Thanks to all of the wonderful Trick-or-Treating opportunities in town, not only have we gotten great use of our second-hand Halloween costumes, but we are collecting an OVERFLOW of all things SUGAR! Between their school and church’s “Trunk or Treats”, treats from their Nanna, and other fall activities, we have SO much candy!
I refuse to let my children surround themselves with their sugary confections and gorge until they are sick and unable to move. Splurge a little, fine, but I already limit their sugar intake on a regular basis as it is. A few years ago, we started using our Halloween Candy in alternative ways. We do this to not only spread it out more, but to also not be wasteful with what we have received.
Here are a few alternatives to a candy binge fest! My boys and I have tested some of these, but look forward to trying out a few new ones this year!
WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU CHOCOLATE, MAKE COOKIES!
One of the best things we do with all of our chocolate based confections is make cookies. We use a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe found HERE and instead of adding chocolate chips, we chop up the different chocolate bars and add those. We first sort through all of their candy (this thrills the OCD in me!) and separate it into the various kinds. Over time, we have found if you refrigerate your candy for about an hour before you chop it up, you won’t have a melty mess to clean up.
You can either mix all the different candy pieces together, or separate into specific flavors. We like to do the latter and separate out dough for each candy type. You can also mix in the chopped up candy into brownies for variety.
And I know what you’re going to say: “Well, you’re still eating all that sugar, just now in cookie form!” Well, kind of! We try not to KEEP all the cookies that we just made. That would definitely defeat the purpose of “doing something ELSE” with your leftover candy! A few things we do with the cookies:
- Freeze in quantities of 12. That way, if you need a quick dessert, you have something ready to go.
- Go around to your area Police Stations and/or Firehouses and bring them a plate of cookies. Just something this simple can increase morale more than you know!
- Holiday Cookie Exchanges. You know you get cookie exchange invites all the time. Have cookies ready to go and then you save yourself time during the busy holiday season.
DECORATE WITH THE CANDY YOU DON’T EAT!
How many times have you thrown away those small packages of candy corn? What about the Halloween taffy you might see at the bottom of your child’s treat bucket? Instead of throwing it away, decorate with it! I love decorating my home with seasonal decorations all year round but I also try to spend the least amount of money I can to achieve this goal.
Next time you want to decorate for Thanksgiving (or even just fall), gather all of your candy corn . Take small candle holders and fill with the candy mixture about halfway, put in a tealight candle and voila! A simple yet pretty fall decoration on your table.
CHOP UP AND FREEZE YOUR CANDY SURPLUS
I think one of the best ways to make use of your leftover candy is just simply chop up your favorites and freeze them for future use. I store mine in Ziploc bags and freeze flat so that they don’t take up excessive room in my freezer. Use the chopped up candies for any of the following:
- Milkshake Mix-Ins
- Ice Cream Sundae Toppings
- Cup Cake Decorations
- Coffee and Hot Cocoa Stir-Ins
DONATE YOUR EXTRA CANDY
Lastly, there are several organizations that will take your surplus candy and send to soldiers who are currently overseas. Many area dentists will “buy back” your candy and donate it, along with toothbrushes and toothpaste (because that’s what dentists do)!
Here are a couple local and national organizations that will happily take your surplus candy:
Operation Gratitude – Halloween candy collection centers are around the country or you can send your candy to the address listed on the website.
Halloween Candy Buy Back – TNT Dental out of Texas has created a national Candy Buy Back program through local dentists, who will take your candy to send to the troops overseas. You can go HERE for a list of multiple local dentists that will take your candy donations.
You can also check with your local Ronald McDonald House, shelters, soup kitchens, and other outreach programs. These programs vary by location and will have different rules as to what they accept.
Don’t just throw out the excess candy you have from all of your Halloween excursions. Use it in one of the above alternative methods, and help spread the sugary joy. Make it a family project and let the sweetness last a little longer.