Help! It’s the day after Halloween and we have way too much Halloween candy in our house. Waaaay too much candy. The kids trick or treated for hours and brought home enough candy to feed a small nation. There’s no way we can eat or even want to eat it all. So, Houston, we have a problem.
You can’t bring the candy to work because EVERYONE ELSE brought their extra candy to work. Your waistline does NOT need to collect the “Mommy or Daddy Tax” from the candy haul. You don’t want to throw it out but you certainly don’t want to urge your kids to eat more candy, so it doesn’t go to waste. That won’t win you any Mom-of-the-Year awards. So, what should you do with the leftover candy?
1. Repurpose it
Use your Halloween candy to fill a pinata for an upcoming child’s birthday party. Freeze the candy and then put it out in candy bowls as snacks for your Christmas, New Year’s, or Superbowl parties.
2. Play with it
Use the candy to have some fun. Have your kids build structures with the candy as if they were building blocks. My kids love to build structures using the jelly, butter and sugar packets on restaurant tables, so why not do the same at home. See who can build the tallest candy tower. Use the hot glue gun and build a fort for their Lego guys. Have your toddlers play games sorting the candy into sizes, colors or exact matches.
3. Add it up
Use the candy to work on your kids math skills. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and making groups of fives or tens for counting are all ways you can put the extra candy to work for you.
4. Craft with it
Store the candy away for a few weeks and then use it to decorate a gingerbread house. Don’t want to wait until Christmas? Make a Halloween or Thanksgiving themed candy house. If you don’t have the gingerbread pieces, just glue the candy onto a shoebox. M&Ms, hard candy, Smarties, and jelly beans make the best gingerbread decorations. Alphamom.com has some cute ideas for crafting with leftover Halloween candy like making an advent calendar or a turkey piñata.
5. Cook with it
Thekitchn.com created a round-up of cool recipes using leftover Halloween candy. Some recipes are family-friendly like Peppermint Patty Brownies but some sound like fun for Mom and Dad, like Skittles Flavored Vodka. For Thanksgiving dinner, here’s 13 Amazing Cake Recipes using leftover Halloween Candy.
6. Exchange it
You don’t want your kids to eat all of the candy they collect but you also don’t want them to feel like you are taking away their hard earned prize. So, have them exchange it. My daughter has Type 1 diabetes so we started the tradition of the Pumpkin Fairy who comes on Halloween night and exchanges the candy for little gifts such as a craft kit, book or toy. We tell her she can eat whatever she wants and trade the rest, but she eats hardly any because she wants a bigger stash to trade in. Read to learn more about the Pumpkin Fairy and how my daughter even built her Fairy a house out of a pumpkin.
7. Donate it
Get the candy out of the house by donating it. There are quite a few organizations that accept candy donations. Operation Gratitude sends care packages to the troops overseas. Make sure you have your child include a letter of support to a soldier, as well. According to Operation Gratitude, that’s what the soldiers love most. Some libraries and dentists will collect the candy on behalf of Operation Gratitude to make it easy for you. Otherwise call your local nursing home, food pantry, woman’s shelter or even children’s hospital ward to see if they accept candy donations.
8. Or, donate it to science
Older kids will have a blast running experiments with their candy. Check out CandyExperiments.com for some cool science experiments that go beyond exploding Mentos in Coke. Making Lifesavers flash in the dark or running acid tests on your candy look like some serious fun. Science20.com has even more experiments.
9. Ring in the Holidays
Girlfriendology.com has some great advice on what to do with your leftover Halloween candy but the idea I liked most was to create a countdown to Christmas calendar. Save out 24 pieces of candy from each kid’s stash. Then add the candy to your advent calendar or tape the candy to your family calendar. The kids get one piece every day in December as they countdown to Christmas Eve.
10. Regift it
Use the candy in homemade Holiday gifts. Create a movie night basket with some DVDs, popcorn, and Halloween candy. Put together a gourmet coffee basket with coffee, mugs, and some Halloween chocolate candy to melt into the coffee. These are easy to make and would be great ideas for Teacher’s Gifts.
What is your favorite Halloween candy? Any other ideas on what to do with your leftover Halloween candy?
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