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leftover halloween candy

What To Do With Leftover Halloween Candy

Halloween may be over, but chocolate lives on forever. That is, unless it’s in my house, in which case it has a very short lifespan.

Let’s face it, though. Candy is fun. Much of the Halloween hype centers around it, although in reality, most of the fun is about the novelty of the holiday. Kids often get to stay up late. Their “sometimes foods” show up by the bucket full. Houses are decorated. Energy is high everywhere they go.

But then there’s the aftermath.

Once the costumes come off and things are back to “normal,” what in the world are we to do with (all that) leftover Halloween candy?

Here are a few ideas that you might not have thought of.

leftover halloween candy
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Let your kids eat the leftover Halloween candy. No worries; it’s just one day.

If your child doesn’t have regular access to sweet treats, opening the candy floodgates and saying “Have at it!” might intimidate you. However, one absolutely solid option is to trust your child with the candy. Even the littlest of kids know when their tummies need to be in the “off” position.

leftover Halloween candy
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Yes, some will gorge on it, particularly if sweets are a forbidden fruit, so to speak (if only they were fruit!). But there’s a really smart approach to handling food that works beautifully for many families. The Ellyn Satter Division of Responsibility talks about how the parent provides the “what, where, and when” of food to which the child has access. The child, in turn, decides whether to eat it and if so, how much. Particularly when practiced consistently, it’s a great way for kids to learn to trust their bodies.

Ask your kids if they’d be willing to donate it. Some will!

Many charities accept leftover Halloween candy. Here are six that The Today Show suggested just this week and that are current as of the writing of this article.

For some reason that was unbeknownst to me, my child used to think donating leftover Halloween candy was THE thing to do. She insisted that we take it to church and give it away there. So, that’s what we did for a few years. No one ever complained, especially those whose kids had long outgrown trick or treating.

Turn it into a science experiment.

This one can be a lot of fun! We didn’t do this intentionally, but it’s a creative idea that my child brainstormed when we were unsure what to do with candy that was problematic for her food allergies. Sneak preview: imagine which candies dissolve and which seem to keep their original forms until the end of eternity. Trust me when I say that there are certain candies (even some of my favorites, sadly) that I will never eat again after seeing what happened to them.

leftover halloween candy
When leftover Halloween candy turns into a science experiment.

Trade leftover Halloween candy for a special event with a parent.

Some families like the Switch Witch, otherwise known as the Candy Fairy or the Great Pumpkin. Here, the child trades candy for a special toy. That’s certainly a viable option!

An alternative to that is to offer your child some special time together. Many kids sincerely crave some dedicated Mommy or Daddy time more than they need more “stuff” (especially with the potential for amazing Christmas toys practically around the corner).

Parents like this option of time together because, well, it’s quality time together (who can replace that?), it’s sustainable and supports green living, and it gives everyone something fun to anticipate together. A single happy memory to look back on together is worth its weight in gold.

Plan something fun like a special trip to a museum, a camp-out in the living room, a walk to your child’s favorite outdoor space, or a night of staying up late together watching movies on the couch. Follow through. Make it a tradition. Of course, we should be doing things like this with our kids anyway, but if we’re not, this can be a good reminder.

And if you’d like to tie it all together with the holiday, save a few special pieces of leftover Halloween candy to enjoy together at your event.

Cash it in at a participating dentist’s office. Let your child choose how to spend the money.

According to USA Today, more than 3000 dentists across the United States are paying $1 per pound of candy. Is one near you on the list? I don’t know about you, but I’d happily trade a pound of faux peanuts for some cold hard cash. So would my child.

No matter what you choose to do with your leftover Halloween candy, have fun with it.

It’s all temporary. It’s their booty so it’s best if they get to decide what to do with it. And you might just find that the sweetest treat is a fun new tradition with your child.

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About the Writer

Sarah R. Moore is a published writer, positive parenting educator, wellness advocate, and world traveler. Her work spans the globe, reaching readers on six continents and appearing in publications such as The Natural Parent Magazine, Scary Mommy, and Macaroni Kid.

She has been certified by the Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring.  She wholeheartedly recommends the course for parents, educators, and all others who influence the lives of children. 

She also holds BA / MFS degrees in Journalism, French, and Media/Arts/Cultural Production. Read more about Sarah here.