Managing A Child’s Halloween Candy

Halloween is next week. It’s our first one that will involve candy for Roozle. Last year she was convinced that “candy is yuck!” which worked out great. This year, she’s been talking about all the candy she will eat for two weeks.


Besides a strange pineapple allergy, the ethical issues with the chocolate industry, and my aversion to corn syrup, we don’t have any actual reasons to avoid Halloween candy. We aren’t doing a whole lot of trick-or-treating, but Roozle will be coming home with some candy. Certainly more than I like her to eat. So what do we do with it?

My thought was to put together a bag of her favorite snacks and treats and let her trade her candy for it. That way she has some control over what she gets and wants. Or trade a whole bag of candy for a whole bag of treats, but MCB thinks that isn’t fair to Roozle who worked hard to get the candy and will want it. Agreed.

Do you have any ideas on how we can manage Roozle’s Halloween candy?

If you have a child(ren), how have you handled this?

(And yes. I totally thought Halloween is tomorrow and had to edit this post after my neighbor texted to correct me. I need more coffee!)

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  1. Magic Beans does a halloween candy buy back where you get a coupon for the store with the candy you bring in. They end up donating the candy- so it does go to a good cause!

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  2. We usually let the kids have some on Halloween night and then put it out of reach to give out on special occasions or when earned. Gone are the days of gorging oneself on Halloween night like my brother and I used to do. Sadly. I know families who donate their candy or give it away after saving the “good stuff.”

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    • That’s a good idea. Maybe it would be good to give her a piece after school for a few days? Might help encourage her to want to go home! :)

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  3. The past several years I’ve done a variation on the Tooth Fairy. We call it the “good Halloween witch” and the way it works is that each child selects a small pile of candy to keep, and the rest goes in a bag which gets left on the doorstep. The witch takes the candy away overnight and leaves a small toy in its place. The rules are that you can’t only give the witch the candies you don’t like; you must give her at least some of the ones you do like — not usually difficult for my kids because they end up with ENORMOUS piles of candy and I only allow them to keep about 20 pieces. Thereafter, our rule is that they can eat two pieces of candy per day until it’s gone.

    * Note – I cannot take credit for the Nice Witch concept. I read it somewhere online a few years ago and thought it was a great idea, and it has worked out well for us. I honestly didn’t think my son would go for it, since he loves candy so much, but he also loves toys 😉 and I guess even he was able to recognize that the amount of candy he got on Halloween is simply ridiculous.

    This may all be a bit too advanced for Roozle’s age. When my kids were younger, what I did was just the two-pieces-per-day rule and then each evening after they went to bed I would remove a few pieces from their bags, so that it disappeared faster. This only works when they’re too young to notice that the hoard is getting smaller more quickly than it should. 😉 Or, of course, you could be aboveboard, and just say, “this is too much candy for a little Roozle; let’s keep some of it and give some of it away, okay?” She might go for it. 😉

    Some dentists participate in a program whereby they collect Halloween candy and send it to soldiers stationed overseas. You could look into that, if you think Roozle might get into the generous spirit.

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    • That’s a great idea! Now that I realized that Halloween is not in fact tomorrow. I have a little more time to chat with Roozle about it. I like the idea of donating the candy. Thank you!

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  4. Lots of area dentists will by the candy. You can google and check. Then let them buy something with the money.
    Another trick we did is have them separate the candy into indivi sandwich baggies and put in freezer. We’d explain they’d have candy “forever” that way, and then let them take out a bag for their lunches that week.

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  5. We generally let our kiddo choose a particular number of candy pieces to keep around. Often we’ll let him in on negotiating how many pieces, and he’s generally quite reasonable. He can have a few pieces Halloween evening and then choose 1 or 2 a day until it is gone. I like the idea of keeping some as opposed to trading it all out, because then you get to reap the benefits of the trick or treating “work,” so to speak. We have a gluten allergy here, too, so that actually helps narrow down the potential candy that can be kept. For us, this is a straightforward approach that is in line with our general “in moderation” philosophy and being very transparent about things — we don’t eat tons of candy/sugar ever, but sometimes it’s okay to have some, and at certain times, a little more than usual is also fine, but you also need (even as a kiddo) to learn to make choices and be moderate (with parental help!). Personally, I’m not a super huge fan of candy as currency (trading in, donating, holding on to it to later give to the kiddo as a reward), as it sets up a dynamic that I think can be a bit challenging. Good luck figuring out what works for you.

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  6. I let mine eat a few bits for 2-3 days and then they tend to forget about it (I put in a cupboard so out of their sight to remind them) ….then I eat it all!!!!!! They have never bothered to ask about it yet, it’s all in the getting for mine rather than the eating! Works the same or Easter eggs too!!

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  7. Your daughter is about the same age as mine was when she went trick or treating for the first time. At that age, it was more about getting candy than eating it. She liked having it in piles, sorting it by type, building towers with it, etc. I let her keep it in her room in a bucket where the candy from other things (birthday parties, easter, etc.) goes. She has to ask me to eat it, which once in a blue moon she does, but mostly she just plays with it. (She has to ask me to eat anything, so this is no different.)

    I thought about all the programs described above, but I decided that for my kid at least, denying something increases its allure, and sell-back programs also give candy power. So, we’ve just been low key, and she never eats more than a few pieces-total. We’re heading into our fourth trick or treat, and I don’t see any change in our future. Your mileage will vary of course. Because my daughter doesn’t have siblings or nearby cousins or even other kids in the neighborhood with whom she plays regularly, this “oh, candy, it’s no big deal” attitude has worked for us. She hasn’t had any other influences to contradict this. Her pre-school didn’t recognize halloween and her elementary school doesn’t either, so it’s very much a family and neighborhood thing.

    That’s not to say that buy-back programs or donation programs aren’t great. I think it just depends on your kid, what influences they have, and also, to some large extent, I think, their attitudes toward food in general.

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  8. Keep in mind that there were several of us- but my mum used to institute family bowl. We got to eat a couple of pieces on Halloween, and the rest went into a family pot. From which we could have one piece a couple nights a week(?) although after a week we usually forgot about it and would end up with halloween candy till Easter.

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  9. I remember sorting my candy and giving my dad all the stuff I didn’t like or trading it with my siblings. I think we were allowed to eat as much as we wanted on Halloween, but then after that we were only allowed a piece after meals. My mom is also known as feeding us cookies right before bed, so maybe she’s not the one to take advice from. That would also explain why I always sneaked pieces when I wasn’t supposed to! Good luck :)

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