What Should I Do with Leftover Halloween Candy?
Don’t pretend your kids eat all their Halloween candy. I can’t imagine any sane person letting their children have free access to pounds of chocolate bars, lollipops, or candy corn. According to a survey from the National Retail Association, consumers planned to spend $2.5 billion on candy this year. With this in mind, what do you do with your children’s candy the day after Halloween?
Last Monday, my children and I went trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. Surprisingly, my oldest one came with us, which was great fun for all of them. Jasmine was 13 when we moved here, and she has fond memories of Halloween celebrations in Germany.
She made a good point during our house-to-house Halloween trip. She felt that it was an all-out sugar grab with lots of chocolate bars. She remembered loving Halloween in Germany when she would get mandarins or BiFi, a sausage snack that looks like a jerky-salami.
Considering the harvest my children brought in this year, I’d say she is right. Check out the pictures above. Pauline, age 5, collected more than two pounds of candy. I sorted her spoils into chocolate bars, other candy, and other stuff. The pictures speak for themselves.
I have a hate-love relationship to sugar. For years, my scale has told me I should lose weight, and my Body-Mass Index is so bad I won’t let you know it. During this time, I’ve thought that sugar is addictive, and recently I’ve read articles supporting my idea.
Imagine my anxiety before moving to the States. I knew that America has one of the highest obesity rate in the developed world, and I was afraid of gaining weight. I was also afraid that my children would turn into round little persons, rolling down the hills of Maryland instead of walking up them. To be honest, I was already afraid of this when my first child was born in 1999. Today, I know better, but I’m still a strict mother when it comes to candy… and yes, proud that my kids are at normal weights.
This recent Halloween candy orgy gives me the opportunity to talk about sugar in American food. To be clear, I love my life in the US just as much as I loved living in Germany before and as much as I love my native France. But, loving my life here doesn’t mean I have to love everything about the US.
Three years ago, after a few weeks of errands in the States, I wondered how many foods were full of sugar. There is no sugar in bread, pie crusts, or canned food in Germany, and in the US, yoghurt, Nutella, apple sauce, and jams are much sweeter. Even in restaurants, salads are sweetened with fresh fruits or cranberries and raisins.
It seems clear that the overwhelming presence of sugar in American food explains the huge amounts of candy at Halloween.
We reward children at Halloween with candy, and we reward ourselves with a treat after a hard day or a good job. My husband loves to drink a tea with a piece of very dark chocolate when he watches TV on the evening. My grandmother stocked several pounds of sugar (plus oil, flour, and Advil) because she couldn’t forget the deprivation of WWII.
Sugar is part of life in the US as well as in Germany or France.
On the other hand, I think fat hunting also prevails in the United States. I can’t find statistics to support this completely, but believe me when I say that the number of non-fat products is lower in Europe than in the States.
Back to our Halloween candy overload: What should I do with the leftover Halloween candy from Yann and Pauline?
I found an interesting article in The New York Times from October 31. According to the newspaper, “A post-holiday tradition is gaining momentum: candy buybacks and donation campaigns to absorb the huge surpluses.”
Some dentists, afraid of the impact of candies on children’s teeth, have started paying for leftover candies:
“The street value of leftover candy funds is around $1 a pound . . . Toys and prizes are also popular trading currency. At Kool Smiles . . . children can swap 25 pieces of wrapped candy for a stuffed animal, a monster dump truck or another plaything.”
Some families also donate candy to the military:
“Operation Gratitude is one of several support-the-troops organizations that bring military-level logistics to the task of gathering, sorting and redeploying tons of leftover candy. Last year . . . more than 10,000 local volunteers wrangled 760,000 pounds of candy . . . They use it like packing peanuts, tossing handfuls into care packages to cushion the other items . . . The soldiers who receive the packages eat some themselves, but often, it is distributed to local children in the communities where troops are deployed.”
This sounds like a good idea, but I think I’ll stick to my current procedure.
Yann and Pauline will get one candy per day in their lunch box. After a week, they’ll almost have forgotten about Halloween. At this point, I recycle whatever I can. All crap goes into the trash, I’ll eat any remaining Twix, and the rest goes into the candy box. This has worked every year since our first Halloween.
What about you? Where does your leftover Halloween candy go?