Some people genuinely love candy and get excited about holidays in which candy plays a big part. That’s just not me. Chances are, if you are reading this, you don’t want you or your kids to pack it all in either (whether it sounds tasty or not).
Cutting Out Sweets
I ate A LOT of candy as a kid. When I got to college and started struggling with insomnia, I took a good look around at my life and my family history, and decided candy, among other things, was just not worth it for me. My stress system was tapped enough as it was, and with so many in my family developing diabetes at a later age, I just decided to cut out many extra sugars. Somehow, the logic worked for me. I’d look at candy after that, and it didn’t even look good (- except for dark chocolate once in a while).
Our family seldom eats dessert, and sweets for the kids aren’t a daily thing and aren’t usually overindulged when given. We don’t go overboard on it, (no one else in my family shares my dislike of sweets),- it’s just limited. I try to present fruits as desserts, but my kids aren’t fooled. They know there’s a whole world out there of sugary sweet deliciousness, and they love to take part in it.
So, when I think about Halloween, I picture the amount of candy we might end up with, and rest my head in my hands. Whether or not your kids participate in trick or treating, you might have a church Harvest Party or trunk or treat that you attend, and you might still give out candy with tracts or something and end up with leftovers, so this could apply to those whose kids don’t go trick or treating.
What Do You Do With All That Candy?
Whether you end up with a little or a lot, you might not want your kids, spouse, or self to indulge in all of it, so what can you do? There are a ton of options.
#1 Make it a Gift
Give it, or some of it, to others. Your kids could even write an encouragement note or draw a picture to go with it.
To Churches or Missionaries
Many children’s or youth departments of churches use candy at different events or for class rewards. One of your church missionary partners might have a use for it, too. Plus, it’s just always sweet to get a package from far away when you are serving in that way.
To Kids in Need
You may have other options in your city to give to kids in need locally, but here are a couple of ideas:
- Kids in Children’s hospitals or children’s wards of hospitals: Our local hospital allows some to come and give candy to the kids who are in the hospital.
- Kids in other countries: Operation Christmas Child is a great opportunity to put small gifts together in a shoebox for kids in need.
Here are three different organizations that might have drop offs near you to give candy to troops:
Chances are, you know a teacher. If their school allows candy, you could gift the candy to the teacher for special events/special rewards for their students.
Parents could easily share the candy at work, putting a bowl out for co-workers, patients, students, etc.
#2 Make Something Beautiful
Let your kids color a Thanksgiving wreath, like one of these, and decorate it with candy. Or color a turkey like this one and decorate his feathers with candy.
However, if you have a child like one of mine, you likely will have them eating this candy, glue and all, instead of admiring it, so you might prefer other options.
#3 Make Something Edible and Shareable
Make some candy apples:
Or a couple candy pies:
Then, keep some for your family and have your kids share some with others. The list of places to share is as endless as your imagination and the causes you care about. Think about the local ministries your family is part of and branch out from there. Here are some ideas:
- Homeless Shelter (homeless kids often don’t get candy and sugar helps generate heat in cold weather)
- Women’s Shelter
- Fire Station
- Police Station
#4 Make a Mad-Lib Gift for Friends or Family
Your kids could make fun stories by taping mini candy bars into the story mad-lib style. This would make a fun gift for Grandma, the friend next door, or a cousin that lives nearby. Mailing could get melty, but I’ve eaten mailed chocolate before.
This idea I got from Megan Stein’s article about ideas for what to do with leftover candy, and thought it was really great.
#5 Make a Trade (Or Invite the Candy Fairy Over)
Have your kids trade their candy for a book, toy, or trip they have been hoping for. Or, you could ask the Candy Fairy to make this trade for you. The idea is similar to leaving cookies and milk for Santa and him leaving presents. Instead, you leave your candy and the “Candy Fairy” trades out the candy for a toy. Then, the “Candy Fairy” can dispose of that candy by gifting it to one of the above mentioned places.
I personally prefer the idea of my kids knowing where they are giving something and them having the joy of giving it themselves, so we would probably go one of the above gifting routes, but many a home has been visited by the Candy Fairy (and probably has been visited by less cavities and sugar highs as a result).
Teaching Kids To Prioritize and Appreciate
Every family will define the phrase “extra candy” differently. However you decide to do it, the process of sorting the candy can be a beneficial one to your kids. The very act of sorting out their favorites or picking some number of the ones they most want helps teach them to prioritize. It helps them learn to enjoy the things that are worth it to them- to indulge in the things that are valuable.
One strategy to end up with less candy is not to give it out at all. If you like to give something out- maybe you give out Halloween tracts with something- then just pick something other than candy. Maybe fruit snacks, bags of crackers or chips, or some other pre-packaged snack that you wouldn’t feel bad about letting your little ones gobble up the leftovers of.
Please Share Your Ideas
Do you have other ideas for what to do with leftover candy? Please share in the comments!
Whatever you are doing this Fall- whether you celebrate Halloween or not- I encourage you to Enjoy it! Go on and enjoy your favorite candy and fall treats. Enjoy your chocolate-faced kids, your spouse, and all you hold dear. This blog is focused on challenging myself and you to engage in the relationships that matter most, embrace those people and things of true value to us, and delight lavishly in the majors and minutia of life. If you liked this blog, you might also like these:
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