How to Survive the Halloween Candy Overload - 4 Plans for Handling the Collected Candy!

Halloween Candy Overload - How to Handle all the Candy

(  Halloween is coming!  Are you thinking about how to handle the salt and sugar overload in your family?  A study done by the University of Colorado in 2010, estimated that a child may bring home up to 22 pounds of candy! That is over 65,000 calories!  It is worth thinking about how you will handle all the collected candy.  What’s a parent to do without ruining the fun of your child’s treat collection night and still respect your own healthy conscience?  
Can you create a win-win strategy?  We think so!  Have a plan for Halloween.  Figure out what you are going to do with the candy they do collect before Halloween.  An agreement before trick-or-treating will make the aftermath easier to deal with.  

Plan #1 – Sort it out, enjoy, then move on

If your kids are trick-or-treating, the loot will inevitably land on your kitchen table.  Have kids sort candy into 3 piles:

  1. Really like
  2. Sort of like
  3. Don’t like. 

Let kids enjoy the candy in the ‘really like’ pile and get rid of the rest.  Set some boundaries that work for you including a time frame for when they can eat, how much and for how long.  For some parents this might mean a few treats every day for one week and for others this may last a few days.  I have found this approach to work well for my kids.  After they have had the chance to enjoy the treats they really like, they lose interest and turn their attention elsewhere.  When not eating, put all extra treats into a hide away spot.  Out of sight is out of mind!


Plan #2 - Feed the Halloween Goblin 

The Halloween Goblin is kind of like the tooth fairy - he comes and takes candy and leaves a non-food treat.  In our house, the candy left over from piles #2 and #3, sort of like and don't like, have been left on the front porch for the Halloween Goblin to take away in exchange for something on their wish list like books or toys.  If your kids are older and beyond belief in the Halloween Goblin, try exchanging a portion of leftover candy for something that will be good for their health like a pair of roller blades, a ball or a fun activity to do with family like an outing to the wave pool.

Plan #3 – Donate candy and make money 

Join the 2012 Halloween Candy Buy Back event with Evans Dental Health and Wellness at Market Mall.  For every pound of candy you donate, the dentist will pay you $1, give you a prize and DONATE a pound in apples to the Calgary Food Bank.  They even have invitations to give out to your friends.  Last year trick-or-treaters brought 1100 lbs of candy.  The event is on the evening of November 1 and promises great prizes for the most candy donated.
  Connect with your local dentist to see if they are hosting a similar event.

Plan #4 – Plan Activities

Expand the focus of Halloween beyond just candy.  Enjoy family time or some events around Calgary like the Haunting Halloween at Village Square Leisure Centre, where you can enjoy crafts, games, activities and more for free.  Plan your own crafts or a Halloween party.  Use the search term ‘Halloween crafts’ on google and find many ideas. Drive around communities to see how others have decorated for the event.  Check out events listed at Family Fun Calgary.

Most of us enjoyed candy when we were younger - let kids enjoy this part of Halloween. Kids need to learn how to lead a balanced lifestyle in an environment where there are more than enough opportunities for them to enjoy treats.  Help them learn to navigate their treat-infested world.  

Written by Heidi Piovoso BSc, RD, Associate Dietitian & Kristyn Hall MSc, RD, Dietitian & Director, HealthCastle Calgary


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HealthCastle, founded in 1997, is the largest online nutrition community run by Registered Dietitians. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or dietitian. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.