Kids Safety 101
Big pile of leftover Halloween candy

What Should You Do with All That Leftover Halloween Candy?

Halloween has come and gone… but for many of us, leftover candy is still hanging out in our homes. While the obvious solution to get rid of it is to eat it, that’s not the healthiest choice for you and your family.

Here’s how to cope with leftover Halloween candy in creative ways.

Donate It to a Good Cause

Programs such as Operation Shoebox or Operation Gratitude will take donations of leftover candy and then send it to troops stationed overseas. Donating candy to schools, nursing homes, or hospitals might also be welcome, but check with the organization before you show up.

Sell It Through a Buyback Program

Did you know that there are buyback programs for candy? The concept is similar to gun buyback programs–but with much lower stakes. Candy buybacks usually happen at dentists’ offices, with the goal of minimizing the amount of sugar kids consume after Halloween. Every office’s program is different–some offer cash per the pound, while others have toys and prizes instead.

The candy will be donated after the collection. You can find local participants here.

Freeze It for Later

If you have strong willpower–and disciplined kids who won’t get into the stash–then freezing your candy is a good option. Chocolate freezes well and will stay fresh for months. That way you can ration the Halloween candy haul until the holidays. In fact, you can even thaw out any candy in generic (not holiday) packaging use it as stocking stuffers or treat bags. No one will know!

Use It in Recipes

While it’s not necessarily healthier to use candy in brownies or cookies, you may not eat as much of it all at once. Adding chopped candy to sundaes or milkshakes is a fun way to personalize desserts.

You can also make tasty “monster” cookies or brownies with your leftover candy. M&Ms can go in homemade trail mix–or you can save small, colorful candies to decorate a gingerbread house.

Throw It Away

Food waste a serious problem, so throwing away your Halloween candy should not be done lightly. However, if you or someone in your household struggles with disordered eating, getting the candy out of the house immediately might be the healthiest option.

How to Make It Easier on Your Kids

Trick-or-treating gets a lot of hype every year, and kids may be resistant to the idea of giving up any of their haul. After all, they earned it! A fun way to get them excited to give up their candy is to turn it into a game.

Parents have gotten really creative with this, promising a visit from the Halloween Fairy, the Sugar Goblin, or the Switch Witch. These magical figures, similar to the Tooth Fairy, will pick up the kids’ unwanted candy overnight and replace it with toys, games, and other non-sweet treats.

Erin Long