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I want to start by saying that I do my best to always be realistic in my work. Which means that I am sharing these tips not because I think anyone needs to participate in Halloween OR give their kids candy, but because most of us will in some way or another—because this is the world we live in. (At least in the US.)
Which is to say, I am not in charge of Halloween, but I am here to help reduce anxiety about it!
Yes, it’s possible to skip the candy part of the day with a one-year-old or even a two-year-old if there are no older siblings in the house—and I did that when my kids were younger as was feasible. But after that, knowing your approach can help reduce stress all around.
(I also want to put in a plug for all of us parents to go buy a bag of candy that is our favorite, rather than stealing it from our kids. A little gift to yourself, from the bag of Snickers in my fridge to you!)
Resources to Help:
The Burnt Toast Guide to Kids and Sugar: Everything you need to know about sugar highs, sugar addiction, and Halloween candy.
Year-by-Year Guide to Halloween Candy: How you handle Halloween candy with toddlers can change according to their age and awareness of the holiday (and candy!). To help you plan your approach, this post how you might want to approach the holiday, year by year.
Our approach now is to come home from trick-or-treating, sort out the choking hazards, and the kids eat what they want. Usually they have some milk and we talk about what the candy is and what they like. When they’re done (or I call bedtime after a reasonable amount of time!) they put their stash in a bowl or bag for the next day. Then, everyday after until they lose interest—which actually does happen—they choose some to have with their dinner. I let them decide together how many pieces they want and usually it’s a similar number to what I would have chosen. In past years when they were younger I decided that number and it was usually 2 or 3. There always comes a day when they are done and the bowl has just the candy they don’t like left.
Candy Choking Hazards to Avoid: Generally speaking, candy that is hard, round, contains whole nuts, or very sticky is considered to be a choking hazard. Ones that are softer and flatter, such as plain chocolate, is less so. Not sure? Take a bite yourself and see if it’s hard to chew. I’ve always sorted through the stash of candy with the kids to put the choking hazards in a little pile to the side so they are involved in keeping themselves safe.
Halloween with Food Allergies: I linked a post there from my friend Beth to share what her family does to safely handle candy at this time of the year since I think it’s always helpful to hear from families in it. For the past few years when we had a lot of trick or treaters, I handed out an option like the flat (affiliate link) YumEarth lollipops as an allergy-friendly option. Or, many snacks like applesauce pouches, pretzels, and even Pirates Booty are available in Halloween snack packs at grocery stores.
What did I miss?