She has many aliases: The Great Pumpkin Fairy, the Candy Fairy, the Sugar Fairy, the Trick-or-Treat Fairy, the Switch Witch. She takes all the treats your little ghouls and goblins leave for her after Halloween and exchanges them with a toy, book, or even cold hard cash. She uses the candy to construct her giant candy palace… or maybe she just takes it to her candy office and shares it with her co-workers. Who really knows?
The Halloween Fairy is a contemporary tradition that some parents are relying on to unload all those fun-sized chocolate bars, Skittles, Dum-Dums, and Nerds from the Great Haul. But frankly, you don’t really need a Halloween Fairy to get all that sugar out of your house. Here’s a few options that will use all that candy for good, not evil.
Presented by an organization called Operation Gratitude, this program enlists the help of dentists and other businesses all over the country to ship over 125 tons of candy to US military stationed throughout the world. Ann Hamilton, Marketing Director for Operation Gratitude, says it’s much more than a sugar rush they send: “We have learned from many service members that they give a lot of the candy out to the children in the communities of Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the “winning hearts and minds” campaign. On many occasions, the children and/or their families have then told the Americans where bombs and bad guys were hidden. So, the troops have written to us: ‘You are not just putting smiles on our faces, you are saving our lives.’”[pullquote type="2" align="right"]“You’re not just putting smiles on our faces, you are saving our lives.”[/pullquote]Last year several local dentist offices participated in the Halloween Candy Buy-Back program, and Dr. Forrest Bryant and his staff and fellow dentists at Bryant Dental will celebrate their fifth year. On November 5th from 4:00 – 5:00 PM kids can trade in their candy haul for $1 per pound (and a toothbrush packet!) at their three locations in Madison, Decatur, and Huntsville.
“The greatest excitement is watching the kids come in and trade their candy for money and creating artwork for the troops. Of course, many of the moms thank us for getting the excess candy out of the house, otherwise, they say they snack on it for weeks,” says Deborah Suter, Lead Hygienist at Bryant Dental.
You can also search a dentist near you that are interested in buying back your candy.
Another way to send share your candy haul and support our troops is through AnySoldier.com, a 501c3 that sends care packages to soldiers that don’t get much mail from home. Started in Iraq in 2003 by Army Sergeant Brian Horn, this site now helps nearly 100,000 American soldiers in all branches of the military, both active duty and reservists, and has become one of the leading efforts in making sure the men and women who have been deployed for the war are cared for, via letters and packages from home. Since they are individualized, it will be up to you to package and ship your “Halloween Fairy” box, and personalize what you send. You’re not limited to candy – notes, artwork, beanie babies, and gear make great additions to your care package. Here’s a list of suggestions.
If you STILL have leftover candy after all this, there’s always some tasty recipes from Real Simple you can try!