With all of the parties, treats, and fun, Halloween is undoubtedly a favorite holiday for kids. After a trick-or-treating session at school, and then again throughout the neighborhood, children are often left with a tote bag bursting with sugary snacks.

While they proudly look at their newly acquired loot, parents cringe at the thought of what all that candy might mean for their teeth, and sugar and calorie intake. Studies show that an average child collects between 3,500 – 7,000 calories worth of candy trick-or-treating.

How can parents let their little goblins share in the fun and not feel slighted when they try to limit their treats? The answer is to start a Trick-or-Treat, Swap the Sweet activity.

What is Trick-or-Treat, Swap the Sweet?

Trick-or-Treat, Swap the Sweet is essentially a trade. Parents can “buy-back” some of their kids’ candy by offering little presents or things in exchange.

Not into the idea of having a bunch of inexpensive toys around the house? No problem. Offer books, craft supplies, or movies. Set amounts on things to help keep the swapping going. For example, 20 candy bars will trade for some playdough and cookie cutters. Offer a larger item for a bigger amount of candy. The toy your child has been eyeing up for the past couple of months is perfect for this.

And, the trade doesn’t always have to be for things. Hosting a sleepover or a trip to the movies can be just as appealing, if not more.

No Tricks, All Treat

The key to pulling off a successful trade is to let kids know about it in advance. Talk to them about what ideas might be enticing and decide together what the exchanges will be. If children go into Halloween knowing that they’ll ultimately be swapping out some of their sweets, it might not be such a struggle to get them to do so later.

What’s Next? Getting Rid of the Stockpile of Sweets

After the trading, parents are still left with a pile of treats. So, what’s next? Consider donating it. There are multiple organizations that offer ways to send candy to deployed troops and first responders.  Operation Shoebox, Any Soldier, Operation Stars and Stripes, and Operation Gratitude are just a few.

Another great way to ditch the sugar and help others is through a Halloween Candy Buyback event. Many dentists host these events right after Halloween, either at their offices or a local business. In exchange for candy, your child might receive money (typically $1 per pound), dental hygiene products, coupons, etc.

The candy is then sent to troops overseas. Check to see which nearby dental offices are participating by visiting the Halloween Candy Buyback website. Or, for those looking to contribute on a more local level, contact your area homeless shelter, food pantry, or nursing homes to see if they would be interested in taking the treats. Giving to others through opportunities like these can help make Halloween a little sweeter for everyone.