Halloween brings a spirit of fun and youth into the air. For one night, anyone can be anything; pirates, witches, princesses and villains litter the streets of neighborhoods across the country. But with the fun, comes a plethora of sweet, intoxicating sugar. Over the next few days, parents cringe thinking about the stomachaches, cavities and increased hyperactivity their children demonstrate during their post-Halloween candy consumption. Is there a way to use this fun occasion as an educational opportunity? Indeed, there is. Read on for ideas on how to use Halloween as a chance to teach your family about finances.
After the young ghosts come home with their Trick-or-Treating loot, you can teach them a little bit about taxes and how they work. Before heading out on the evening escapades, explain to your kids that you will be taking a 30% tax of their Halloween “income” similar to how governments tax their people. Explain to them why governments implement a tax instead of just confusing them and making them feel like you stole their candy. Upon arriving home, have your children sort their candy at take 30% of each type of candy (not all candy is created equal after all). Optionally, you could consider offering “tax deductions” based on entrepreneurial effort or charitable donations from your children (aka homemade costumes and sharing their candy).
Learn About “Value” Through Trade
Encourage your kids to trade their candy with each other to teach them value. Naturally, Mary Janes (that square peanut butter treat) are worth less than Snicker’s. You can learn a lot about your child’s attitude towards money based on how they trade. Some kids don’t care about the more “expensive” items and would rather have the biggest pile. Others are willing to sacrifice a few less-valuable pieces for a nicer candy bar. Be prepared to intervene if necessary if the older kids start taking advantage of the younger ones.
Help your children set up a “candy budget” by setting aside a certain amount of sweets per week (about 3-4 pieces per day). Allow them to then consume their candy as they would like, being strict about not adding any more candy to their budget if they run out early. Help them understand that by budgeting their candy, they can make it last longer, much like a paycheck. Your children will learn delayed gratification and decision making and will also learn the consequences of their actions.