Why Our Family Does the “Switch Witch” on Halloween
There’s a lot of pressure on the modern parent to make every moment of childhood as magical as possible for their children. Now, I love magic-making, but there are limits for how much and what I’m willing to do. Leprechauns do not visit our house for St. Patrick’s Day to cause chaos, nor will the Tooth Fairy leave extra gifts or excessive money for lost teeth. When I heard of the Switch Witch for the first time, I really didn’t think she’d be part of our family’s Halloween.
The Switch Witch is a character designed to swap out kids’ Halloween candy for non-food treats, essentially limiting the excess sugar after the holiday is over. Parents are free to modify this practice however they want. Perhaps they let their kids eat their fill Halloween night and leave all the rest for the Switch Witch; perhaps they have their kids pick out ten or twenty pieces to give up and let them keep all the rest; perhaps they only have their kids give up the candy they don’t like and no one else will eat. The Switch Witch LOVES candy and will gladly trade children for the candy they leave out for her. Whatever the Switch Witch swaps the candy out for is up to the parents.
For us, the Switch Witch wasn’t around for the first few Halloweens, until last year when my middle son, who has a peanut and tree nut allergy, expressed sadness as I searched through his haul from a Trunk or Treat event and pulled out all the peanut candy. It broke my heart to see his brother with a full bucket and him with less. With just a few days before Halloween, I decided the best way to keep the excitement and magic of the Halloween season would be not for me to confiscate the unsafe candy, but for the Switch Witch to swap it out for something just as fun for him.
That Halloween evening, we pulled all the peanut candy from my middle son’s stash and encouraged my older son to give up any candy he didn’t like, and we put it in a big bowl and left it on the fireplace. While they were sleeping, that sneaky Switch Witch came in the night and swapped out all the candy in the bowl with new markers. When they woke up, they were absolutely thrilled. They still had some candy in their trick or treating buckets, they didn’t miss the swapped out candy one bit, and they had new markers. It was a win for them, and a win for me.
This year, my husband made the reasonable request that the Switch Witch not bring any more toys or trinkets into our house. He suggested that she live up to her name and instead leave coupons for extra Nintendo Switch play time, which I loved as an idea. Each boy will get a couple “ten extra minute” coupons that they can redeem whenever they have video game playing time. (My youngest son, who also has a peanut allergy and is two years old, will get a book.)
The boys are already looking forward to leaving some of their candy for the Switch Witch, and I’m grateful for a magical and fun solution to our allergen problem.
Does the Switch Witch visit your home Halloween night?