Friday, October 30, 2009

Scary Halloween Chocolate

I'm back, folks. Want to thank you for checking in from time to time and apologize for missing the chance to post blogs in the last couple months. Figured I'd get back in touch with a timely and favorite topic: CHOCOLATE!

I am definitely in a danger zone when it comes to chocolate candy. I truly enjoy it--all of it--and still look for ways to manage the crazy addiction. I'm in awe of people who can keep bowls of M&Ms on their desk and ignore them most of the day. I'm not one of them. Imagine popping handsful until it's empty; that's me. Halloween and its chocolate candy is always a challenge for me as a Mom. Fortunately, my kids are not addicted to the chocolate. They just like to collect as much as possible. I don't blame them.

Many tips have been given over the years to handle the abundance of candy on Halloween. The most popular suggestion is to make sure not to buy Halloween candy in the first place, so it's not in my house. Fine. I've purchased and distributed a variety of creative and interesting goodies that are not of the chocolate persuasion over the years. Pencils. Coins. Pretzels. Goody bags with stickers and crayons. All good stuff; all useful. The problem is not the stuff I give away. It's the stuff that comes back in. What is with these people who dole out handsful of Snickers fun-size bars, or worse yet, full-size Hershey bars, to every kid that passes by? They must not be chocolate addicts at all, or instead enjoy this time to buy an exhorbitant amount of chocolate for their own indulgence with the excuse that it was candy purchased for Halloween trick-or-treaters. I can relate. I did this type of purchasing for many years.

I don't want to take the Halloween fun away from my kids. I still remember the joy of gathering up lots of goodies, emptying out the pillowcase (okay, I'm showing my age here..does anyone use pillowcases anymore?), and going out to the next neighborhood and repeating the process several times. The living room floor would be loaded beyond my imagination. Now that's a definition of a kid having fun. My own chocolate addiction should not deprive my children of this type of fun. The problem: how to let them indulge in the fun of collecting abundant goodies without letting them--or me--indulge in abundant chocolate?

Several Moms I know actually store their kids' candy collections and dole them out over the next several months. If the candy is still in the pantry after too many months, they might even throw away the chocolate that has been sitting the cabinet 'for the kids'. Not possible in my house. That candy would call my name time and time again until it's gone, probably before Thanksgiving. By then I would have started the holiday season with those extra ten pounds, instead of trying to lose the season's ten pounds after the holidays. Get my drift?

My solution: money! I actually pay my kids ten cents for each goody their collect (or I might change the year's going rate to five cents if they get too much); then they each 'earn' about five or ten dollars. I get to enjoy throwing away their candy (or donating it, if appropriate), using the dish soap method (that's an earlier blog from 4/27/09--"Binge Management"--check it out!) and being rid of my problem for the year. The kids are allowed to use the money however they want; I even set up a special trip to the toy store, or the store of their choice, to purchase their bonus goody earned. They are allowed to keep a few pieces only of their favorite chocolate; few enough that it's gone with their lunch snacks within a week, but that's all. It's a treat for me to see how this method has allowed them to enjoy the concept of collecting goodies without the extra stress for me to handle the chocolate addiction. The cash bribe is worth every cent.

If Halloween candy is difficult for you to handle, too, I found the best solution is in the sharing of ideas--let me know yours! Halloween chocolate need never be scary again.