Time to break out those baskets: Easter is nigh! And here I feel like we were just making New Year's resolutions the other day.
If you feel the same way, and one of your resolutions was to, ahem, get in shape before summer, chocolates and jelly beans and Peeps, oh my!, could derail those plans.
But everything in moderation, I say! If you're going to indulge, do it with candy you love. We've rounded up some sweet places to stock up on unique treats, and we've also got tips on what to do with your leftovers (because you know your kids can't eat it all).
And if you're looking to fill those baskets with non-caloric goodies, we've got ideas for those too. Now let's hop to it!
Where to Buy Cool Candy
Finding candy can be even more fun than eating it. And you don't have to wait for an egg hunt to start searching. Grab the kids and fill up your shopping basket at these delicious stores.
Economy Candy - Lower East Side
108 Rivington Street between Ludlow and Essex Streets
This veteran sugar mecca (it's been open since 1937!) sells every treat you could ever want. Kids go gaga looking at the shelves packed with Pez, chocolate, hard candy, dried fruit and more. The retro treats (Bit-O-Honey! 100 Grand!) will transport parents back to childhood.
The Sweet Life - Lower East Side
63 Hester Street at Ludlow Street
Although it's just a few blocks away from Economy, this store is swankier and subscribes to the motto: "Anything can be dipped in chocolate." There are also licorice ropes, gummy bears and other treats.
Dewey's Candy - Dumbo
141 Front Street near Pearl Street
We've been fans of this Brooklyn shop ever since it opened in January, 2010. With giant lollipops hanging from the ceiling and eclectic treats, you can't go wrong stuffing your eggs at this spot.
Candiworks - Tribeca
353 Canal St between Church and Wooster Streets
Have you ever wanted to make your own Pixy Stix? Well you can at this colorful store, which opened in the summer of 2010. You can also buy candy by the pound. That's a great treat for your wallet!
MarieBelle Soho - Soho
484 Broome Street near Wooster Street
The shop's high-end chocolates are so scrumptious, even hard-to-please tweens will want to gobble them down. Also available at this cute shop: exotic toffees, fresh truffles and museum-worthy Easter eggs.
How to Get Rid of All That Candy
Come Monday morning, you may have a sugar hangover...not to mention tons of leftover candy. Here's how to get rid of it, besides throwing it in the garbage.
Some charities accept candy just like they do after Halloween. Operation Gratitude, which collects treats for troops overseas, is always a great option.
Chop up that bunny and make chocolate chip cookies! I love Alton Brown and he has an excellent chocolate chip cookie recipe. After baking (with the kids' help, of course), sample a few, then wrap up the rest and give them to an elderly neighbor, local firemen or your doorman.
Offer the kids a new item in exchange for their leftover sweets. Remind them how long a book or toy will last as compared to a few minutes of chewing. Put your well-honed storytelling skills to good use and say that the Easter fairy (or ferret or whatever) will be picking up the leftovers while they sleep. (This is a good one to remember around October 31, too).
Play mad scientist
Gather your Skittles, jelly beans and chocolate kisses and conduct cool experiments in your kitchen. The website Candy Experiments has tons of fun and educational ideas, including separating colors (we've heard how bad those dyes are for our health) and making Life Savers flash.
Jelly beans, the popular plastic egg filler, are perfect for crafts. The Domestic Diva has instructions for making an Easter bunny mosaic, but your family can create anything you want (I'm partial to rainbows). Over at Punchbowl, you can learn how to make a jelly-bean bracelet.
Alternative Basket Stuffers
Baskets don't need to be filled with candy. Cut down on the sugar intake by substituting non-food items. This is a great solution for kids with food allergies.
The old standbys
Every little kid I know is always thrilled to receive a new stuffed friend. Fresh crayons and stickers, a bottle of bubbles, new plastic sunglasses, harmonicas and other goody bag items are perfect for your basket.
If you build it, they will smile
Instead of fake grass, fill the bottom of your basket with Legos. Then help your kid construct a bunny!
Budding fashionistas will love a basketful of headbands and bracelets. Toss in a few bottles of nail polish and spend the afternoon doing mani-pedis.
Reading is fundamental
A few new paperbacks are ideal for any Easter basket, as are maze and word puzzle books.
Remember, if you aren't holding your own Easter egg hunt, check out our guide to hunts around the city!
This post was originally published in April 2011.