Growing up, we spread our loot on the kitchen table, itemized, made some trades, and then ate with wild abandon. No one talked about calories or fat or health issues. Alas, our world today is a very different place! A big part of our lives these days is to teach our kids about leading a healthy life. Of course, this helps us make the case for donating that candy they’ve been eagerly awaiting. Another great lesson that goes along with it – and leads into the season of thanks – is giving.
I talked my kids into donating a couple of years ago and now they choose their top ten goodies and give the rest away. So on the cusp of Halloween and potential gluttony, I offer you alternatives for those bags of candy.
The Switch Witch seems to be an invention from sometime in the past several years, clearly the brainchild of a clever parent. According to legend (*loose term), if you leave your candy out for this crazy (gluttonous) witch, she will take the candy and replace it with a present of some sort. Another alternative is just to be on the up-and-up and say, “Hey kids. Give me your candy and I’ll buy you a $5 gift.” Is that cheap? You could make it $10. Parental discretion, of course.
Operation Gratitude annually sends 150,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation, to New Recruits, Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas. Their mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our Military. Each package contains donated product valued at $75-100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than One Million Care Packages.
For Operation Gratitude, there are (2) Candy Drop Locations in/around Newton:
1. Exxcel Gymnastics & Climbing
88 Wells Avenue
Newton, Massachusetts 02459
Office Number: (617) 244-3300
2. Dr. Weiss (Dentist)
The Center for Pediatric Dental Care & Orthodontics
1560 Beacon Street
Brookline, Massachusetts 02446
Office Number: (617) 731-5437
***Green Planet Kids’ 4th Annual Candy Buy Back
Instead of eating all that Halloween candy, trade it in for awesome toys, books, and art supplies!
Children ages 2-12 are invited to bring in ONE POUND or more of fresh, packaged candy in exchange for a $5.00 gift card! Candy will be sent to troops overseas and donated to local food pantries. (One gift card per child. Child must be present and accompanied by an adult.) Bring in your candy during store hours, Tuesday 11/1 through Saturday 11/5
Green Planet Kids @ 22 Lincoln Street, Newton Highlands
Working with / contributing to Operation Gratitude, the Halloween Candy Buy Back program, accepts candy in exchange for toothbrushes, coupons and sometimes cash. Important note: It’s imperative that you call ahead. Many dentists set certain buy back rules, like a maximum amount of candy or specific drop-off hours. Get the details before you go – here are the places participating in/around Newton this year:
1. The Smile Institute
1842 Beacon Street Suite 401
Brookline, MA, 02445
2. Caravolas and Karavolas Dentistry
20 Hope Ave.
Waltham, MA, 02453
Phone: (781) 647-0804
3. Arlington Orthodontists
800 Massachusetts Ave #1
Arlington, MA, 02476
Phone: (781) 777-2559
Parents take your kiddos on a trip to local charities that accept candy donations. You’ll both have a great experience by sweetening someone else’s day. Some ideas include your local Ronald McDonald House (Boston: http://rmhboston.org/), local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, food pantry, retirement, or nursing home. Call ahead to be sure they’ll accept your donation.
And finally, if your kiddo can’t part with his or her loot but you want to change things up a little, there are endless ideas online with how you can reshape and reuse your candy in different ways. For example, check out these recipes: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/holiday—celebration-recipes/halloween-recipes/recipes-using-leftover-halloween-candy.
Best of luck with all that candy. And most of all, have a safe and happy Halloween!!