About this time each year, I start to think of ways that I’m going to either reuse or get rid of all the Halloween candy the kids will haul into the house. I have a problem, Ok! Especially once I started working from home, I need it out of the house! All of those Twizzlers and Kit Kats just keep calling my name. So here are 10 fun (and resourceful!) ways to use up all that Halloween candy.
1. Bake With It
Go ahead and freeze up some of your family’s favorite Halloween candy and turn it into some delicious baked goods. There are countless ideas and recipes for mixing in some sugary goodness. Throughout the year, add it to milkshakes, sundaes, ice cream and plain cookie dough. Bake it into cakes and brownies or decorate them with the leftover candy. You could also make some homemade trail mix. The possibilities are endless.
2. Conduct Science Experiments With It
Do a quick Google or Pinterest search and it’s amazing how many ideas you will find about conducting science experiments with candy. There are tons of fun ideas for conducting at home experiments using Skittles, Lifesavers, Starbursts, M&Ms, and more. Plus, your kids will be amazed to see what happens when you leave a gummy bear in water!
3. Dentist Swap It
We participated in Plaza Dental’s Halloween Candy BuyBack Program last year. The way it works is you bring in the candy you want to donate and your kids will be paid a dollar for every pound they donate. All candy donated is sent to troops overseas. This program works especially well for older kids who know the value of a dollar. We let the kids keep some candy and then they donated the rest. You may be surprised at just how many pounds of candy they bring in! Plaza Dental is located at 1089 Jordan Creek Parkway #100, West Des Moines, IA 50266 and their phone number is (515) 758-8263.
4. Decorate a Gingerbread House With It
Once Halloween is over it’s a fast slide to the holidays. Save or freeze some of the candy and start planning this year’s holiday gingerbread house. You could also use it to add on to the solitary house and build a whole city out of candy. The Lego bricks will be jealous!
5. Give It Away
Donating candy to a local charity is an impactful way of giving that allows kids to see who is actually benefiting from their generosity. There are local food pantries and shelters in Des Moines that will accept wrapped food to distribute. There is also a lot of retirement and nursing homes, and the residents there love getting visits from kids. Dress your tot up in their costume in the weeks following Halloween (it gives them one last use of this year’s costume, too!) and have them reverse trick-or-treat and give candy back to the elderly.
Lastly, your local chapter of the Ronald McDonald House and Blank Children’s Hospital will accept candy to distribute at parties for kids who are too sick to participate in trick-or-treating or upcoming holiday events. Just be sure to call and check that they’re accepting donations at any of these locations before showing up!
6. Re-Gift It
Save a bunch of the leftover candy for another use. If you have a birthday or other party coming up, you can use some of the candy to fill up goodie bags. You could also use the candy to fill a piñata for someone who has a fall or winter birthday. And, there’s no reason Santa can’t be a little thrifty when he’s looking to fill up the stockings this Christmas! For better or worse, candy is always a hit with little ones.
7. & 8. Ship It To Our Troops
Operation Gratitude annually sends 150,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation, to New Recruits, Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas. Your candy goes right into those packages. Check the details before sending off your candy – chocolates need to be in separate packages, and it’s awfully nice if you include a few other goodies from their list, like toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste. Be sure to include a filled out Donation Form, too. Donations must be received no later than mid-November.
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
7330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Attn: Angel Cuevas/Receiving (800) 651-8031
Here’s another great option for simply putting all that candy in a box, slapping a mailing label on it and dropping it off at the post office, knowing it will find its way to our troops. Every year Operation Shoebox send tons of candy to service men and women who are happy to have sweets you don’t want (they like coffee, too, if you’d like to add an extra treat). Note: they ask that you don’t just dump it in a shoebox anymore, but please use gallon zip lock bags and place them in a larger cardboard box. Don’t forget thank you cards for the troops, too! And kids are welcome to include pre-addressed post cards or notes in the package to start up a correspondence with our troops.
8360 E Highway 25
Belleview, Fl 34420
9. Switch Witch It
This is great for your little one’s first few Halloweens, when they might not fully understand some of the other concepts. In case you’re not familiar, the Switch Witch is a good witch that visits your home on Halloween night, usually while the children sleep (like Santa and the Tooth Fairy), and takes (not steals, she’s an invited guest) all of the children’s Halloween candy (or a select amount) and leaves a toy in its place. You still have to figure out what to do with the candy, but the hard part of getting your kids to relinquish it, is taken care of.
10. Use It in a Christmas Advent Calendar
If you traditionally offer a sweet treat as part of your Christmas Advent Calendar, why not hold some Halloween candy back to fill it? It’s not like it’s too far off, the holiday merch has already started to creep into local retail stores.
What do you do with your leftover Halloween candy? Share with us in the comments section below!