I loved Halloween as a kid. Not because of the costumes, but because of the candy! I would snarf down my candy stash as quickly as I could, especially when my mom wasn’t looking. It would be gone within in 2 to 3 days. I remember laughing in shock and horror when one of my friends still had Halloween candy sitting around in December. Really? Can I finish it for you now?! She was even allowed to keep it in her bedroom. That girl had some serious self-control at the age of 13.

Halloween started here last weekend when I took Alex (age 4) trick-or-treating at the local shopping mall. We’ve been letting him eat 1-2 pieces a day at snack time or after dinner. He’s still young enough that he doesn’t notice if his parents sneak a few pieces here and there, too.

Alex will only collect a small amount of candy this year. However, a lot of older children make it their goal to collect as much candy as possible. I don’t mean to be the Halloween witch here or ruin anyone’s holiday, but does it make sense to let our kids gorge on candy when American children are heavier than ever? The latest stats show that 12 percent of American children between the ages of 2 and 5 are obese, and 17 percent of children between 6 and 11 are grossly overweight. And 18 percent of teens carry are too heavy for their health? And we can’t dismiss that all that sugar and sticky candy is bad for their precious little pearly whites.

The last couple of years I’ve heard of dentists buying Halloween candy from children. Here are some places in the Twin Cities holding candy buy-back events:

1. Metro Dentalcare – Pays $1 per pound, up to 3 pounds. All 13 locations in the Metro will participate on Monday, November 2 from 4 – 7 p.m. Click here for locations and details. To promote the event, the dentists recorded a few short videos about dental health. Check these out: Tips for Getting Kids to Brush Their Teeth, Dental Care 101 for Parents (fruit snacks are bad for teeth? crap.) and The Power of Sour (the pH of candy and pop vs. battery acid!)

2. Park Dental – Shakopee and St. Francis Regional Medical Center – Pays $1 per pound, St. Francis will donate $2 per pound to the local food shelf. Drop off at St. Francis, Monday, November 2 from 4 – 7 p.m. Click here for more info.

So what’s a parent to do? Will you let your children eat all their Halloween candy? Have you ever sold your candy to a dentist? Do tell.

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18 Responses to “Will you let your children eat all of their Halloween candy?”

  1. FranticMommy says:

    Heck no! Our oldest is sugar sensitive. Letting him eat candy at his own pace would result in a kid bouncing off the walls! We do the old fashioned door-to-door Trick or Treating and we only go to a limited number of places. I've seen kids with buckets filled TO THE BRIM and that just seesm greedy to me. NO KID needs that much candy.

  2. themommarocks says:

    I think I'm pretty lucky that my kids are great eaters – they like healthy food as much as junk. So for us, Halloween is not a big deal – we let them have at it. My daughter is the only one we have to watch for some medical reasons (although not serious, thank God), and she's old enough that she knows her limits. Do they need it? Nope. Is the out-and-out gluttony obnoxious? Yep. But I think because I was never allowed to keep my candy (yet my mom had a secret stash), I smile when I see them dump it all out on the floor of the family room at the end of the night. They grow up so fast, and it's fun to see them in a moment of unbridled childhood.

  3. Kim says:

    I liked the suggestion on your allergy post on Cribsheet, having "The Great Pumpkin" act as a tooth fairy of sorts, taking the candy and leaving a toy.

    It isn't an issue for us, as our neighborhood isn't kid friendly, so no traditional trick or treating for us. We drive to local family so just 4 or 5 houses. Since they know we are coming they tend to have something else for the boys like animal crackers or a halloween matchbox car. Works for us.

  4. Cribsheet Kay says:

    We received some comments – (on your guest post Missy) about trading the candy stash for a book, movie or toy. Like Kim said, the Great Pumpkin is a great idea. Another e-mailed us that the "Switch Witch" comes and trades a toy for their candy stash.
    (I myself would have never gone for it when I was a kid – I worked hard for that stash!) but I think my kids just might.

    And I clicked on the dentist video too. That is why I finally gave up my beloved Diet Coke addiction. Scary!

  5. Heather says:

    Jackson is young enough that I can control which pieces he eats and which I eat, I mean get rid of. I don't let him have all of it and just a couple pieces a day. Again, he's young enough that just getting any candy at all is a huge treat.

    I am going to check out that dentist video…just as soon as I finish my diet coke. 🙂 I am afraid of what I'm about to learn.

  6. Recovering Procrastinator says:

    My kids are already begging for candy night and day b/c we got a bunch last weekend at a party. They are driving me crazy. I'm working on rationing it as well. One piece per meal, and only if you eat a decent amount of the meal.

    My kids might go for the great pumpkin thing since they LOVE LOVE that movie.

    What do dentists do with all that candy they buy?

  7. Mary says:

    I'm old school and let our kids eat all the Halloween candy they wanted. I also let them keep it in their rooms because they thought that was so exciting. I figured the once-a-year indulgence wasn't going to threaten their health as long as we continued to have healthy foods otherwise. I loved the specialness of Halloween as a child and didn't feel the need to "spoil" that experience for our children.
    (Hey Missy–was that an unecessary use of a quote? 🙂

  8. Marketing Mama says:

    Great to hear what everyone thinks on this! Jen, the two different companies do different things. The Park Dental Care sends the candy overseas to US Soldiers. The Metro Dental donates to Operation Gratitude (U.S. Military), Tubman (Family Services) and 2nd Harvest (Food Shelf).

    I love my diet coke too, sniff.

  9. The Fritz Facts says:

    I let my kids (well kid since Hunter is done trick or treating) go as long as they want that night, I don't limit the time they can spend trick or treating, but do limit what they do with it when we get home. Hubby and I go through it and they get to pick three pieces to eat that night, after that we control it (mildly really) and it is put high up. Usually after two weeks they forget about it, so I either throw it away or bring it to work (depending on what it is, who wants Gobstoppers at work!).

  10. Elizabeth says:


    We still have candy left over from last year around here! I'll let my 3 year old have one piece of candy a day. Although, I do like the idea of a one day binge too (it just sounds FUN!)…so maybe we'll let him have several pieces on Halloween.

  11. Jessica says:

    Halloween candy has been tricky for us too. The good news is that the little guy loses interest in his candy after a day or two so we can get rid of it without him being heart broken. In fact, he has never noticed. Throwing it away always seems so wasteful, though.

    Sometimes we make up a little goodie bag to take to grandma at the nursing home and then take some to friends at work. I like the dentist buy-back program, but feel weird using it since I don't use any of those dentists.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Let kids be kids and eat their candy. Eating candy a couple days out of the year isn't going to make them fat.

  13. Marketing Mama says:

    I'm totally going to let my kids eat candy. I don't think eating some candy a few days a year will make them fat.

    However, what about all the kids who are already overweight? Does it make sense to let them gorge on bags of candy? How can we teach moderation? Does donating (or selling) your candy to other people help teach our children about making healthy choices while still having fun?

    Jess – don't feel weird about not knowing the dentists. They aren't doing it just for their own clients – they are promoting it in the newspaper and on the web because they want to serve their communities (and maybe, possibly, attract new clients).

  14. Jennifer says:

    I've heard dentists say from their perspective it's better to let them eat several pieces one day than to ration it out over several days or weeks. We try to choose activities where candy isn't the many focus and try not to get too much. We do end up with some, and I tell them they can eat what they want after we get home and check it. Still I warn them they may make themselves sick. At 5 and 7, they are pretty good about self-limiting when they are in complete control.

  15. Marketing Mama says:

    To my friend Mary who e-mailed me later to find out if she was using her quotes correctly or incorrectly… 🙂

    I believe you used them incorrectly. It looks like you were trying to place emphasis on the word spoil, rather than show irony. 🙂

  16. Amber says:

    My oldest is only 4, and so while I don't disallow her candy, she doesn't collect that much. And, I'll totally cop to stealing some of it.

    I've never heard of the dentist thing, but I have friends who do the 'Halloween fairy'. The idea is that you let the kid eat some candy on Halloween night. Go a little crazy, have 4 or 5 pieces. Then the rest goes out on the front porch and the Halloween fairy takes it away and gives a toy in its place. I might consider this at some point, but to date my child hasn't collected enough candy for it to be an issue.

  17. Mary says:

    LOL–thanks Missy. You are one funny lady. I'll try to refrain from using quotes less I use them improperly when I comment from now on 🙂
    BTW, I loved your added quotation marks to the nursing picture today. That was hilarious!

  18. karrie says:

    I figure there are roughly 364 other days each year where I can play Food Police. And believe me, I'm concerned with nutrition, diabetes, obesity, etc. Most of our food is either produce or made from scratch so I can control the ingredients.

    My 5 yo ended up with one of those plastic pumpkins filled with loot, about half of which was candy. (The rest was pretzels, crackers, small toys, etc.) I decided to allow him unfettered access for today only. He's never samples half the junk in his pumpkin, and has already taken bites out of several varieties–Dots, anyone?–and declared them to be disgusting.

    I figure one day of gorging on mini M&Ms is not going to matter. In terms of dental hygiene, it may even be the wiser choice instead of allowing repeated smaller sugary snacks over the coming weeks.

    And really? I don't want to spend the next week yelling "How many Tootsie Rolls have you eaten? Put that candy back NOW! No, you may not have more" and so on. Total drag.



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