What do I do with extra Halloween Candy?

As I Dietitian I have access to a professional group of other Dietitians where we can discuss anything and everything related to our practice. Over the past two weeks or so there's been an email going around asking what other RDs do with extra Halloween candy after the night is over. It's been interesting to read many of the comments and opinions on how everyone handles this particular situation. Reading these comments got me to thinking about what I should do with the extra Halloween candy this year. halloween-candy

Originally I thought I'd buy raisins or pretzels or something like that, but my husband quickly reminded me that we'd probably get egged. And thinking back to when I was a kid, I loved trick-or-treating and loading up my pillowcase with hundreds of goodies and then dumping it out to marvel in my glory. It's only now, 20 or so years later where I don't have any kids and I don't want to load up on candy (well I would like to, but my conscious won't allow it, lol). This got me to thinking...just give the kids the darn candy. So, I bought candy...bags of it. Since this is our first year in our new home, I'm excited to answer the door for trick-or-treaters. To my disappointment however, my neighbors told me we don't get many. To me this matters nonetheless, I will be here to answer the door with candy in tow for any trick-or-treaters who step on my porch - and I'm still excited! The only problem is, I am definitely going to have lots of candy leftover (I've got 3 bags for only a handful of kids).

That leads me to the question, what do I do with the extra Halloween Candy?

Many of the Dietitians in the email thread talked about allowing their children to eat a few pieces, or enjoy in moderation. While others talked about allowing their kids to enjoy the holiday, eat candy for a few nights, and then after that their kids usually forgot about the candy. It was at that time they'd just toss it. Another idea would be to allow one or two pieces per day, maybe put it in the child's lunch box. Some parents tell their children they can only eat certain types of candy. Etc.

Then there's the Switch Witch. One RD blogger discussed this in great detail with some excellent solutions. The Switch Witch hangs out in the house starting October 1st. When Halloween arrives, the witch disappears along with all the Halloween candy collected. The witch leaves in its place lots of new toys for children to play with. The kids get new toys, the unhealthy candy goes away and everyone is happy. The problem is, this doesn't create healthy eating habits and creates false expectations for your children. Read the blog post, it's a good one and can help you deal with that situation.

Then of course there's donating the candy. Many dentists will give $1 per every pound of candy brought in, while other places will ship the candy overseas to our troops serving our country. My argument with that is that our soldiers don't need the candy any more than our kids do. It's not easy to stay in shape while serving our country and it's important for these men and women to be able to protect our country to the best of their ability. Candy will not help them do that. My opinion is, don't send it overseas.

All in all I've decided that once Halloween is over, I'll eat a few pieces of candy then just toss the rest out. And when I have kids, I imagine that I'll let them enjoy the holiday as I did when I was a kid and then dump the rest of the candy once it's become old news. It may be easy for me to say now, so we'll have to see what I do when the time comes. If you've got kids, let them eat the candy and enjoy the holiday - it's just one day.

Now it's your turn. What do you do with extra Halloween Candy?