halloween candyEvery Christmas, inevitably, my friends tease me about my fear and loathing of the retail-created Elf On The Shelf tradition.

You know what I am talking about – the annoying little creature who looks like Isaac from Children of the Corn and shows up in countless Facebook pictures during the month of December. I’m usually tagged in half of them because, apparently, it is hilarious to get on my nerves.

Sorry, but the thought of a little man dressed like a psycho hiding in my house and posing in weird scenarios doesn’t exactly put me or the kids in the Christmas spirit. It is a great way to sell poorly written children’s books though.

But I digress…

evil elf on the shelf

Cute Christmas tradition… ?

Elf on the shelf is evil

…Or Isaac from Children of the Corn?








Before you go calling me a buzz-kill, let me state for the record that I do not despise all make-believe characters. I like Santa. The Tooth Fairy is pretty cool too. We even have our own make believe character “The Goatman” that we use to keep the kids from wondering off at airports.

I also really like the Halloween Switch Witch.

The Switch Witch is a health and wellness minded witch who takes some of that nasty Halloween candy and (you guessed it) switches it for a toy. The Switch Witch lets the kids control what she does. Put some, all or none of the Halloween candy out for her – she doesn’t care. But the more you give her, the bigger the gift.  She won’t hide in your house or, worse, require you to purchase a Witch On The Shelf kit. She just comes and goes on Halloween night, taking whatever your kids want to give her, and leaving behind a present.

With three kids trick or treating, there have been years when we’ve filled a 60 quart storage box full of candy. Add to that the candy they get from school and parties and the corn maze and the pumpkin patch and the bus driver and the mailman and grandpa, and I end up with a candy staging area in my dining room… (chocolates in Box A, lollipops in Box B, gross Candycorn and no-name peanut butter chewy things in Box C – who eats those?)

Hey, if the Switch Witch can help with that, then sign me up.


The Story of the Switch Witch.

The Switch Witch lives in Candyland and so has a serious need for candy. In fact, the whole town of Candyland can’t live without it so they make really cool toys and things hoping that children will trade all their candy on Halloween night for a pair of rollerskates or a doll or whatever and help keep Candyland running strong.

To let the Switch Witch know that you are ready to make a trade, the kids leave a few pieces of candy on the front porch. I suggest Candycorn or those peanut butter chewy things. The kids then leave a bag of candy in their room and a special note asking for a toy. After the kids go to sleep, the Switch Witch will do the old switch-witcheroo. Sometimes she leaves a note too.

In my house she also leaves an apple and a new toothbrush.

Glinda from Wizard of Oz

Are you a good witch, a bad witch or a Switch Witch?

If your kids are afraid of witches, tell them that the Switch Witch is the kind and beautiful sister of Glinda from The Wizard of Oz. Whatever works.

Inevitably, my kids will not give her all of their candy. They keep some of the good stuff. And despite my best efforts, their father usually keeps his stash too.

But, if I can condense the 60 quart candy box down to a couple of ziplock baggies then I am happy.


The Switch Witch Spirit

In full disclosure, my kids know good and well that I am the Switch Witch. They don’t believe that Candyland story anymore than they believe the whole Easter Bunny thing.

Comme çi comme ça.

I actually prefer the version that doesn’t include the Elf-On-The-Shelf-like story anyway so nowadays I just say – “Hey, kids, if you donate some of that massive amount of candy to Treats for Troops then I’ll replace it with something cool.” It’s a win-win-win – Me, the kids and the troops

… or, at least the troops who like Candycorn and peanut butter chews.