Halloween Candy Buy-Back

Earlier this month, I wrote how parents can manage the Halloween candy earned by their children after trick-or-treating. I offered five educational ways in which the parents could reduce the sugar intake of their kids. Yesterday, I was informed of a certain method employed by a dentist in New Jersey.

Dr. Robin Lucas of Lucas Dental Associates introduced the “Candy Buy-Back” program a few years ago. Children within her practice could come into the office and trade their trick-or-treating loot for $5. For those kids on the fence about making the deal, a toothbrush was thrown in. The candy was then donated to different branches of the military.

The Halloween candy buy-back idea is a good one. However, I have one little critique.

This year it gets even better. In an unprecedented step, Dr. Lucas is extending her program to the entire community of Hoboken, New Jersey (as opposed to just her patients).

Let me begin by saying I love the concept. It sure beats the lame suggestions I came up with a couple weeks ago. But is anyone else scratching their heads about something?

I hate to sound greedy, but after wrestling around with this program all of last night I arrived at one critique: the kids aren’t compensated enough.

I don’t believe the $5 given to trick-or-treaters, especially those over the age of 8, is sufficient. I know, I know, I know, this is more about healthy habits and charity than getting rich. However, from a practical standpoint, I feel like kids who take the deal are leaving something at the table. I feel the money offered for the “buy-back” is lacking for two reasons*

1. The amount of candy obtained after a night out on the neighborhood by an average trick-or-treater far exceeds $5 in value. Many of us are aware of how much a medium sized bag of fun size candy bars will cost these days. Depending on where you shop at, you are looking at paying around $4. For most trick-or-treaters, they have already had the equivalent of a bag of candy dropped in their pillow case by the time they have finished the first street. After hitting up the neighborhood, most children have enough treats to fill a few different pinatas. Although no scientific study has been done that I am aware of, I would say that most kids walk home at night with roughly $15-$20 worth of candy in their possession.

2. The labor exerted by trick-or-treaters on the night of Oct. 31 also doesn’t match the $5 offer. If kids these days are anything like I was back in my time, they are most likely hitting the pavement for 2-3 hours on Halloween. If you take the low end, that means a child is receiving $2.50 per hour for his/her efforts. If you take the extreme end, it means the boys and girls of our society are toiling for roughly $1.66 per hour. Doesn’t add up to me.

For those children who are torn on whether to participate in the program, I would offer this advice: Employing honesty at all times, create a pile that you feel equates to $5 worth of candy. Then, for good measure and good will, throw 10 extra pieces on top. Bag up your pile and take it to the office of Dr. Lucas for your $5. Then, take your remaining candy and incorporate it into one of the educational ideas that your favorite blogger proposed.

Much credit to Dr. Lucas for thinking outside the box. Like I said, I adore the basis of the program. I just think it could use a little tweaking. Don’t Blink.

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