Halloween candy: Our readers weigh in with suggestions

Halloweenis today! Whoohooh. Candy galore will soon be in the hands of your kids.

In honor of this day, we published two articles in the L.A. Times Health section:

One asked experts what parents should do with all the excess candy: Let the kids eat it all? Let them choose the pieces they like the best and dump the rest? (Would emotional trauma ensue from such deep betrayal?)

The other article asked prominent nutrition activists and health/nutrition experts what THEY hand out on Halloween. Michael Jacobsen of the nutrition advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest hands out raisins, for example. Journalist/author Gary Taubes, who has written much on the ills of refined carbs in today’s society, recuses himself from the issue and lets his wife hand out candy at their house.

And just in case you were worrying about how to know for sure that the candy your kids pick up hasn’t been tampered with, staff writer Eryn Brown points out in a blog post called “Tricks in the Treats: The Myth of Poisoned Halloween Candy” that tampering by strangers is extremely rare, if it has even happened at all.


In response to these articles, we’ve received a few letters from readers with tips that others may find useful. (Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section below.)

“For the last three years, I have given out Lego and toys instead, and I get no complaints,” writes James Welton of Huntington Beach. “Some kids come back for seconds or even thirds. It’s used Lego (clean); people could buy cheap Lego on ebay to give out.”

“I thought I’d share a solution that worked with my daughter until middle school,” writes Jurutha Brown of Glendalef. “I had her sit down with a small bowl and select her favorites [from her candy haul]. The rest was placed back in her trick-or-treat bag at the foot of her bed, for the Good Witch. While she slept, the Good Witch replaced the candy with fun things like puzzles, stickers, books, hair decorations, etc. My coworkers enjoyed the candy -- and she never missed it.

“This worked until about the 5th Grade, when she found out that none of her friends had ever heard about the Good Witch! My daughter is now 19, so we had a nice chuckle about the Good Witch this morning. “

And Ronnie Hammond shared the following:

“When my son was growing up, I had my own way of dealing with all the candy and the sugar of Halloween. First, sugar and candy were not things that we ate in our household. For Halloween, I would go to the health food store and buy an extremely appealing assortment of sugar-free goodies. Then I would buy a few new, small toys and wrap them as presents.

“Our agreement was that he would keep a few candy treats that he collected from trick or treating, give the rest away and then get this wonderful bag of sugar-free surprises that had some small presents in it. It was very exciting for him and worked for many years. He was always happy to give his candy away to trick-or-treaters that came to the door -- because what I gave him was ‘better.’ Also, one year I tried an experiment. I had three bowls, one with pencils, one with quarters and one with candy. I gave each trick-or-treater a choice of one. Guess which went the fastest? The pencils -- they were gone right away.”

Read more health-themed items at the L.A. Times’ Booster Shots blog.