What to do with leftover Halloween candy

In much of the northeast US, folks are still digging out from a powerful storm that hit last weekend, just two days before Halloween. Heavy, wet snow fell quickly on trees that had not yet shed their leaves; branches crashed down on power lines and cut off the electricity to over a million homes. The damage was serious enough that many towns postponed or cancelled Halloween trick-or-treating to avoid putting children and families at risk.

I spoke with a colleague who lives in one of these affected towns. She lamented, “We won’t have any trick-or-treaters this year. What can I do with all of this Halloween candy?” As we spoke, it became clear that this is likely a problem that many people face, with or without trick-or-treaters. First world problems….

Here are a few suggestions on what to do with leftover Halloween candy:

1. Eat it.

OK, so this one’s obvious. The occasional candy splurge is absolutely fine, just try not to seriously overdo it. According to this article:

The average child collects an estimated 3,500 and 7,000 calories on Halloween night, according to Dr. Donna Arnett, chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health. The estimate was based on nutrition facts of popular Halloween candies.

A 100-pound child who eats 7,000 calories worth of candy would have to walk for almost 44 hours or play full-court basketball for 14.5 hours to burn those calories, according to Arnett.


2. Cook it.

The web is full of recipes that include your favorite candies, just Google the candy name with the word “recipe” or the phrase “recipe with [insert candy name]” to find suggestions. Here are a few delectable recipes that allow you to incorporate multiple kinds of candy:

Halloween Candy Bark, from the Cooking Channel

Chocolate Wasted Cake and Chocolate Wasted Mini Cupcakes, from Art of Dessert

Iced chocolate, from David Lebovitz

And, because I can’t resist sharing them, how cute are these Halloween cakes — Ghost Cake and Halloween Cake, from i am baker — and these cake pops, from Bakerella?

3. Scientize it.

The website Science 2.0 describes the Top 10 Scientific Uses for Leftover Halloween Candy and Craftzine offers a helpful how-to for concocting glowing kryptonite candy. Spooky!

4. Craft it.

Make candy mosaics, gingerbread houses, piƱatas, candy calendars, etc. Repurpose candy and express your creative side!

5. Donate it.

Dentists all over the country participate in the Halloween Candy Buy Back program, rewarding kids for handing in their candy, then sending it to troops serving overseas through Operation Gratitude. Visit the organizing site to find a dentist near you.

Operation Shoebox also welcomes candy donations to support our troops.


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    Bittersweet Notes is an open source research project on chocolate, culture, and the politics of food. I invite you to join me as I explore the story of chocolate and the life stories of those involved with chocolate at its many stages of production and consumption.

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