Fun things to do with leftover Halloween candy; from freezing and baking it into sweet treats, to turning it into crafts, games and science experiments.
What do you Do With Leftover Halloween Candy?
Last year, my kids had three plastic pumpkin buckets full of candy from trick-or-treating.
Yes, three full plastic pumpkins.
My youngest likes to reach in and grab candy by the handful, which meant we had about 499 more pieces of candy than I, or they need in a single year (or ten!)
Which left me wondering, what do you do with leftover halloween candy besides eat it after the kids have gone to be and then feel terrible afterwards?
You get resourceful and creative.
Otherwise, candy, especially the unpopular kinds, have a way of sticking around in the back of your cabinet long after the sell-date has passed.
Here are a few ways we used our leftover Halloween candy, and a bunch more of fun, resourceful and generous ways to use, or giveaway your candy leftovers.
I hope you find good ways to use your leftover Halloween candy from this list, so there aren’t any stomach aches or rock hard stale candy come next year.
55 Fun Things to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy
You’ve hung up your costumes, gave yourself a high-five for the awesome Halloween party you planned and now are staring down at a table covered in shiny wrapped candies. What do you do?
Without partaking in one epic post-Halloween fun-size candy binge, there are 20 other options that won’t make you feel guilty the next morning.
Maybe it’s donating your candy, participating in the candy buy back program, making some awesome desserts with your leftovers or giving to the troops… what you decide to do with your leftover Halloween candy certainly won’t be anything short of fun.
1. Save Leftover Candy to Decorate a Gingerbread House or Christmas Treats with
When you buy the gingerbread kits or gingerbread men, it’s always the same ‘ol boring candy like gum drops and candy canes.
Not this year!
Last year, I picked out all the good candy that’d be awesome for decorating our Christmas gingerbread house, and then donated the rest.
Your Halloween candy can make any four walls look like a chocolate palace or a bright rainbow castle with jolly rancher thatched roof.
2. Halloween Candy Buy Back
Halloween Candy Buy Back is a popular way for dental offices and local business who wish to participate, buy back your candy in exchange for prizes such as a toothbrush or coupon at a local business. The candy is then shipped to troops overseas.
You can find a local participating business or dental office where your kids can drop off their loot for a small prize. Plug in your zip code and a list of nearby buy back locations will pop up.
3. Buy it Back From Your Kids
Let your child choose a few pieces of candy and then offer them a good deal in exchange for $5 or $10 dollars or a reward of some sort. Here are some ideas:
- No chores for a week
- An extra hour of screen time
- A coupon to go someplace fun (bowling, movie theatre, etc.)
4-5. Make a Dessert Dip for Fruits
Yes, dessert dip, or candy dip is a real thing and the best part? This Skinny Candy Dip from Crazy For Crust only has 3 ingredients!
This southern favorite dessert dip, can be made to taste savory or sweet.
You simply combine 8 ounces of cream cheese with 1/2 cup of sugar, (powdered sugar or a combination of white and brown sugar as shown in the recipe), and then mix in optional flavors like leftover Halloween candy, peanut butter, vanilla, fruit, or cocoa powder.
Once you’ve mixed everything up, you can serve with a side of sliced apples, orange slices, pretzels, or anything you want to dip into.
Here’s another recipe using brownie batter dip – M&M’s Brownie Batter Dip from Fake Ginger.
6. Can you freeze leftover Halloween candy? Yes!
7-15. Upgrade Your Baked Treats with These Extra Ingredients
While basic chocolate chip cookies are scrumptious, you can give them a quick upgrade with a handful of leftover halloween sweets.
Think, mini M&Ms, reeses peanut butter cups, candy corn, kit kat bars, butterfingers and milk way bars will make your stand-by recipe extra delicious.
Here are some recipe ideas to get you started
- Candy Dipped Brownies from My Name is Snickerdoodle
- Candy Corn and White Chocolate Blondies by Averie Cooks
- Candy Cookie Cake from Baker By Nature
- Peanut Butter Candy Bar Fudge by Mom on Timeout
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bars by Averie Cooks
- Peanut Butter Cookie Pizza by Delightful E Made
- Candy Corn Pretzel Hugs by Sally’s Baking Addiction
- Candy Bar Brownie Trifle by The Kitchen Magpie
- No-Bake Twix Chocolate Slice from Sweetest Menu
16. Get the Switch Witch to Help You Collect Candy
This ingenious toy comes with a story to read to your kids.
The original switch witch is America’s favorite witch and new magical Halloween tradition while teaching children the benefits of giving and healthy eating during all the Halloween fun.
On Halloween night, kids give the Switch Witch some of their Halloween Candy which is then — magically — transformed into a small gift the following morning.
All you have to do is take your secret stash to one of the programs listed down below to donate, of the office to be devoured by colleagues.
17. Add it to Trail Mix
Create a fun, yummy and unexpected trail mix everyone in your family will enjoy by combining leftover Halloween candy into cereal, party mix or pre-made trail mix.
Create your own trail mix from scratch by mixing in nuts, pretzels, dried fruit, seeds and small leftover candy pieces for a sweet and salty treat.
Little bags of M&Ms, Reeses’ Pieces or even Skittles can be added to your trail mix base.
Here’s your new favorite after-Halloween snack recipe from Sweet and Salty Trail Mix.
18-20. Make Fruit Nachos with a Side of Sweetness
Want a less indulgent sweet without scarifying your waist line or having hyper kids bouncing off the walls? Fruit nachos with a side of sweetness will hit the spot. No tortilla chips and cheese necessary!
All you do is take apple slices or pretzels to serve as your base or “chips” and then drizzle on your favorite toppings like chocolate sauce, caramel or marshmallow fluff.
Then, crush up your favorite leftover candy bars and sprinkle over the top of the fruit nachos. You an also add nuts, seeds and dried fruit for a healthier treat.
Here are some delicious inspiration and recipes to get started:
- Caramel Candy-Apple Nachos from Brit + Co
- Pretzel Dessert Nacho from Take Two Tapas
- Caramel Apple Nachos from the Pin Junkie
21-22. Make a Candy Bark Tray
These are so easy and delicious, it’s scary how quickly you can make them and watch them get goggled up.
Start by melting your choice of baking chocolate (white, dark or milk) in a double-boiler and pour onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Next, you sprinkle chopped or gently hammered halloween candy onto the melted chocolate base.
Refrigerate until it cools and hardens, (a couple hours), then remove from the parchment paper, break into bite-size pieces and try not to eat it all in one sitting!
Here are some delicious examples:
- Dark chocolate example – Just a Taste
- White chocolate example – Glorious Treats
23. Make Banana Dessert Pops
Bananas are a great frozen treat and these Frozen Peanut Cup Banana Pops from Real Simple are made my dipping bananas in a chocolate base (dark, milk white chocolate of your choosing.) Then using chopped Halloween candy as the crunchy coating, roll the banana pop in the crushed candy such as a chocolate bar, M&Ms, or smashed candy of your choice.
Place the banana on a parchment covered tray and refrigerate until it hardens (a few hours.)
You can also use strawberries in place of bananas too!
24-25. Make a Sweet Batch of Candy Popcorn
Once you have a few cups of popcorn in a bowl, heat your candy of choice until it melts. Then lightly pour over the popcorn (carmel works too!), mix in chopped‐up candy bars of your choice (Twix, Snickers, Marshmallows, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cips, Milky Way, Snickers and Mars are a few of my family’s favorites).
Spread onto a baking mat to cool and try not to eat all at once.
Here are two mouth-watering recipes:
- Twix Caramel Popcorn from Two Peas and their Pod.
- Loaded Candy Bar Popcorn from Sugar Dish Me
26-30. Where Can I Donate Leftover Halloween Candy? Can I Send Halloween Candy to our Troops?
Not only are your kids not eating the candy when you go this route, but you’re donating it to a special cause which feels pretty great and teaching kids about giving.
Here are some sweet ways to donate halloween candy after you’ve gone through and picked out a few favorites:
- Operation Gratitude
- Operation Gratitude sends care packages to U.S. troops stationed in overseas and first responders stateside. The website contains other important shipping info, and kids are encouraged to include letters and pictures, too, or check out the organization’s map for drop-off locations.
- Soldiers’ Angels
- They ship your donated candy to deployed service members around the world or distribute to veterans in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals across the country for a sweet treat. Plug in your zip code on their web site and find a donation location near you.
- Operation Stars and Stripes.
- Founded in 2001 in memory of a Vietnam War hero, this all-volunteer nonprofit supports service members at home and abroad with care packages and letters. Packages of unopened candy can be sent to the organization’s Georgia headquarters. Specific shipping info can be found on the website.
- Operation Shoebox and Any Solider
- Operation Shoebox and Any Soldier collect and sends candy to service members overseas on a year-round basis.Operation Shoebox accepts individually wrapped candies all year long. Meanwhile, Any Soldier allows you to decide which branch of the armed forces you’d like to support: Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines.
31-32. Stash it for a Birthday Party
Leftover Halloween candy can make great decorations or fillers for goodie bags at your child’s next birthday party.
Unwrapped taffy and other candy can make for beautiful, colorful Candy Kabobs.
Or a Caramel Apple Bar decorating bar with an assortment of leftover candy can make take any caramel apple to the extreme.
33-40. Use Leftover Halloween Candy for Learning
Instead of hearing moans of tummy aches after ingesting piles of the sweet stuff, use it for learning.
Here are some great ideas that incorporate how to use your leftover candy with learning activities for kids and get the creative juices flowing at the same time:
- Balancing with M&Ms from Inspiration Laboratories
- Pop Rocks balloon expander from Steve Spangler Science
- Density rainbow from Candy Experiments
- CandyExperiments.com has a variety of fun science experiments that you can do with candy (like the candy flag shown above.)
- Creating Candy Sequences/Patterns and Sorting Activity from Toddler Approved
- Candy Corn Preschool Printables from This Reading Mama
- Kimberly Crandell, a mom of three with an aeronautical engineering degree, came up with 10 ways to turn leftover candy into a learning experience. Check out her super-smart ideas on science20.com.
41-43. Tinker & Play With It
As fun as candy is to eat, it’s also fun to play with! Here are some ways to get creative:
- Gumdrop Sculptures (you could use any solid candy for this) from Tinkerlab
- Challenge yourself to games, like Candy Elevator from the game show “Minute to Win It.”
- For younger kids, set up a candy bar taste test that incorporates all five senses. This experiment allows your kids to evaluate the similarities and differences of the candies they’ve collected.
44. Make Your Own Colored Paint with Skittles
This may be less toxic than normal paint, and leaves a beautiful watercolor tone to it too! Don’t worry, this experiment turned paint, is super easy for little kids to do on their own.
Here are the full instructions for Glossy Skittles Paint from Mama Papa Bubba.
45. Make Stained Glass Cookies with Hard Candy
Here’s a beautiful idea for your leftover hard candies like jolly ranches, and lollipops.
Create stained glass cookies. It’s actually pretty easy. All you do is roll out sugar cookie dough, cut your shape using cookie cutters, then use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center of the cookie.
Place the shape on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and fill the center of each shape with crushed hard candy and bake as you normally would your sugar cookies.
Let cool and voila! Stained glass cookies.
46. Make a Thanksgiving or Christmas Pop Countdown / Advent Calendar
Save your leftover Halloween candy and fill an advent calendar for November, or December.
If you don’t already have an advent calendar, try making this simple candy advent calendar from Alphamom – you’ll need dixie cups, tissue paper and a foam board or other sturdy piece to mount the cups on.
Put the candy in each dixie cup (one for each day of the month), cover with tissue. On the tissue, write the day of the month (1-30 or 1-31) to form a calendar.
Each morning, or after school if you want to avoid a morning sugar rush, let your kids punch through the issues to get their daily treat.
47. Put it in a Piñata
If you have a birthday party coming up, reusing leftover Halloween candy for your piñata saves you money and a trip to the store.
Simply buy your piñata and stuff away with leftovers!
48-54. More Ways to Repurpose Leftover Halloween Candy
- Stash a bag of your family’s favorites to use as stocking stuffers.
- Stock away a few pieces to tuck into Easter Eggs for your annual easter egg hunt next year.
- Store some goodies as vacation snacks throughout the year.
- Bag up all the leftovers from your kid’s loot, and use them as party favors at your child’s next birthday party.
- Create candy bouquets to give as gifts.
- Give with teacher’s gifts for Christmas or end of the year.
- Make candy baskets for Easter, May Day, teacher’s gifts or as a nice gift for a neighbor or friend who could use a little pick-me-up.
55. Give Away Candy to a Local Place
Most Ronald McDonald House Charitiescollect Halloween candy for the children and families residing in their homes during Halloween time.
You can also give away some of your leftover candy to retirement or nursing homes to provide a variety of sweet treats to the residents.
Local homeless shelters or soup kitchens, may also accept candy around the holiday time as well.
More Upcoming Holiday Resources:
- Printable Thanksgiving Placemat (Free Kids Printable)
- 48 Elf on the Shelf “Caught You Being Good” Notes
- 35 Funny & Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- Traditional Christmas Coloring Pages for Kids
- 5 Gift Rule Christmas: Want Need Wear Read (& A Special Family Tradition You Need)
- Letter to Santa & Certificate for Making Santa’s Nice List