“Can we have lollipops for breakfast?” If that’s what your kids ask the week after Halloween, we’ve got some great ideas for weaning your sugar fiends off the treats and putting it to a sweet purpose. Donate it, swap it, switch it or experiment with it; read on to discover how to lose the candy without gaining a tantrum.
photo: James Wilcox via Flickr
Switch Witch It
This is great for your little one’s first few Halloweens, when they might not fully understand the concept of giving to those in need. Make up your own tale to tell your tots, but the gist of it is that if they leave their ‘extra’ Halloween candy outside their bedroom door, the candy hungry Switch Witch will trade it for a new toy.
As parent, you get to determine the definition of “extra candy” (some families leave all the candy, some let the kids pick out a piece or two a day for the upcoming week) and the size of the toy (or prize: movie tickets, a silver dollar, whatever you like).
What do you do with the candy you’ve switched? Secretly send it to one of the charities below.
Give It To Our Troops
For big kids who understand the nature of giving when we have so much, and with Veterans Day right around the corner, now is a great time to package up all that spare candy and ship it overseas directly.
Operation Gratitude sends over 100,000 care packages each year to U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions, to their kids who are left at home and to wounded warriors, veterans and first responders. Your candy goes right into those packages. Check the details before donating your candy as some types are not accepted, and it’s awfully nice if you include a few other goodies from their list, like toothbrushes, toothpaste, beanie babies and handmade hats.
photo: Operation Gratitude
Here’s another great option for simply putting all that candy in a box, slapping a mailing label on it and dropping it off at the post office, knowing it will find its way to our troops. Every year they send tons (literally) of candy to service men and women who are happy to have sweets you don’t want (they like coffee, too, if you’d like to add an extra treat). Note: they ask that you don’t just dump it in a shoebox anymore, but please use gallon zip lock bags and place them in a larger cardboard box.
Don’t forget thank you cards for the troops, too! And kids are welcome to include pre-addressed post cards or notes in the package to start up a correspondence with our troops. (No need to put stamps on these –soldiers can send cards and letters without postage from a war zone.)
8360 E Highway 25
Belleview, Fl 34420
photo: Operation Gratitude
Swap It with the Dentist
Use the candy swap at your local dentist as a chance to teach why too much candy is bad and dental hygiene is so important. Many dentists and orthodontists, worried about the damage all the candy from Halloween can do to little teeth, will “buy” the candy back from kids with cash, toys, toothbrushes, or prize drawings – each dentist has a different program. To make the candy-buy back process super simple, all you have to do is go to this page, and enter your zip code. They’ll tell you the dentists nearest you who are participating. And while you’re in the office dropping it off, the dentist or hygienist will usually be very happy to show kids pictures of the kinds of damage sugar can do to teeth.
Online at: halloweencandybuyback.com
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Your Candy at Home
Ok, they won’t part with their hard earned candy for love, toys or money. But you don’t want them to eat all that sugar. How about you make like Bill Nye and use it up in the name of science. From melting marshmallows to growing Gummy Bears, make good use your leftover Halloween sweets with these 10 yummy experiments that use up everything from Skittles to Peeps to Gummy Bears and everything else.
Discover our top ten Halloween Candy experiments, here.
photo: peasap via Flickr
What do you do with all your leftover Halloween candy? And which ones do you sneak and eat? (Peanut Butter Cups cannot be denied!)