Our girls are a little young to be trick-or-treating, but that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about what we’ll do with all that candy once we do! Last year we wrote about our decision to stop giving out sweets and giving out alternitives to candy. We’ve actually been blogging about non-edible Halloween treats for years, which leads me to believe we’re not the only parents figuring out what to do with all that candy.
I was about to write up my own list of organizations that accept Halloween candy and other uses for the candy, but it looks like Kid’s Health has already done it for me. One of the most well known and best organized programs is Operation Gratitude that encourages you to send your kids’ candy to our Troops. Find out how on their website.
While you might be able to get away with just the lesson on giving, and how the sacrifice of our men and women overseas is much greater than the sacrifice of sending them our candy, your kids might miss the post-Halloween celebration of sitting down and stuffing their faces. I like the idea of sitting down with a new book or toy instead.
Books for Candy
This year we’re going to start a new tradition of exchanging candy for a new Halloween book. Then next year, as the holiday approaches, we’ll pull out the themed books and read them in anticipation of a new book to come. I figure we’ll be able to do this for several years until they’re old enough to make their own decisions about candy.
I Want To Eat Your Books
I Want to Eat Your Books by Karin Lefranc and Tyler Parker is about a new kid in school that likes books the way most kids like chicken nuggets: he wants to eat them! This book-munching zombie isn’t too scary, and in the end he decides that reading books is even more fun than eating them.
The story is written in rhyming verses that are fun to recite, and the illustrations are bold and just a little abstract. It’s engaging enough to be enjoyed for several years, and at different ages. I’m sure some of the references, to Frankenstein and different book genres, went right over my daughter’s head, but she liked it all the same. And in a few years, she’ll be able to enjoy it on a whole new level.
Ava the Monster Slayer
Another fun book choice for Halloween is Ava the Monster Slayer, by Lisa Maggiore and Ross Felten. Unassuming Ava isn’t just a cute little girl: she’s a determined warrior who slays monsters to save her dear Piggy.
The story is a classic tale about overcoming a fear monsters under the bed and in the basement. It’s a unique take, since Ava not only wields a sword but wears a sparkly princess crown, but it’s the illustrations that really make this book special. Done in a graphic novel style, it’s full of shadows and movement that add to the overall urgency of rescuing Piggy from the basement. It might be a little dark for some kids, but it’s visually exciting.
My toddler and I enjoyed reading this together, but it would be an even better choice for an older child.
Wearables for Candy
What kid doesn’t like glow necklaces? They’re colorful and fun to wear, and keep you visible while trick-or-treating! Glow bracelets and sticks are also a good choice, and you can buy in bulk and give them out instead of candy.
Glow-in-the-Dark Teething Necklace
If you like the idea of glow necklaces but want something reusable, how about a glow-in-the dark pendant? We’ve found Smart Mom silicon teething jewelry to be invaluable, and were excited to see that they’ve come out with a glow-in-the dark pendant just in time for Halloween!
It your child is past teething age, it’s still a fun necklace that they can wear out trick-or-treating every year.
When all else fails, you could always buy back the candy yourself. Depending on the age of your child, and how much candy they get, you could offer a dime or nickle a piece. After sending the candy off to the troops, they can use the money to buy something of their choice!