Reducing Halloween Sugar for Kids

Ahhh Halloween. Candy candy candy! It surpasses Christmas and Thanksgiving combined in empty calories being passed around. At least the pies and cookies over the holidays have some nutritional value, but the candy over Halloween has replaced the rice crispies and candy apples of yesteryear.

Speaking of Yesteryear, the whole don’t-trust-your-neighbor-because-they’re-psychopathic-needle-hiding-maniacs just got way out of hand in the 1980’s despite the fact that any such incident was never reported. As a result, candy took over the more natural harvest foods of Halloween – cookies, cakes and candy apples wrapped in colorful cellophane and handed out by loving hands throughout the neighborhood.

Parents across the nation cringe with every chomp of a Jolly Rancher, every sticky chew of Laffy Taffy and, though they may appreciate the toothbrushes and floss that were handed out by the dentist down the block, it doesn’t tone down the sugar induced hyperactive blast or the moody downhill slide that happens soon after.

Last year I tried something out that was incredibly successful in reducing the sugar intake to a minimum while pleasing my kids. I bought a ton of little trinkets and toys and separated them into two piles – little toys and better toys – and a cashbox full of dollar bills, quarters, dimes and pennies.

Then I wrote up a chart and opened shop. The kids traded in their candy voluntarily. If they wanted to keep the candy, that was fine, but bigger and better prizes awaited those who traded, and I made the points diminish slightly percentage-wise to encourage higher trades. For example, 2 points would get you a penny while 45 (instead of 50) got you a quarter. The candy-to-point chart was also designed with the children’s allergies in mind to offset how bummed they get when someone hands them a wheat product. Suddenly, that bag of pretzels is a coveted treat because it’s worth a quarter!

Let me know if you find the idea (and the chart) useful. Thanks!

Trading in Candy

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