Our family likes sugar. Probably too much, actually. But we try to avoid highly concentrated sugar and artificial colors, and try to buy chocolate that uses fair labor practices.
You know, the exact opposite of most Halloween candy.
I know that might sound snooty. We’re not total snobs, I promise. We’re also not total buzzkills, and we want our kids to be able to enjoy trick-or-treating. We’re already weird unique in a lot of ways. I’m not about to take Halloween away from our homeschooled, gluten-free, Baha’i kids who are living out of plastic crates in a different city every month this year.
So, the dilemma ensues: Do we let our kids keep all of the non-glutenous candy they collect, despite the fact that we’d never normally buy it for them (which seems inconsistent)? Do we throw it all way (which seems wasteful)? Do we give it away to other people, in spite of the fact that we ourselves are opposed to eating it (which seems hypocritical)?
I’m sure some people will have strong feelings about this. But I don’t think any of us can be too sanctimonious on a holiday where we encourage children to knock on strangers’ doors and ask for obscene amounts of candy.
So here’s what we decided: The kids chose some gluten-free, dye-free candy to keep and eat, and the rest went into a family art project. (We also tossed in two bags of Tootsie Rolls and a bag of Tootsie Pops we had leftover, since we had no trick-or-treaters.)
First, we unwrapped all the candy and sorted it. The kids thought this was HUGE fun. Who doesn’t love seeing gobs of colorful candy all at once?
Then we got out a platter and started building a scene. Tootsie rolls make GREAT logs for house-building. They’re so sticky, you don’t even need frosting or anything to stick them together.
For trees, we snipped off part of the stick of the Tootise Pops, then microwaved Tootsie Rolls for 15 seconds and molded them around the shortened stick.
Even BoyWonder could help with this part.
This is supposed to be me. I got a little melty in the warm house. I recommend sticking the people in the fridge to cool fully before trying to stand them up.
We made the roof structure with unfolded Dots and Nerds boxes, and then covered them in Tootsie Roll and Laffy Taffy tiles. (Be careful with the microwaved candy – it can be hot when it first comes out.)
The kids had a blast, though. It was such a great way for them to part with their candy willingly (ecstatically, actually), and it really engaged their imagination. They had to pull out their consultative skills as well, since they had to plan the whole thing out and decide who was going to make what.
They even put an Atomic Fireball in the house as an exercise ball. 🙂
The verdict? Dolittle (9) said, “This is even more fun than eating it!”
So, the candy will eventually be tossed, but at least we got some valuable use out of it first.
Mission accomplished. 🙂