By Tara C.
Since becoming a parent nine years ago, I've never known the best way to handle the influx of candy around holidays, especially Halloween. What do you do with it all? Let the kids go wild and stuff themselves for a few days, then get rid of it? Let the kids exchange it for some sort of non-candy treat? Let it linger around the house until you realize that you not only have Halloween candy to contend with, but also Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter candy too?
Our pediatrician once recommended that we let the kids choose 30 pieces and let them have one a day for the next 30 days, but this did not go well for us. The kids obsessed over their candy like little misers and drove us nuts asking for their "daily candy." My experience has been that it's better to enjoy the candy for a few days, then remove it from sight. Here are a couple ideas for using the excess.
- Donate it. Find out where you can donate it in your community. Here in Austin, I know of a group that feeds that homeless and is accepting Halloween candy. I also know of some dentists who are participating in a program to collect and send candy to troops in Iraq and Afganistan.
- Experiment with it. Here's an idea that never occured to me. Use your leftover Halloween candy for science experiments.
- Save it for Christmas. The holidays are just around the corner and a lot of the candy from Halloween could be re-purposed as stocking stuffers or gingerbread house decorations. Stick the candy in the freezer if it's too tempting to look at it in the meantime.
- Bake with it. There are so many delicious things you can make with leftover candies, especially chocolates. One year I made Noble Pig's Leftover Halloween Candy Vanilla Bundt Cake and it was a big hit.
(photo from: Noble Pig)
This year I made Take 5 Candy Bar Cookies and they were delicious. You could also just substitute M&M's for chocolate chips in your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe or stir them into a batch of brownies or Rice Crispy Treats.
(photo from: Taste of Home)
You could also use candy as garnish, like on Pinch My Salt's Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes. Halloween may be over, but it's still fall. That's candy corn season, right?
(photo from: Pinch My Salt)
If you're sick of sweets at this point, it seems like there are lots of opportunity to give away baked goods this time of year. Just in the past week my kids' schools have asked for donations for a bake sale and treats for firefighters.
Also, if you make something fantastic, you can freeze it and save it for dessert at Thanksgiving, which is barely over two weeks away.
This is all assuming that you have leftover candy of course. Maybe you ate it all. That's the obvious thing to do with extra candy. No judgement.
What about you? What do you do with leftover Halloween candy?