by Loralee Leavitt
When Halloween rolls around, so does the candy. If your children get a candy overload, what do you do with it all? Here are some ideas that might save you money and save your children’s teeth at the same time.
Candy lends itself well to science and exploration. Let your children cut the candy apart with table knives to see what’s inside. Dissolve different kinds of candy in water and discover what sinks or floats, or put the candy on a foil-lined cookie sheet and melt it in the oven to see what happens. You can find more experiments at www.candyexperiments.com/.
Candy’s beautiful colors and shapes make it perfect for art projects. Let your children glue it to posterboard or cardboard to make candy mosaics. Use tacky glue or hot glue instead of Elmer’s, and make sure you’re not using sticky candy, because the artwork will get even stickier as it sits out on display. Or save your candy to decorate holiday gingerbread houses (you can make an inexpensive “gingerbread house” by melting sugar and using it to glue graham crackers together.)
If you’re baking holiday cookies, raid the candy stash. Replace chocolate chips with M&M’s or chopped-up chocolate bars. You can also melt chocolate bars to use where melted chocolate is called for, such as in chocolate frosting or chocolate pie. Save the clear, hard candy for stained glass cookies.
With the Halloween Candy Buyback, dentists and orthodontists “buy” children’s candy and send it to support the troops. Check www.halloweencandybuyback.com/ to see if there’s a participating dentist in your area. (If you find one, be sure to call ahead of time to make sure the office is still participating.)
Otherwise, you might offer to buy the candy back yourself. You’ll spare your children’s teeth, and you can pull the candy out again for stuffing stockings or parties.
Collect for Lunches
My mother used to add a piece of Halloween candy to our lunch bags every day, which stretched the candy out for months. If your children don’t brush their teeth at school, avoid sticky candy. Candy like taffy or jelly beans can get stuck in crevices in your children’s teeth, contributing to cavity formation. Chocolate doesn’t stick to teeth, so that might be a better choice for a school lunch.
Local food banks often accept Halloween candy, and you’ll get a tax deduction for your contribution. To teach your children a lesson about nutrition, invite them to help you choose some healthy foods to donate as well.
Don’t let Halloween candy scare you away from Halloween. Whether you turn your candy into experiments, art, holiday cookies, or tax deductions, you’ll never need to worry about excess Halloween candy again!
Loralee Leavitt destroys candy for the sake of science at www.candyexperiments.com/. Her book, Candy Experiments, will be released in January 2013.