The Smartest Ways to Put Leftover Halloween Candy to Good Use (Besides the Obvious One)

The Smartest Ways to Put Leftover Halloween Candy to Good Use (Besides the Obvious One)
Photo: Sharkshock, Shutterstock

It’s (almost) that time of year again. When kids run giddily through the neighbourhood (hopefully not freezing under those Star Wars costumes made of impossibly thin fabric) and return home with a metric ton of insulin-spiking, mood-altering candy that you — despite your best covert laundry-room nibbling efforts — can’t get rid of fast enough. What’s a parent to do with the unwanted pounds of candy after the first few days of gorging are done? Here are some ways you may not have thought of to banish the loot from your premises (or at least repurpose it in fresh ways).

Get a Switch Witch

After her daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, mum Lara Riley developed the Switch Witch, a small doll that comes to your house for “a long sleepover playdate” in the weeks leading up to Halloween. After your child takes care of their Switch Witch during October she rewards them post-holiday by turning some of their candy into a surprise gift.

Donate it (or participate in a candy “buyback” program)

Operation Gratitude has been collecting candy for its “Military, Veteran, and First Responder Heroes” since 2007. Register to donate and they’ll either match you with a local military, first responder, or veteran group, or ask you to ship it to their candy processing facility in California. Similarly, Soldier’s Angels has a “Treats for Troops” program. Dentists who participate in the Halloween Candy Buyback program will pay $US1 (AU$1.30) for every kilo of candy children bring into their offices (which then gets donated).

Use it to decorate a gingerbread house

If you find store-bought gingerbread house decor lacking (which it invariably is) it’s nothing some leftover Halloween candy can’t fix. Crack open your candy stash and supplement the decor with your own Skittles, gummy bears, Pez, or green and red M &M’s.

Use on upcoming holidays (and birthdays)

You know what comes soon after Halloween? Christmas. And you know what’s not long after that? Easter. If you celebrate either of these holidays, your kids’ excess Halloween candy can be re-purposed for their stockings and baskets. (Though you might want to inspect the packaging for evidence of flying witches, pumpkins, or bats lest your repurposing be obvious.) And there’s no need to worry if the candy will be bad by then — it lasts for a good six to nine months, or longer. Also read: Birthday pinatas and goody bags.

Use it as a motivational tool

I don’t allow much candy in my house regularly. Which means my children are like rabid animals around a candy dish, but also means they will do many things for a chance to have more. So, while this is by no means my primary or preferred method to incentivise them, it sure is effective. After letting your kids keep an amount you’re comfortable with, stash the rest and dole it out a piece or two at a time when chores, homework, or other necessary life tasks (like having bites of “disgusting” chicken) are completed.

Repurpose the chocolate in a recipe

Twix trifle anyone? Or is a Butterfinger cheesecake more your speed? Whether you’re a fruit-flavored candy lover or a chocolate-or-bust type, with a little digging you can find a recipe that includes your fave (or just whatever candy is still resting at the bottom of the plastic pumpkin). Don’t be afraid to freeze it and make peanut butter cup blizzards, or homemade milkshakes with vanilla ice cream and Milky Ways.

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