To Switch or Not to Switch?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock without Pinterest, you’ve seen the “Switch Witch” and other suggested fun ways to get rid of your child’s Halloween candy after trick-or-treating. The idea is that kids do not need all that junk for more than one night and that those treat bags are filled with highly-processed treats containing refined sugar and dyes that are banned in most countries. So far, I’m with this witch. I don’t want my kid eating treats in excess (though, with grandparents living in our home, that’s kind of a lost cause. But I digress). Once I read the fine print to the Witch’s plan, however, I began to feel like I was being put under a parenting spell.


Here’s the thing with the Switch Witch: The Switch Witch, while intended to be a clever way to reduce the likelihood of a sugar binge, smells an awful lot like another thing that I would have to coordinate on top of a costume, pumpkin carving, and trick-or-treating. Doesn’t this Witch know there is a home Hawkeye football game on Saturday? If I understand Switch Witch, this is basically the genesis of another mythical being who leaves yet another gift for my child. I mentioned this new trend to my chocolate-candy-loving mother-in-law, who replied, “If that witch comes to our house, I’ll beat her with her own broom!” Right!

Another issue with Switch Witch is that you have to consider what you would do with all the candy that “the witch” takes away. Do you hide it and save it for yourself? Might come in handy in a few weeks when we are all stress-eating because we forgot to plan the nightly visit from the Elf on the #*&^$ Shelf. Do you donate it to a shelter or crisis center? This one just sounds like another errand I have to run after I get done trick-or-treating. So, no. And throwing it away just sounds so….well…it’s throwing away candy! Some of which might contain chocolate!

The deal-breaker for me is that this Witch promises to “switch” your candy for something. And if your kid is anything like mine, that “something” better be great. Because you took her candy. That she ran door-to-door for over an hour to collect. In a dress and tiara. Now, not only have I purchased a costume and candy to pass out, I have to buy a gift for the mythical, self-righteous, candy-stealer. The gift must also be accompanied by an explanation from the Witch. You can print and download a clever poem from the Switch Witch that your child will find beside her gift. Or, to be truly awesome at creating new traditions, you can buy a stuffed Switch Witch and book to read to your child…for $21.95. All told, this witch is not only stealing my kid’s candy, she’s stealing mama’s money!


For those of you organized and creative enough to pull off the Switch Witch tradition, great! You do you. There’ll be no switch for me and mine. My kid is gonna come home from an hour-long candy run, dump her loot on the floor where we will sort it, count it, and all the other things that you do when you’ve just come into a sugar windfall. Will she get to eat it all? No, but she’ll try. After that, she’ll get a piece here and there in her lunch or for a treat until the novelty wears off. There will, however, be some magic. After the jack-o-lantern candle has burned down to the last flicker, and as my little goblin slumbers, I will creep out into the kitchen and make the fun-size M&Ms disappear.

P.S. I did read about a candy care package idea as part of Operation Gratitude. That, I could do. If there’s any left.

Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.


  1. I gave up Pinterest a few months ago…so I’ve been living under the “what the heck is a switch witch rock?” Thanks for showing me the light!

  2. We do not do the Switch Witch. We do not need more toys in the house. I do, however, sneak candy out of their bags after they go to bed and save it for Christmas stockings. They are still getting their candy just a few weeks later, and they have never noticed some of it was gone. If we absolutely have too much I pack some up and send it to work with my husband. He’s a professor and the students appreciate it.

  3. I loved reading this. So I have been under a rock because I haven’t heard about this. But the Sugar Plum Fairy has been visiting our house for years.

    Each of my four kids chooses 20 pieces of candy to keep then they leave the rest for the Sugar Plum Fairy who builds her house from candy. She leaves them a trinket and a note. The trinket has to be activity based — like art supplies or something they use to build because she is using their candy as building material. Then my husband, who is a professor, takes the candy and passes it out as treats for class participation in his classes. It works for us for now!


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