We all remember how much fun it was to go trick-or-treating, and how enjoyable the candy was to eat in the following weeks (or days) thereafter. But given what we know now about the dangers of the trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, additives, GMOs, MSG, aspartame and other chemicals in the candy we used to love, parents can’t help but be concerned about the sheer amount of what their kids might eat following Halloween night. Here are some ideas to try to limit their intake without being heartless:
1. Exchange It for Toys and Games: Offer to trade a certain amount of candy for a certain amount of toys or games. Every kid has a toy or video game, or multiple ones, he or she wants “more than anything.” You can use that to your advantage.
2. Exchange it for Organic Candy: Offer to exchange their candy for organic, or at least not as chemically- and GMO-laced candy. You might have to spice it up by offering a greater amount of organic candy by weight, but they can have the option of choosing the types of candy and chocolate they like most.
3. Exchange it for Extra Privileges: You might have some rules, like no television after a certain time, or a set household chores to do, that you can offer to bend or break in exchange for an agreed upon amount of candy.
4. Exchange it for Money: A bit crass, but if it’s worth it to you, and nothing else works, it’s worth a shot.
5. Ask Them What They Want In Exchange: The most direct, and possibly best approach.
Most kids old enough to trick-or-treat are smart enough to understand an honest, reasoned discussion about the harms of the typical candy they’d receive on Halloween night. If you can explain to them step-by-step the harms of conventional candy ingredients, you might get a little more willingness on their part to trade some, or ideally (though perhaps not realistically) all, of their Halloween sweets for one or some of the above alternatives. Just make sure to be as fair as possible and allow them to have control over the potential exchange, or you might have to deal with a lot of this: “Jimmy Kimmel: I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy.”