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Practical Solutions to “Sugar-Ween”


Q : We just recently moved to town. One of my new friends mentioned that you had an article that addressed the whole Halloween sugar-blitz problem. However, she couldn't remember the details. Could you please review that for me?

A : Yes, I'd be happy to. This has worked really well for our family and many others who have tried it. I recommend that you start promoting this idea to the kids one or two weeks before Halloween so they can get excited about it. I call it the "Money Trade."

My children go trick-or-treating, have lots of fun and get bunches of candy. After dumping all the candy on the floor and looking at it and playing with it for a while, they get to pick a few pieces to taste.

Then comes the real fun. They are ready for the money trade! For each piece of candy they throw into the trash bag I give a nickel. The bigger candy bars are worth a dime or a quarter. My kids toss them into the bag so quickly I can barely keep up. Then they get to spend their money at the toy store or the dollar store, or play with it for days.

This past year my daughter was hesitant to give up her candy, even though she loves money. Making two big bowls of buttered popcorn that we munched during the money trade totally resolved any lingering feelings of loss that she had about giving up all that candy that was in front of her.

Over the years of promoting the money trade idea, I have heard from friends and patients who have come up with different varieties on this theme. One family has their children place their candy bags outside their bedroom doors when they go to bed. When the kids wake up the bags have been replaced with brand new toys they’ve been longing for. In another family, when the children wake up they find two pieces of candy and $20.00 waiting for them in their trick-or-treat bags.

In another family, the kids write letters to “The Great Pumpkin” before Halloween approaches, to tell him what they want for Halloween in exchange for their candy bags. After leaving their bags outside their bedroom doors, they wake up the next morning to discover that The Great Pumpkin visited in the middle of the night, leaving the requested toy.

Another mom takes her kids to the closest huge toy store on Halloween night when they’re done with the candy collecting. In exchange for giving her their entire bag of candy they get to pick out a toy of their choice in an agreed-upon price range. Their mom said they are so thrilled to have the pick of the store that they have no concern about trading in their candy bags.

No matter which option works best for your family, everyone gets to have the fun of a traditional trick-or-treat holiday without all of the upset and potential ill health of sugar-bombed kids.

Try it and let me know how it works for you!

Dr. Susan Player