You've shut the door behind the last trick or treater, but your home is still full of candy. Whether the mountains of M&Ms and bunches of Butterfingers piled on your counter are the result of overbuying or your child(ren)'s bounty after a very productive Halloween night, you still have to figure out what to do with it all. Chances are you, you don't want your kid (or you) consuming every last morsel. Here are some suggestions of what to do with the sugary surplus:
- Donate it. My tween's school is running a donation program and they will send it to our troops. In addition to schools, sometimes libraries or other communities institutions run such programs. Also check out Operation Shoebox for donating it to our troops. The Ronald McDonald House Charities also accept candy donations. Find your local chapter here. Another possible donation location is your local food bank. I couldn't find information about donation on the Meals for Wheels page, but it may be worth checking with your local group to see if they will accept it, too.
- "Sell" it to your dentist or orthodontist. If you are feeling altruistic but your children need you to sweeten the pot (see what I did there?), I have the middleman who can satisfy you both. Across the country, 1,000 dentists are participating in the Halloween Candy BuyBack Program, where they purchase Halloween candy and send it to Operation Gratitude, who will pass it along to U.S. Troops. Last year, the program received and shipped 125 TONS of candy. You can find a participating dentist near you using the search function on the top right of the program's homepage. Some dentists pay cash at approximately $1 per pound, while others pay with goodie bags. Other dentists and orthodontists have similar programs that they run independently.
- Bake with it. You can at least defer consumption with this approach. And if you are trying to not consume the candy, try baking with it. You can even plan on freezing those items to use for gifts at the holidays. (Freeze the candy and bake at the holidays, or make the items now and freeze, depending on what you're making.) Real Simple has 10 recipes using Halloween candy here, including Kit Kat Angel Food Cake and SweeTarts Milk Shake (which sound like they'd be fun for a tween New Year's Eve bash). Or just mix cut up candy bars in cookie dough.
- Ration it for future occasions. For those of you with will power, one reader suggested saving the candy to fill shoes on St. Nicholas Day, Dec. 6, or stocking stuffers if you celebrate. Traveling over Thanksgiving? It's officially the eating season, and a few fun size Snickers may just be key to keeping peace in the car or taking the edge off airport insanity. (Please note that the candy might have such an effect not just upon a child, but also spouse, in law, cranky person sitting next to you, etc.) Maybe saving it for Valentine's Day is a even possibility, but let's not overdo it here with the will power. You'll give me a complex.
If you have other suggestions or ideas, please leave them in the comment section! We'd love to hear them!