Trick-or-treating is a fun outreach activity, but there’s just one part I dread.
Oh, sure, like most watchful parents I enjoy snitching a bite-size Reese’s or two—at first. But after a few days, that sugary stash becomes a cavity in waiting, and I know I need to get rid of it. Especially before the Christmas candy shows up.
Here are some of the most useful (and just plain fun) solutions I’ve found for using up leftover holiday candy. Some of these involve eating it, yes, but others are all about reinventing it or—better yet—giving it away.
1. Leftover Candy Cookie Bars
My very most favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER comes from Amy at Living Locurto. I make these all the time, often as bars, and I experiment with different mix-ins. Instead of using regular chocolate chips, chop up those leftover mini Snickers, Milky Way, Kit Kats and Three Musketeers and fold them into the cookie dough. Spread into a greased 15-inch jelly roll pan and bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes until the edges are slightly golden. Cool, cut into squares, and serve them to your pals at Bible study or sell them in the school bake sale. Just kidding—eat the whole pan yourself.
2. Caramel Candy Apple Nachos
Apples are healthy. Doused with a bit of caramel and crumbled Heath Bars, however—well, this post is not about health, it’s about candy. Nonetheless, just think of this solution as a trick for getting your kids to eat fresh produce. These “nachos” are perfect for a football party snack. Add walnuts or pecans for protein.
3. Trifle. Soooo delish.
So you’re going to your friend’s house for dinner and you’re supposed to bring dessert. Whip up this mad trifle, which looks all fancy pants and decadent but just might be the simplest dessert you’ve ever assembled.
Layer one: Chocolate pudding mixed with brownie chunks
Layer two: Whipped cream
Layer three: Chopped up leftover chocolate candy
Just gimme a spoon and a huge jug of Tums.
4. Mocha for you, mocha for me
My husband sometimes stirs Hershey’s chocolate syrup into his coffee. No lie. Why not toss a chunk of leftover Halloween chocolate into your morning java for a little taste of Starbucks at home?
5. Home school (and play)
Let younger kids practice counting or math using M&Ms or Nerds. As a reward, they can eat the tools when they’re done. Or play Bingo or board games using leftover candy as game pieces. The candy becomes prizes for winning (or losing).
6. Care packages
Stuff leftover candy in a care package to college-age cousins or grandparents. They might be too old to trick or treat, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still enjoy the spoils.
7. Freeze it
Seriously, you do not have to eat all the Halloween candy before Thanksgiving. Anything chocolate can be unwrapped, tossed in a freezer bag and frozen for later use—like, months later. Toss a frozen Butterfinger in a peanut butter banana smoothie, melt random candy bars to use as drizzle topping on ice cream sundaes, or use it to make a fondue. For a longer-lasting freeze, our family loves our FoodSaver vacuum sealer.
8. Christmas ornaments
Did you know you can melt hard candies to make Christmas ornaments? All you need is a metal cookie cutter and a few common kitchen supplies. When the ornaments cool, consider sealing them with Mod Podge to prevent stickiness. And don’t let the dog eat them. Or the kids.
9. Decoupage with wrappers
Do you have a crafty side? Or a child who loves to DIY? Try a decoupage project using candy wrappers. Seriously. Martha Stewart has a video.
Finally, give your candy to a good cause such as Operation Shoebox, which ships your leftover candy in care packages to U.S. Troops worldwide.
However you choose to use your leftover candy this year, remember to thank God for small blessings like Twix bars—and toothbrushes. Happy November!