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.
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.
- 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.