Wondering what to do with your child’s leftover Halloween candy? We’re here to help with inventive ideas on how to reuse it in recipes, learn with it, play & paint with it, and more!
Every kid knows that Halloween candy is a mixed pumpkin-shaped bag. For every house that has King size candy bars, there are at least a half-dozen doling out generic wax paper caramels or, even worse, the well-meant toothbrush. Unpopular candy has a way of sticking around long-past its sell-by date, wasting away in the pantry until you get around to tossing it out around Groundhog’s day.
But, around here, we know there’s a place for every kernel of candy corn and candy coated chocolate. Here are some ideas to ensure even your least popular spooky treats are gone long before next Halloween.
MAKE FUN FOOD
WHEN IN DOUBT, THINK BROWNIES, COOKIES AND BARS
Start with your basic chocolate chip cookie or brownie recipe and sweeten the deal with a handful of Halloween candy. Don’t stop at mini M&Ms. Outside-the-candy-box choices like candy corn, mini peanut butter cups, Kit Kat bars and Butterfingers are a delicious change of pace in your old stand-by recipe.
For some inspiration, look at these stunning Candy Dipped Brownies from My Name is Snickerdoodle. Or how about the incredible Candy Cookie Cakefrom Baker By Nature, or this Peanut Butter Cookie Pizza (!!) by Delightful E Made via Miss Information.
GET A LITTLE FANCIER WITH CANDY BARK
The only thing scary about this is how good it is. Start by melting your choice of baking chocolate in a double-boiler and pour onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with chopped up halloween candy and refrigerate until cooled and hardened. Remove parchment paper, break into pieces, and try not to eat it all yourself.
The delicious examples shown here use dark chocolate (from Just a Taste) and white chocolate (via Glorious Treats).
GO GOURMET WITH CANDY POPCORN
Heat melting candy in the microwave and stir into a few cups of popcorn. Sprinkle with the chopped-up candy bars of your choice (Milky Way, Snickers and Mars are a few of our favorites). Spread onto a baking mat to cool. Enjoy!
The mouth-watering Twix Caramel Popcorn featured here is from the brilliant Two Peas and their Pod.
MIX IT UP WITH CEREAL
Create a fun, unexpected trail mix by combining your child’s favorite cereal or party mix with pretzels, dried fruit, nuts and leftover candy bits for a sweet and salty treat.
This recipe for Sweet and Salty Trail Mix via Love Bakes Good Cakes is the perfect base to start with for your child’s new favorite after-Halloween snack.
MAKE A CANDY DIP (YES, IT’S A THING)
A Southern favorite, dessert dips can be savory or sweet. Just combine 8 ounces of cream cheese with ½ cup of sugar, powdered sugar or a mix of white and brown sugar. Add optional flavorings like peanut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract to taste. Toss in a handful of chopped candy bars and serve with sliced apples, pretzels or cookies for a truly unique way of showcasing your Halloween hoard.
If this seems a bit indulgent after all that Halloween feasting, try the Skinny Candy Dip from Crazy For Crust with a few healthy swaps that make it less ghoulish on your waistline.
MAKE DESSERT NACHOS
Take apple slices or pretzels as the “chips” and then drizzle on your favorite toppings like chocolate sauce, caramel or marshmallow fluff. Then sprinkle with pieces of your favorite leftover candy bars!
For ideas, start with this Pretzel Dessert Nacho recipe from Take Two Tapas or mosey over to see how The Pin Junkie made Caramel Apple Nachos and adapt to your little monsters’ tastebuds.
DRINK IT! TRY MELTED CANDY BAR HOT CHOCOLATE
Warm up after a cold night tricking and treating with a warm cup of candy-embellished cocoa. This recipe for Melted Candy Bar Hot Chocolate from Momtastic is sure to hit the spot.
MAKE FRUIT POPS
These Frozen Peanut Cup Banana Pops from Real Simple use chopped Halloween candy as the crunchy coating on homemade fruit pops. Genius! Just dip your favorite fruit (we find bananas and strawberries work best) in melted chocolate, roll in crushed candy and devour.
SAVE IT FOR ANOTHER (HOLI)DAY
If you just can’t handle it anymore, here are some ways to relive the Halloween excitement at other times of year.
CHOP UP AND FREEZE
Chop up leftover candy into usable, bite-size pieces. Keep them in the freezer for cookies, cakes, milkshakes, topping ice cream (or mixing into the homemade variety), stirring into hot cocoa…the possibilities are endless!
REUSE AT A BIRTHDAY PARTY
Leftover Halloween candy makes a great piñata stuffer, topping for an ice cream sundae station (or Play. Party. Plan’s super fun Caramel Apple Bar), or make like Oh Happy Day and get kabob-ing with their colorful Candy Kabobs.
LEARN WITH IT!
Skip the ingesting part and use it to intellectualize (we’re 99% sure that’s a word). Check out these great ideas that incorporate candy + learning activities for your kids to get your creative juices flowing:
- Balancing with M&Ms from Inspiration Laboratories
- Creating Candy Sequences/Patterns and Sorting Activity from Toddler Approved
- Candy Corn Preschool Printables from This Reading Mama
- Gumdrop Sculptures (you could use any solid candy for this) from Tinkerlab
Don’t be intimidated, it’s super easy. Check out the full instructions for this amazing Glossy Skittles Paint from Mama Papa Bubba for all the details on how to paint the rainbow.
SAVE IT FOR THE ADVENT CALENDAR
Save your leftover goodies to fill your advent calendar. If you don’t have one, try making this simple but totally fun one from Alphamom.What kid wouldn’t love to wake up to a sugar high every morning?
USE IT ON YOUR GINGERBREAD HOUSE
How is this the first time we’ve thought of this? It won’t even be stale by the holidays!
DONATE IT TO THE TROOPS
Check out local ways to donate your candy to our men and women in uniform. Programs like Operation Gratitude collect candy in November to send overseas to the troops. Halloween Candy Buy Back is a way for dentist offices and local businesses to buy back your candy in exchange for prizes or small gifts. The candy is then shipped overseas. Click here to find a participating business in your area.
ENLIST THE SWITCH WITCH
This ingenious toy comes with a story to read to your kids. On Halloween night, they give the Switch Witch a portion of their Halloween Candy which is then – magically – transformed into a small gift the following morning. Then, take your secret stash and hit up one of the above programs to donate.
AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST…
Ruin everyone’s holiday diet resolutions and bring it into the office. It will vanish before your eyes – the ultimate Halloween trick!
What are your favorite ways to make your Halloween leftovers disappear? Tell us all your tricks by leaving a comment below.
Great ideas! I love the gingerbread house idea.
Wow these are amazing ideas!!
These are going to come handy this year.
I am sure my coworkers will bring their leftovers to the office! I’m not sure if I’ll have any trick or treaters where I’m at so I bought ONE small bag and if I run out, then awesome! 😉
So many fun ideas . I wouldn’t even know which one to choose! Thank you so much fir putting these all together – I am totally pinning this! xxx
So many amazing ideas! But you had me at candy dip 🙂 We do a lot of candy barks too!
These are some great ideas. I would have never thought about doing this. We had trick-or-treating where we camp already so now I know what to do with all the leftovers. Thanks!
Awesome ideas! I love the hot chocolate one!
wow, these pictures are out of control, they make me definitely want to go trick or treating and get some candy! 🙂 Love all the ideas too! Thanks so much for sharing this extra SWEET story 🙂 xxx Bee
These are all such amazing ideas! *IF* there is any candy left, I definitely want to try out some of these ideas. But that’s a BIG “if” (my family are fiends for candy!). LOL!