Smiling woman with two small children hovering over a plastic bin of Halloween candy

Custer, South Dakota,
00:00 AM

Candy Buy Back

These Kids Sold Their Candy

Norma Horkey never expected her sweet suggestion to support local troops would send the good neighbor spirit sweeping through Custer, S.D.

A few months ago, Norma, a team member in Agent Steve Engelbrecht's office, suggested the office offer to buy back Halloween candy from the children in the community, which they could then have sent to local troops deployed overseas.

A Sweet Idea

"Steve really liked the idea," Norma says. "My daughter's dentist did the same thing, and it was a huge success."

Just before Halloween, Steve's office was a co-host of a Custer Chamber of Commerce mixer. During the event, they talked to several other business owners about their candy buy-back, which was scheduled at Steve's office on Nov. 2. From there, word spread.

Children would get $1 for every pound of candy.

Smiling man standing next to a smiling young girl who is holding up two one dollar bills in her hand

A Pleasant Surprise

Norma said the superintendent of schools dropped off candy, the Rotary Club had candy, and one local business put a box in front of its store for customers to make donations for the buy-back.

"It wasn't just the kids," says Team Member Sara Barrick, whose son, Phoenix, 2, and daughter, Jersey, 5, contributed to the candy collection. "It was awesome how the whole community got involved."

When the collection was complete, the city of 1,800 had amassed two totes filled with 120 pounds of Halloween candy. The sweets are on the way to troops from the Rapid City area, thanks to the local VFW.

"Something like this, for a little bit of time and energy, stands out in the community," Steve says. "When all was said and done, we sent 26 boxes of candy to the troops. The VFW was thrilled, and we already have ideas for how we are going to do it next year."

2 plastic bins of Halloween candy lying on the floor