Trick or Treat Trade In

Every kid loves Halloween. It’s a day when you can dress up as Captain Jack Sparrow and pillage and plunder the neighborhood as you go door to door demanding that your neighbors “hand over ye candy”.

I remember getting home after trick or treating and dumping my candy out to see what the treasure was this year. As a parent, I don’t want to take away that joy from my kids, but at the same time, I am not going to allow them to eat that highly processed, preservative filled, and artificially flavored candy. How could I take away all their candy without taking away the fun and excitement of the trick or treating haul?


Trick or treat trade in

Trick or treat trade in

Halloween Store

My solution was to create a Trick or Treat trade in store. With Gavin’s input,
my wife and I create a Halloween catalog before we trick or treat. The catalog has the prices for new toys, games, and other healthier food items.

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We price everything using pieces of candy instead of dollars. Smaller items, of course, cost less and the price increases as the value of the “purchase” goes up. Last year, Gavin traded in his 200 pieces of candy and purchased coconut ice cream bars for 25pc, lunch at Chipotle for 50pc, a new Lego set for 100, and the rest on smaller organic candies.

Ensure A Happy Halloween For All

Help Your Kids Know What To Expect On Halloween with this social learning story.


To ensure there is sufficient excitement before trick or treating, we create the catalog the week before Halloween. That way Gavin gets to think about what he wants to buy, and the anticipation of the trick or treat treasure builds. This preserves the childhood joy of dumping out the bucket-o-candy after trick or treating.

This year Gavin is hoping for a big score. He is hoping to cash in with an even bigger haul than last year. He used to work for things like toys, Legos, or Disney video games. But, this year it’s all about Fortnite.

Trick of Treat Trade In For V Bucks

I originally wrote this post back when Gavin was only 7. Now that he is 10, his interests are changing. Like all 10 year old kids (and most of their Dads), he’s all about Fortnite. This year, he is earning V Bucks. If you don’t know V Bucks are Fortnite gold. It’s how they buy all those silly dances they never stop doing.

Another prize he wants is the new Fortnite Monopoly. Personally, I hate Monopoly, so hopefully he opts for the V Bucks 🙂

Alternative Ideas

I talked with another mom about their trick or treat trade in. She told me that her boys dump their candy on the fireplace before they go to bed. While the sleep, the “Halloween Goblin” comes and takes their candy leaving them a small toy. I know many other people use the switch witch instead of the Halloween Goblin. Both are great ideas. However, I think our trick or treat Halloween store bests preserves the joy and excitement of dumping out your pumpkin to see just how much candy you scored this year.

What do I do with ALL That Candy?

Now that I’ve successfully taken away all the candy I’m stuck with a ton of candy. Even though I know that the candy is very unhealthy, it just doesn’t feel right throwing it all in the trash. We donate ours to a program happy-halloween buybackcalled Operation Gratitude. It’s an organization that sends care packages to our military personnel. Their Halloween candy buy back program sends candy to troops who are stationed overseas. If you want to participate in this program, click this link. This will take you to a page that will help you find a participating dentist in your area. just take your candy to that office. The dental office will package all the candy and send it to Operation Gratitude. *make sure to call the office before dropping off your candy. Some offices have rules for donations or set limits to the amount of candy they will accept.* There are a couple other organizations that send care packages to our troops. You can follow the link at the end of this post to read more about them.

I like our strategy because it takes the focus off candy and puts it more on creating memories. I know that Gavin will not only remember the toys he got for his candy trade in, but he’ll also remember the time he and I spent together leading up to Halloween. I take him to Target every year, and we spend about
an hour roaming the toy aisles talking about all the possible things he can buy with his candy. Gavin really has a lot of fun with it, and I enjoy the one-on-one time with him too. That’s what holidays should be about. The focus should be on your family and creating memories not just on food or candy.

Trick of treat trade in: Want to keep your kids healthy this Halloween? Create a Trick or Treat Trade In. Our kids turn in their candy for healthier treats, new toys, or games. Some parents use added stories or characters like Switch Witch or the Halloween Goblin, but it's all the same idea. Take away the unhealthy, sugar-filled candy and replace with a fun gift instead.

If you are looking to keep the massive amount of sugar, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors out of your kids bellies, I invite you to try our trick or treat trade in program and start a new Halloween tradition of your own.

trick or treat trade in

What does your family do with the trick or treat haul? Leave a Comment

Other ways to Donate your Halloween Candy

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