So, you have made the decision of what you want to dress up as for Halloween – but have you thought about what to do with the mounds of candy your house will accumulate over this holiday? If you are looking for some great ideas of what to do with extra Halloween candy we have got some great ideas for you, many specific to the Mission Viejo and Orange County area! Of course, Halloween means indulging a bit on our favorite treats, but here are a few ways you can use up that candy without adding calories to your body or sugar to your teeth!
Many dental offices as well as local businesses will participate in the Operation Gratitude Halloween Candy Give Back where members of the community can drop off and donate unwanted Halloween candy which will then be sent in care packages to U.S Troops, First Responders, and Veterans. Our office, Sunshine Smiles Of Orange County, will be accepting candy donations in exchange for tokens to be used in our toy machines. For each pound donated (up to 5 pounds) we will offer one token! If you are looking for other drop off locations in the Mission Viejo or Orange County area, simply type in your zip code in the map locator on the Operation Gratitude website.
This is another amazing organization that will send care packages with candy to deployed military overseas as well as to veterans in VA hospitals. There are a few locations in Orange County to drop off donations, including in Anaheim, Riverside, and Long Beach. You can view the drop off locator map on the Solders’ Angels website.
Ronald McDonald Charities
Some chapters of the Ronald McDonald charities will accept candy donations for children and families that need a little “pick me up” during hard times. Not all chapters have the ability to accept donations so call ahead to your local chapter first before heading to drop off candy! The Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo does have a Ronald McDonald family room and may be able to take donations. You can also use the chapter locator to call ahead and find a facility near you accepting donations!
This is a fun tradition that your family can adopt if you have not already. With the Switch Witch tradition children have a fun Halloween evening collecting and eating candy. When they head to bed they leave the remainder of their candy in a bag for the Switch Witch who then trades it out for a different bag of goodies. This trade can be for healthier snacks or small gifts or cash, coupons for activities or whatever will be fun and exciting for your children!
I bet you didn’t think that leftover candy could actually be used for learning did you?? Well believe it or not, many candies can play an important role in learning certain concepts in young children. Here are a few ways that candy can be used in this way.
- Create 3-D structures/shapes using soft candies (marshmallows, gumdrops, Dots) and toothpicks
- Use different varieties of candies to teach young children sorting (by size, shape, color, type etc), or sequencing patterns
- Using templates found online, use candies to practice forming letters and even words
- Polish up math skills by practicing addition, subtraction, fractions and more using candy pieces as manipulatives
Craft And Create
Another way to have fun with your Halloween candy without having to eat it, is by using it to create art. A wise mom came up with this idea to use candies such as Skittles to paint with which I know would be an absolute hit with young children. And yet another smart mom came up with the genius idea to use meltable candies to form into some beautiful works of art to be used as ornaments. How fun would that be!? And of course, with the holidays around the corner, you can always save extra candy to be used for gingerbread house and cookie decorating!
I have always said, I think Halloween should be enjoyed and I fully intend to let my own children have a night of fun and indulgence… but come November 1 we will be finding other ways to both use up and donate our extra candy! And as always, anytime candy is consumed be sure to brush and floss extra well… I would even suggest that parents help with the routine even if your children are older. The more candy (and the stickier) that is consumed, the harder it is to remove it all by yourself! Here at Sunshine Smiles, we are wishing everyone a fun and safe Halloween!
Dr. Mikaeya Kalantari has been a practicing pediatric dentist for over 7 years working in both the children's hospital setting and private practice. She has had a wealth of experience treating children of all ages, and medical conditions. When it comes to serving children, she feels the importance of communication between the dentist and parent can not be emphasized enough. Dr. Kalantari practices in her family owned dental office in Mission Viejo, California.