Every kid I know collects more Halloween candy than he or she could (or should) possibly eat. So what to do with all of that excess loot? Rather than toss those goodies, try these alternate uses for all that hard-earned Halloween haul.
Bake. Many popular types of Halloween candy are ideal for baking. Visit CDKitchen.com for a large assortment of recipes designed specifically for leftover Halloween candies. Who knew that candy corn could be so delicious?
Leftover Halloween candy also makes delicious toppings for ice cream. Keep some candy in the freezer and break it out when the warm weather arrives. Soften up your favorite flavor of ice cream and then smoosh in some chopped toppings. Good options include Butterfingers, M&Ms, Snickers, Peanut Butter Cups or Gummy Bears.
You could also save leftover candy for a future craft project, such as an advent calendar. Small size bars are perfect to dole out as daily treats. Halloween candy can also be the inspiration for a holiday gingerbread house. For example, melted Jolly Rancher candies or lollipops make lovely "stained glass windows." Peppermint candies and red licorice add a whimsical and decorative touch. Chocolate nonpareils or Skittles make ideal roof tiles. Tootsie Rolls can be used to create a mini wood pile. Get creative with those leftovers that no one wants to eat!
Donate. Your kids likely got too much Halloween candy, but many people didn't get any. Consider donating your leftover candy to a charitable group. Organizations such as Operation Gratitude collect non-chocolate candies to send to U.S. troops abroad. Be sure to include a letter of support to a soldier along with your donation. Other local organizations like Meals on Wheels (mealsonwheelschicago.org) or Ronald McDonald House (rmhccni.org) will also make good use of your leftovers.
Experiment. Halloween candy can also be fodder for some pretty cool science experiments. Try microwaving sugar-coated marshmallow candies to observe how they expand and collapse. Crunch Wint-O-Green Life Savers in a dark room and watch the sparks fly. For more science-related uses for your leftover candy (and full explanations of the actual science behind them), check out the Science Mom
Trade in. Some local dentists offer attractive candy trade-in programs. Your kid parts with his Halloween loot and receives a gift card or some other non-sugar-laden goody in exchange. Visit the Halloween Candy Buy Back website (halloweencandybuyback.com) to find a participating dentist in your area.
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.