When we sneakily dump our child's candy into the trash, we are promoting the "throwaway culture"-literally.
But if I don't throw away my child's Halloween candy, won't I be destined to experience children on sugar overload?
Not necessarily. YOU are the parent. YOU can guide your child to learn how to make choices. YOU can take positive steps to end the "culture of waste" that we live in. And you can do all these things without experiencing a post-Halloween sugar crash or trashing all the candy.
Instead of throwing away Halloween candy, here's what we can do:
2. Teach your child how to ration candy. There is no rule stating that Halloween candy must be consumed within the first week of November. In fact, most candy can last for quite a while. Hershey even states that "Most confectionery products are at their best flavor for one year after manufacture" (this article does note that products with nuts may go rancid after a year, so eat that Snickers bar first!). Teach your child learn how to allot candy so that his or her pile of Halloween candy will last several weeks or months.
3. Help your child send candy to the troops fighting overseas. Teach your child the value of gratitude and "paying it forward" by guiding him or her to choose pieces of candy to donate, and by sending it in. Soldier's Angels and Operation Gratitude are two organizations that will happily receive your leftover Halloween candy and give it to the men and women who are fighting for our country.
Additionally, the "candy season" of Halloween and Christmas is a great time to learn about the ethics involved in the chocolate industry (here's a great post about it). Perhaps we can all start to focus on the "less is more" approach, and instead of stockpiling tons of mainstream candy that was not made ethically, we can give our money to ethical companies-even if this means we have less to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Also, we can hand out fruit (bananas and cutie oranges come to mind-you can even draw faces on them beforehand!) or participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project and hand out non-food items!
Halloween candy doesn't have to create an occasion of overindulgence, and it doesn't need to be an excuse to join the normalized "culture of waste." Your child's Halloween candy can be more than a tasty treat-it can become a teaching tool about moderation, self-mastery, and generosity.