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What Do We Do with All That Leftover Halloween Candy?

Here are some tricks to help that Halloween candy disappear.

Halloween candy is holding my kitchen hostage. Twix Bars, Milky Ways and Twizzlers are overflowing out of bags onto my counters. I keep dipping into it and it’s got to stop. According to my husband, this was what all the moms were talking about while waiting for their kids after dance class, “What do we do with all that leftover candy?”

Besides eating it, here are a few interesting ideas.

Donate the extra goodies

Donating makes everyone feel good. There are many organizations that accept candy donations for troops overseas. Operation Shoebox, Operation Gratitude, and Any Soldier are great places to start. Check out their websites for details. Our school ran a candy drive for troops a few years back and it was a huge success. This would also be a worthwhile activity for Boy/Girl Scout troops. 

Shelters and soup kitchens may like some candy to hand out to children and families who are homeless and hungry. There is something about candy that makes everyone happy. Here’s a link to New Jersey’s Anti-Hunger Coalition. I recommend calling shelters to find out if they accept donations before dropping anything off. A local Cinnaminson dad suggests contacting the Catholic Charities Shelter in Delanco. He said they collect candy and make Easter Baskets for those who can’t afford to make them.

Some dental offices are holding Halloween Candy Buy Back events. Families bring leftover candy to dental offices and receive cash, toothbrushes, coupons and certificates for their candy. The dental offices work with Operation Gratitude to ship the treats to troops. Check this site out for information. You can plug in your zip code and see if any local dentists are participating.

Freeze or cook up those candy bars

Freeze the leftover candy and take it out on Thanksgiving or during the holidays when guests stop by.

Baking season is here. Add some candy to your baked goods. Bake them up in cookies, brownies and cakes. Have you ever had a piece of cake with an entire candy bar in it? YUM! Here’s a link to some candy bar recipes from Real Simple.

Small candies are perfect for the gingerbread houses we make during the holidays. Freeze M&M’s and store Skittles, fruit chews and licorice somewhere safe until it’s time to create your gingerbread masterpieces.   

Be creative with leftover candy

I received a memorable hostess gift two Easters ago which was a wire framed duck basket with candy weaved in and out of it. It was a simple gift and I loved it.

Last year, I was on a mission to be creative and do something similar with our leftover Halloween candy. The holiday season seemed like the perfect time to try out something crafty.

I tried to replicate the gift I had received for Easter but with a Thanksgiving theme. My girls and I worked feverishly to try and make a candy turkey. You know, a turkey made out of candy bars?

We arranged Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and big packs of Twizzlers as the bird’s feathers. I thought the orange wrapper and red licorice would look pretty since they’re fall colors. We tried to shape the turkey’s body out of Twix Bars and we used a Hershey Kiss as the beak. It wasn’t perfect but it will forever be a story that makes us all laugh.

I was talking to Cindy, a Delran mom of two who told me about a time she tried making a wreath out of candy. Someone at her office made one and when you wanted a piece of candy you just cut it off and ate it. She said she tried but couldn’t figure out how to put it together. For those of you like Cindy and I, here’s a website with actual directions on how to make candy crafts, Incredible Edible Crafts.

If you are the crafty type, don’t trash the wrappers. Visit Candy Wrapper Crafts and Free Kids Crafts. They make amazing purses and jewelry. I know I could never make such things but my daughter is creative like that so I’ll let her have a go at it.

Crafting may not be for everyone but eating the candy is always an option.

Take the leftover candy to the office. You know it will be devoured. Candy in the workplace never lasts long. If you have a birthday party coming up, use it for treat bags, prizes or piñata fillers.

Hopefully, no matter what you do with your candy, it won’t be wasted. Before you dump those calories in the trash or into your body, take a look at what your kids collected and see how you can make use of it in a more productive way.

So, what am I going to do with all that leftover candy?

Hmm, I think I’ll go sneak another Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and think about it.

Tim Durkin November 07, 2011 at 12:54 PM
St Charles PTA is collecting excess candy to be donated to the Cooper Hospital chemotherapy unit for treats while patients are receiving chemo treatments. If you know a student at St Charles make contact with them on how to get candy to school. If you don't know any feel free to drop me a note here and I will get it to the school for you.
Janet Tumelty November 07, 2011 at 02:17 PM
Thanks for the info Tim! Sounds like a perfect place to donate the extra candy.
Cindy Cramer November 07, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Janet, thank you so much for the follow up on what we spoke about yesterday. That site you gave has a You Tube video of exactly what I was talking about - the Christmas candy wreath with the little scissors attached. I just might give it a whirl. Also, I'm excited about the idea to donate the candy to Cooper. My sister in law was treated there (and also worked there) so I can't think of a better place for our family to donate our candy. Thanks so much. You know how much I love your columns. Cindy
Tim Durkin November 07, 2011 at 04:08 PM
I am sure you can, during school hours of course. If you are familar with the school there is an entrance on the side bay the flag pole that has a bell to ring the main office. They will buzz you in and you can go to the office on the left. If you want I can get it from you, my wife works in the chemo unit so at some point it will all make it to my house, fearing that temptation already since isurely don't need to eat anymore. I will gladly share my cell number if you would like on a message to you.

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