When my kids were old enough to go trick or treating, I was really uncomfortable with the amount of candy they came home with. They’d go out with their dad and come back a couple times to unload. That’s a lot of junk food!
When my older daughter was six, after a few days of feeling restrained about eating her haul, she was bugging me to eat more and more and more. I finally told her to eat as much as she wanted. She did. Then she threw up. Tough lesson learned. This is why we dole it out bit by bit.
I couldn’t help but think of my dad every year while my kids were small. He was a dentist, and I imagined he cringed at Halloween time. But as I grew up, I realized my parents were tossing my candy in the trash slowly. It seemed to disappear faster than I was eating it!
Halloween buy-back programs
I recently came across this Halloween Candy Buy Back program that is a win/win for kids, parents and US troops. Dentists register with the program and create an event. Local businesses donate coupons for fun and useful items, events and services, and kids exchange their candy for them. Some dentists will even pay cash and give out balloons, snazzy toothbrushes and other small gifts. Kids are encouraged to make cards to go with the candy.
Thousands of pounds of collected candy are sent to our troops overseas as a treat. How many servicemen and women have access to good ol’ American candy? Think how it would feel to get a care package of sweets! I’m sure that candy would taste really special while it brought back some wonderful childhood memories.
Halloween candy and charitable organizations
There are several organizations that participate, but one is Operation Gratitude. This non-profit’s mission is ‘to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people.’ They do more than just send Halloween candy in November! Throughout the year, they send personally addressed care packages to ‘children left behind… Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors and their Care Givers.’
You can make tax-deductible donations to Operation Gratitude, and you can volunteer. See their site for details.
In addition to candy, they accept other items related to dental hygiene – floss, toothbrushes, mouthwash and lip balm. When you go to a buyback event, feel free to donate these items, too.
Trick, treat, give, eat
I’m sure my dad would have been on board with this if it was around back then! What a great solution to the Halloween candy haul. Kids get to eat a little, parents can worry less about dental issues, troops get treats, and best of all, kids (and probably adults!) learn about giving. I can’t find anything wrong in any of that!