Dressing up, going to costume parties, and trick-or-treating on Halloween is more or less a right of passage for children in America. Most of us have fond memories of Halloween from our own childhoods and are delighted to share that with our children. But watching them bring home buckets of candy and devouring it by the handful until they're jumping off the walls with belly aches and cavities, not so much the goal. If you're looking to create Halloween memories with your children, without them overdosing on sugar and greed, read on for some great ideas!
The Switch Witch
Whether you buy the official book and doll or just wing it, the idea behind the Switch Witch is amazing. Basically, your child leaves all of their Halloween loot on the table overnight and the Switch Witch comes and takes it all away, leaving a small gift in its place. By doing this, your child gets to partake in the thrill of collecting Halloween candy while trick-or-treating, but instead of eating it all, they use it as hard-earned currency to get something healthier, less wasteful, and probably more exciting. You can be flexible to make the rules, such as allowing your child to go through their candy and keep a set number of their favorite pieces. Or, you could create a Switch Witch order form, showing them how many pieces of candy the need to earn specific prizes. The sky's the limit!!
Suffice it to say, an older child who already has several years of trick-or-treating and candy consumption under his or her belt will probably not be easily convinced that this is a great system. But if you can start using the Switch Witch on your child's first Halloween, they will most likely love it - excited to collect candy for her, waking up the next morning eager to see what she left for them!
Sell or Donate Your Candy
Children love candy, but they also love cold hard cash. Want to see which they love more? Tell them about the Halloween Candy Buyback Program, where dentists around the country will pay $1 per pound of candy, and turn around and send that candy to troops overseas. In past years, Bay Ridge Family Dental Care and Park Slope Orthodontics have participated in the program. You can also find a local "candy GIVE back" drive or create your own drive for Operation Gratitude.
Hand Out Candy Together
Instead of spending hours going door-to-door collecting candy, kick back and enjoy handing out candy (or better yet, non-candy allergy-free treats such as glow sticks!) from your own home. Show your children how much fun it can be to give rather than to receive. Talk about all the costumes you see (older children can even tally up on paper how many of each costume they see), which children you recognize from school or play group, and come up with silly or scary ways to answer the door. This can become a fun family tradition that doesn't result in pounds of candy consumption.
What do you think? Have you tried any of these Halloween candy consumption alternatives before, or do you plan to? Have any other great ideas? Leave a comment below!
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