Hey, Kids: Give Your Halloween Candy to These Dentists, and You’ll Get Paid

Halloween candy that was donated to Elizabeth J. Staves Pediatric Dentistry sits in bags and boxes at her office in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Nov. 4, 2018. The candy was then given to the local VA and which in turn sent to troops.
An employee at Elizabeth J. Staves Pediatric Dentistry in St. Petersburg, Fla., sorts through Halloween candy brought in by patients on Nov. 4, 2018. The candy is collected to send to troops overseas. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Could you convince your kids to dump all of their Halloween candy at the dentist’s office?

What if they could get some freebies — or even cash — out of the deal?

If you think you can wrest even a single fun-sized Snickers bar out of your child’s hands, keep reading.

How (and Why) to Participate in the 2016 Halloween Candy Buyback

James Walsh, 4, and his mother, Elizabeth Walsh, donate Halloween candy at Elizabeth J. Staves Pediatric Dentistry. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

In 2005, dentist Chris Kammer was anticipating — or, more accurately, dreading — another Halloween.

From the perspective of a dental professional, Halloween was a “nightmare,” an ill-advised sugar free-for-all augmenting the rampant tooth decay he saw in younger and younger patients.

Hoping to get some of the October glut of candy “off the streets,” he decided to “buy” his patients’ Halloween candy back from them for a buck a pound.

The next year, he asked some of his colleagues to get involved, suggesting they send the resultant candy to troops overseas. (Once you’re an adult, at least you know you’re rotting your teeth and expanding your waistline.)

Soon, he had a full-blown, nationwide initiative with a great mission: to “put smiles on everyone’s faces!” He was even ABC’s person of the week in 2010.

The Halloween Candy Buyback saves your childens’ teeth and sweetens soldiers’ lives. And in some cases, it might just give you the opportunity to teach your kids the value of a dollar.

Whether participating dentists offer oral hygiene goods, freebies or cash, the program introduces kids to the warmth and magic of charitable giving — pouring significantly less sugar into their systems is an added bonus.

How can you not win?

How to Find a Candy Buyback Location Near You

Piles of candy at a dentist office
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

If the idea of giving up your — er, your children’s — hard-won sugary goods is sounding a little less bonkers, it’s really easy to get in on the candy buyback.

Just head to this page and type your ZIP code into the box in the upper right-hand corner.

Participating locations within your parameters will pop up, which you can then contact for full details including buyback dates and what they plan on exchanging — cash, toothbrushes or even sugar-free candy.

Head on down after your trick-or-treating haul and smile. After all, healthy teeth go with any costume.

Your Turn: Will you participate in the Halloween Candy Buyback this year?

Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot, Nashville Review and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.