Nov. 1, 2013 at 10:25 AM ET
Halloween may one night of sugar-fueled fun—but for most kids, that trick-or-treat stash lasts a lot longer than the holiday itself. What's your strategy for the annual sugar smackdown? From the Switch Witch to the one-night free-for-all, we asked moms and dads how they handle all that leftover Halloween candy (and, um, which treats they steal for themselves).
"My kids were SO excited about the 'witch's bowl' this year. We take all the crappy candy that they can't have, put it in a bowl, light the jack o' lanterns and go to bed. In the morning there are acceptable treats for each of them. This year they each got a packet of chips, organic chocolate bar (a BIG one), individual apricot package, one pack of natural colored sweets and free-range biltong (beef jerky). Some may call me mean or a health freak but my kids thought it was AMAZING and loved EVERY bit of it!" —Greta
"I work hard getting my son around to all his Halloween activities (and burn a bunch of calories doing it!), so I deserve some of the loot! I take all the kinds I really like (Dots, Rolos, Butterfingers) and tell him it's learning to share. I might also sometimes refer to them as 'the icky kinds.'" —Melissa
"We toss the majorly toxic stuff—things like gum and anything with lots of stuff we can't pronounce—and let them have their fill of the rest for one day. Then, if there's any left, we put it away and use it as treats throughout the year." —Devin
"The first day of Halloween candy is pretty much a free-for-all, but then Chloe can only choose from it whenever we normally allow treats, which is mostly after dinner. Because she often wants a cookie or ice cream or something else instead, we actually still have some Halloween candy left from last year!" —Ellen
"My kids' dentist offers a cash-for-candy program; kids get a dollar for every pound of candy they turn in (plus goodies like a toothbrush, pencils and pretzels), and he sends it to the troops overseas. On Halloween night, my kids each pick out five pieces of candy and turn in the rest. I don't withhold candy from them regularly, so it's not a big to-do." —Jen (Want to donate your candy to the troops? Operation Gratitude can help.)
"Halloween candy? We let them gobble it all down with no control, and then deal with the sugar detox for about a week afterwards, slowly weaning them with smoothies and raisins so they don't go into massive withdrawal. We don't normally eat processed food or much sweets, so I figure the less I try to control the Halloween candy, the less of a big deal they will make candy." —Elaine
"We let her eat as much as she wants while trick-or-treating and on Halloween night. (I do inspect the candy first.) After I take a few Reese's for myself, she goes through it and picks out the stuff she doesn't want. We keep the rest around for about a week, letting her have a piece or two a day. After that, it mysteriously disappears...until some of it reappears in her Christmas stocking." —Jessica
"This year we're going to try the 'Switch Witch.' After our kids do the one-day binge of Halloween candy, they'll leave it for the Switch Witch who will take it and leave a toy in return." -- Julie
"Our 5-year-old gets to eat a bunch of candy the day of, then picks out a certain number (this year 10) of pieces to keep, 1 per day until they run out." —Jeannie
"My son has food allergies, so I sneak natural treats to our friendly neighbors so he can keep some of his bounty. Then, we have a 'sneaky black cat' chair backer from Pottery Barn that they must find -- it's full of natural snacks that they 'exchange' their trick or treating artificial gunk for. They're just as excited to find the cat and make the exchange as they are for the actual trick or treating!" —Patty
"They get one piece a day... I get what's necessary per day!" —Kate
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.