As humans, we have the desire to indulge. As adults it is the wedding feast or dinner party. For children, Halloween is the night. In my house this usually means one hour of straight consumption followed by complaints of a stomach ache. Not pleasant and not something I would want on a regular basis but I think it is yearly reminder that if you eat too much of a good thing, you feel gross and unhealthy.
The follow up can be a bit more challenging because daily unrestricted consumption of candy can lead to poor nutrition, cavities and weight gain. If you feel that your children are not self regulators (many are not when it comes to candy) then you may need to step in. Remember, candies that stays in the mouth for a long time or are very sticky (think lollipops and taffy) are the most likely to cause tooth decay. It is better to have your children eat 3 pieces of candy after dinner and then brush and floss rather than suck on 3 pieces spread throughout the day without cleaning their teeth afterwards.
So, you decide to let your kids go crazy on Halloween and eat what they want and then have a few pieces of candy after dinner on subsequent nights. Quick calculations show you that we will be eating candy well into the new year!! Although it is tempting to have the candy magically “disappear” while they are sleeping, all but the youngest of children will likely be suspicious.
Here are some ideas for the surplus candy…
1. Freeze it. Voila, the pressure to consume is gone and you have a year supply of treats.
2. Bake it. Include it in your next birthday cake recipe. Here are some very decadent ideas.
3. Give it away. Perhaps you could take some into work for those without young children. Many homeless shelters accept wrapped candy to share with their guests.
4. Support our troops. Many dentists participate in a program where they buy the candy from your children and send it to our troops. More info. Or you can donate directly to our troops through www.operationshoebox.com.
5. Save it. Use it for your holiday gingerbread house.
Sharing with others, learning that too much of a good thing can take away the charm and learning to self regulate are all life lessons to share with our children.