candy exchange: one mom’s clever way to rid the house of excess halloween candy

excerpt from The Belly Book by Joe Harris

There’s no denying Halloween is fun. What’s not to love? There’s community. There’s fantasy. There’s candy. But for many parents, it’s a love/hate thing. Purveyor of both tooth decay and temper tantrums (and let’s be honest, a little weight gain), most of us would rather those sweet confections never make an appearance in the first place.

So the question remains, in the aftermath of Halloween, how do we peaceably wrench that spell-binding sweet stuff from our children’s sticky little clutches without the drama?

A Candy Exchange.

This year our family is hosting it’s 2nd Annual Halloween Candy Exchange. We’ve invited our children’s friends and families the weekend after Halloween to bring their excess Halloween candy and ten gently used books and/or toys for a candy exchange. Once everyone arrives, the grown-ups set up a “store” with prices marked on each of the donated items. The children then get to go “shopping” using their candy as currency.

As hostess and cashier, I collect the “money” at the checkout counter and the children walk away with their new purchases. Everyone wins!

Pay it forward.

Once the Halloween Candy Exchange party is over, our family donates the excess “candy cash” to a favorite charity. We choose the Ronald McDonald House of New Orleans, a home-away-from-home for families whose children come to the city to receive specialized medical care. For all the leftover books and toys, I schedule a pick up with, an organization that supports America’s Veterans and their families.

Or keep it simple and make it a Family Night.

If a Candy Exchange sounds like a sweet idea but you don’t want to host a big party, keep it simple. Take a trip to your local Dollar Store. Stock up on trinkets, books, and crafts and open your own little store. Your children will have a great time shopping in your living room.

Candy-related tantrums averted. Healthy eating habits restored.

How do you handle all the excess candy? Swipe it? Stash it? Use it for reward tokens? Please share your clever ideas.

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Amy Marquis

Amy Marquis is a NOLA native who grew up under the Live Oaks of Uptown. Before becoming an at-home parent, she worked in TV and advertising as a video producer. Today she and her husband are the proud owners of Framin’ Place & Gallery, the family’s custom picture framing business, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Amy spends most of her time chauffeuring, refereeing, shaping, and enjoying her two children.


  1. Love. Love. Love! What a fantastic idea!

Skip to toolbar