Extra large haul this year? Fewer trick-or-treaters than you expected? Whatever the reason, come November 1 you may be left with a lot more candy that you counted on. Here are 20 ideas for what to do with all that candy:
Get it out of the house.
1. Make care packages for grandparents or great grandparents
If older relatives don’t have heaps of leftover Halloween candy of their own, send them a care package with some candy, a card, and add a printed picture of the kids (or your pets) in costumes. They would surely appreciate your thoughtfulness.
2. Donate it to the troops
Soldiers’ Angels Treats for Troops will send it to deployed troops around the world or distribute it to veterans in VA Hospitals across the country. Operation Shoebox will pack up your candy and ship it to troops overseas. And Operation Gratitude will send it to deployed troops or first responders.
3. Make care packages for the homeless
Fill gallon freezer bags with some candy, a few pieces of fruit (if giving out soon), dried nuts and fruits, hand warmers, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, thick socks, a $5 bill or whatever else you feel would help lift someone’s day a little around the holidays. Hand out bags when you see folks in need.
Use it in the kitchen
Make sweet treats even better.
4. Add to ice cream
Throughout the year, break out a few fun-sized bars at a time, chop them up, and add them to milkshakes, sundaes, ice cream, or cookie dough. Think: Butterfinger banana milkshakes, Almond Joy sundaes with extra toasted coconut on top. Yum!
5. Make your own trail mix
Store bought trail mix can be overpriced — and it doesn’t even have all the good stuff you want. Customize trail mix to your taste by opening those little leftover bags of M&M, Whoppers, Raisinets, Reese’s pieces or Junior Mints. Add pretzels, dried fruits, nuts, cereal, granola, and whatever else you crave as a snack when you hit the outdoors.
6. Make a mocha
Add a Hershey Kiss, fun-seized Nestle Crunch or other chunk of chocolate to your morning coffee for a quick and easy mocha.
7. Bake it into cakes and cookies
Peanut butter cup brownies, cakes, and cookies? Yes, please! Or, just decorate your cakes and cupcakes with candies. You could also melt down some of the chocolates and mix them in with your icing for something totally unique. Think: York Peppermint Patty icing on a chocolate cake.
8. Make Halloween bark
Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt a layer of chocolate underneath, then while still warm, press in layers of mini Halloween candies, marshmallows, crushed Oreos, Twizzlers, graham crackers and more.
Because big kids needs treats, too.
9. Serve it with wine
The next time you pop a cork, make it a Merlot, Port, or Pinot Noir. Then serve it with your Hershey’s Special Dark. Too many Kit Kats? Serve them with Chardonnay or sparkling wine. Musketeers and Milky Way make excellent companions to Muscat or Port wines. Baby Ruth and Snickers go well with Cabernet Sauvignon.
10. Serve it with beer
Snack on that Snickers or a PayDay with a nut brown ale for an perfectly paired adult treat. Tootsie Rolls are practically made for that imperial stout. And Reese’s can enhance the taste of barrel-aged beers.
11. Make your own flavored vodkas
Just add your favorite candy to your favorite vodka and let it soak overnight for a creatively flavored alcohol. Swedish fish? Tootsie Rolls? Smarties? Hot Tamales? Your kid’s candy bag is the limit!
Other holidays ideas
Save money by saving it for later.
12. Save it for Thanksgiving
Candy corn looks just as festive one month later on Thanksgiving. Put it in a bowl for guests to snack on then.
13. Save it for Valentine’s Day
Let your kids or nieces and nephews add candy to their Valentine’s Day cards at no extra cost to you. As long as you store candies in a cool, dry place, out of reach of sunlight, your Halloween candy will still be delicious in 4 months.
14. Make an advent calendar
Glue Dixie cups to a large, heavy poster board. Put candy in Dixie cups and cover with tissue paper. Write a number on top of each cup. Then, let the kids break through each day of December to find their treat.
15. Save it for gingerbread houses
Again, why waste money on more candy? Save leftover Halloween candy for just one month and you’ll have all the candies you need for the sweetest gingerbread houses on the block.
16. Stuff a piñata for a birthday party
Your birthday? Your kid’s? Your friend’s? It doesn’t matter. Who doesn’t love smashing through a piñata in celebration of someone’s birthday? Your candy will be gone in no time.
then There’s always…
Because sometimes life calls for candy.
17. Sneaky snacks
Keep a few pieces in a zip-top bag in your purse or out of sight in the car. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re sitting in traffic or at the doctor’s office with a rumbling stomach. (If you live in warmer climates, stick with things like Reese’s pieces, Sour Patch Kids and other dummies.)
18. Bring it to the office
Because anything edible disappears there by 3:30 p.m.
19. Freeze it
Don’t feel pressured to use all of that candy now. It will keep in the freezer for about 10 months before it starts to lose freshness. Just be sure to keep it in an airtight container.
Also see: how to best store your Halloween candy.
20. Just eat it.
Because let’s face it. You bought your favorite kind hoping there would be leftovers.
Also see: Homemade Caramel Apple recipe.
For ingredients and cooking supplies, everybodyshops.com.