Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Candy Overload

Two of my three kids went trick-or-treating for Halloween this year (the little one was sick). Now we are facing a mountain of candy, despite my best efforts.

I took the leftover candy that we had been passing out and put it out on the step after our neighborhood had settled down for the night. What do you know? Magically, some little gremlins spirited away our candy!

As for the kids' stash, my husband and I graciously ate every little bar that may have ever come into contact with a peanut. With a child with a severe peanut allergy, it's the least that we could do. (Actual peanut-containing foods are banned from our house. Our neighbor happily traded our kids' peanut-laden treats for fruity candy.)

Yet, despite this, and even after a family-wide pig-out, we still have a mound of candy left. What should we do with the leftovers? If you're facing a similar dilemma, here are some suggestions:
  • Donate your candy to the troops.
MoverMoms is organizing a candy collection in the greater Washington D.C. area. You can also mail your candy directly to Treats for Troops, based in Florida. The Treats for Troops website states that they collect left-over individually wrapped Halloween candy to use as filler in care packages for our military men and women overseas. On their website, they write, "Candy tastes better than packing 'peanuts' and is environmentally friendlier." I couldn't agree more!
  • Use candy on cookies and gingerbread houses.
The holidays are just around the corner and you know what that means - holiday baking! This year, try baking some Halloween candy cookies. Small candies work great for decorations on a gingerbread house; blocks of chocolate make good beams, logs and posts. You can even use gingerbread houses to teach kids about science!
  • Reuse your wrappers.
Terracycle® collects and reuses individual candy wrappers, large candy bags, and multi-pack candy bags from Mars®, Wrigley®, and Cadbury® through their Candy Wrapper Brigade® program. Look for this program at schools and businesses in your area or start a group of your own!
I first encountered this fun group at last year's USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo. Did you know that you can create a density rainbow using Skittles? Float the letter "m" off of your M&Ms? Make Life Savers flash in the dark? Neither did I! (And be sure to mark your calendar - the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival is planned for April 28-29, 2012.)

  • Spread the joy - share your candy!
My friends at Celebrate Green!® have even more ideas for re-purposing your candy, including taking your candy to work, nursing homes, and fire stations.

Do you have a creative use for leftover Halloween candy? Share your idea in the comments!

Photo credit: normanack, via flickr (cropped from the original) // CC BY 2.0