Avoiding a Halloween Sugar Nightmare AND Keeping It Fun!


I love Halloween. I love the festive feeling of walking with my kids in the crisp fall darkness, Jack o’ lanterns lighting up front steps, and small gangs of parents and kids roaming the neighborhood in search of candy plunder.
 It is such great time for fun and community.

But the Sweets…

What I don’t love is the amount of candy.

I mean, I like candy. As a kid, beyond my princess costume obsession, candy was the singular thing that made Halloween the most  fun.

My kids come back with buckets of candy – and not just from trick or treating.  They get at ton from school and other activities, too. Halloween seems to kick off a season of abundant foodstuffs with Thanksgiving and Christmas not far behind. The sheer volume overwhelms me. Now that I am a mom, and my tribe is a little sugar sensitive, it gives me a smallish Halloween nightmare.

Tricks for Treats

So over the years, I have come up with a Halloween game plan to keep the fun in Halloween while trying to avoid the sugar crash of the century. Here it is:

  • We eat dinner before trick or treating. It might be a take and bake pizza that looks like a Jack o’ lantern or hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll dough to look like mummies, but we eat something that is filling and fun.
  • I mix our “handing out” trick or treat bowl with a combination of some candy and some “snack” treats like little packages of Halloween cheese puffs or pretzels, which cuts down on our own candy leftovers.
  • After they come back from trick or treating, I have hot apple cider and a big bowl of popcorn sitting out for them to enjoy while counting their new candy stash. Hopefully, they fill up with “healthy stuff” first.
  • Candy eating on Halloween night is unlimited. They are allowed to eat as much as they want for that evening. That makes the following task easier.

The Day After Halloween

The next day, we sort the candy into two piles – one “to keep” and one “to sell or donate.”

I limit their “keep” stash by giving them each a quart sized Ziploc bag.

Several dentists in our area buy candy to give to the troops. When my kids were younger, they thought it was super cool to get a few dollars. Now that their math skills have improved, we talk about it as more of a donation than an income stream! I give them an option of donating to a homeless shelter or retirement community, too.

But the bottom line is we do not need 4 pounds of candy in the house! The sweetness of sharing their candy balances the sorrow of parting with some of it.

Happy Halloween! Please share your best tips too.