The Switch Witch: a new spin on Halloween

It’s been a week since Halloween. Are you wondering what to do with all that leftover candy that your kids can’t seem to get enough of? As a child, the best part of Halloween (apart from the dark, spooky nights and crazy costumes) was the delight in devouring HUGE bags filled with candy. Every year my friends and I would set out at the slightest hint of nightfall with the sole mission of filling our pillow cases to the brim with candy. No house would be ignored, and we would avoid with great care any neighbour who handed out apples or any healthy snack. Those families were eagerly blacklisted and there was a community of children who used sophisticated intel to inform their peers of which houses to avoid.

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Today as a parent, I cringe at the prospect of my kids coming home with large quantities of candy. I thought of becoming that house that hands out apples or play dough. For children, an important part of Halloween is enjoying and truly indulging in copious amounts of sugar. So how was I going to curb my children’s enthusiasm for candy, without being a Debbie Downer?

At first I thought I would do nothing. My children are young and probably wouldn’t eat that much candy. I reflected on last year, when my eldest was content on receiving a small quantity of candy every day until her reserve was depleted. I would do the same this year. The only problem was her little sister.

On Halloween night, my youngest who can barely talk pointed feverishly at a small bag of chocolate candies. I gave her two pieces of candy which she inhaled, and within seconds her expression changed. She rarely had the chance to enjoy something so sweet and she insisted I give her more, and by insist I mean she began to scream. To diffuse the situation I handed her the remainder of the small bag which she devoured instantly. She then fell to the floor, screamed and pounded her tiny fists on the ground upon hearing the words “all done!”

I had never seen such a visceral reaction in my little girl, but she was so consumed with the taste of this sweet substance. I had to cut her off. She was too young, and I didn’t want this to turn ugly. But then, what would happen when her big sister came home with a bag filled with the same small packs of this sweet substance? How would we keep her away from all these treats? It’s easier to convince a child that she cannot eat all her candy in one sitting, but hard to communicate to a toddler the same message. I had to find a way to get rid of the Halloween candy. All of it.

The next day a friend asked me about the Switch Witch. She is a witch who comes in the night and “switches” children’s candy with a gift. I loved this idea! I could get rid of our Halloween candy and at the same time preserve contentment on my girls’ faces. First, I had to sell my eldest on this idea.

I mentioned the Switch Witch in passing, asking my daughter if she ever heard of her. She hadn’t, and when I described the clandestine transaction, my child was uninterested. There was noooo way she was giving up her Halloween candy for some lame witch. I let it go. The next day, after she had enjoyed a few more treats, I mentioned that the Switch Witch was doing her rounds in our neighbourhood and was looking for homes to visit, reminding her that she would receive a surprise in return. This time she appeared interested at the idea of enjoying something other than candy. I told her I’d “text” the Switch Witch and let her know that our family was in for the switch. The next night, my daughter left her bag of candies hanging on the door and the following morning, to my daughter’s great delight, there was a gift bag there in its place.

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To my pleasant surprise, my daughter hasn’t since asked for her Halloween candies. I think the Switch Witch was a hit for the following reasons:

  • We introduced the idea to our daughter, and let her make the decision about whether to invite the Switch Witch into our home. This gave her a sense of empowerment so she would feel confident in her decision;
  • We let her enjoy her Halloween candy for a few days before the Switch Witch came so she could still enjoy a few treats and not feel she was losing out when she gave them up;
  • The deal was attractive. She loved the idea of someone, a witch for that matter, coming at night into her home and leaving a surprise for her in the morning;
  • She had fun! We all did. It was a win-win situation for her since she got a nice present in exchange for her candies, as well as for us parents since we don’t have to deal with sugar-induced tantrums or unhealthy eating.

The Switch Witch is a keeper, and has been a great way to slowly transition Halloween candy out of our home.

  • Does The Switch Witch Come To Your House? (b96.cbslocal.com)
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