What to do with that extra Halloween candy

Like many of you, I’m waking up this morning, eying the huge pile of candy in my house and thinking, How can I get the darned stuff out of my house? We’ve got 5 great ways to help may your home a little less sugary over the coming week.

Donate Candy to Children in Need
Hospitals, shelters, food pantries and even churches often accept leftover candy, as we pointed out in last year’s post about donating leftover Halloween candy. All the ideas here are still relevant; just be sure to call them before you show up with bags of candy to make sure they have a way to use it.

Donate Candy to our Troops
Operation Gratitude allows you to box up your candy, separating chocolate from other candy (chocolate melts in places like Iraq).  Then ask the kids to write or color a note to the troops, and send it to its headquarters in California. Include an extra $15 donation if you’d like to help them pay for mailing the treats overseas.

Sell it to a Dentist
If the only thing your kids like more than candy is cold hard cash, check out the Halloween Candy Buyback website which makes it easy to find a local dentist who is participating. I love that kids can turn over sacks of treats in exchange for a little money and probably a new toothbrush. Dentists in this program then send their candy windfall to Operation Gratitude themselves.

Trade for Discounts at Local Retailers
Call your local toy store to see if they are running a program like Magic Beans does around Boston – they’ll donate your candy to a couple of worthy organizations, and in exchange give you a coupon for 20% off a new toy–to soften the blow, I suppose.

Eat It!
If you can’t bear to part with all of it, Real Simple has put together some delicious dessert recipes that incorporate your favorite sweets into something you can proudly serve at your next playgroup or moms night out. Dulce De Leche and Snickers Terrine sounds pretty impressive; more so than just sneaking the minis out of your kids’ Halloween bags a week from now.

Have any other ways to get rid of the Halloween candy (other than throwing it away!)? Please leave your idea in the comments.

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Senior Associate Editor Christina Refford loves homeschooling, running, cool kids’ music, and coffee. Not in that order.


  • Reply November 1, 2011


    Our girls get to pick a piece or two that night to enjoy. As for the rest? We set it aside for our Gingerbread House making supplies. The girls totally get into this and look at their candy with new eyes (fence posts, roof tiles, etc). It’s been a fun way to re-purpose all that sugar.

  • Reply November 1, 2011


    Save it for gingerbread houses!

  • Reply November 1, 2011


    We set aside a lot of the candy our kids bring home, and use it for decorating gingerbread houses and people at Christmas time. Since our gingerbread houses grace the house for the entire holiday season it is all quite stale and ends up in the compost in January, so the kids never do get to eat it!

  • Reply November 2, 2011


    Our school collects candy to send to the troops. It’s a great way to handle to excess candy.

  • Reply October 29, 2012

    Erica Reinhart

    Thanks for the tips, as I never know what to do with all of it and usually just end up tossing it when he isn’t looking

  • Reply October 31, 2012


    We let our girls pick out some that they want to keep, and then the majority goes into a bag for the switch witch, who visits and takes the candy and then leaves them a toy. I then bring the candy into work and pawn it off on my coworkers!

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