What to Do with All That Halloween Candy: Tricks for Making it Disappear

Although you may have decided to give out non-edible treats this Halloween, chances are your neighbors are still handing out the sweet stuff. When your kids come home from trick-or-treating with all that loot and start sorting through it, the sheer volume may make you freak out (even more than the pint-sized grim reaper at your door did).

What are you going to do with all that candy? You could let the kids eat most of it in one sitting and get sick, or you might be tempted to dump it in the trash. There's no need to take drastic measures! I recommend giving your kids the opportunity to pick out a few of their favorite pieces and then make the rest disappear like magic. Read on for a few neat tricks. 

Turn Candy Into a Science Project

Find out how M&M’s are used for scientific research from Kimberly Crandell, geek-mom extraordinaire. In her post, 10 Scientific Uses for Leftover Halloween Candy, she shares recipes and experiments using candy (which sometimes involves eating it). Educational and sweet—I like the way she thinks. Another great site for using candy to expand your kids’ minds is Candy Experiments. Tell your kids to leave a Skittle in water and see what happens!

Do Good (Win-Win)

By participating in a Halloween Candy Buyback program for Operation Gratitude, you get to do something good for the Troops, your kids get something they want (usually cash) in exchange for their candy, and the sweet temptations are gone from your house forever. Find out if your local dentist or orthodontist has a buyback program or a fun trade-in event like the one at Framingham Dental Center. If you don’t find one in your area, you can still do good by sending the candy to Operation Shoebox along with a note and drawings made by your kids.

Every year I set up "Mommy's Store" after Halloween, letting my kids use their candy as currency for small toys. We then donate most of the candy and everyone is happy. Another version of this tactic is the "Switch Witch"—a witch comes in the night to switch the candy with an awesome toy—which is ideal for younger children. Candy can be donated to the aforementioned Operation Gratitude, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Operation Stars & Stripes.

In past years Magic Beans has offered a 20% discount on an item in the store in exchange for candy (one pound minimum), which is then donated. You may want to get on the Magic Beans email list to receive details and a coupon.


If you want to enjoy the candy, just not all at once, here are a few ideas:

  • Pack the candy into a piñata or stuff it into goodie bags for your child’s upcoming birthday. 
  • Whip up one or two of these drool-worthy recipes from Real Simple and the Cooking Channel (Snickerdoodle Pizza? OMG).
  • Use leftover candy corn to make these Candy Cornucopias from Simple Girl at Home for your Thanksgiving guests.
  • Give brightly colored candies a new home on a gingerbread house.
  • Set aside 24 pieces of candy for this simple Duck Tape Advent Calendar from JanDee Crafts.

See? The thought of all that Halloween candy isn’t so scary after all! And who knew you were such a talented magician?

Originally published Oct 2012 and updated annually.

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