It's the day after Halloween and we have way too much candy in the house. Waaaay too much candy. Between the kids' haul from trick or treating to the leftover candy we didn't get to give away, we have a small mountain on the kitchen table. There's no way we can, or even want to eat it all. You can’t bring it to work because everyone else brought their extra candy to work. Your waistline doesn’t need to collect on the “Mommy or Daddy Tax” from the candy haul. You don’t want to throw it out but you certainly don’t want to urge your kids to eat more candy, so it doesn’t go to waste. That won’t win you any Mom-of-the-Year awards. So, what should you do with the leftover candy?
1. Play with it
Use the candy to have some fun. Have your kids build with the candy as if they were building blocks. My kids love to build structures using the jelly, butter and sugar packets on restaurant tables, so why not do the same at home. See who can build the tallest candy tower. Have your toddlers play games sorting the candy into sizes, colors or exact matches. Have them work on counting with the candy making groups of fives or tens.
2. Craft with it
Store the candy away for a few weeks and then use it to decorate a gingerbread house. Don’t want to wait until Christmas? Make a Halloween or Thanksgiving themed candy house. If you don’t have the gingerbread pieces, just glue the candy onto a shoebox. M&Ms, hard candy, Smarties, and jelly beans make the best gingerbread decorations. Alphamom.com has some cute ideas for crafting with leftover Halloween candy like making an advent calendar or a turkey piñata.
3. Cook with it
Thekitchn.com created a round-up of cool recipes using leftover Halloween candy. Some recipes are family-friendly like Peppermint Patty Brownies but some sound like fun for Mom and Dad, like Skittles Flavored Vodka.
4. Exchange it
You don’t want your kids to eat all of the candy they collect but you also don’t want them to feel like you are taking away their hard earned prize. So, have them exchange it. My daughter has Type 1 diabetes so we started the tradition of the Pumpkin Fairy who comes on Halloween night and exchanges the candy for little gifts such as a craft kit, book or toy. We tell her she can eat whatever she wants and trade the rest, but she eats hardly any because she wants a bigger stash to trade in. Read to learn more about the Pumpkin Fairy and how my daughter even built her Fairy a house out of a pumpkin.
5. Donate it
Get the candy out of the house by donating it. There are quite a few organizations that accept candy donations. Operation Gratitude sends care packages to the troops overseas. Make sure you have your child include a letter of support to a soldier. According to Operation Gratitude, that’s what the soldiers love most. Some libraries and dentists will collect the candy on behalf of Operation Gratitude to make it easy for you. Otherwise call your local nursing home, food pantry, woman’s shelter or even children’s hospital ward to see if they accept candy donations.
6. Or, donate it to science
Older kids will have a blast running experiments with their candy. Check out CandyExperiments.com for some cool science experiments that go beyond exploding Mentos in Coke. Making Lifesavers flash in the dark or running acid tests on your candy look like some serious fun.
7. Ring in the Holidays
Girlfriendology.com has some great advice on what to do with your leftover Halloween candy but the idea I liked most was to create a countdown to Christmas calendar. Save out 24 pieces of candy from each kid's stash. Then add the candy to your advent calendar or tape the candy to your family calendar. The kids get one piece every day in December as they countdown to Christmas Eve.
What is your favorite Halloween candy? Any other ideas on what to do with your leftover Halloween candy?