Ask Design Mom: What Do You Do With Halloween Candy?

With six kids, you must get lots of candy from trick-or-treating. I’m curious about your candy policies. Do you limit how much the kids can eat? Any tips would be appreciated. Thank you. — Candace

Great question, Candace! That is certainly the topic on my mind this morning. I haven’t vetted this with a dentist (and you’re welcome to judge) but this is what usually happens at our house. 1) All the candy goes into one big shared pot. 2) We sort some of it by color (see above) because I can’t help myself. 3) I let the kids eat as much as they want for about 24 hours or so. At which point, they’re super sick of anything sweet and start craving salty/spicy foods, like warm soup and bread. 4) If there’s anything left (there usually isn’t) it gets tossed or frozen for another day.

Basically, I like the candy over and done with as quickly as possible.

What about you, Dear Readers? How do you handle your Halloween candy?

P.S. — Stephanie has some great tips for Halloween candy here.

87 thoughts on “Ask Design Mom: What Do You Do With Halloween Candy?”

  1. we do candy day once a week (all thru the year). they can pack their halloween candy up in small snack size baggies or eco-friendly containers (about 4 pieces or so) then on Saturdays they have candy day & get to have their small amount however they want- all at once or savoring throughout the day. it helps teach delayed gratification & helps in learning how to enjoy it & plan for it instead of just sticking it in one after another.

  2. I think it’s United Way that collect candy to hand out to kids in hospitals and such who couldn’t get out to trick-or-treat.

    My mom always put a limit on it. One piece for dessert after lunch and dinner, and once in a while a little mid-day treat.

    Another nice idea is to put some of the chocolate in a cute little box and label it “Stress Reliever” and give it to your child’s teacher. I always keep a box (label and all) in my closet. :)

  3. “The Great Pumpkin” visits our house the night after trick or treating. My kids pick out the candy they really want and then leave the rest on the kitchen table for the Great Pumpkin to take to children that don’t have a home or the means to trick or treat. My kids get a small trinket in return for their thoughtfulness (usually under $4.) My kids love it and they are remarkably generous with the candy they’ll give up. My son even tries to sneak in a can or two of soup for the needy children. It’s beautiful AND fewer possible cavities!

  4. I love that you let them chow down on all their hard earned goodies. My parents did the same thing and I remember all the fun my sister and I used to have sorting and color coding all night.

  5. I let the kids pick out the candy they like the best and then the rest we sell to the tooth fairy.
    The kids put the candy in a bag at the end of the bed and in the morning the tooth fairy has replaced the candy with a generous cash reward.

  6. Just finished our Candy Auction. Most popular items: Get to wear mascara to school, Lunch with mom & dad, Ride home from school, and Free say “no” to parents card. Lowest bid went to the Kiss from daddy card. Fun. And all the candy? Going in the back of the freezer for movie nights and snacks for long trips.

  7. We also to the “Halloween Fairy”. We have the kids give away half their candy to her and get a toy or DVD in its place. Sometimes we even try to coordinate what the kids dressed up as with what they’ll receive, for example, this year my son was Slinky Dog from Toy Story so he got a Slinky Dog toy :)

  8. Wow, I mean I know we shouldn’t let kids over-indulge but I had no idea there was so much thought put into this and so many strategies to part children and sweets. I’m far more concerned about fast food and no veggies than I am about an occasional holiday sweet binge. That being said, our son never had candy until he was around 3 or 4 but now that he’s old enough to trick or treat he gets to pick one item each night after dinner. After a while he forgets about it and of course mom and dad sneak some, too. It’s interesting to see what he picks. On Halloween night his pick was gummy snacks! He’s not a huge chocolate lover. He got a lot of pretzels this year so those will go in his lunch.

  9. As a designer myself, I chuckled at the “colour sorting”. Makes for a pretty picture too!

    As for the actual question, I let mine (5 years and 3 years) eat as much as their tummies can handle for the first few days (except for eating them before lunch). They earned their loot, let them eat it! They tire of the sweets after a couple of days and besides, I am pretty firm about healthy eating any other regular day so I think it’s okay to let go a little and let them enjoy Halloween.

  10. I combine the kids’ buckets into one big bag. We’re allowed to eat a few pieces here and there for the next couple of days, and then I take the bag to our local library where the librarians can eat what they would like or take it to the children’s department where it can be handed out to the children for reading incentives.

  11. As a dental hygienist, I’d back that plan! I always tell my patients/friends, that it’s not the AMOUNT of sugar, it’s the EXPOSURE time. So, getting it all over with and done in 24 hours is better than having 5 pieces a day for 2 months. (Let the tummy aches begin!!)

  12. The Great Pumpkin visits our house. The kids pick out a few pieces to keep or eat whenever they want (age=# of pieces) and the rest is left for the pumpkin. A toy arrives in it’s place. I sort through the candy that night and keep some hidden away for random treats and the rest of it gets donated.

    I understand the need to let kid binge on whatever they want occasionally, but we save that for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those two days out of the year I let my kids eat anything in any amount they want. I find it easier to deal with a bad stomach ache/sugar crazy kid when we don’t have to go to school the next day.

  13. I let my kids eat whatever they want the night of Halloween, then the next day I give them the option to keep their candy or sell it all to me for $2. They always want the money. I then toss the bag into the garbage (because what is left over anyway isn’t the good stuff).

  14. I let them eat as much as they can stomach that night (minus the parental tax) and what’s left either goes to work with Dad or gets set aside to decorate gingerbread houses in Dec. I figure one good sugar high and crash is better than several days of getting used to elevated blood sugar. Plus it saves me having to buy more candy in Dec!

  15. I find that if my little guy eats a little bit of candy everyday for a period of time (tested while on road trips or holidays) he stops eating his broccoli. He just loses his appetite for healthy food altogether. So in our house we are definitely in the go-big-then-go-home camp. Half hour after dinner, the kid sits at the table for some quality time with his candy, eating as much as he wants. So far he generally gets bored after day 3. If that changes with age (which I suspect it will) then I like the idea of him trading in the loot for a toy or some $$.

  16. Halloween is a really hard holiday in my home, mainly because I don’t let my kids have a lot of sugar. We don’t have sugar in our home. Reason? My son is ADHD and doesn’t need the extra energy from sugar, he has enough energy of his own. And, I try to have the same rule for my daughter, so they don’t grow up thinking one is more special than the other…or that’s my hopes anyway. So, I narrow down each year, where we will be going, so they don’t get a whole lot of sugar. We hit maybe 30 homes total. We usually go around our block, go to all the grandparents and great-grand parents, maybe an aunt and uncle or two, and then a few friends homes. However, before we go to the grandparents, great-grand parents and friends homes, I ALWAYS ask if they could give my kids something without sugar. I throw out a few ideas…a Halloween pencil, spider ring, sugar-free candy, fruits like apples or oranges, crayons…to name a few. My oldest is 4, and for the last 4 years, this has NEVER been an issue, especially with the grandparents. They all know how hard it is, not only on me, but my son as well, when their is extra sugar in his system.
    The candy they do get in their buckets/bags, I let them choose 5 items. I give them the option…they can either eat it all now, or stretch it out over a few days…it usually is gone within a week of Halloween. The rest of the candy is tucked deep into my baking goods cupboard in the kitchen, where it will sit for about a month, then we will pull it out and use it to decorate our Gingerbread houses.

  17. We sold our candy to our dentist. He pays $1 per pound and sends it to the troops in Iraq. The kids write notes for the soldiers saying thank you for their service. It’s a great way for kids to learn to give back.

  18. We do a “candy fairy” too. We call her the “candy witch”. This year our 3 year old got toy story.. we are all very excited about it.

    I love the idea of keeping it for stockings too!

  19. The Great Pumpkin visited our house this year and the children had asked for science kits as their presents. I couldn’t have been more happy to oblige. Our neighborhood gave out 75% full size candy bars. It was insane! Thankfully, I now have some ideas of what to do with the candy.

  20. This is awesome! We’ve been using it as a dessert option after dinner and it’s amazing to see what great restraint the boys are showing. A real lesson is self-control! The other thing we are going to do is do science experiments with the candy they don’t like which i read an article a long time ago and saved. Now I must find it! With this you can examples of different melting points, solids turning into liquid, etc… Now to pick a baking sheet I don’t care about any more.

  21. No I totally disagree with you because by your child eating so much candy will not help you at all, this will only cause cavities and with cavities you have to take numerous trips to the dentist which will cost you alot of money out of your pocket. Thats just my opinion.

  22. I think part of the fun of Halloween is getting more candy at once than at any other time in your life. I figure if you go out and get it, then it is yours. When I was a kid, my parents let us have our candy, and they didn’t control it in any way. I do the same for my children. Their candy is theirs to eat or save or trade or whatever. Sometimes a child eats too much candy at once, and learns about gluttony. Sometimes a child saves their candy and just eats a little at a time, and learns about self control. All good. I don’t worry about them being in control of their own candy for even one minute.

    The only way I control, to some degree, the amount of candy, is to say when we are out trick or treating, “I think it is time to go home and see what you all got!”. I keep an eye on their bags, and when they start to look like “enough” we go on home.

  23. Just seems so wasteful to throw it out, doesn’t it! :) Might be better to not collect so much.
    IIRC, the military doesn’t want chocolate because it melts.
    Our kids usually got free rein. Fun times to sort it out and enjoy. None of them abused the privilege. After a week or so I took it to our clinic — kids would get a piece after they got shots.

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