Q: Halloween is coming up and I don’t want my kids to overeat. How can I get them to eat less candy?
A: Halloween is an awesome time in a child’s life because it allows kids to live in an imaginary world. First, I would allow your children to get as much candy as the evening permits. Allow them to visit all the homes on your list. Once you get home, lay out all of the candy on the kitchen table. It is important that you have a chance to inspect their containers for safety reasons by looking for open products or anything that is out of date. Allow your children to have a few pieces of candy. Then you can have them choose a piece or two (depending on size) to have for dessert after dinner each night that week. After you have thinned the mass, I would put the remainder of the candy away.
Halloween is also a great opportunity to teach your kids about giving. Consider donating leftover candy to a charitable organization such as a local food bank, nursing home or women’s shelter. This will turn the extra candy into a service project to teach the joy of giving to kids. For instance, your extra Halloween candy could be included in care packages that are sent to soldiers overseas. Operation Gratitude is one of many organizations that accept leftover candy for soldiers. You could even take on this project as a family— your kids can choose 50 pieces of candy to keep and 50 to give soldiers along with a drawing or two. This is a great way to take attention off the candy and on giving.
Keep in mind that getting special treats on such a day is one of those things that make childhood magical, so try not to force the issue to your kids. If you plan ahead of time and have a special “sharing” box ready for the big day, you can agree to do the sorting before any eating.
Otherwise, I would suggest that you allow your child to have a couple of small pieces per day until it is gone to encourage healthy eating habits.
-Answer from Heidi LPC, a Licensed Parenting Counselor on JustAnswer.