Use leftover Halloween candy to teach moderation

There’s been a lot of talk about the dreaded Halloween candy these past few weeks.

I personally feel all the wailing and gnashing of teeth is a bit much.

I feel the same way about the First Lady’s draconian rule about Halloween candy being confiscated after two measly days. I understand the intent, but feel like her approach just throws the baby out with the bath water.

I’m not saying that we should allow our children to gorge themselves silly on candy. My limit for the boys is 4 or 5 pieces on Halloween evening. And I do have to stay vigilant or my wily oldest would absolutely make himself sick with the stuff.

But I do think there is a “Middle Path” we could take that would serve all of us better in the long run.

By that I mean removing the black or white thinking around candy treats and instead embracing the opportunity to pass on important lessons about moderation. We need to stop our knee-jerk reaction to “protect” our kids from “bad stuff” like candy and instead show them how to exercise restraint.

Candy in and of itself is not bad. Consider the sorting and counting skills required to organize a big pile.

When we were kids, after our trick-or-treating rounds, my siblings and I would all lay splayed on our family room floor with candy loot piled high in front of us. We’d count our pieces carefully, arrange them by color or type, and make trades with one another for candy we liked better (my brother knew I had a thing for Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups and drove a hard bargain: 5 mini Snickers for one cup).

Those are good skills to practice, right?

Okay, so what to do with all of that leftover candy. If you limit each child to a few pieces this evening, that means there will be an awful lot left. And if you don’t throw it out, it’s a temptation that sits there, taunting your waistline…and your kids’ reserve.

Unless of course you have each child put all their candy in a large Ziploc bag with their name on it and put each bag in the freezer before they head up to bed.

Do that, and they can rest their weary heads, satiated, and with the knowledge that they will get one or two small pieces of Halloween Candy in their lunch boxes for dessert until there is no more candy left.

I think freezing the candy and doling it out over weeks and months, two pieces at a time, offers a beautiful lesson in how to live with a temptation without it overcoming us.

What do you think? Am I nuts?

  • emhrn

    I like your thinking. Sure, it would be easier to just get rid of the stuff asap. But that’s not real life. This is an learning opportunity for kids. I’m going to freeze our leftover candy when I get home tonight. Thanks for the idea!

  • SarahButtonedUp

    Excellent! My 7YO was practically giddy when he picked out his 2 pieces from his freezer bag to put in his lunchbox this morning. It’s definitely a fun way to teach delayed gratification.

  • quiltmama

    I don’t freeze it, but we don’t throw it out. We do limit the kids to just 1 or 2 a day and it counts as dessert, so its instead of sweets they might otherwise have eaten, not in addition to. We also make the kids combine their candy. They can each pick 3 pieces that they really want themselves, but everything else goes into a pot together and anyone can pick from it. I think in addition to learning self control/delayed gratification, it’s a great opportunity for them to practice sharing together as a family.

  • Grace

    This is what my mom always did for me and my brother. She didn’t freeze them; she just kept them in the cabinet, and when they started getting gross, she threw them out. We got 1-2 pieces in our lunch (depending on the size), and another 1 or 2 after dinner, but all candy was forfeited if we misbehaved. I’ll be utilizing this system with my kids as it worked really well for me and my brother. Not only does it let the kids have candy in moderation, but it also makes it feel like Halloween lasts longer 🙂

  • SarahButtonedUp

    I like the communal pot idea – that’s a fun twist.

  • SarahButtonedUp