The Great Pumpkin Candy Giveaway

Here’s a startling statistic – last year Americans spent roughly $2.6 billion on Halloween candy! Even more mind blowing is the fact that more than half that candy ended up in my house after my children went trick-or-treating.

That may be stretching the truth just a bit, but every year we end up with way more candy that we can or should eat. Fortunately, a couple of years ago we learned about The Great Pumpkin Candy Giveaway.

The origins of The Great Pumpkin Candy Giveaway trace back to the 1966 television special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” In the show, Linus explains the legend of the Great Pumpkin: “On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch and flies fly through the air to bring toys to all the good little children everywhere.” Eventually, some enterprising parent tweaked that legend and The Great Pumpkin Candy Giveaway was born.

If your family participates in trick-or-treating, you might want to give it a try. The concept behind the giveaway is simple quid pro, similar to that of the Tooth Fairy:

How does it work?

The concept behind the giveaway is a simple quid pro quo:

  • Candy acquisition – send your kids out to trick-or-treat
  • When the kids return, sort through their haul and set aside an amount for the Great Pumpkin- challenge them to give up half, or some of their favorites, or to lessen the blow, have them give away their least favorites.
  • While asleep, the Great Pumpkin visits your home to collect its candy
  • In the morning, your children wake up to find a small gift and note of thanks from G.P.

At Kiddie Academy® Educational Child Care, we like the concept of the Great Pumpkin because it extends our Character EssentialsSM learning into the home. It’s a great lesson in generosity, empathy and kindness for your children. Plus, it keeps all that extra sugar out of their – and your – mouths.

Where does the extra candy go?

What happens to all that extra candy that the Great Pumpkin now has? Give it away (hence the word “Giveaway” in the title). Some suggestions to consider (besides bringing it to work to leave in the breakroom):

  • Ronald McDonald House – if your community has a Ronald McDonald House, they often accept Halloween candy for the children and families using their services.
  • Soldiers’ Angels – This military support organization has an initiative called “Treats for Troops,” a Halloween candy collection program to provide candy to service members, wounded warriors and veterans.
  • Halloween Candy Buyback – local businesses – often dentists – frequently accept candy which they then will donate to other organizations.

There are many other organizations that will accept your candy. A simple internet search can lead you to options in your community.

What does the Great Pumpkin leave in return for all that candy?

It’s really up to you to create the tradition in your household. Some suggestions are:

  • A simple note of thanks from the G.P
  • A small toy, book or game your child has been wishing for
  • An experience for you and your child – like a trip to the movies, the zoo, a museum, etc.


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