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9 Things to Do with Leftover Halloween Candy

Megan Stein
Sept. 15, 2014

Avoid candy overload with these nine ways to use leftover Halloween candy.

Halloween is a time for jack-o-lanterns, costumes and, of course, candy. Enjoying a few snacks after trick-or-treating is part of the holiday fun. But when the sugar coma wears off, you may realize you're stuck with a massive amount of sweets -- which can lead to temptation for both children and adults.

"Sometimes when the candy is out and people don't know how to feel full, they will keep eating and eating," says Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD, founder of family-based wellness blog Family. Food. Fiesta. "And then the kids can throw up or get sick and the parents may also keep taking a little here or there, which could result in overeating."

Stop the endless candy cycle with these nine ways to use leftover Halloween candy.

  1. Create a Recipe
    Adding Halloween candy to a recipe is both an easy way to use up your loot and an opportunity for the family to interact. "It's so exciting to have a family activity where you are providing them with expert skills, like measuring ingredients, which can help with math," Koszyk says. "Cooking takes time, and the children feel a sense of accomplishment when it's finally achieved." For example, you can coat candy apples.

    There are healthy recipe options, too. Using candy as a topping for frozen yogurt or within a trail mix are easy ways to balance sweet intake.
  2. Share Treats With Others
    While baking something candy-filled with your family, consider doubling the recipe and giving half of your creation to local firefighters, police or senior centers, as Dr. Deborah Gilboa, MD, founder of AskDoctorG.com and author of "Get the Behavior You Want Without Being the Parent You Hate", does with her family. "You can feel better about making a huge a cookie-candy pie if you're going to make two and donate one," Gilboa says.
  3. Introduce the Candy Fairy
    The Candy Fairy, a new popular alternative to avoid candy overload. Kids leave the sweets out at night and the Candy Fairy swaps them out for a toy or small gift. "It creates a sense of magic and creativity. I think it's really positive," Koszyk says. "It's a good way to divvy up the extra candy so they don't feel like they're losing out on anything."
  4. Encourage Education
    Fuel your child's creativity by using your leftovers for a science experiment. A popular choice is the "spark in the dark" trick: Go into a dark room and have your child crush up Wint-O-Green Lifesavers in their mouths. The result is a mini light show and a fun discussion about triboluminescence.
  5. Be Crafty
    Plan for an upcoming holiday on the calendar and create a Thanksgiving craft out of your Halloween stash. The options are endless: candy corn wreaths or candy-filled plastic baubles. You can even make cute Thanksgiving place setting, where your kids make a paper turkey out of their handprint, attach to paper cups and fill the cups with M&Ms or other colorful treats.
  6. Donate to the Less Fortunate
    Whether it's to a homeless shelter or a greater effort like Operation Shoebox, donating your leftover candy is an easy way to brighten someone's day. "Kids that go to homeless shelters almost never get to trick-or-treat," Gilboa says. "You can donate some of your candy and then also have a meaningful conversation with your kids about how they lucky they are." 

    As an added bonus, donating will fill kids with a sense of pride and create a positive atmosphere at home. "It's a win, win. It feels great for the parents and is a good thing for the kids," she says.
  7. Reverse Trick-or-Treat
    Offer your kids another way to get involved with their community while also extending the excitement of the holiday. Let the kids wear their costumes and take extra candy to a local senior center for an evening of reverse trick-or-treating. Gilboa does this with her own family on Halloween as a way to offer the "give me, give me, give me" aspects of the holiday a more uplifting spin. "My kids look forward to it every year and it makes the seniors very happy," she says.
  8. Make a Simple Gift
    Have your little one create something special for a friend or relative, no holiday theme necessary. One fresh take is to create a mad-lib, where your child writes a fun message by taping mini candy bars to paper and using the candy names to form a story. Hershey Kisses and Sweet Tarts are also good for easy DIYs that will entertain your child and get rid of the excess candy.
  9. Pick Favorites
    Let the kids divvy up their candy into two piles, one of things they actually like and another pile of candy they don't. It will teach them the importance of only indulging in the things that are worth it.

    Bring the least-favorite candy to work to share with coworkers. "Sharing is caring," Koszyk says. "And then it won't tempt the parents at home."

Megan Stein is a copy editor and freelance writer that loves trying new things, exploring cities and spending time with friends and family.

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