On Halloween, the kids inevitably get over-excited, wanting to visit as many houses as they possibly can in the neighborhood while trick or treating. And more houses, of course, means more candy.
Even if you let your kids eat sweets in excess on Halloween night, pack a sweet treat in their lunch every day for the next month, and/or let them have a mini chocolate bar or pack of gummies for dessert after dinner, you’ll likely still be left with a boatload of candy.
Sure, the parents probably sneak a sweet treat here and there as a midnight snack (shhh, don’t tell the kids!) But even so, it’s hard to get rid of all the candy you can accumulate after two straight hours of going door-to-door.
So what can you do with all of the leftover goodies? Instead of shoving them in the back of the pantry only to trash them a year later to make room for a fresh batch, here are some clever ideas.
10 Bake Them Into Cookies
Chocolates like M&Ms are perfect for baking into cookies. But really, you can take any mini chocolate bar, crush it up, and add it to your cookie batter to add some additional flavors and crunch, whether it’s toffee, nuts, caramel, or coconut.
If you search online, there are even specific recipes designed around specific candy bars or treats, either mixing them into the batter or even placing a single candy in the center of a cookie. So do your research, get creative, and start baking.
9 Ice Cream Toppings
Take extra chocolates, hard candies, gummies – whatever you have – and use them as ice cream toppings. You can mix and match, or just use whatever you fancy at the moment.
A great idea for parties is to use leftover candies to create your own ice cream toppings bar: include M&Ms, broken up chocolate bar pieces, gummy worms, crushed up sugar-based candies, and more, then let the kids (and adults) go wild. A fun tip: use a muffin tin to sort and display all of the topping options, with mini spoons for serving in each.
8 Fill Up Your Candy Bowl for Guests
If you have a candy bowl in your living room, dining room, or den that’s used for decoration, or for grabbing a quick mint or hard candy, swap out the usual with a bigger selection of treats, or simply augment your existing selection with some new ones.
As people come to visit, they may grab one here and one there. You can also quickly grab a treat to go as you head out the door. Before you know it, you might have finally gotten rid of all of that extra candy.
7 Cake Toppers
Get creative with cake toppings, melting down chocolates to pour on top, chopping up chocolate bars to put around the perimeter or in the center, or adding candies for a fun and festive look.
Mix and match, and look for inspiration online on how you can combine different candies and/or chocolates to up your cake decorating game. If you want to go all out, mix some candies/chocolates into the batter, too, to add flavor, color, and a fun surprise when you cut into it.
6 Melt Caramels for Sauce
Gather up all of those rogue caramels until you have a large enough amount, take them out of the wrappers, and warm them up slowly on the stove until they melt down. You might have to add a bit of heavy cream or milk to the mix to soften it up and make it a bit thinner.
Then bottle it up, and use it as topping for ice cream, a sweet dip for fruit, to drizzle on cake or pie, or even add to your hot chocolate or coffee as a sweetener. Add some sea salt to enhance the flavor even more. (Photo: Myfoodandfamily.com)
5 Toddler Sorting Games
You don’t necessarily have to eat the leftover chocolate (though eventually you should so it doesn’t go to waste!) But since candies and chocolates handed out at Halloween are typically small and come in distinct and colourful packaging, they can come in handy for helping toddlers learn to sort, read, and count.
Instead of using blocks, flash cards, or toy cars, have them sort all of the candies by type, package, or color, read the names, then count them. If they’re old enough, maybe reward them at the end of the learning session with a bite (or two!)
4 Make Homemade Chocolate Bark
Melt down mini chocolate bars, then mix in various candies, treats, and other tasty items like nuts and pretzels, spread it out flat on top of waxed paper on a rectangular baking tray, and refrigerate or freeze for a few hours or more.
Once hardened into a bark, break the pieces up irregularly, and put them back in the fridge to grab a piece whenever you want to indulge, or to put out for dessert at your next gathering. You can also package up pieces to hand out as gifts to friends and family; add some to your Christmas cookies selection, too. (Photo: Mamagourmand.com)
3 Add to Homemade Trail Mix
Trail mix is a great, and sometimes, healthy snack, to keep around the house, pack in your lunch, or take for road trips. Rather than buy some from the store, make your own. Combine nuts, dried fruits, pretzels, and leftover Halloween candies like M&Ms.
Store in your pantry then grab a handful whenever you or your kids feel like a snack. At least then you’re getting some healthy fats via nuts and fruits along with the sweet treats. And a bit of chocolate or sweetness will enhance the mix and give you an extra boost of energy.
2 Liven Up Your Hot Chocolate
Make some hot cocoa for you or the kids, and instead of adding marshmallows, add a mini chocolate bar or other candy for a nice change.
You could add a caramel for flavor, or a marshmallow-based chocolate to make it even more indulgent. For kids, throw a gummy worm or licorice stick inside to make for a fun and playful presentation. For a more subtle addition, grab a grater and shave some chocolate on top of the whipped cream.
1 Add to Loot Bags
Whether it’s for Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthday parties, or another occasion, use up leftover Halloween candy in loot bags, adding one or two to each.
Chances are you were probably going to include candies of some sort in loot bags anyway, so rather than buy a new set, use up what you have. Especially after just a few months, the candies are still perfectly fine to use. And a bonus: it will save you a few bucks in the process.