Oh my gosh. I love Halloween candy. I enjoy going through my kids loot at the end of the night, curious as to what candy my kids received. I too, fall victim to that all-too-familiar favorite smell of all that assorted candy contained in one large container – that smell that entices me to eat “just one taste” of its deliciousness. But what happens when Halloween falls on an unusually cold or rainy night, (like it did in Chicago on Saturday!) and your stock of Halloween candy becomes your own personal supply? Here are a few tips for what you can do if you don’t want to end up eating it:
- Don’t buy candy that will tempt you – I know it’s too late now, but as a general rule, I usually try to buy non-chocolate candy like Starburst and Skittles (although we do give out a limited supply of full size candy bars which are given out first). I can’t buy any chocolate because I’ll end up eating it. If I’m not tempted by it, it can be stretched for months as treats in my kids’ lunches, travel snacks, or left out for social gatherings.
- Send it to work – This has become a tradition at my husband’s workplace. So many people don’t want to have all the extra candy in their house, so they leave it out to share at work. Lunchrooms and conference rooms fill up with candy. For most people, it’s easier to have a nibble here and there at work and there’s less temptation around coworkers.
- Donate it to our soldiers – There are some organizations that accept candy donations, like Operation Gratitude. Any school, organization, troop, or person can donate to this charity which ships the candy to our troops overseas. Simply follow the guidelines on their webpage. Some dental offices donate candy to Operation Gratitude by offering a “buy-back” program, exchanging some Halloween candy for small toys, toothbrushes, prizes, etc. Click here for more details. Operation Shoebox and Operation Buckeye also accept wrapped candy for deployed soldiers.
- Donate it to a food pantry – Most food pantries will accept bags and even partial bags of individually wrapped Halloween candy. Be sure to check with the food bank before delivering.
- Freeze it – Most Halloween candy freezes well, prolonging its shelf life and getting it out of your kitchen!
- Use it at a birthday party – If your child has a birthday party, use the leftover candy to fill up a piñata or to fill up goodie bags.
- Use the candy in recipes – Simply replace chocolate chips in recipes with M&M’s, Reese’s, or Twix. Sprinkle crushed candy bars onto cakes, ice cream, and brownies as toppings. Add small sweets like candy corn or M&M’s with pretzels and nuts to make trail mix.
- Repurpose it – If you are left with lots of plain chocolates, you can melt it down to use it for baking, ganache, or to make chocolate bark. Gift chocolate bark for the holidays by adding candy, dried fruits, pretzels, nuts, or extracts to create a unique, handmade chocolate gift.
- Make Butterfingers! – If you’ve stocked up on candy corn and are getting sick of it, you can turn it into homemade Butterfingers! Click here for a good recipe I found at EricaSweetTooth.com.
- Freecycle it – If you really want the candy gone and you can’t bear to throw it out, it can’t hurt to try freecycling it. Freecycle.org works by providing internet listings for people to give away unwanted items for free. This keeps items out of landfills, and gets them to people who want them. Freecycle.org is a network in most major communities. Put the Halloween candy up on Freecycle and you’re sure to find someone who will take it off your hands.
I hope you had a safe and fun Halloween! What do you do with your leftover Halloween candy? Let me know in the comments!
Resources: dispatch.com; money.usnews.com