What is a switch witch? And what should I do with all this extra candy? Not to worry, I got you covered this Halloween. Let me explain all about the switch witch, how we navigate Halloween (with a food allergy) and what to do with all that extra candy.
Before I begin, what are your Halloween traditions? Does Halloween waste or sugar consumption bother you? Do you have a child with a food allergy who can’t eat most of the treats? I would love to hear your comment below.
I find myself always going back and forth on this celebration. While I love seeing our kids have fun, get creative, and engage with the neighborhood, I am always mindful of what message this sends. What expectations will they have for the world, and is this holiday a harmless one, or one that teaches mindless consumption?
I reckon that it depends on how your child experiences Halloween. What traditions are you adapting and sharing with your child? Here are a few of our family favourites and how to navigate food allergies and reducing our Halloween sugar high.
To read how we minimize our Halloween waste check out this post (4 easy ways to zero-waste Halloween).
The Switch Witch, best Halloween tradition yet!
The switch witch started visiting our house shortly after we discovered Jaden’s food allergies. Being our first Halloween navigating food allergies I was unsure how to go trick-or-treating without it causing some tears. So, I got to researching and I began searching around for ideas.
I could buy back his candy, but the idea of giving my child money in exchange for candy seemed weird. Another option was to ask the neighbors to hand out allergy-friendly candy (that we previously purchased). But I wanted my son to have realistic expectations about the world around him. And It is important to teach a child how to navigate the world with food allergies.
Then the lightbulb moment, I heard about the switch witch and I knew she had to visit us ;).
So how does it work? The switch witch can be whatever you want her to be. Essentially she is switching out the candy for something in return. Feel free to put your own spin on it but here is what we do.
- The kids still go trick-or-treating to a few houses (we pick the most decorated ones). Then they come home and place all their candy outside for the switch witch exchange. And after a quick bath, so they don’t see the spooky witch (hehe), they come back downstairs to find all their candy replaced with a switch witch basket!
The Switch Witch basket always contains something they need, like new gloves for winter. Something they want, like a few hot wheels cars, or a cool book. And of course, a few allergy-friendly treats. Make it extra eco-friendly with used toys, book swaps or second-hand winter gear.
What happens to the candy? Keep reading to find out how we deal with all that extra Halloween candy.
What to do with the extra candy
Here are a few ways you can ‘deal’ with the extra candy.
- Visit fewer houses: By far the EASIEST solution. Fewer houses mean less candy to deal with! With the added bonus of also producing less waste.
- Hand it back out: Yes we sometimes hand the candy back out. Not the best way to deal with the extra candy but it is up to you to find the solutions that work for your family.
- Compost: Remove the candy from its wrapper and place it in the compost. You can recycle bigger candy boxes and drop any foil wrapping at selected waste management locations.
- Terracycle does a great job of recycling candy wrappers. It does cost money to purchase the recycling boxes but this could be something you do as a group with like-minded neighbors or friends.
- Donations: A little caveat on donating to food banks or food drives. Keep in mind that if you don’t’ want your kids to eat candy, donating them to lower-income families is not very helpful. Instead look to donate nutrient-rich canned foods, warm clothes or toiletries. Here are some better places to donate to.
- Halloween Candy Buy Back Program: This program is held by selected dental offices across America that will buy your candy in exchange for coupons, toothbrushes or other creative exchange items. Ask your local dentist if they offer these programs.
- Operation Shoebox and Move America Forward: Selected candy will get shipped to troops by volunteers. This is especially requested during the Holiday seasons.
- Salvation Army: If you are in Vancouver, the Salvation Army located at 119 East Cordova Street is currently accepting candy donations.
There you have it, a few sustainable and easy Halloween tradition ideas. Managing holidays with food allergies doesn’t mean missing out on the fun. There are so many creative and easy solutions for making Halloween more sustainable and less wasteful!
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Until then, tchau