This year, as with last, the Candy Witch made an appearance on Halloween. The Candy Witch is a good witch who brings toys to children who can't eat all of their Halloween candy for one reason or another. Related to the tooth fairy, she exchanges the toy(s) for the kid's unsafe candy. Last year, Ainsley got a Tinkerbell DVD in exchange for her candy. This year, at her request (you can ask for certain toys, as with Candy Witch's good friend, Santa), Ainsley received a stuffed kitten (okay, she actually got two - Candy Witch made double appearances Saturday and Sunday night). Because Leighton also had to give up candy that was unsafe for Ainsley, Candy Witch brought her a book.
So how does this Candy Witch thing work? First, I or another trusted grown-up, sorts the Halloween candy Ainsley and Leighton have just raked in, and then all of the unsafe candy is put in a bag. A call is then placed to the Candy Witch letting her know that the parcel is ready for pick-up, and we place the bag on the front doorstep and close the door. After a minute or two (she has a fast broomstick), we hear a knock, and we know the Candy Witch has just made the exchange. We open the door and, low-and-behold, the toys are on the doorstep where the candy bags had been sitting.
Ainsley LOVES the Candy Witch. This year, after collecting her fair share of safe candy, she purposefully began picking out unsafe candy from her trick-or-treating destinations just to give to Candy Witch (I suppose her idea is that the more unsafe candy we collect for the Candy Witch, the better the prize will be ... so the unsafe candy is sort of like Chuck E. Cheese tickets).
You might think it's bad that Ainsley purposefully took a lot of unsafe candy this year, but I learned long ago that she likes to collect a variety of candy in her Halloween bag even though she knows some (okay, most) of it is unsafe. Basically, she thinks an entire bag of Starburst, Skittles, and Twizzlers is boring, so she likes collecting a few M&M bags here and there (and, yes, even the dreaded Reese's peanut butter cups ... who can resist the bright orange packages?) to create a colorful array in her bag.
So what happens to the unsafe candy the Candy Witch picks up? Well, she eats it, of course ... like me, Candy Witch has a remarkable sweet tooth (and also bears a striking resemblance to yours truly). She takes it to her office and shares it with her coworkers. She also gives some (the stuff she doesn't like) to her husband for him to do the same.
I love Candy Witch because she makes Ainsley feel special at Halloween time. Other kids just get candy; she (along with other food-allergic children, as well as diabetic children) gets candy and a fun surprise. This simple concept has transformed Halloween from a rather sad affair that revolves around treats my child can't eat into an exciting time of anticipation that allows Ainsley's imagination (What does the Candy Witch look like? Where does she live? What does she do with all that candy? What will she bring me?) to run wild.