A Great Use for Extra Halloween Candy

Last Updated Nov 2, 2010 11:54 AM EDT

If your house is anything like mine, you're suffering from a sugar hangover and staring at overflowing bags of fun-sized chocolate bars. The temptation is real, for both kids and parents, especially those who work at home. (What's the harm in another peanut butter cup after a long conference call? Oh, right. I've already had nine.)

My kids were trick-or-treating with their cousin Luke, age 8, in New Jersey yesterday. He casually mentioned to them that his dentist buys back candy at $1 per pound.

Good info to have, because after my daughter conducted a full audit of her candy - "Mom, 13 Kit Kat bars!" - she found she had 100 pieces. I think she realized as she was going door-to-door that there was no way I'd let her eat it all. Luke's suggestion appealed to her entrepreneurial instincts. (Her other idea includes having me pull out her loose teeth for faster payment from the T.F. Thanks, sweetie, but I'll pass.)

I had never heard of this candy buy-back program before, but the candy gets shipped from participating dentists to Operation Gratitude, which then includes it in the care packages it makes for U.S. troops serving overseas. The program, now in its fourth year, has more than 1,700 dentists helping collect the treats. You can find one by entering your zip code here.

I typed in our zip code and found that my husband's dentist participates. I don't feel bad having the kids ask for a $1 rebate from him, because Lord knows we've given that guy enough money over the years. When I called the office, the receptionist laughed. Turns out they didn't sign themselves up - someone enrolled them without asking - but they'll be available to accept candy, scale at the ready, starting tomorrow. I'll let the kids pick out a nice assortment to pack in their lunches this month, and then it's off to the dentist we go with the rest. It's an easy way to deal with the wretched excess of Halloween, and it benefits a great cause. And maybe it will help teach my kids a little something about sharing.

What do you do with all the candy? Sign in below to let me know.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Rochelle Hartman, CC 2.0

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