Your guide to parenting in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts

My kids love getting dressed up in costume, roaming the neighborhood with friends to trick-or-treat, sampling candy along the way then home to watch The Great Pumpkin and count/categorize/trade their candy loot. Then it’s only a matter of days after Halloween that my children start to forget about their candy choosing ice cream or cookies for their desert choice.

So what do we do with all the candy collected? Over the year’s we have gathered numerous ideas from other parent’s on how they handle the candy overload.

Set candy limits. Limit kids to a set amount–maybe two pieces of candy per day. Some kids will get tired of it or forget they have any left.

Trade in candy for another purpose. Set up a value or point system for candy and have kids trade in candy for other activity or special event. Some kids play "Switch Witch" (also known as the Halloween Fairy) where kids "feed" an ailing Halloween fairy a good portion of their candy in the evening, and get a gift in exchange for it by morn.

Chart it. Kids can chart collected candy by kind and color. My son first drew lines on a plain sheet of paper, sorted and counted his loot, wrote the names of candy on his chart along with how many he had of each kind. He also rated them with stars to indicate his favorites. This made for a great activity and a mini-math lesson.

Save for later use. Set aside some candy to decorate holiday gingerbread house.

Donate it. Some teachers, churches or daycare centers collect the unwanted candy to send it to military contacts overseas and the soldiers then distribute it to the children in the area that they are stationed in! Check out Operation Gratitude and if you do donate to them this year, consider also including personal letters for the troops and a check to help them cover postage. According to their site, those are the things they'd really like the Great Pumpkin to leave them in the pumpkin patch this year.

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