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It happens every year. Kids come home with sacks full of candy they could never possibly finish eating —nor would you want them to. I have four children — that’s four huge sacks of candy and it takes up my entire eight-person dining room table every year.

Candy alternatives are gaining in popularity with parents across the country and right here in the Upstate. Whether families want to try to avoid childhood obesity, extra trips to the dentist or deal with a food allergy in their home, candy-free alternatives are taking strides. Some parents are utilizing the Switch Witch, a cousin of the Elf on the Shelf, while others are quietly scooping candy up without their children knowing. There are several options to keep your children happy and keep their tummies from getting upset in a post-candy daze.

The Switch Witch is an idea that was featured on “Shark Tank” and copies the idea of the Elf on the Shelf. Leave your candy out Halloween night under the watchful eye of the Switch Witch, and in the morning she’s taken the candy and left a wrapped gift for your child instead. It’s like Christmas two months early — but it’s a great way to trade out all that candy.

Another idea is to do a buy-back. A lot of doctors and dentists offices do a version of this — so check those out — but you can do it at home as well. Shell out some cold hard cash for that candy. You can determine what it’s worth in your own household, but if we did this in my house, my children would be clamoring for an easy way to make a buck.

Back to the doctors and dentists, many participate in a candy buy back program. You can find a list at halloweencandybuyback.com. Participating locations will allow kids to purchase toys, coupons, and more with their Halloween haul. The candy is then sent to troops overseas.

How about making some sweet recipes with that candy? There are tons of recipes on Pinterest from making your Milky Ways into an apple dip or melting them into your hot cocoa. There are recipes aplenty for turning the candy into delicious treats throughout the year.

If you end up with a ton of candy you have personally bought back or swiped from your children, you can send it to American troops and their families via Operation Gratitude. This is a great way to eliminate the excess sugar in your house and give a little something back to those who serve us daily. Simply visit www.operationgratitude.com for more details.

Since we have food allergies in our family, we work hard to keep Halloween as food-free as possible for all our children. These switches and buy backs are a life saver for us, as allergens are rampant at holidays like Halloween and Easter (in addition to the Switch Witch, maybe we need a Swappy Hoppy).

I hope this gave you a few ideas on what to do to free your home of all that pesky candy. If you have any extra Twix, though, you can send those my way!

TALK TO ALLISON 

Allison Wells is a mom of four and wife of one. She's a writer, unpublished (for now) novelist, and creator of Clemson Area Moms on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter at @OrangeAllison.

More:2017 guide to Halloween

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