Turn Piles of Halloween Candy into a Treat for Deployed Soldiers

Family Matters on 10.31.11
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Photo: Katie Morton

Halloween was my favorite holiday growing up. I loved getting dressed up, and I loved the thrill of roaming the neighborhood in the dark. And we can't forget about the candy. Oooh, the candy. (And those unfortunate bellyaches caused by eating too much sugar.)

I have a vague recollection of my mom freezing the extra candy, but I guess I wasn't too interested in it very long after Halloween was over. But what if your kids really want to eat all of that candy? What if your kids fight you and yell and scream over wanting to eat all of it?

The Halloween Candy Battle

Liza loves witnessing the excitement of her young children on Halloween. As much as she enjoys their enthusiasm, Halloween causes her to feel guilt and anxiety. Like many of us, Liza has concerns about teaching her kids good lessons regarding healthy eating in the face of all that candy. She's also worried about candy's effects on her kids' tooth enamel.

Last year, Liza's solution was to let her kids eat all the candy they wanted on Halloween night while they were out trick or treating. They got those sugar-bellyaches, and then the next day, her kids were officially over the Halloween candy. But as this Halloween rolls around, she finds that old anxiety creeping in anyway.

How to Take Candy Away Without a Fight

If even after gorging themselves on Halloween night your kids still want their candy, how do you peacefully handle the situation? With bribery! (You didn't think this was going to be painless, did you? It's CANDY.)

Ask your child what they'd like to have in exchange for her candy. A toy. A goldfish. A trip to the movies or the zoo. A day of fun alone with mom or dad. All of the above?

I've heard of the "Halloween Fairy" which is a nice new tradition to start if you have small kids. On Halloween night before they go to bed, you tell the kids to leave their Halloween candy out in one spot. The next morning when they wake up, the candy will be gone and in its place, a gift will be left for them by the Halloween Fairy.

Okay great. The kids gave up the candy without a big freak out. So what do you do with all of that leftover Halloween candy?

Brighten a Soldier's Day

Find a local dentist who's participating in Operation Gratitude's Halloween Candy Buy Back. Operation Gratitude ships your leftover Halloween candy to soldiers who are deployed overseas in harm's way.

This is a great way to teach your kids about sacrifice, and about sharing our bounty and blessings with those who need a pick-me-up. Making others feel happy makes us happy, when we focus on the warm and happy feelings we can bring to others.

In exchange for your leftover Halloween candy, dentists participating in the Halloween Candy Buy Back will "buy" back your kids' Halloween candy at a scheduled event in exchange for coupons, gifts and entries into a drawing for special prizes.

If you can't find a participating dentist near you (or you want to keep up the mystique of the Halloween Fairy), you can ship your candy directly to Operation Gratitude.

Please separate chocolate from non-chocolate candy and send in separate cartons, labeled accordingly. They accept donations from October 1 to December 5, and their address is:

Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
ATTN: Rich Hernandez
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, California 91406

Phone: 262-OPGRAT-1

Happy Halloween!

Katie Morton is the founder of The Monarch Company. Get a FREE copy of her eBook, 10 Steps to a Blissful You, to get started on developing extraordinary willpower for life.

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