We Buy Our Kids' Halloween Candy

The build up to Halloween, the costumes, decorations, and anticipation by little kids, is half the fun of the holiday.  However, Halloween trick-or-treating is the real activity that peaks the celebration.  Looking at all our kids' candy, we cringe at all our efforts to be healthy being tossed away in a single neighborhood sweep.  

That being said, we also give out candy, it's what you do.  Sure I could hand out bouncy balls or boxes of raisins, but that would cost so much more money that I'd rather spend on my own family.  

So we compromise. 

We left the bowl of candy on our doorstep and went together for family trick-or-treating.  The kids had a blast (thank you to those neighbors who decorated the outside of their houses!).  As we are trick-or-treating, the kids might eat one or two pieces of candy.

When we get home, they already know the drill.  

Pick any 5 pieces of candy, whatever size you want, and the rest we buy from you.  

Last year we gave a price per piece of candy.  To make it even, and to cut out the work for us (but would work really well once the kids are a little older), we gave an overhead price for the lot.  We told the kids we could go pick out a toy, book, or craft that they wanted at the store for $10-15.  

Maybe this is trading one problem for another, but I still like it.  The kids do have candy and really enjoy it.  They totally feel like they are a part of the holiday and don't feel like they are getting ripped off by us buying their candy.  But then they aren't begging for candy, there's no tummy aches, and there's a bonus of some entertainment with something new to do or play with.  Then we can move back into the routine of apples and peanut butter for a snack, rather than sweet tarts.

I've heard of someone doing a point system for candy as well, with different prizes worth different point amounts.  Sounds like a great idea.

Does anyone else do something creative with curbing the candy?  (Hiding the chocolate in your own stash is not the correct answer.)  :)


  1. cool idea! I cringe at the sugar overload and all the nasty ingredients, so to even it out, I let him eat whatever while at the trunk or treat, then once home, I swapped his crappy candy out for some really yummy 'real' candy, and SO much less-- 7 pieces? And since I hate the arguing til it's gone, I just let him eat the rest Sunday morning (after the church party). We didn't even go out Wednesday (and got a total of 2 trick or treaters-- ahhh, the bliss of apartment living), and watched a movie at home instead, since we deprive him of most the movies other kids watch. So, hello Robin Hood and a big bowl of popcorn. He'd never watched a full length cartoon, and had a blast.

  2. A couple years ago we started the "great pumpkin" tradition. After trick-or-treating we let them pick out a couple pieces of candy then they put all the rest into one of the carved pumpkins. We wait like a half an hour then they go check it out and surprise,surprise there is a movie! Then we turn off the lights and go watch a movie together. They love it. I love it because we can avoid the sugar highs and lows. Given a choice Anna might prefer the money,these days she likes a heavy purse.

  3. Ooh, cool idea Aprille!

  4. Jess, Robin Hood is such a good movie! I can't remember when my kids watched that last, we should see that one again. And "deprive," no. Everyone has their thing and you shouldn't feel like you are leaving him out of anything. You're allowed to parent how you see best fit. :)

    Aprille, that is such a fun idea! I don't know if that will work for us since our little bodies have good memory now of traditions, but maybe someone will be inspired by reading! I love the "heavy purse" comment, totally made me laugh!!

  5. What great ideas! We do something similar as well. Once we return home from the candy scouting, the kids pick out 10 pieces of candy, then leave out the rest for the Switch Witch. She visits our home Halloween night while the kids are asleep and switches out the candy for a surprise (in the $10-15 range as well). The kids can't wait to see what she has left and I never hear about the candy. And since the kids get one tiny treat after lunch, it then goes into our "tiny treat" supply for the next couple months. It works great for my family :)

  6. Love these ideas! Totally remembering them for next year. I was less than satisfied with this past Halloween. WAY too much sugar!


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