Living Lightly

The Candy Store

The Candy Store

This is a bit of a departure from my “green” topics, but CANDY is a major presence in my house these days, and not consuming it is definitely an aspect of healthier living.

Come November 1, every parent faces the dilemma of what to do with all.that.candy from the previous night’s trick or treating. And from the Trunk or Treating at school the night before that. And from the Harvest Festival at the community center the previous Saturday. What used to be one day has become a season.

Remember getting one bite-sized piece of candy per house? To get a decent haul, I had to cover several neighborhoods. By the end of the night, my feet would be trembling with exhaustion. But it was totally worth it. Now, each house gives a whole handful of candy. After one block, bags are bulging.

Mind you, I’m all for giving my kids’ an occasional splurge. That’s what holidays are all about. But this holiday has become a holi-month, and I’m just not going to do that to myself. But neither am I willing to smuggle the kids’ candy away while they’re at school. You think it’s hard to get them out the door in the morning now? They’re too smart for that.

It’s much better to convince them to give it up freely.

Introducing the Candy Store

Who doesn’t love a candy store? But this one is a little upside down. Instead of buying candy, candy is the currency. I stock the “store” with items I actually want my kids to have: good books, craft and model kits, funny socks, fake mustaches (which I find inordinately humorous), household coupons – laundry or dishwashing exemptions. All stuff the kids really like. And there have to be one or two items that would cost it all. Something like a laser peg kit or a model rocket.

The Candy Store

An additional lure? The kids don’t have to buy. They can keep however much of their candy they want. But they can’t complain afterwards about their choices. And usually they spend it all.

The Candy Store

The Candy Store


Bonus Lesson

  • Prioritizing – Is it better to buy the one really cool big thing or a whole lot of little things?
  • Dealing with disappointment – A sibling might buy what you really want before you have a chance to.
  • Negotiating – “This Fun Size Snickers is twice as big as that Snack Size Butterfinger. It should count for two!”
  • There are things in life better than candy.

And what do I do with the candy store proceeds? It depends. Some candy I don’t think anyone should eat ever, and I chuck it. (Laffy Taffy, I’m looking at you.) That might be controversial. Generally, there’s some philanthropic organization that is collecting candy for some useful cause, and so I give it away. But I would be lying if I said that it all left the house. Some might make its way into homemade candy bar brownies, but only if its chocolate. And somehow the “homemade” part redeems it.

Further reading

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Reitta Mernitszi says:

Azi aquish! Mummumu nixawi “halloween” erh! Bla-enuxi erde “idea” LISA!


Miriam says:

That is a great idea! We actually have our 3 girls dump their candy into one big pile and separate it into groups. I then go through and make 3 small bags of 1 or 2 pieces of each kind, label them, and pot then on top of the fridge. The girls get 1 piece a day and can earn extra for jobs around the house or superior behavior. The remaining candy gets bagged up and put away some place the girls don’t know about. At Christmas, I pull the bag out and stuff candy in to everyone’s stockings.

Liz Sagaser says:

Lisa, this is just plain BRILLIANT. I love the idea of giving kids a little wiggle room to negotiate, and that this teaches lessons about bartering and choices for kids. I will admit – I am sometimes guilty of simply letting them go to town so the candy will disappear faster and we can be done with endless requests for MORE MORE MORE candy. This year, I let them have 2 pieces when they get home from preschool and first grade, and one piece after dinner if they eat decently. The weather was terrible for trick-or-treating this year – damp, chilly and the wind just about blew us away. We hit a dozen or so houses, and while we still managed to take home what felt like a truckload of treats, it was less than last year. Next year I am totally following your plan. Opening a reverse “Candy Store” is one of the best solutions I’ve heard for taming the Halloween hoard!

Leah B. says:

Great idea! My children are past trick or treating age, but I wish I had thought of something like this when they brought home enormous amounts of candy on Halloween!

nancy musser says:

what a great idea – I wish I could find this on facebook so I could share it with all my friends that have kids

Ezra says:

Brilliant idea, Lisa! Happy Halloween to you and your family. Love your blog posts. Ezra, Montreal

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

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