Passionate About Pittsburgh
and the Moms Who Live Here

Confessions of a Candy Monster

Photo Credit to Carri Finkbeiner

Hi, my name is Marissa and I am a Candy Monster.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved it. There’s this great story about how when people asked me my name, I would respond “Jellybean.”

I prefer the term Candy Monster to Sugar Addict, please. 

Shout out to my great mom who, as a rule, did not keep candy in the house. Due to my limited accessibility to candy in those early days, I eagerly awaited trips to my Grandma & Papa’s house where the candy dish was always full and I discovered a love for all things spearmint. I am nostalgic over the times we rode our bikes to the candy store with a little wad of cash to go crazy for Starburst, Frooties and Tootsie pops. And then, there was trick-or-treat. One night that revolved completely around… CANDY! Well, there were costumes too, but I preferred the candy that came along with that exciting night. 

Total chaos ensued in the living room of the Perry household after waltzing through the neighborhood collecting a great big bucket of happiness. We’d all dump our containers and start the trading! My dad would do that corny “pay your candy tax” dad thing and I’m pretty sure my mom just stole the Reese peanut butter cups and Snickers.  I honestly don’t recall any other rules or limitations. As a kid, it always seemed like the candy ran out quickly. 

As a mom, however, it seems like Halloween marks the beginning of a season of continual bargaining with my kids over how much sugar is too much sugar for one sugar crazy kid to consume. It’s exhausting! Then we have this unique situation now where Halloween lasts for a week. It’s not just trick or treat night. It’s the parade and then trick or treat (this is a sweet old tradition in our little city of Jeannette). Then school parties. Then the Fall Fest at church. Then the weekend birthday party. Then we can trick or treat again on the actual night of Halloween with our cousins because it’s fun to make the most out of that costume and dress up as often as possible. I’ll be the first to say we over do this Halloween/trick or treat/candy thing. We’re left with way. too. much. 

We’ve tried a couple of different approaches over here.

We did the “one piece of candy a day” thing.  Apparently, even a three year old can deliberate over what “one piece” is. I’m no scientist, but I guess I passed down my candy monster DNA to at least one of my offspring and maybe my strong will too…but I digress. This method failed for a few reasons but mostly because when you accumulate that much candy, one piece a day could last until next year at Halloween time. 

We’ve tried the shove-your-face-with-as-much-as-you-want-in-one-night-and-then-it-is-gone method. I’m always super nervous about belly aches and barf that way.

We’ve settled on the “pick your favorite twenty-ish pieces” of candy method. And give away the rest. 

We discovered this great opportunity to use our excess candy to be kind to other kids and to get a different type of treat in exchange. We took our candy to the Learning Express where we traded it in for “Boo Bucks” and then the amazing staff there works with a local charity to deliver the candy to kids that didn’t have the opportunity to trick or treat. This year, Learning Express of Bakery Square and Learning Express of Mt. Lebanon  are teaming up with a local food pantry. Kids earn one “Boo Buck” for one pound of candy (limit five “Boo Bucks” but be wise mamas – you can trade in as much candy as you want to!).  Stop by the store in Mt. Lebanon Nov. 1 – Nov. 3 or at Bakery Square Nov. 1 – Nov.5 to participate.  Or stop at both! I just love this… makes the reformed candy monster in me so happy!

Photo Credit to: Learning Express Toys

Here’s hoping for a safe and fun filled Halloween time for all of our Pittsburgh communities! Chime in with your favorite candy control method and any other helpful people and places that make being a mom this time of the year happier and healthier!



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