If your kids are anything like mine, they are going to bring home waaaay more trick-or-treating candy than they could possibly eat. (Or, more accurately, than I will ever allow them to eat.) Because let’s face it – too much sugar makes my kids crazy. They get all hopped up on Pixy Stix and Laffy Taffy and race around the house like psychotic wildebeests, then crash into sobbing, sticky messes unable to lift an arm to put on their pajamas – much less brush their seriously sugar-coated teeth.
Some moms surreptitiously sneak handfuls of candy into the trash can – or into their own mouths – until the stash is gone. I let my girls keep a few weeks’ worth of their favorite treats. This is how I sort out the rest:
- Do a visual check: Throw away any package that looks compromised or is open, torn or damaged. I might be stirring the proverbial witch’s pot here, but I also immediately toss all the Bit O’ Honeys and all those orange- or black-wrapped peanut butter toffees. Gross.
- Chocolate to chop: Make a pile of M&Ms, mini Hershey bars, etc., to chop into chunks and stir into cookie batter or ice cream. Put a sweet spin on homemade trail mix with some leftover Reese’s Pieces or candy corn. I’ve also heard of moms making Butterfinger Brownies, or saving mini Reese’s cups to top a chocolate/peanut butter cream pie.
- Bag the red and green: I put aside any kind of candy that my girls might use on a gingerbread house at Christmas time, like those individually-wrapped Twizzlers or red or green Lifesavers. One year, my older daughter made a cottage walkway out of Skittles. And our household will never forget the year my stepson got creative and made a haunted gingerbread house with gummy bats on the roof and wax fangs for a chimney. (Not very Christmas-y. But hey – at least he didn’t eat all that candy!)
- Find a buy-back program: Some organizations will give your kids money for their extra candy, such as Green Bay Family Dental, which pays $1 per pound, up to $5. (All the details are available on their Facebook page, and the candy is donated to Operation Gratitude.) And you won’t have to look too hard to find a school or church organization that will take donations of wrapped hard candies. My girls’ school, for instance, accepts candy donations to use as prizes in the spring carnival, or reading incentives all year long.
- Don’t eat it all at once: Caramels, candy corn and peanut butter cups typically have a shelf life of six to eight months, and hard candy is good for a year. Some people like to freeze their leftover treats; just be sure to put your candy in a re-sealable freezer bag and keep it away from your frozen garlic bread. I’m usually able to put enough sweets aside to fill a good-sized birthday piñata in April… just in time to get ready for the Easter Bunny. Sigh.
Do you have tips for getting rid of your extra Halloween candy? Please share in the comments!