OK, so apparently some people actually have this problem because I was asked to write a little something on this delicious Halloween dilemma of what to do with all your soon-to-be-leftover candy.
When I did a little research on the topic (yep, I researched it too) I realized it’s a rather common occurrence…one of life’s sweetest mysteries. Now, I’m not sure what the problem is at our house – maybe my children neglect to collect an adequate amount of sucrose, fructose and glucose in arrays of shapes, colors and flavors – but I don’t think that’s it because we seem to have loot-a-plenty. Maybe a leaky Halloween bucket or Bermuda Triangle looming near the candy dish, but we have a way of making our stash disappear quickly.
A little treat for the lunch box, an after school snack, maybe a quiet bedtime nibble…I share some with the rest of the family too! I keep a shameless “secret” chocolate stash in the top shelf of the freezer too. Not that anyone is unaware of my frozen delights but the “out of sight, out of mind” technique seems to work with frozen chocolate. I guess rock solid goodness isn’t quite as appealing to the rest of the family either…crazy.
CANDY…just ONE reason I love HaLLoWeeN!
So, sweet tooth aside – if it were that we had extra confections just hanging around on into Thanksgiving, Christmas or the new year (crazy talk,) I brainstormed what I might do with it all.
Resisting temptation to insert my mailing address here….
1. Experiment (literally). Put that candy to goo use by doing fun science experiments. What kid wouldn’t wnat to use their candy as subjects? The Candy Experiments website and Facebook page has plenty of ideas.
2. Sell It – Until I started researching, I would have thought this sounded strange. Apparently though, there are programs out there where the candy sold is donated to charitable organizations. One such program is the Halloween Candy Buy Back operated by dentists and benefiting the military. Coupons are used to “buy” the candy with donated items available in exchange for the coupons. The candy is then passed along to military support groups such as Operation Gratitude. Everyone wins!
3. Bake With It – You’ve gathered by now that I have a sweet spot for sweets. Well, I find gingerbread houses to be awe-inspiring. If only I could stumble upon a house constructed with cake and confectionary (no witch though) or dive into a river of chocolate fudge (free of suction pipes)…a dream come true. With the wit of Hansel and Gretel and the grace to escape the fate of poor Augustus Gloop, I could make it out to tell the tale. Until then, I’ll just continue to play with miniatures. Incorporate a Halloween gingerbread house into your traditions and save extra candies in the freezer for your masterpiece in December. Oh, you can add bits here and there to your cakes and cookies too. Check-out this Snickers Bar Cookie Recipe and Snickers Popcorn.
4. Candy Tribuloumines – my favorite candy science experiment. It’s the science behind the wintergreen mint spark in the dark. The illumination is caused by the same principles that make lightning streak through a dark sky. Turn off the lights, find a mirror and crunch away.
5. Decorate With It – OK, so I know you might be thinking this finally confirms it: I really am a Not-So-Professional Home Decorator…but read on! Candy is absolutely gorgeous with variations in color, shape and size. It offers fantastic visual appeal when displayed in a glass container and with sentiments reminiscent of youthful years, a large bowl can bring even the most refined palates to a grin as memories of Kool-Aid smiles and stained-blue tongues stir in distant, Candy-Coated Memories.
I love to keep a small bowl of festive candies on the fireplace mantle. It adds a bit of holiday cheer to our home and an attractive wonder for each child who comes through our door. So attractive, in fact, that I’ve had to put it away at times when the level was shrinking more rapidly than my “just a couple” rule would allow.
Search for that perfect glass jar, vase or bowl (think repurposing) and fill it to the brim because it’s not going to stay that way! Try three different sized glass containers and separate the candy into color families for unique decor. Add a bow for a lovely gift – share it with your child’s teacher at school – the entire class will thank you!
6. Play With It – Have a PJ party and set aside some of the Halloween stash for a fun evening in with the family. Get out the board games but instead of using the usual game pieces, substitute them for small candies. It will put a sweet twist to a memorable evening, and winner will reap the rewards like never before!
7. Love Notes – share the love by attaching a little sweet to a kind note in a lunch box. Get creative and staple it, tape it or write on it to let someone know you care. It may not sound like much, but your message will be received with a bonus of a yummy treat.
8. Wear It – candies with holes in them make great candy necklaces and young children can practice fine motor skills by stringing the candy onto a piece of yarn. If you don’t have enough candy to fill a necklace, add in some Cheerios for a gorgeous piece of jewelry.
9. Share It – this is a favorite of mine, and no, I’m not going to give out my mailing address (as much as I’d like to.) Think offices with heavy traffic, schools, friends or neighbors. My sister – lacking the sweet tooth gene – for years, would give me a bag of her collected candies…it was very much appreciated! There are also several non-profits that would benefit from such a donation. Shelters, food banks and halfway houses are a thought. Check out places that might be near your neighborhood, ask to see what their needs are and make suggestions to friends on where to take their leftover candy this year!
10. The Candy Fairy or Switch Witch – I selfishly love this idea, ha. Some parents (haven’t tried it yet) let children leave candies out for the Candy Fairy or Switch Witch. She flies in at night, completely unnoticed, leaves a small gift in exchange for the candy and everyone is happy. No cavities or sugar rushes – for the kids anyway!