The Andersen Family Halloween 2013: Son #3 (L) is Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians, Son #1 (C) is an M&M (yes that’s a plastic snow sled hanging around his neck!), Son #2 (R) made his own “Stevie” costume from Minecraft (yep, he’s got a paper bag over his face but he came up with it all on his own so I give him props for creativity!) and Jelly Bean is a “pink princess fairy with pink wings pink pink piiiiiiink!” My husband is, um, a college student and I went as a girl who’s been in a deep funk and therefore hasn’t showered in three days and requires a hat to cover her greasy hair but just be glad she crawled out of bed ok?
This Halloween there’s a new monster scaring all the kids on the block: the ConcernTroll, i.e. a person who says really crappy things under the guise of “concern” for you. And this year’s concerntrolling is brought to you by a woman whom I can only hope is secretly a paid actress/instigator from Fargo, North Dakota, who has decided that instead of handing out treats to children she deems to be “moderately obese”, she’ll be sending a note home in their sad little treat-less bag. To their parents:
Happy Halloween and Happy Holidays Neighbor!
You are probably wondering why your child had this note: have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child?”” I am disappointed in “the village” of Fargo Moorhead. West Fargo.
Your child is, in my opinion, moderately obese, and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.
My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits.
Oh for heck’s sake. This is fake, right? I have to believe this is some kind of stunt because imagining a world where someone would choose to publicly shame a little Tinkerbell or Pirate makes me stabby. I mean, she’s literally taking candy…from a baby.
The woman then added in her radio interview, “I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight… I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it.”
So just in case it’s not fake, let me point out the obvious flaw in her logic: Candy isn’t good for anyone. No matter what those kids weigh, you’re not doing their health any favors by handing out Kit Kats and Jolly Ranchers. The blood sugar rollercoaster of doom waits for no one! Also? Don’t be a jerk. Unless you are these kids’ pediatricians or the Tooth Fairy, you don’t get to “send a message” about their health. Not your job. Plus for all you know, those kids are as healthy as their thinner peers – my mom always tells me that kids often grow out before they grow taller. So if you want to be the health nut on the block consider all the kiddos and just hand out glittery tattoos and sugar-free bubble gum like the rest of us.
But let’s be honest. Being the health nut is fine – heaven knows I’ve done it (although not with good results) – but a big part of what makes Halloween fun is the candy. Halloween as a kid is a whole different ballgame than Halloween as an adult but nowhere is the disconnect as big as when it comes to candy. As a mom of 4 little ones I can tell you that kids think about candy 24/7. I don’t know what it is in our genetic hardwiring that makes babies immediately start looking for the sweet stuff but there’s a reason so many popular nursery rhymes have to do with kids sneaking treats.
(Although I’m still kind of confused about Little Miss Muffet and her curds and whey – I’ve heard the curds are supposed to be like cottage cheese which is pretty delish but whey? Have you had whey? It’s the watery part left over after making the milk into cottage cheese or Greek yogurt and it is nasTY. I’ve had good luck using it in pancake and biscuit dough but eating it? It’s so bitter that it’s actually been classed as an environmental toxin after Greek yogurt manufacturers laid waste to flora and fauna after dumping the whey. Maybe that spider did Missy a favor by scaring her away, is all I’m saying. SPIDERS SAVE LIVES. Plus they crunch when you squish them which is the ickiest sound ever.)
I had to include this winner shot because: Son #3. Over there on the left. He looks like he just impaled himself on his own staff. (Actually he’s mid-tantrum but the face is classic.)
Anyhow. Kids at Halloween are all about how they can get as much candy as quickly as possible and they’re willing to do pretty much anything to get it. We have to drag our kids around the block on an after-dinner walk but hand them a trick-or-treat bag and they’ll sprint around it for 3 hours with no complaints. And I have to say that society is totally on the kids’ side on this one. So far we’ve had a neighborhood trunk-or-treat, a community Halloween carnival, a church party, and school parties. Heck, my 6th grader’s party had 3 choices of beverages, 6 snack options and 8 dessert options. Plus candy apples as the craft. That beats the heck out of what we served at my wedding. Not sure what this says about my wedding. Or about the state of class parties these days. (I should have served bloody-finger cheese sticks and apple eyeballs at my wedding?) And we haven’t even got to actual Halloween yet!
Don’t get me wrong, like I said above, I’m not opposed to my kids having some treats. They’re kids. They should have fun. I have great memories of trick-or-treating when I was a kid. But I can’t responsibly turn them loose with six pounds of candy apiece. We usually let them just go nuts on Halloween night and eat what they want. But then what? In the past we’ve tried putting it up and doling it out a few pieces at a time but it turns into an endless string of negotiations, whining and wheedling and I do not want to relieve the Great Candy Conflict of 2012. Plus, and this is probably selfish, but I’m trying to stay away from sugar right now (for mental health reasons) and I just can’t have all that candy hanging around. Unless all it is is Tootsie Rolls, Candy Corn and Circus Peanuts, in which case they’d be safe even if I were starving.
So with that said, here are 10 creative ideas to use up leftover Halloween candy and I hope you’ll give me some more in the comments!
1. Dentists. Lots of local dentists will pay by the pound for Halloween candy. I’m not sure what they do with it after they buy it but hey not only do your kids get a little cash out of the deal maybe you find a dentist you like! (Although let’s try not to think about the ludicrousness of paying a large chunk of cash for candy to hand out one day and then turning around the next day and selling it for a fraction of what you paid for it. Which means you’re basically paying for the experience of walking around in the cold for 3 hours.)
2. Operation Gratitude. Our school, like many others, has teamed up with this charity that collects candy and then sends it to soldiers oversees. When I first heard about this I thought it was for treats for the soldiers, which is a nice enough idea, but it turns out they mostly give it to the troops overseas to hand out to local kids as a goodwill gesture. Awesome.
3. Save it for Gingerbread house decorating. Yeah your G’bread may end up a little goth but what’s cuter than an emo elf?? Plus, candy corns make awesome patterns on roofs.
4. Candy wreaths! Get you a foam ring and some ribbon and go bonkers! Super cute for decorating but even cuter as gifts.
5. Keep it for gifting. I probably shouldn’t admit I do this but I’ll often keep the candy that’s not obviously Halloween-branded and throw a few pieces into the gift bag or box with the gift when my kids go to a friend’s birthday party. Plus, there are so many preservatives in those things they will keep for a really long time. (Psst don’t tell my kids but more than one piece of Halloween candy has found its way into a Christmas stocking. Frugal!)
6. Poop pranks! If I need to explain to you how to do this then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. But for the rest of you with minds like a teenage boy, carry on. (And send me video!)
7. Baby shower/birthday/party games. There are an inordinate amount of games at various parties that require candy. Whether it’s counting skittles in a mason jar at a bridal shower or playing that gag-worthy sniff-the-candy-bar-melted-in-the-diaper game at baby showers, there’s always a need for sweet props! Plus they make cute decorations.
8. Next year’s costume. By next Halloween the candy probably won’t be good for eating but it will definitely be stale enough to hold up for a hot glue gun! There are so many fun costumes that involve looking like candy or wearing candy. (See my son the M&M for evidence.)
9. Recycled desserts for the holidays. Gym Buddy Allison makes these amazing Butterfinger-esque treats out of old candy corn and dark chocolate. They’re amazingly delish. Mini size candy bars can get chopped up into cream pies or as ice cream topping. M&Ms are perfect for monster cookies. Just type the name of the candy + recipe into Pinterest and I can guarantee you that someone has come up with a way to make unicorn poop out of it.
10. Crafting. Rainy day fun: Give your kids (or yourself, I won’t judge) toothpicks, glue, wire, curly ribbon, styrofoam or whatever and a paper plate and let their imaginations take over.
What do you think of the “concerned mom”‘s idea – good intentions gone awry or adult mean girl? (Or hoax??) What are you handing out for Halloween this year? (I’m handing out mini bottles of coke with a couple of mentos taped to the side. Kidding. But seriously if I had enough $$ this is totally what I’d do.) What’s your costume??
P.S. A huge, huge thank you to everyone who commented, emailed, facebooked, called, texted or sent me good vibes through the universe yesterday. I was overwhelmed by your love and kindness!! Seriously, I don’t even know how to tell you how much it means to me. I love you guys.
(P.P.S. Don’t forget – there’s still time to enter my Tide Pods $100 giveaway! This weekend is it though, contest ends on Sunday, Nov 3!)