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Who is the Switch-Witch and How Can She Help You This Halloween?

carved jack-o-lanternsSpooky Scary Skeletons! It’s almost Halloween!

Time flies by so quickly and it’s almost my favourite time of year! I’m a pretty theatrical person and I am a huge fan of scary movies and stories so naturally Halloween is my favourite time of the year.

Halloween can be a super fun and creative time of year for both parents and children alike. My Mom used to help me make my own costume every year (And let me tell you, the homemade Bat costume I had in grade 3 is still my favourite costume I’ve ever had… so much so that I still try to recreate it now), my Dad hosted pumpkin carving parties and we made decorations to hang up around our not-so-haunted house at school.

I remember the thrill of running up and down the neighbourhood with my younger brother, seeing all the exciting decorations on my neighbours houses, and yes, of course, the candy.

Halloween can feel stressful for parents who want their kids to participate in the festivities but are worried about their kids over-indulging themselves on refined sugar and chocolate. For parents who have children with allergies, it’s even more concerning because those cheap dollar candies don’t often have ingredients listed on them at all.

So what can you do about this?

Enter the Switch-Witch.

The Switch Witch is an idea (I thought) my parents came up with, but is in fact a fairly common practice used by a lot of parents who want to make sure their kids don’t go too crazy over candy.

The Switch Witch lives on the Dark Side of The Moon. She’s a GOOD Witch that LOVES candy. She loves it so much…she’s willing to trade something exciting for your kids for their candy. She visits your house on Halloween after the kids have gone to sleep, and she looks at how much candy has been offered. The greater the candy traded, the more fantastic the item she leaves!

How fun is that? Of course, the Switch Witch is imaginary just like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, but for younger kids that only adds to the appeal. For older children it can be a great deal to strike in order to get something they’ve wanted for a while. You can always let your kids know that the Switch Witch isn’t real, just make it into a game and the appeal will stick! The important part is that you let your children choose what and how much they are going to give.

The best part about this is that YOU get to choose what the Switch Witch will trade your children for. My parents liked to do a combination of candies that were no-sugar-added and allergy-free, PLUS a small pre-negotiated item. Even if you’re not big on ‘things’ and ‘stuff’, there are other great options you can trade with, such as:

  • Toys
  • Books
  • Art Supplies
  • Movies
  • An activity (Such as a promised trip to the Zoo or Children’s Museum)
  • The Promise of a favourite meal
  • Money (you choose the exchange rate, of course)
  • Organic Candy with no added sugar or allergens

candy corn candy in a pumpkin-shaped bowlIf you’re not a fan of spinning tall tales for your children, or if you simply don’t think you can swing purchasing something to trade with your kids, you can always have them portion out a small amount to eat on Halloween, and put the rest in hidden away containers. The only way for your kids to get the treats is to help with chores or have a fun activity. That way you control how much they get (and can get rid of whatever you don’t want them to have). You can even save some of the candy for Holiday Baking in December or spread it out through the year so you’re not stuck buying more candy for your kids throughout the year.

The Switch Witch is a silly and effective solution to the Halloween Candy problem, but it isn’t the only part of the puzzle. Parents should also be diligent in feeding nutritional food year-round, and modelling healthy eating habits such as HOW to eat when you’re hungry, and to STOP eating when you’re full. If you teach your children how to eat regular nutritious meals and snacks and leave room for the occasional treat, they will grow to understand how to eat in a balanced way; and when they understand that you can trust your kids NOT to overdo it (even with Halloween Candy.)

It almost sounds counterintuitive but if treats are shameful or forbidden children won’t know what to do when they’re faced with them. If they think they’re foods they aren’t supposed to eat, this can lead to loading up and over-eating them whenever they’re available… even if they’re not actually hungry. The treats may not seem like as big of a deal if they have more consistent access to them. Of course, that doesn’t mean full-size chocolate bars or gummy candies in a dish at all times, but readily available organic treats will do the trick.

So what do you do with all this leftover candy? I definitely don’t suggest eating it all by yourself. It’s just as important to keep yourself healthy as you kids. Putting it in the trash just seems wasteful. Here are some ideas of what you can do with the leftovers instead.

  • Dentists “buy-back” programs. Some Dentists offer a program where they will ‘buy-back’ your leftover Halloween candy in exchange for toothbrushes, floss, coupons for services, or xylitol products instead.
  • Donate it! You can send the candy off to your local homeless shelters, Ronald McDonald House Charities, or even send it overseas to Military Members who may be away from their families during the holiday season.

The Switch Witch should be used in combination with year-round nutritional eating, and a boatload of love from parents who just want the best for their kids!

Happy Halloween!

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