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The Switch Witch is a new trend for families during Halloween. It’s for parents who are looking for a way to teach their kids moderation and lessen their sugar intake. The Witch acts like the Tooth Fairy, but instead of taking teeth and leaving money, she takes candy and leaves a toy.

Utah residents Emily and Levi Jensen recently shared how they do the Witch’s trick on Instagram. Interestingly, not everyone was a fan of this idea. The video sparked some debate: should parents let their children eat the candy they score on Halloween? Or is this an opportunity for a good teaching moment?

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    Kids love trick-or-treating, they get to dress up and collect lots of candy. But it’s not as sweet for parents – they have to put rules in place so that kids don’t overdose on sugar

    “Trick or treating is fun. The kids don’t really need all that candy. So here’s what we do instead”

    “Our daughter goes out and has a blast trick or treating”

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    “When she gets home, she gets to pick out five of her favorite pieces of candy to keep”

    “Then she leaves the rest of her candy in her basket and leaves it on the front porch”

    “During the night, the ‘Switch Witch’ comes to collect the candy and leaves a gift in return”

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    “We heard of this tradition a few years ago and our daughter is now just as excited for the ‘Switch Witch’ to come as she is for trick or treating”

    “This has been a great way to cut back on candy but still enjoy Halloween”

    Image credits: emilyxlevi

    The video became popular on Instagram – it garnered more than 800,000 likes

     

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    A post shared by Emily x Levi (@emilyxlevi)

    Parents can turn Halloween candy into a lesson in moderation for kids

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    Image credits: Sebbi Strauch (not the actual photo)

    Halloween can be hard for parents. It’s true kids have lots of fun dressing up and collecting candy. But parents have to come up with creative ways to keep them from overeating. Some parents, like the ones above, use the Switch Witch tradition.

    The mom behind the video, Emily, told Today her reasoning behind using the Switch Witch. “I remember thinking, ‘What a great way for kids to enjoy the festivities of Halloween without eating excessive amounts of candy. The ‘Switch Witch’ isn’t for everyone, but it works for us,” she explained.

    There are others who think this is a great idea. A mom named Barbara told She Knows how her son once went through the candy stash at home and made himself sick. “That is why I think that the Switch Witch is a fantastic idea,” she said. She also notes that it’s a good choice for kids with food allergies. Nuts, food dyes, and chocolate can be allergens, so an alternative to candy is sometimes better.

    And for those saying that Halloween is only once a year, that’s not really true. There’s Christmas, birthdays, and Easter – kids get to eat obscene amounts of candy several times a year. Proponents of the Switch Witch say they’re looking for ways to reduce their kids’ sugar intake. After all, large amounts of sugar is not healthy.

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    And, at the end of the day, the Switch Witch doesn’t have strict rules. It’s not as evil as some may think. Emily and Levi mention it in their video, their daughter gets to keep five pieces. So she gets both – a toy and some candy.

    The Switch Witch is not about stealing candy from the kids

    Image credits: Matt Brett (not the actual photo)

    Contrary to what many commenters under the video assumed, this tradition is not about taking candy away. Amy Palanjian says that kids have the right to enjoy collecting and then tasting the candy. “Don’t want them to eat a lot of candy? Don’t let them trick or treat for it!” she writes for Yummy Toddler Food.

    Palanjian warns against denying kids their candy. “If you feel the urge to use this tradition to prevent the kids from eating their candy, I would urge you to consider why.”
    The Switch Witch is an opportunity for kids to focus on what candy they like and enjoy eating. This way, they can practice intuitive eating, instead of parents telling them what to eat and what not to eat.

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    Sally Kuzemchak says that this skill is very important, even for adults. “Putting a priority on our favorite foods–and not wasting time on what we don’t–is a skill we need in a world where food is everywhere,” she writes for Real Mom Nutrition.

    There’s also truth in what the commenters against the Switch Witch are saying

    Image credits: Kelly Sikkema (not the actual photo)

    Emily and Levi got a fair amount of backlash after posting their video. People were talking about how this takes the fun out of Halloween. Others warned that it might trigger eating disorders for the kid in the future.

    Blogger Sarah Canney stands on this side of the argument. “You aren’t teaching your children anything. You’re avoiding looking into the real reasons behind your own mindless eating,” she writes. She posits that the basis for the Switch Witch is the assumption that kids don’t know what they like and eat mindlessly.

    She counters this idea by saying that children are the epitome of intuitive eating. “Children eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full,” she writes in her blog. According to her, it’s more about the parents and their insecurities with binging and mindless eating.

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    Dietitian Jennifer Anderson told Kids Eat In Color that this method works best with younger kids. “It was fun for only the very tiny years and once my kids’ awareness kicked in, it wasn’t helpful for us anymore.” She says the Switch Witch started to cause her children to have an unhealthy relationship with candy.

    She emphasizes how there has to be a balance when using this method. Yes, lots of candy is unhealthy, and this is a valid reason to use the Switch Witch. Children feeling restricted and deprived of what they want is also valid.

    “When they know something is limited, they want it more. When candy is restricted, they will binge eat it when given a chance, create a stash, or eat it in secret. These are completely natural reactions to deprivation,” Anderson writes.

    Things are not so black and white for this tradition. Ultimately, it’s the job of the parents to decide what they think is best for their children.

    Social media users started criticizing the parents saying ‘it’s only once a year’ and ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’

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    Some commenters praised the parents – this way, a kid gets both candy and a surprise

     

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