15 things to do with that leftover Halloween candy

Oh, the candy is everywhere in my house. The rain on Halloween meant that we didn’t have as many trick-or-treaters come to the door. And yet, my teenagers managed to find the one pocket of Austin where the rain was just a drizzle. They came home with candy by the pillowcase full.

What to do with all that loot?

If your pumpkin is overflowing, we have ideas of what to do with that candy. Thinkstock

Here are 15 ideas:

  1. The Candy Witch needs to come. What’s the Candy Witch? She’s like the Tooth Fairy or Santa Clause only slightly meaner. Ask your kids to pick out  their favorite 10 pieces of candy. Then the  Candy Witch comes to your house at the allotted time. It could be overnight, it could be a couple days from Halloween. Sometimes she leaves money or a toy. Other times she just takes the candy and runs. The Candy Witch (aka you) then disposes of the candy in any way she might choose.
  2. Dole it out a little at a time. One piece a night per kid can last you a long time. Plus it can be the reward for good behavior at school or chores done. The trick is to not eat all the candy yourself.
  3. Find the dentist or orthodontist who will pay your kids for their candy. Visit halloweencandybuyback.com/ to find the participant near you.
  4. Send your candy to a soldier. Visit soldiersangels.org/treatsfortroops for the drop off locations.
  5. Bring it to the office. Some of your officemates might not thank you because they will be bringing their candy, too. But for those who are single, living in an apartment, with no kids around, they might be very happy you did.
  6. Donate it to your school. If they have a carnival coming up, they might be able to use it. Sometimes teachers can use things like M&Ms and Skittles for math activities or for the winter holiday party.
  7. Donate it to your house of worship. They might be able to use it for religious school classes or an event.
  8. Make art with it. Make a collage using candy. Why not? You also can make holiday ornaments using it as well.
  9. Save it for holiday cookie decorations. Who doesn’t love a peanut butter cookie with Reeses’ Pieces in them, or a sugar cookie with frosting and bits of candy bars on top?
  10. Decorate a gingerbread house with it. You need candy decorations anyway. Now you have some.
  11. Gamble with it. The stakes of the next game of  Go Fish got higher with candy. Use it for the dreidel game at Hanukkah.
  12. Save it for the next kid’s birthday party. Fill the piñata with it. Use it in treat bags.
  13. Fill the stockings with it. It make excellent filler in between the trinkets.
  14. Hand it out in treat bags to the homeless. That guy with the sign you see every day on your way to work, doesn’t he need candy? Do something even better and add a bottle of water, dry socks, a snack with protein, some toiletries to that treat bag.
  15. Throw it out. Yes, we live in a land of excess. Yes, there are hungry people everywhere. But, candy doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value. If your family doesn’t need it in their diet and if you know you can’t dole it out over time without wanting to eat it all at once, give yourself permission to not have to have it in your house. If you really aren’t sure you can handle even knowing it’s in the trash can outside, put the kitty litter or some other gross garbage on top of it or spray it with cleaning fluid so you won’t be tempted to dig it out of the trash.

Join the Teal Pumpkin Project to give kids with food allergies Halloween treats

This orange plastic pumpkin filled with candy presents a problem for kids with food allergies. Thinkstock

All kids love Halloween candy right? Well, not really. Some kids cannot have it because of medical conditions or food allergies.

Austinite Marty Barnes started a program with Mommies of Miracles, a support/advocacy group for families with children with complex medical issues, to create awareness that homes could treat more kids if they offered non-candy treats.

Barnes and her husband Tim later founded Casey’s Circle, a local nonprofit organization named after their daughter Casey, who had a brain injury at birth. She had cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness, among other diagnoses. The organization provides typical childhood experiences like birthday parties, Christmas parties to children who are medically fragile.

The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to have non-food treats on hand to give out on Halloween, an accommodation for kids with food allergies or who otherwise can’t eat candy. Photo from Michelle Fandrich.

The idea of providing nonfood treats has caught on. Teal Pumpkin Project from the Food Allergy Research & Education has gone nationwide. Paint a teal pumpkin or put out a teal pumpkin sign and people will know that your house has non-food treats, too. Then add your house to the map of homes that are offering non-free treats.  One of the homes on the site this year is Fairview Bed and Breakfast, which is a gluten-free bed-and-breakfast in Travis Heights. Owners Vivian and Jimi Ballard will hand out small toys as well as gluten-free candy.

Barnes recommends offering items such as

  • glow bracelets
  • stickers
  • tattoos
  • noise makers
  • bouncy balls

You can also put a sticker on your child that says “non-food items only.” That way you don’t have to explain at every door why you can’t take the candy.

If you do need to take the candy and don’t want to be impolite, your child could still benefit from the candy. Many orthodontists participates in the Halloween Candy Buy Back program. I searched my ZIP code and found multiple locations within 10 miles of my house. You also can ask your own orthodontist if his or her office is participating.

There are a lot of great things happening in the world of food allergies. ‘Specially for Children, which is affiliated with Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, became a FARE site last year.  This means that kids who are at ‘Specially for Children can participate in research studies, like a peanut allergy study.

I’ve also written about how to handle school issues when you have a child with a gluten intolerance or Celiac’s disease. A lot of the same principles would apply to any food allergy or intolerance. Some of the suggestions:

  1. Have approved snacks at school for the teacher to give out if there is a cupcake day.
  2.  Educate the teacher and the classes’ parents about why your child can’t have the cupcake and offer parents solutions of what they could bring for your child.
  3. Empower kids to be their own advocate and understand what they can and cannot have.

FARE is holding its Heroes Walk at O’Henry Middle School at 3 p.m.Sunday, Oct. 29. It’s free to walk, but donations are appreciated. The goal is to raise $45,000 for food allergy awareness and research.

Take in these Halloween family events around Austin

We love Halloween! How are you going to celebrate it with your family?

Here are some local events to take in this month before the big day:

Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop has a corn maze and other activities for kids to enjoy. Photos: Barton Hill Farms

 

Fall festivals

Robinson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch. Go through a corn maze, go on a hay ride, pet the goats and pick a pumpkin. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. Free, but pay for each activities and pumpkins. 3780 White Owl Lane, Temple. therobinsonfamilyfarm.com

Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m.-8 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 5. $14, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.com

Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick your own pumpkins and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 8. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, ​Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm Fall Farm Fun. Explore a corn maze, hay bale maze and a crazy maze, plus go on a hay ride, visit animals and get a mini pumpkin to decorate. Big pumpkins to purchase. $7. Beginning Oct. 6. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday. Pumpkin Festival, Oct. 14-15, with special activities. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Hunt. Go hunting pumpkins, launch pumpkins, train ride, maze, mini golf, fishing pond pony rides and bounce house. $2.50 for each activity. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays in October. 242 Monkey Road. evergreen-farms.com

Fall Family Fun Days. Enjoy raptor shows, snake shows, sheep shearing, corn shucking, apple cider making, live music, and lots of local vendors selling everything from fresh organic produce, eggs, honey, jam, and bread and more. $9-$3. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays in October. Crowe’s Nest Farm, 10300 Taylor Lane. crowesnestfarm.org

Halloween Carnival and Haunted House. 75 cent games, $1 haunted house. 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 12. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St. austintexasgov

Pumpkin Carving. Free pumpkins based on household size, plus games, face painting and more. 11 a.m. Oct. 28. Saturday, Carver Center, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Boo at the Zoo. Dress up and enjoy the zoo with Halloween-themed activities. 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October. $17.50. Austin Zoo, 10808 Rawhide Trail. austinzoo.org

The Austin Zoo puts on Boo at the Zoo next month. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Events

Dress up for Littles. Kids ages 1-5 can play dress up in different costumes. 10 a.m. Oct. 2. Brentwood Social House, 1601 W Koenig Lane.

Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. This month’s theme: Spooked. Free. 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 4. Reservations required. domainnorthside.com

Museums

Bullock MuseumSpooktacular. Come dress for Halloween activities. 5 p.m. Oct. 27. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Thinkery.  Monster Masterpieces. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds. Oct. 9. $20. Family Night: Halloween Hootenanny. Come in costume and ready for fun. $15 adults, $13 children. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 27. Whisks and Wizards. Make Halloween-themed food. For ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Oct. 7-9, Oct. 21-22. $8. Costume Design. Make your own costume. For ages 4 and up. $8. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Oct. 14-15, Oct. 28-29.Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Science Saturday: HalloweenSTEAM. Noon-4 p.m Oct. 28. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

Toybrary Austin. Halloween Party with Slime! 10: 30 a.m. Oct. 26. $10 per child. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Movies

Alamo Drafthouse events. “Ghostbusters” Party. 7 p.m. Oct. 1, Mueller. “The Addams Family” Party. 4 p.m. Oct. 15, Mueller. “Goosebumps” with introduction by R.L. Stine. 4 p.m. Oct. 21, Mueller.  drafthouse.com

“Rosita y Conchita” is a bilingual Día de los Muertos play at Scottish Rite Theater.

Theater

“Rosita y Conchita.” See this bilingual Día de los Muertos play about two sisters who try to reunite. $8-$12. 11 a.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 8, 14-15, 22 and 28-29; 1 p.m. Oct. 14-15, Oct. 22, Oct. 28-29. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org

Ballet Austin’s “Not Afraid of the Dark.” See glowing ballet in the dark. $15. 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Oct. 21-22, Oct. 28-29. Ballet Austin Studio Theater, 501 W. Third St. balletaustin.org

 

Austin Symphony’s Halloween concert brings spooky music to audiences. Credit: 2011 Austin Symphony Orchestra

Music

Halloween Concert. Hear Halloween-themed music from the Austin Symphony. $14-$19. 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Oct. 29. Austin ISD Performing Arts Center, 1925 E. 51st St. austinsymphony.org

 

Books

BookPeople Halloween-themed story times: Monsters are our Friends, 11:30 a.m. Oct. 7; Halloween Trick-or-Treat for Books, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 31. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations:  “Mary McScary,” Oct. 28.

“Coraline” is at the library this month. Focus Features

At the library

 

 

 

Family Movie Night: “Coraline.” 6 p.m. Oct. 10, Twin Oaks Branch; “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.” 3:30 p.m. Oct. 13, Old Quarry Branch.

Día de los Muertos. 4 p.m. Oct. 12, Twin Oaks Branch; 5 p.m. Oct. 23, Windsor Park Branch; 3:30 p.m. Oct. 27, Recycled Reads Bookstore; 4 p.m. Ruiz Branch, Oct. 31; 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31, Dove Springs Recreation Center.

 

 

It’s Halloween!!! Be safe out there

Tuesday could be a wet one for trick-or-treating. Hopefully, the rain will hold off until after 9 p.m.  and not soak our Halloween fun.

If we are able to head out, keep these safety tips in mind.

Ashley Fair hands out candy to Mya Atkins, 4, during the Hill Country Galleria Trick or Treat event in 2014. RACHEL RICE/LAKE TRAVIS VIEW

Here are some safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics; Dr. Avni Shah, Baylor Scott & White pediatrician, and  Dr. Julie Alonso-Katzowitz, a Seton child and adolescent psychiatrist:

Costumes:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.

Pumpkin carving:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.

Home safety for trick-0r-treaters:

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

Trick-or-treating:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Talk to kids who might be scared about the idea that people are in costumes — that there are real people underneath. Go earlier in the night when the streets will be filled with younger kids who are less likely to be in scary costumes.
  • If kids are scared, only choose homes without scary decorations and don’t force them to trick-or-treat. You can also arrange to only go to a few known houses and call it done.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind trick-or-treaters:
    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
    • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

Be healthy-ish:

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.

Here are a couple of safety tips for California Poison Control:

  1. Glow-in-the-dark jewelry and glow sticks are used by parents to keep their children visible while trick-or-treating in the dark. Children may break open these glow sticks getting the liquid on their hands and in their mouths. The liquid can be mildly irritating to the skin or eyes but is not likely to cause harm if a small amount is ingested.
  2. Children should not eat treats until they return home and all items have been inspected by an adult.
  3. Limit the amount of candy ingested at one time. Too much candy can cause stomach discomfort, and sugars and other sweeteners can act as laxatives when consumed in large amounts.
  4. If a child brings home a brand of candy that is not familiar, throw it away. Some imported candies have high levels of lead that can be harmful.
  5. Candy that is unwrapped should be discarded immediately.
  6. Fruit treats should be washed and cut open before being eaten.
  7. Homemade treats should be discarded unless the individuals who prepared them are well known and trusted.
  8. Little pieces of candy are potential choking hazards for small children.
  9. Torn, loose, or punctured wrapping may be a sign of tampering. Tampering should be reported to local police.
  10. Some Halloween makeup contains lead as do many regular cosmetics. Check www.safecosmetics.org for safe makeup to use on children.

 

Looking for a last-minute costume? We have ideas.

Plus, trick-or-treating tips for kids with food allergies.