I’ve blogged before about how important it is to me that we raise Zoe with normal, healthy eating habits and no unnatural sugar cravings such as the ones I’ve been plagued with all my life. Before age two, I tried really hard to limit her sweets but for about the last year and a half, I’ve been a bit more relaxed about it. She loves chocolate and ice cream and gets them from time to time, but not ALL the time – and certainly not every day.
For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been dreading the inevitable Halloween candy haul because I knew we’d have to get rid of the bulk of it somehow. I guess they call it “trick or treating” for a reason… because parents typically must resort to tricks to get rid of all the candy afterward, or have children binging on it for weeks (or even months)!
In prior years, Zoe was young enough that it was pretty easy to give her a little candy and then take the rest away without her even noticing. Now, as we get closer to age 4, she has a lot more environmental awareness and she’s sharp as a tack, so I knew she’d have to be a willing participant in said candy removal or we’d have a mutiny on our hands. After reading about several creative mom candy-removal methods online, we went the Switch Witch route. I’m delighted and somewhat shocked to share that it worked perfectly. No arguments, no fuss, really a lovely experience!
How it went down
Last night, after trick or treating with her neighbor friends for more than an hour despite pelting rain and heavy winds, Zoe amassed an impressive candy haul. After pouring it all out on the table and letting her rifle through and sample a few, I asked her to pick her five favorites to keep (and then added another five myself when I felt bad about how small her resulting pile looked). I then asked enthusiastically if she’d like the Switch Witch to come by overnight to scoop up the rest of her candy and give Zoe a present in its place.
I thought it was important to get her buy-in… and she said yes! Zoe never once questioned my story about the Switch Witch – after all, her little belly was happily full of candy, and she still had a (much smaller, but nonetheless satisfying) stash in front of her on the table. She actually seemed excited that the Switch Witch would be visiting and switching her candy haul for a present. And when we presented her with the gift, two wonderful new books (one she knows and loves, the other an instant new favorite), she was ecstatic. (I’ve since found some other tips that could make implementing the Switch Witch tradition go smoothly with older kids.)
Is it really that easy? Can the Switch Witch ritual be repeated and become an annual family tradition, or will she begin to fight against this switch next year? Only time will tell. But for now, this was an awesome experience.
And before you start thinking I’m a mean mom for taking her hard-earned candy haul away, I did let her have pretty much all she wanted to eat last night (about five fun-size pieces total), plus I let her have a piece of her candy this morning with breakfast. And I would never try to trick her with faux-candy or healthy treats in lieu of candy. So I’m not all bad!
Also, if anyone’s curious about where our leftover candy went, we donated it to Zoe’s school’s candy drive for the troops. It will be shipped overseas to delight the hard-working men and women serving our country. Hopefully they won’t eat it all at once, and will share some with the children they meet, and then everyone will brush well before bedtime!
So, how did your Halloween go – and what will you be doing with your family’s left-over candy haul now that it’s November? I’d love to hear in the comments below.