Wednesday, October 30, 2013

15 Practical Uses For Leftover Halloween Candy

Halloween candy should come with these instructions: “Unwrap and apply directly to hips.” You know, sort of like Play Doh. Every year, millions of Americans are stuck with the dilemma of what to do with leftover candy. Are we spoiled or what? As parents, we feel guilty throwing the sweet stuff out because, after all, it is food and we're taught that food is not to be wasted. While there are tons of suggestions on what to do with it (“Wire the wrappers together to make a cat skirt,” “Save the wrappers to build a life-size sculpture of your kids,” etc.), many are time-intensive or just plain stupid.

So here are 15 practical, low-effort uses for leftover Halloween candy:

1.   Use it for ice cream. I scored some major Cool Mom credit a few weeks after Halloween, when we hosted a playdate and I asked the girls, “Wanna make some ice cream sundaes?” I grabbed some cheap generic ice cream cups, Hershey Chocolate Syrup, and leftover candy and let the kids go to town. My daughter beamed as her friend said, “Wow! Your mom is so cool!” Suggested candies for this include M&Ms, Skittles, and any crushed up chocolate bar. Smashed up hard candy (let the kids do it since they love smashing stuff) works, too.
2.   Use it in baking. Add crushed peanut butter cups, M&Ms, and other chocolate to cookies.
3.   Use peppermints (yes, people still give these out) in hot chocolate and to flavor coffee.
4.   Donate it to the troops. Operation Shoebox ( sends “support, snacks and much needed personal care items to our troops deployed outside of the USA.”
5.   Make homemade trail mix by mixing M&Ms with pretzels, nuts, and dried fruit.
6.   Save it for goodie bags or use as pinata filler.
7.   Send it it to the office. One year, my husband did not bring a big bag of candy to the office. His co-workers were ticked. I guess if you have kids, you're expected to share their unwanted booty with those who don't.
8.   Save it for it for upcoming Thanksgiving food drives.
9.   Use it as a counting tool. Let little ones learn to count and sort using different colored candies.
10. Pair chocolate, caramel, and nutty bars like Snickers with port wine or to class up some Trader Joe's red wine (in my circles, we used to call that stuff “3-Buck Chuck” since it used to cost a whopping $3). I understand from a Scotch aficionado that Twix goes quite well with Scotch.
11. Save the prettier-wrapped candies for gifts. Buy a small decorative bowl, jar, or coffee mug and fill it with candies; add a piece of fabric and a bow. Voila! A lovely gift!
12. Use it to decorate a gingerbread house.  (Note:  here's a link that will show you how to make an easy one using graham crackers:
13. Make homemade flavored vodka. Hard candies dissolved in vodka make flavored hooch. Just make sure you label any bottles appropriately and keep it far away from curious kiddies and pets.
14. Keep a bit in the car. The next time you're stuck in a major traffic jam and the kids are beating each other senseless with water bottles, whip out a piece for the children or yourself.
15. Save some for the grandparents or bring it to a nearby nursing home.

And don't feel back about pilfering it for yourself. We all do it. I mean, the kids owe us for walking them around in the cold; the house always gets a cut, right? Just try to limit yourself to a few a day.

And Happy Halloween!

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