After the fun of trick-of-treating and the trading of the candy, we are pretty sure that your kids are still going to have piles of candy leftover that weighs about as much as a toddler.

Now is the time to think of a good plan for what to do with all that extra Halloween candy. Oh, sure, the kids can eat some of their hard-earned snacks. But, instead of throwing the rest of it in the trash, we have a bunch of great ideas that will turn that candy into something more than a messy pile of wrappers.

Related: 10 delicious recipes that use leftover Halloween candy

1. Donate Leftover Halloween Candy to a Good Cause

What to do with extra Halloween candy: Donate it to our troops overseas through orgs like Operation Gratitude

At very young ages, my kids knew that their extra candy was going “to the soldiers” through the Operation Gratitude Halloween candy distribution program. Be sure to click over to check out what they take and what they don’t — and be sure to hit the 11/15 deadline! Though we say, do it earlier so you’re not tempted to eat it yourself.

Operation Shoebox is another great organization that will gladly take your wrapped candy and send it overseas to servicemen and women all over the world. We enclose hand-drawn cards and handwritten letters in our box (the site has great tips for what to write, and how to address them) which the kids enjoy doing almost as much as I imagine their recipients like reading the results.

Also, be sure to check with your local food pantry, house of worship, or nursing home about donating Halloween candy. Some will gladly accept wrapped candy to give out to people celebrating birthdays or other milestones.

Related: 6 places to donate your leftover Halloween candy


2. Trade Halloween Candy for Money or Toys

What to do with extra Halloween candy: Find a candy buyback program through your local dentist or toy store

As my kids get older and more interested in having their own spending money, I appreciate that our dentist participates in the national Halloween Candy Buyback program, and yours might too. Our donated candy is weighed, donated to Operation Gratitude, and exchanged for cash which my kids can then use to buy something special. Hopefully not more candy. Sigh.

3. Make Leftover Candy Halloween Gingerbread Houses

How to DIY a Haunted Gingerbread House: We love these creative detail ideas at Pretty Life Girls

Though we’ve just made it through October, the holidays will be here before you know it. We love this entire post on Cool Mom Eats about tips for making DIY Haunted Gingerbread Houses. We especially love the DIY Haunted Gingerbread House tutorial at The Pretty Life Girls, featuring this cute pumpkin patch walkway. She has so many tips on her site.

We’re also inspired by the detailed instructions for a gingerbread house made with Halloween candy on the Hallmark blog. Even if ours won’t come out quite so perfect.

4. Attempt Candy Arts and Crafts with Leftover Halloween Candy (And Show Off on Instagram)

Handmade Charlotte chocolate dogs with your leftover Halloween candy

If your kids really can’t part with their candy, tempt them with fun food art projects. My older kids would flip for Handmade Charlotte’s Candy Bar Puppies food art which is involved for sure, but such a cute way to use up chocolate bars and Tootsie rolls. I imagine they’d try to make an entire pack of dogs of all different shapes and sizes with the bars they collect.

What to do with extra Halloween candy: Food art for kids like a Starburst Candy Mosaic | Mama Miss

Younger kids can try their hands at this sweet Starburst candy mosaic by Mama Miss. Just be sure to photograph it when you’re done because this is definitely not one you want to save in a drawer somewhere.

What to do with leftover Halloween Candy: Cool DIY Glossy Skittles Paint project from Mama Papa Bubba

Also, impressive but easy: Try making DIY paint using Skittles with the instructions at Mama Papa Bubba. Not only does it look so fun for kids, the result should smell great too.

What to do with Halloween candy: Make candy corn slime at Crayons and Cravings

Make Candy Corn Slime with real candy corn, using this tutorial over at Crayons and Cravings. It’s actually taste-safe too, but you don’t have to let the kids know that.


5. Teach Math + Science Lessons with Leftover Halloween Candy

Use extra Halloween candy to teach measurement from Making of a Mom

Give your kids something to do with the candy other than stick it in their mouths by turning their haul into an informal and fun math lesson. Making of a Mom uses candies to teach kids about measurements in a fun way, as shown above. Other resources include Learn Play Imagine where you’ll find how to use colorful candy to practice skip counting. And Julie Kirkwood at the Kiwi Crate blog suggests a Halloween Candy Graphs activity to let kids track which treats were most popular in their neighborhood.

Hey, maybe after doing some of these activities, they will even earn a candy or two.

Making science experiments with extra Halloween candy at Housing a Forest

Your kids can play scientist with candy as shown in a clever post at Housing a Forest, which may turn up some surprising findings. Pass out beakers, safety goggles, and the candy, and let the kids go mad mixing up their own unique potions to see what the results are.

Also, there’s an entire website called Candy Experiments which, not surprisingly, offers lots of really interesting science experiments you can do using everything from Pixy Sticks to Starbucks, Pop Rocks, Nerds, Skittles, and Lifesavers. I cannot wait to try to remove the “M” from some M&Ms!


6. Bake Up Some Treats with Leftover Halloween Candy

Leftover candy recipes: Peanut Butter Cup Banana Bread

While it’s tempting to reach for a fun-size snack to have with your morning coffee (no judgments here), Cool Mom Eats has got decadent recipes using leftover Halloween candy that may tempt you even more. A favorite is this recipe for Reeses Peanut Butter Banana Bread by Shelly of Cookies and Cups. It’s got bananas! It’s healthy!

You also have to check out the Halloween chocolate bark recipe that we featured from Just a Taste a while back. We haven’t stopped thinking about it.


How to use leftover Halloween candy: Frankenstein cookies at Design Eat Repeat

And just because Halloween is over, that doesn’t mean the fun has to end. We love these Frankenstein cookies at Design Eat Repeat. Or, you could use this same recipe but use the Butterfingers as the body for turkeys with candy-corn feathers or even Santa and Elves at Christmas…if the candy lasts that long.

You can also save the loot and enjoy it throughout the next few months in some better ways: As a topping on ice cream sundaes; melted to flavor your kids’ hot chocolate on a cold day; crushed up in cookies.

For some more cool ideas, check out Cool Mom Eats. We have really rounded up some amazing recipes that go beyond the obvious. Like a candy bourbon milkshake for us grownups, perhaps


7. Turn Leftover Halloween Candy into a DIY Advent Calendar

DIY Advent Calendar from A Bubbly Life: Save leftover Halloween candy to fill each box with a treat!

Every year  we share our favorite advent calendars and if you traditionally countdown to Christmas by revealing a treat a day, you can use your leftover Halloween candy for that as well. For example, this cool DIY advent calendar from A Bubbly Life would be so cute to include one little treat along with the cute painted animal toys.


8. Turn Leftover Halloween Candy into a Thanksgiving treat

DIY edible Thanksgiving turkeys made with Oreo cookies + leftover Halloween candy | how-to at Our Best Bites

Don’t forget Thanksgiving! A lot of Halloween candy could be used up making these adorable, and tasty, DIY edible Thanksgiving turkeys from Our Best Bites. that is, if you happen to have mini Reese’s leftover. (If not, at least they all go on sale this weekend!)

Related: 5 fun Thanksgiving crafts for kids that double as your Thanksgiving table decor


9. Have an adult cocktail

What to do with leftover Halloween candy: Halloween booze at Bon Appetite by Matt Duckor

Kristen confessed in the an episode of Spawned that her first “grownup drink” (a debatable term) was Zima and Jolly Ranchers, and we found a recipe for Jungle Juice at Bon Appetit that sounds quite similar.

Or, how about a chocolate peanut butter cup martini? All the yummy instructions can be found at I’m Bored Let’s Go. Pop Sugar has some other ideas for Halloween candy cocktails but we admit we might be a few decades overdue for some of them.


Halloween candy wine pairings at Cool Mom Eats

Or maybe you want to get some friends together for a leftover Halloween candy wine pairing party? I mean, we thought Reese’s went well with anything, but try it with Gómez Nevado “Dorado” and you’ll never go back.


Of Course…You Can Just Save it All for a Rainy Day

Finally, you may just want to hang on to some extra candy for…well, anything.  Hey, I’ve been known to squirrel away fun-size Snickers in the freezer. Or use mason jars or if you’re fancy, a FoodSaver sealer to keep everything fresh. (This one from our affiliate Amazon is pricy, but you’ll make up for it with lots of meat and produce you don’t throw out in the future.)

But, even if you just keep your leftover halloween Candy in plastic bags, visit Still Tasty, which lets you search all kinds of treats to see how to best save it, and how long it will last in a pantry, fridge or freezer.

There’s also a candy storage chart which conveniently lists the shelf life of the most popular treats, provided they’re fresh to begin with. The good news? Just about everything should be fine until April. Hey, Easter candy will be here by then to replace it anyway.

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