The candy haunts their dreams...

    Liz - You know, their dad and I have never taken our 'cut' during sorting. We may have to try that next year. It's very 'extortionist'... I like that.

    Green Girl -- So you're in the binge crowd. We did that last year, and you're right, they sort of lost interest. But as they've gotten older, their dad has ranged farther through the neighborhood with them, resulting in a better haul. Maybe we'll have a combo binge & experiment day. (I'd better decide soon!)

    - Julia

  7. My baby is still too young to trick or treat but great friends of ours told their son that if he left all his candy downstairs, during the night a Halloween witch would come and give him a great toy in exchange for his candy. I thought this was a fabulous idea and plan on using it with J gets older.


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