New book encourages kids to exchange Halloween candy for toys | SummitDaily.com

New book encourages kids to exchange Halloween candy for toys

Krista Driscoll
kdriscoll@summitdaily.com

Each year, Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween. Through trick-or-treat nights and holiday parties, these sweet treats are dispersed to children pieces at a time but can add up to piles of sugar and lots of tummy aches.

A new book by co-authors Audrey Kinsman and Pam Hatcher attempts to keep fun Halloween traditions alive but reduce the amount of candy children consume during the holiday, encouraging them to make healthier choices. The book, titled "Switchcrafted: The Story of the Switch Witches of Halloween," encourages kids to exchange their Halloween horde for a toy, thus preventing them from overindulging on confections.

"'Switchcrafted' updates a classic holiday tradition and incorporates it into real-life parenting," said Kinsman, who is a mother to two young boys. "Getting my kids involved in the magic of Halloween during the entire month of October, verses the quest for the biggest bag of candy on Halloween night, was my motivation. My own family suffers from allergies like celiac disease and lactose intolerance; therefore, the majority of candy was off limits. I needed to find a fun alternative to keep the tradition alive."

To launch the new custom in Summit County, Hatcher and the book's illustrator, Milena Kirkova, will bring the magic of Switchcraft to the Stork & Bear Co. and Around the World Toys on Main Street in Frisco on Saturday, Oct. 18, for a book reading, signing and face painting.

WHAT IS SWITCHCRAFT?

"Switchcrafted" explains that witches became a part of Halloween because they desperately needed candy. Witches need a lot of energy to cast their spells, the book says, turning nobles into beasts, straw into gold and magic lamps into wish-giving genies, and for witches, that energy can only come from candy. Unfortunately, the one spell the witches haven't mastered is that of creating candy, so in order to fuel themselves, they must barter, trading toys to children for their life-giving sweets.

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Parents invite a Switch Witch into their home, and much like the Elf on the Shelf that's become a popular Christmas tradition, the Switch Witch determines if children have been good and deserve the magic of Switchcraft.

"The Switch Witch has magic powers; in fact, she has the ability to switch out candy for toys," Kinsman said. "The way Switchcrafted works is that during the month of October, you read the book with your kids, name your Switch Witch and have her hang around your family and remind your children to be on best behavior. On Halloween night, when your kids are done trick-or-treating, they leave out their trick-or-treat bag full of candy and a note for their Switch Witch, and she will switchcraft it for a toy."

The hardcover book, which retails for $30, is packaged with a Switch Witch toy, a keepsake box and a trick-or-treat bag. The book's website, http://www.switchcrafted.com, also features a game app with healthy Halloween recipes, do-it-yourself crafting ideas, candy swap solutions and age-appropriate games and activities for parents and teachers.

REUSING, RECYCLING

"Switchcrafted" launched in September on Amazon and is now available at the Stork & Bear. The store is partnering with the Frisco Information Center (300 Main St.), Frisco Elementary (800 E. Eighth Ave.) and Summit County Preschool (70 W. Main St.) as drop-off points for donated candy from Switch Witches from Saturday, Nov. 1, through Monday, Nov. 3. When it comes to the extra candy collected, Kinsman said she uses the mantra "reuse, repurpose, recycle."

"You can recycle the candy into fun science experiments for the kids (or wine and candy pairings for the adults!), repurpose the candy and create some spooky snacks like Boo Bananas or Chocolate Pretzel Skeletons (recipes are available on Switchcrafted.com) or you can recycle the candy by donating to existing programs like Operation Gratitude or Halloween Candy Buy Back," she said.

The candy gathered in Frisco will be donated to a veterans' and active military organization. Additionally, at each drop-off location, Stork & Bear Co. will provide a 10 percent off coupon good for a toy purchase for every child who donates candy and the Frisco Information Center will also offer a small gift at their location for any donated candy.

"As a working mom, my day job is in finance," Kinsman said. "Writing 'Switchcrafted' offered me a creative outlet and a way to take something that was so fun for my kids — the magic of Halloween — and share it with families everywhere."

If you go

What: Book reading, signing and face painting with Pam Hatcher, co-author, and Milena Kirkova, illustrator, of “Switchcrafted: The Story of the Switch Witches of Halloween”

When: 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18

Where: Stork & Bear Co. and Around the World Toys, 610 Main St., Frisco

Cost: Free; books will be available for purchase

More information: Call Stork & Bear Co. at (970) 668-5937 to learn more about the event or about donating Halloween candy