Discuss: How do you Handle Halloween Sweets?

Photo of the Halloween Bag of Mini Puzzles.
Hasbro has a nifty treat this year: a 12-pack of small Halloween-themed 50-piece puzzles. There are three copies each of four designs: a frog witch, dog ghost, kittens in a pumpkin and a field of candy.

They strike me as perfect for a party, and good for younger trick-or-treaters.

The bad news: the puzzles are only sold in physical Toys R Us stores, retailing for $4. In our neighborhood, we see fewer than 20 visitors, so two bags would suffice, with the surplus saved for my own kids and future Halloweens.

The puzzles are listed for ages 5-and-up, but a puzzle-adept toddler can handle 50 pieces by age 4, or much younger when assisted by a parent.

(Hint: sneak a telltale piece into your child's hand and suggest what the piece looks like.)

And, of course, supervise the whole time due to the choking hazard.

I'm led to wonder, how do you handle Halloween sweets? Or for that matter, birthday party favors that invariably include candy?

Do you let your toddler consume sweets? Do you give candy out at Halloween? If not, what's your substitute?


14 Responses to “Discuss: How do you Handle Halloween Sweets?”

  1. BusyMom says:

    We always do our best to limit the treats, but allow them to eat some. We figure it is better to teach them that treats are okay in moderation. I know as a child that some friends were never allowed certain treats and when they had access away from home, they went overboard. Of course, my son used to call granola bars candy bars, so that was what we used to give him as candy.

    As for passing out treats, we used to buy a special treat for the neighbor boy when he was young…but now we have children and aren’t around to pass out candy because we are wandering the neighborhood with the kids.

    October 24th, 2008 at 2:56 am

  2. Kathleen says:

    We buy glow bracelets or necklaces. This serves 2 purposes for us…

    1: They are not candy!!!!
    2: We live in a newer subdivision and don’t have streetlights so it is hard to see the children at night. Glow bracelets and necklaces help them to be much more visible :)

    These puzzles are a great idea for treat bags for my son’s pre-school Halloween party! Thanks :)

    October 24th, 2008 at 6:16 am

  3. Angelique says:

    Am I the only one that thought it was cool to get pencils, stamps and stickers when I trick-or-treated as a kid? My mom rationed my candy to a couple of pieces a day (aside from the Halloween-night glut) so I thought it was great to get something else, like plastic fangs. So now that I’m all growed-up, I’m the cool mom that has mini-play-doh, cool pencils, and plastic vampire fangs at my door. Toddlers are happy, Moms are happy, kids with allergies are happy.

    I try not to freak out too much over candy/artificial colors and flavors/corn syrup/simple carbs. I don’t buy it, I don’t bring it into the house, but I happily let my kiddo (boy, age 3) partake in treats (i.e. artificial foodstuffs) elsewhere (like Grandma’s and Grampa’s house). I’m hoping to teach him moderation. I don’t want him to live in a bubble, but I do want him to know how to make responsible choices.

    October 24th, 2008 at 7:36 am

  4. anjii says:

    We don’t get any trick-or-treaters, since we live on a rural farm. But at Costco, I picked up a bag of 40 mini playdoughs for $8 (CDN) and am going to use them for birthday party goodie bags. I never put candy in the goodie bags (which makes them a lot more expensive, unfortunately), or in our Easter baskets or Christmas stockings, etc. They get enough from the grandparents, lol.

    When candy comes in from outside sources on all those candy infested occasions, I take out anything I REALLY don’t want him to have, me and hubby take a few of our favorites to eat when he’s not around, and the rest we dole out slowly (basically just when he remembers and asks for it). Usually after a few days, he forgets about his little stash, and I throw out the rest.

    October 24th, 2008 at 8:11 am

  5. SarrJK says:

    Those puzzles are awesome. I wish I had seen this earlier. I may still stop by TRU to get some. My son loves puzzles, and it would be a nice supplement to the candy for the neighborhood kids.

    Last year he didn’t even know what candy was (he was 2 1/2), he was just interested in putting things in the bucket. So we took all of his candy (save one small bag of raisinets–”special raisins”) to work the next day and he never missed it. (We had him convinced that if he ate more than 2 at a time, he’d get a tummy ache.)

    This year, he knows what candy is, but he also knows it’s a sometimes food. When we bought the candy to give out, he asked for some, but we told him we weren’t opening it until Halloween, and he accepted that.

    I think we’ll just keep it out of sight. Out of sight for him is usually out of mind. Then after a week or so, we’ll toss it.

    For birthday party favors, we usually go through the bag and pull out things we don’t want him to have before he has a chance to see them.

    October 24th, 2008 at 8:28 am

  6. Mary says:

    Our son has been mostly too young to Trick-or-Treat, but he has gotten goody bags before with sweets. We’ll let him enjoy the candy, of course, in moderation. This year for Halloween, he’s old enough to Trick-or-Treat, but we’re opting to take him to a senior center/nursing home during the daytime and possibly to trunk-or-treat at church. If his haul is large, we’ll moderate the intake. I’m thinking of putting the candy in a jar and limiting him to one or two a day (depending on size and his temperament).

    As for giving out candy, we tried the last few years (and we had candy, though, I’d like to look for alternatives), but we’ve never had any kids come by. :( We don’t plan to give away anything this year since our track record isn’t so great.

    October 24th, 2008 at 8:31 am

  7. AJ says:

    Wow, so no one does the Candy Fairy who exchanges your candy for a gift?

    October 24th, 2008 at 10:28 am

  8. Kathleen says:

    Wow….that candy fairy idea is GREAT!!!! We may have to take this into consideration since the neighbors love to dump extra in my son’s bucket :) My son LOVES getting the mail off the porch…I can only imagine how excited he would be if the fairy left something for him!!!

    October 24th, 2008 at 10:52 am

  9. JMo says:

    We are the loser house that passes out bags of pretzels. Hey, you need salty with all those sweets! Plus if you don’t hand them all out, they are great for lunches for the next month.

    For school gift bags, we do the $1 Target bin books, playdoh, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, a balloon and … pretzels (or 100 calorie pack bag)!

    When we receive gift bags, most of it goes straight into the trash.

    My son just turned two, so Halloween will be all about the novelty of ringing the doorbell and putting stuff in and out (and in and out and in… ) of his bucket.

    I like the Candy Fairy!!

    October 24th, 2008 at 11:25 am

  10. Jenni says:

    Candy is for special occasions only. Halloween is a special occasion. Now, there is always a limit to how long that special occasion lasts; I give it a week. Trick-or-treating is limited to a radius that will give us the appropriate amounts for that week. Candy goes into a community bowl for the family and everyone picks from (including mom and dad) and by the end of the week, we wait for the next special occasion to come to divulge in more candy.

    October 24th, 2008 at 11:58 am

  11. MoJo says:

    We do ‘The Great Pumpkin’ story Halloween night. The older kids get to eat some candy and then the rest gets left out at night (like cookies for santa) to feed The Great Pumpkin. As a thank you, TGP leaves a small gift for the kids. I haven’t got that far this year, but it could be some new art supplies or a new chapter book. We did it last year and the kids never missed the candy. And their teeth thanked them! :)

    October 24th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

  12. Jenni says:

    Jmo, I want to come to your house. I LOVE the salty much more than the sweet. Salty things are much more of a downfall for us in our house.

    October 24th, 2008 at 2:37 pm

  13. June Webster says:

    As we live ‘down under’ we are new to Halloween, but the neighbourood kids have taken to it like bees to honey.
    Last year I counted 32 trick or treaters who arrived at our front door aged between 4yrs to 14yrs.
    Fortunately, I had stocked up on sweets & treats so was prepared.
    I love the excitement on the faces of the kids & the joy I feel to be a part of their special night.
    Thank you USA for allowing us Aussies to play Halloween like you.
    Regards June Webster

    October 26th, 2008 at 5:18 am

  14. Rex says:

    Just hand out Bit o Honey’s – man I hated getting those as a kid.

    October 30th, 2008 at 2:11 pm

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