Switch Witch Saves Family from Candy Overload

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Every Halloween parents everywhere face a daunting problem: what to do with all that candy???

Here's how we handle Halloween in our family.

Our children collect obscene amounts of candy trick-or-treating. When they return home, they may eat 3 or 5 (there are often negotiations) pieces of candy right then. I am aware that they snitch candies while trick-or-treating or even back at home. I am just trying to contain the deluge. I also try to steer them away from what I consider to be the most disgusting candy because it pains me to watch them eat it.

All the rest of the candy gets left near the fireplace for the Switch Witch, usually right in their trick-or-treat bags.

In the morning, the children wake up to trick-or-treat bags empty of all their trick-or-treat candy. Instead, inside those same bags, they find "better" candy and other small gifts, such as books, games, or small toys. That's it! The Switch Witch keeps it pretty modest, because Christmas is coming soon enough, folks.

The Switch Witch has been visiting our house since my oldest was pretty little, so my kids (now 12, 10, and 8) mostly go along with this. In theory, you could keep all your candy and skip the Switch Witch's visit, but in practice, there is some coercion involved (if necessary), as I make it clear they aren't going to get to eat all that candy anyway.

The "better" candy is organic or natural-ish candy and slavery-free chocolate I purchase online, or at Target, Trader Joe's or at Whole Foods. Pretty much any candy sold by Whole Foods fits my standards. It is candy free of artificial colors and preservatives and other strange non-food ingredients. Some of our current favorites are Fruit Chews by Wholesome or Torie and Howard, Theo's chocolates, and Unreal Candy (find more ideas for less bad candy in this post). Shopping online requires forethought and planning, so often it's whatever Whole Foods is stocking. I don't buy much, because the sticker shock is significant. The candy from the Switch Witch is generally consumed over a few weeks on Sunday evenings - the official dessert night at our house. Or maybe one candy per day for a while.

Even before Halloween my kids often collect vast amounts of candy at church trunk-or-treat and other events. This candy I expect them to hand over to me to hand out on Halloween so that I don't have to purchase candy. Is this all sounding rather Scroogish to you?

And what does the Switch Witch do with all of her candy? This has been a topic of speculation among my children. Years ago my son wrote the Switch Witch an extensive letter asking this and many other questions (including, "Have you ever run into the Tooth Fairy?"). But if *I* happened to have buckets of extra candy, I would save some to fill the Easter eggs for the neighborhood Easter egg hunt (don't worry, that candy has plenty of preservatives), and send the rest to the troops or give to a teacher or other person who regularly gave out candy to save them from buying candy, thus reducing the demand for child slavery and the total amount of candy in the world. It's not a perfect solution. It's just how we do things around here.

How does your family deal with Halloween candy?

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photo credit: Accretion Disc Halloween Candy via photopin (license)


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