Coping with the candy crunch

When we asked what to do with all that Halloween candy, our readers were full of ideas. And not all of them recommend dumping the leftovers on co-workers.

• Part of the fun of trick or treating is quantity. So, when it’s on clearance, I collect Halloween tattoos, books and other things and let the children use candy to “shop.” The rest goes to work with Daddy. Brenda of Woodridge, mom of Madison, 4½, and Ian, 2

• We freeze some for later, give it away to family and eat it gradually. We usually end up eating it all or using it to make Christmas treat bags. Linda of Plainfield, mom of Christopher, 8, Anthony, 8, Michael, 6, and Nicole, 5

• My kids are allowed to eat all they want on Halloween night. For the next week or so they are allowed a piece of candy for dessert-even after breakfast. Mary of Geneva, mom of Haley, 12, Kevin, 10, and Ellen, 8

• The favorites go in a container (kept where only Mom or Dad can reach it). The rest goes into a bowl on my piano so my piano students can choose a piece after their lesson. Kim of Woodridge, mom of Alex, 7, and Greg, 4

• My children select 10 favorites and the rest goes in a bucket the kids eagerly place outside for the “Candy Goblins.” In the morning, the candy is gone and the children find a much better “treat”-a book or small toy. Tracey of Plainfield, mom of Josh, 6, Jake, 5, and Hailey, 4

• We store any chocolates in the freezer. When it’s time to make Christmas cookies, we melt the chocolate and crush the hard candies to make some delicious treats. Kelly of Winfield, mom of Ryan, 6, Ali, 2½, and Jaeda, 1

• I stash some candy for lunches. The rest I either put in the trash or take to our church, which collects the candy for guests at the overnight homeless shelter. A little extra treat with their meal means far more to them than to our kids who have so much. Karen of Chicago, mom of Martha, 6, and Catherine, 2

• The children pick 10 pieces to keep and leave the rest for the Candy Fairy to take to children who do not get to go trick or treating. The Candy Fairy leaves each kid $5. Lynn of Hinsdale, mom of Kelsey, 11, Warren, 9, and Lily, 7

• After trick or treating, the boys sort their candy, which is half the fun. They choose 10 pieces to keep and the rest goes to church for rewards for the Sunday School students. Trish of Crest Hill, mom of Justin, 9, and Quentin, 6

• When Halloween approaches, I remind my daughter that candy is no good for her but on Halloween she can eat as much as she wants. That helps me to reinforce the idea later and keep Halloween as the day to binge. The day after, she chooses a few favorites as rewards for later. Out of sight, out of mind and out the house is better. Elise of Evanston, mom of Sydney, 7

• My children all have high cholesterol but we don’t miss the fun of collecting as much candy as possible. When we’re done, each child picks five favorites and gets a penny for each remaining piece. We decide together what to do with the leftovers-save it for birthday goodie bags, send it to work with Dad or donate it to a food pantry. During the school year, when they get sugary treats, they may exchange them for stickers. When they have 10 stickers, they can choose a reward: alone time with Mom or Dad, a book or eating dinner watching a video. Rebecca of Highland Park, mom of Jessica, 10, Spencer, 7, and Jacob, 6

• My husband and I adopted my mother’s strategy for dealing with candy. She never made it something forbidden and irresistible. There were always two candy bowls sitting in our living room. My siblings and I still can take it or leave it. Last Halloween, I let my son eat candy until he became sick. As I watched my son devour all that sugary stuff, I cringed. My hope is that he will grow sick of it as I did and think of candy as something not so desirable at all. Shari of Vernon Hills, mom of Luke, 4, and Lucy, 3

Please Tell Us… What are your traditions?

November, we want to hear about your Thanksgiving traditions. Do you have a special dish or prayer that has been passed through the generations? Or have you started your own traditions to pass on to future generations? Deadline: Oct. 6. In December, tell us how you get your kids to say thank you. Do your kids write thank you notes? Do they make phone calls? Does it take a battle to get them to cooperate? Deadline: Nov. 3. If we run your response, we’ll send you a $10 Borders certificate. We’ll print your first name, the town in which you live, the names and ages of your kids. Please provide us with your full address and phone number for verification purposes only. Send all submissions to: Sandi Pedersen, Chicago Parent, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302. E-mail:; fax: (708) 524-8360.

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