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  • Adar Novak

A Halloween Story About Giving Back

From the experts in psychologically-sound soothing

When my older daughter was young, our first few years of trick-or-treating seemed magical. My daughter toddled from house to house collecting candy and tired after one block. She would have a few pieces of candy, and my husband and I would sneak the rest. (Sh! She still doesn't know!) As our daughter (and family) grew, we noticed that Halloween displays would hit stores by the first day of school. The pressure to choose the "right" costume was on. The constantly ringing doorbell at our home was startling and disruptive to our (now two) kids. The negotiations over costume practicality and safety — tights or leggings under costumes, jackets over them — while trick-or-treating was seemingly endless. And we had to toss most candy because it was either not well wrapped, stuck to teeth or contained allergens. (In fact, as I re-read this paragraph, I realize that my family may soon buy me a Grinch costume!) Then came our dentist's candy buy-back program — hallelujah! We stumbled upon a way to include a dose of charity and gratitude into an otherwise sugar- and frenzy-filled day. It works like this: Our dentist wants to encourage healthy teeth and help to relieve us of excess amounts of cavity-causing sweets. So we bring the candy to his office and his staff weighs and collects it, minus the few pieces my kids absolutely cannot live without. The dental office sends the candy to U.S. troops overseas and my husband and I aren't (as) tempted to gorge on our kids' candy stash. Waistline considerations aside, the truth is that, incorporating the candy buy-back into our Halloween has empowered my daughters. Instead of a candy accumulation race from house to house, they now have a kind, tangible goal that goes beyond a short-lived sugar high. The benefit is threefold. The candy buy-back gets my little superheroes (a mermaid and Batgirl, actually) to think beyond themselves, eliminates the temptation to soothe with sweets (leave the soothing to your Pouchie Pals) and keeps their dental hygiene — and our sanity — in tact. Win-win-win. From my little superheroes to yours, happy Halloween!

Adar Novak A few of our favorite places to donate candy:

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