Top 10 Things to Do When You (or Your Kids) Have Too Much Halloween Candy

Halloween party with children wearing fancy costumes


10. Set a daily limit. (An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.) Allow X number of pieces of candy per day, then put the bag away, under lock and key.

9. Parental help (good for the child, not so good for the parent). In my childhood, though it was not apparent at the time, Dad was helping by eating some of the candy. Many Promega parents engage in this practice with their children now.

8. Burn more energy. Go for a run or walk or outside to play. For every X pieces of candy, a walk or bike ride around the block.

7. Burn still more energy. Make use of the basement stairs. For every X pieces of candy, 3 trips up and down the stairs.

6. Start healthy. Eat a piece of fruit,  say, half of an apple, before every X pieces of candy.

5. Distraction. What’s worse, a kid on sugar, or a kid glued to the TV? Perhaps TV or DVD is the lesser of two evils. Which brings to mind #4.

4. Bargains. Choices are a parent’s friend, so provide an alternative to the candy, preferably one that can’t be denied. My mom used to keep a stash of new books, crayons and toys that she only dragged out when a particularly strong incentive was needed. Can you distract your child from the candy dish with a new page of Tinkerbell stickers?

3. Timing. If I recall correctly, one of the times we were allowed to dip into the candy bag was after dinner, schoolwork and a bath, that is, close to bed time. Though it may seem counter intuitive, having a big helping of sugar can make one sleepy. But don’t forget to brush those teeth!

2. Charity. “Donate” the candy to poor children, the ones in Biafra, or what ever country you choose to make up. The candy can be saved and put into a box to ship to those kids. You can offer to mail the box on your way to work or grocery shopping. The box conveniently disappears. This may not work with older kids, who report it to their friends’ parents, who then announce that the country in question does not exist. (Hmmm, may be shipping to troops overseas would work. Seriously.)

1. Share. The best thing to do, and what happens here at Promega, is to sneak the candy off to work with you. We can hardly wait for the Monday after Halloween!

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  1. We just sit down and eat it all at once. We all get cranky, a headache, and wired. Then we run around and fight for an hour, and have a huge sugar crash and go to bed. It takes care of the whole issue in about 2 hours, then there’s no bickering or conflict about it for days afterward. When you have 4 male children as close in age as ours are (3 of them in 3 years, then 1 a bit later), you do whatever you can to get it over with as quickly as possible.

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed, by the way.

  2. Good suggestions, all. And, from the perspective of someone whose kids are long gone, I’ve tried this Halloween to come up with some non-candy treats, like glow-in-the-dark bracelets and little finger puppets. Hopefully, the younger kids will prefer those over candy.

  3. My children were overloaded with candy every Halloween they went trick-or-treating and I mean OVERLOADED!!! They’re older now and no longer participate in begging for candy but when they did, the candy would mysteriously disappear after a day or two — courtesy of their father who would take it all to work to share with all the sugar junkies there! :-)

  4. I’d add a caution for number 3. Sugar hits different kids differently, so you might want to try that one on a weekend. You might have one child crashing hard and another crashing off the walls and ceiling.

  5. Just last night, we had the “Great Halloween Purge…from 2009!” My kids love candy, but given the sheer amount they receive in one night on one holiday in one month, they have desserts to last many nights spanning many weeks and many months!

    Great advice…

  6. As far as mailing to troops I’d say check on that–certainly can do it but the hard candies I believe are preferred. Chocolate may not hold up well in shipment (think heat) and consider that softer candy may attract insects and critters more so than harder candy.
    Oh, and make sure you follow the #1 rule of Halloween–Dad gets all the peanut butter cups! Think of it as a cost of doing business…

  7. This year as I was shopping for candy, now 23 years old, I bought one bag of chocolate for myself, and then I thought about the cavities I’ve gotten over the years. I absolutely would have bought tons of those little travel-sized toothpastes if they weren’t so expensive (at least $1 a piece), and parents would probably think they were suspect. I’ve also thought about giving animal crackers or pretzels – not as exciting as candy, but SLIGHTLY healthier.

  8. My kids always took care of this themselves by inevitably leaving their stash within reach of our massive dog. This dramatically limited the sugar rushes. The dog always survived.

  9. Despite the fact that I have never really lived in kid-filled areas, I always buy a load of Halloween candy when I know I’ll be home to give it out. Not my fault if the kids don’t come to collect… ;)

  10. Why not just let the kids have it? My parents never regulated my Hallowe’en candy. I got a boat load of candy every year and would be on a sugar high for a couple weeks. Hallowe’en did not doom me to obesity or completely rotted teeth.

    Just make sure the kids are brushing their teeth well and let them enjoy. A once a year pig out on candy is not going to hurt them. If they’re getting it all year round, it’s a different story.

  11. Some great comments here, thanks!
    Dennis, like your idea of storing candy in the freezer. During my stint at WeightWatchers, they suggested that if one had to have candy bars at home, perhaps to suit a spouse not going to WW, to put the candy bars in the freezer. At the next session a woman noted that candy bars were quite good when frozen ; )

  12. I nosh on a few candies every day, and then give all the candies I don’t like away. Haha–one year I had so much candy it lasted until the NEXT Halloween!

  13. You know, N4 is exactly what my mother does when I go trick or treating. She sometimes gives me a choice between my books or the candy. I always fall for it and go for the books, because I’m a total readaholic!

  14. We organized a collection of used glasses for the Lions’ Club — the kids still get candy, but they focus on collecting the glasses for people who can’t afford them. I traded the glasses for a small gift card at Target, choosing a toy turned out way more fun than the candy…

    One year — probably when our kidneys were mature enough — my mom just let us eat whatever we wanted, and of course we all made ourselves sick to the point of nausea and stomachaches. We never did that again. To this day, none of us eats much candy. Clever woman, my mom.

  15. If there is soft chocolate or caramel-type candy that no one is particulary crazy about (like cheap chocolate with crispies in it), pull it out, chop it up and use it later as an ingredient in brownies or cookies.

  16. Great suggestions. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    As a kid, and now as a parent, we really strive to “share” in the candy as a family. It stays up in the cupboard and we all can take part in enjoying it. That way the kids don’t have it all, and it teaches them sharing with something that’s very near and dear to their heart (or stomach).


  17. Some great ideas, but 6. is WRONG. A piece of fruit, which is full of fruit sugar does not help.

    A better alternative is to give the kids some protein (ie nuts, egg) when or immediately after the candy which will slow the sugar’s flow into the system and lessen the rush.

  18. I remember the days when I would have pillowcase upon pillowcases of sweet candy goodness. But it always disappeared after a few short days.

    My advice to all the children out there…

    Eat all the candy you can before your adult teeth grow.

    With humor aside, I enjoyed reading your solutions. Great advice for anyone.

  19. well, you could be covert about helping your kids go through the candy. but rather than eat it, just toss it out. win for the kid, win for the parent.

  20. Y’know… sometimes it is good to let them eat too much…lol… (but only once!!!) as they suffer the consequences, maybe and hopefully they will also learn a lesson!

  21. Re: # 2

    If you live in New York :

    In an effort to save children’s tooth enamel, Elmhurst dentist Dr. Payam Kashani is offering to buy back Halloween candy at his 43rd Avenue office.

    He said he’ll send the candy to soldiers overseas.

    He said he’s no Halloween Grinch. “We’re not taking all of their candy, just their excess candy,” he said. “There’s only so much you can eat.”

    He’s offering $1 per pound.”–dentist-gives-cash-for-candy

  22. For number 2, great idea, but why does a country need to be invented? Why not use a real country that needs help from the rest of the world as an example for the kids, teach them early about how everyone is not as fortunate as they are.

  23. We are a military family and it’s pretty common for military-area schools to gather candy 3 or 4 days after Halloween to send to the troops. At one private preschool/gradeschool my kids attended in Hawaii, we usually had a pile of candy knee high in the principal’s office.

  24. I say throw it out or send it to work with Dad! Too much is too much! Thanks for your advice! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. I was lucky, I let my kids have as much as they wanted for a few days, then they were done. They were never that crazy with candy.

  25. There is one kid on our block and my girlfriend and I were thinking about hooking him up big time. But, now I’m thinking we should give his parents the candy or just rationing it out to him over the next couple of weeks.

  26. I’m pretty sure that when I was little I only pawned off the candy that I DIDN’T like to my parents. And then ate the rest of the candy within the same week. No wonder I’m such a sweets addict now that I’m in my 20s. :/

  27. First, congratulations on Freshly Pressed!

    Second, I think there’s a huge logical problem in your approach. The issue at hand is too much candy consumption and inevitable health consequences. Thus, rather than regulate, hide “under lock and key,” compensate with fruit, and try to exercise it off…Don’t have the candy in the home to begin with. That’s the obvious solution to the problem. It doesn’t make sense to bring the problem home then deal with it. Just don’t bring it home.

    If trick or treating is the joy, then donate most of the candy afterward or simply knock on every 5th house. I really don’t understand the concept of bringing a ton of candy home and trying to remedy the problem of too much.

    Also, I really don’t understand the whole Halloween candy craze. Cheap candy is available in abundance all year round, so why go nuts, stock pile, and pig out on it once a year? There is nothing special about this stuff. It’s cheap and ubiquitous in our country.

    I wish we could go back to the trusting days of homemade caramel apples and popcorn balls, when neighbors offered true treats, things that were specially made once a year…

  28. Congratulations on fressly pressed..!!
    In India, we don’t celebrate Halloween. But I would love too, someday. Anyway, there is something about chocolates that turns everyone into kids. Your suggestions are good. But adults too need to manage their urge..!!!

  29. I don’t think kids will like this post. they will probably start their own, how to not let adults not let us have too much candy.

  30. Why not lighten up and let the kids just eat the damn candy? Sheesh…nothing like bribery, threats and sneakiness from the adults in your life to make Halloween suck.

  31. Thing is, I have adult teeth now and can’t get away with hogging on candy all year ’round. Thank you, Halloween!

  32. Excellent ideas! My kids had their Halloween parties at school yesterday and came home with large amounts of candy. We already have a huge stash and aren’t even to trick or treating yet!

    I agree with the commentor above that Halloween is a great time to lighten up a bit (I actually just blogged on that!) BUT there’s lightening up and there’s sugar-induced insanity.

    I love your tips and will be using some of them. (Particularly since my kids woke up asking for candy before breakfast this AM).

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed! Quite a ride, isn’t it?


  33. I like these ideas that is what I have done since I was a kid is share that way I don’t get sick…Well unless I wanted to miss school then I might have eaten a lot of it.

  34. Things to do once all the above advice has been ignored:

    – Quickly jog down the suburb streets in a body, doing some way-too-early ‘express’ caroling.

    – Have a water fight in the backyard at midnight; shivering helps burn off those extra calories.

    – Get in some sugar-rush housecleaning; it’s fun to see the results of said labors the next morning.

    – Make a night run to the grocery store, giving each family member a short list. “Lookit Mom! I found a mop!” *bounce* *bounce*

    – Randomly pick a recipe from a random cookbook and take it over to the neighbors. “Hey, Bouillabaisse… at midnight… thanks.”

    – Make all your important decisions for the week while dancing the conga around the living room. Tip: write them down for some laughs the following day.

  35. Fantastic ideas. Unfortunately after Halloween I see the awesome candy on sale. I like shipping the candy over to the troops. But they can’t accept chocolate because it melts. Oh, what a coinkydink, I love chocolate. They can have the candy corn and laffy taffy. :)

  36. Oh, here’s another one! Give candy to the homeless. At least the ones around my apartment love the idea. They’ve cleaned me out of my Cookies N Cream and Laffy Taffys. Sigh.

  37. Lot’s of Halloween candy = Brush your teeth and floss.
    Store some in the cupboard for lunchtime/recess snacks.
    And don’t forget to inspect the candy before they eat it.
    Happy Halloween:)

  38. These are truly great pieces of advice. #6 is smart. #2 is ingenious! I’m going to have to try that one, but I’ll have to be clever about it since my oldest is 8 yrs! Thanks again for the post! :)

  39. Good ideas. My parents used to buy ours off of us (for really cheap, 5 cents a piece or something depending on how much we had) and my dad would take into work. Worked pretty well. Gave us incentive to get rid of it and the more we ‘sold’, the more money we got.

  40. I never got enough Halloween candy as I’m allergic to soy and can’t have chocolate because it all contains soya lecithin. Though, I recently did find out here in Oz, that Cadbury UK carry some chocolates that ARE soy free. They use Ammonium Phosphatides E442 in place of Soya Lecithin E322 in many varieties of their MILK CHOCOLATE! YAY!!! (I’ve ordered some and am waiting for them, hopefully they arrive not long after halloween!)

  41. I’m a teacher, so I typically pass the candy off on my students the next day. Yes, I know…I’m just giving it to other people’s children instead of my own.

    Oh well…works for me! ;)

  42. Press fressly .Good luck!
    In India, we do not celebrate Halloween. But I would sometimes like. But there is something about chocolate that makes all children. Your suggestions are good. But adults also manage a hard ..!!!

  43. Can you really have to much candy? lol- I think so!
    Great tips and post! Happy Halloween

  44. our little guy has yet to figure out there is actual sugary goodness in them there wrappers…we let him pretend they are race cars, choo choo trains, tiny geckos or whatever strikes his fancy!

  45. thanks for the article. My fiance ate the entire box of trick or treater halloween candy this year.. yesterday. Growl. I will use your words with him. thanks

  46. Lot’s of Halloween candy = Brush your teeth and floss.
    Store some in the cupboard for lunchtime/recess snacks.
    And don’t forget to inspect the candy before they eat it.
    Happy Halloween:)

  47. Just don’t participate in trick-or-treating. Problem solved. Candy is junk, it’s not food. If I had kids, I’d just buy them some high-quality chocolate, and that would be the extent of their Halloween candy.

  48. These are great choices. I really liked the idea about working out before you eat your candy. I really never thought about getting a good work out in before consuming such wonderful treats. As a kid growing up, I can remember after my sister and I were done collecting candy from the neighborhood, my parents would always check the bag. Now im not saying that this is a bad thing but as a kid you have zero patience and having your parents overlook each piece of candy seemed like it would take forever. The candy had no time to be set down after being check before I consumed it.

  49. I’ve heard you can actually donate the candy without having to make up a fictional country. Senior citizens’ centers or nursing homes would probably be happy to put something out, both for their residents and their guests.

  50. I remember when we were younger, our mom would not make Halloween candy a big deal. She told us to have x pieces after dinner as dessert, and that was it for the day. Maybe 1 piece in our lunch. I’m sure she “helped” us a bit, too. After a week or two, the candy was gone. It was a good approach because it was a combination of not making the candy a “forbidden fruit” (i.e., not making your kids want it even more than they already do) but on the other hand making us aware that it was a special treat and should only be enjoyed in moderation/at certain times of day (i.e., dessert time). It was certainly not something we had year round…my parents avoided buying candy except on special occasions! 2 weeks of Halloween candy probably won’t kill your kids and might be a good way to teach them how to enjoy occasional treats in an appropriate way.

  51. Loved your list. When my kids were small enough that I had to check out the candy before they ate it, I’d ration half the chocolate out, put it in zip lock bags, and throw it in the freezer. Then when they were looking for a snack in a few ekes (or maybe it was me), it would be a welcome surprise.

    Congrats on being FP.

  52. I would recommend being up front and honest with the kids. Don’t know how lying to them will produce anything but distrust.

    We freeze the chocolate and eat one a day. It lasts for a while and the kids know that this is the boundary…..

    Now if I can just gain some self control of my own I will be much better off!!!

  53. Nice ideas, but don’t the dentists say that “a little bit each day until it goes away” is the WORST thing for the teeth of children? We try to take some to work and slowly disappear the rest, but this way the parents end up beginning our annual yearend weight surge.

  54. Something made me sad this morning, but this brilliant article simply washed it away, thanks a lot to the writer for such an entertaining (yet applicable) suggestions ^^
    (Lots of laugh ^^)

  55. Thanks for your post–gives us all something to think about.

    I am all about healthy eating, but c’mon…its Halloween!! Let the kids get sick on the stuff. Hugging the bowl is part of the fun!

    It may even help them turn off candy later in life…. to this day I can’t even look at those jumbo orange peanut marshmallow candies without gagging.

  56. Great ideas based on mutual respect.

    Don’t fret too much about it, either. The natural consequence of feeling BAD after too much candy will kick in and they’ll get sick of it.

    There are bigger things to worry about in parenting.

  57. Today I had a couple of kids in my class tell me how excited they were about getting to eat some more of their Halloween candy this afternoon/tonight so by spacing it out they seem to get much more enjoyment out of it?

    Also I remember a Easter (we didn’t celebrate Halloween in NZ when I was young) when my Grandparents went a little over board on Easter eggs and I got very very sick on chocolate after trying to eat it all, was not fun lying in bed while the rest of my extended family enjoyed themselves. Though I have never eaten quite that much in one go again I still have a rather bad sweet tooth so I don’t think it really taught me a lesson.

    Space it out, brush teeth and let them run it off as much as possible.

  58. For the record (and since you asked), we HAVE been sharing leftover candy here at work. We’ve had a new batch each day for the past 3. (And honestly, I’ve been hoarding and stashing a little bit of it…yum!)

  59. Seem to be great ideas here to deal with part of the problem, but I’m confused. I don’t live in the USA and trick or treat is catching on over here, but I don’t get it. First you teach your kids to demand candy with menaces, then they go and beg for too much and make themselves sick. When do you teach them to be responsible members of society?

  60. We made 3 bins: 1) Chocolate we know/love 2) Sour/Sweet (aka won’t melt) 3) For the troops. Luckily, they collect for troops at school, so we double bagged all of the potential allergens and oddities (Bit of Honey, Whoppers, etc.) and had a visual break up.

    1) went to freezer
    2) went in a bag in the cookie jar to be acquired with permission
    3) flown off to Myunclestan or where the box goes. We live near DC, so if it ends up in the Pentagon break room, I’m fine.

  61. When I was a young trick-or-treater, my parents would take the bulk of the candy to work with them, and leave a big mixing bowl of it at home. My obese stepmom would steal all the “good stuff” (read: chocolate) from my loot. Then my brother and I were only allowed 1 piece a day. I noticed the candy disappearing pretty fast, and realized it had to be her (and my dad, and other adult family members) who were eating all the damn candy. I sound a bit resentful, but in all honesty I’m really glad because while my stepmom kept herself fat, she helped me stay healthy.

    Good tips. My husband and I practice a lot of the tips you posted (we have two kids, 4 and 2). One thing you didn’t mention was using an opaque bowl, and putting it up so high that even the parent has to use a step-stool/ladder. Out of sight, out of mind… for all of us. =)

    Congrats on the Fresh Press.

  62. Oh, this was a serious post? Yes… give aways are great.

    I was kind of thinking like a David Letterman top 10 list:

    10. Find some stoners with a major case of the munchies
    9. Toss some out a window to see if they bounce
    8. Offer to some *girl* at work that you wish would get fat
    7. Exchange with Charlie Sheen for cocaine
    6. Bulk mail to Ethiopia
    5. Freeze for next Halloween (too serious?)
    4. Save receipts for purchased candy and return begged candy
    3. Throw at the noisy dog next door
    2. Feed a bunch to kids you’re babysitting, just before their parents pick them up
    1. Send to Nancy Pelosi to console her for the harsh election

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