Americans of all ages love Halloween, with more and more adults dressing up alongside their scampering trick or treaters, with residents shelling out a whopping $1.9 billion on Halloween candy to treat the masses. According to www.reference.com, approximately 600 million pounds of candy are sold in the U.S. each year for Halloween, with 90 million pounds of that being chocolate sold just during the week immediately preceding Halloween. So what happens to all that candy?
DUMPING THE JUNK
Maybe some families consume all the candy they collect, however in light of concerns about health, obesity, and other issues linked with excessive sugar consumption, Registered Dietitian Toby Amidor offers 7 ways to handle the sugar surge after Halloween in a recent post. However, I’m not so sure about gifting candy or dumping it at the office. I hear plenty of my clients grumble about the saboteurs at work who consistently seduce their co-workers with jars of candy on their desk, baked goods, and other treats.
Early in my career I worked in public health and the director kept a bucket of red vines in her office while baked goods flowed into the kitchen almost every morning ready to swallow me up like caloric quicksand. I ate so much cleaner when I started private practice and no longer faced the gauntlet of easily accessible treats day in and day out.
IDEAS THAT WORK
Toby also highlights opportunities like trading candy for a tooth brush at your local dentist that make me laugh. No way my savvy son would have fallen for that. However, he was very happy to have me purchase his candy. He would choose a few favorite pieces and then happily hand over the rest of the stash for cash. Thankfully today he’s busier scaring the trick or treaters than joining their ranks.
One young mother allows the Candy Fairy to visit her house. Her kids pick out 10 favorite pieces to keep and eat and then they let the magic begin. The kids set out their candy for the fairy and by the next morning a present is left in it’s place. All is good, although this mom admits her 10 year old’s questions are becoming a bit more sophisticated. She knows she is on borrowed time.
SWEETS THAT EVAPORATE INTO THIN AIR OR NOT
Other families donate the candy to nursing homes, Veteran’s groups, and other organizations, although I’m not sure that is much better than dumping candy at the office. My mom keeps a dish of candy in her room at assisted living, asking one of my five sisters to pick up supplies as needed. It was only when sisters started to confer with each other that we realized how much the help consumed.
Mom very carefully made sure to ask different sisters to pick up a bag of candy at different times. No wonder we watched squads of care givers grow out of their uniforms over time.
I’m troubled enough about the link between sugar, inflammation, and disease that I stopped purchasing candy altogether. Trick or Treaters choose from a variety of pencils, pens, highlighters, hair clips, nail polish (this year’s big winner) plus an assortment of raisins, seeds, nuts and trail mix. Not one complaint. Ironically this year we ran out of the non-food items first as 32 giddy girls scored miniature bottles of ghastly colored nail polish and older students gleefully snatched the highlighters.
So what about the rest of the 600 million pounds of candy Americans purchase at Halloween? Do you have a favorite trick to make the sugar stash disappear? I’d like to know how you handle the deluge, so please share in the comments section below.