I have compiled a short list of ideas to help deal with all the Halloween candy! The younger your kids are, the easier this is to deal with… but for the older kids, Halloween can be hard. All that candy is tempting! Please keep in mind, any of the ideas listed below will work for any child, keto or not! If your keto kid has siblings, this is a great opportunity to have the siblings participate and support your keto kid as well. Please share your strategies if I have not addressed them here. Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First and foremost… don’t give out candy at your house! Instead, get to the local “dollar store” and pick up stickers, spider rings, pencils, erasers, ect… to hand out in place of the candy. Support for your child obviously starts at home!
1. The most common swap for Halloween candy is MONEY. Even very young children understand this concept very early on. It’s as simple as trading each piece of candy for a penny, nickel, dime.. whatever you want to do. The kids have to count all their candy and then hand it over to you to get the money. This is enough incentive for many kids to let go of the pillow case full of sugar!
2. Trade the candy for a large(ish) present. Let your kids pick out a gift that they would like to have and exchange the candy for it. Video games, books, movies, toys.. anything your child has been wanting (within reason of course).
3. Trade the candy for an “experience”. Does your child want to visit an amusement part? Go the nail salon to get a manicure? Have a special night out with mom, dad, or a friend? A sleepover with a friend?
Do you need a story to support any of the ideas above? Have you heard about the “Switch Witch”, the “Sugar Sprite or Fairy” or the “Great Pumpkin”? If you search the internet for any of those terms, you will find a great selection of poems, short stories and even books (click here to one I found on Amazon) describing how candy is needed by magical characters for various reasons. I think it is perfect for my 5 and 7-year-old, they still believe if you know what I mean! Print this poem out and mail it to your kids! When they check the mail, they will never suspect you…hahaha. At our house, we had to specify that the witch does not come inside, all exchanges are done on the front porch! If a witch is too scary for you, just use the same story plot and swap the main character out for the fairy, pumpkin or anything else that you feel is appropriate. Click the image below for a printable! I found this poem on Facebook at 100 Days of Real Food. The post claims it came from a site called naturalkids.com, however I am unable to find it. I did try to give credit where credit is due! Here is my version, I changed a few words because the thought of a witch coming in my kids room while they are sleeping was too much for them (I think anyway).
4. For older, school aged kids… ask their teacher is they would be willing to take the candy and exchange it for a “homework pass”. I have heard about this being done before, but you will have to convince the teacher that this is a good idea for the entire class. The basic idea is that 1 pound of candy = 1 homework pass.
5. If you live in the United States, go to www.halloweencandybuyback.com and enter your zip code to find a dentist or business in your area that participates in the “Halloween Candy Buy Back”. This is linked with Operation Gratitude where the candy is donated to troops overseas. Most often, your kids can bring the candy to a participating dentist and receive $1.00 per pound and a free toothbrush. The dentist then donates all the collected candy to Operation Gratitude. I highly recommend calling your local dentist before hand to get specific details for your area.
6. If you would like to donate candy directly, you can do so through Operation Shoebox. Scroll down the page to see the link for donating candy. You could also call local food banks or churches in your neighborhood to find out if they are accepting candy donations.
7. One of the longest running Halloween fundraisers is through UNICEF. You still have time to order donation boxes, they are free! You get 10 or more boxes with each order, so your kids can hand them out to their friends as well. UNICEF provides basic essentials like clean water to children all over the world. This is a great opportunity to shift the focus to “giving” rather than “getting”. UNICEF programs are available in the United States, Canada and Hong Kong. New this year is a contest to decorate your own UNICEF collection box called Create-a-Character. The winners will have their designs printed on collection boxes for 2013.
8. If you happen to live in a neighborhood where you know most of your neighbors, you could try the “pre-staging” Halloween treat technique. This requires a lot of effort from everyone, including the neighbors. Some parents have written a short letter explaining the diet and what costume their child will be wearing. When the child gets to the house, the neighbors give them a treat that was previously dropped off by you. Keep in mind that this needs to be shelf stable and not require refrigeration. It also needs to be included in the meal plans already as a snack or dessert. Your childs basket will still look “different” when it is filled with homemade treats rather than commercial candy. Mistakes by neighbors are also likely to happen, so supervision is a must! I see this working for toddler age kids who do a handful of houses at the most. The older the kids are, this will probably not be the best choice.