How much candy can your typical pillowcase or plastic pumpkin hold? The answer largely depends on how many houses your trick-or-treater has hit, but suffice it to say – it’s probably a lot.
Odds are good you’ll have enough leftover Halloween candy to last a few weeks, or longer. (This year, with Hurricane Sandy expected to cause extended power outages along the East Coast, some residents — Frugal Foodie among them — might also find that they have tons of leftover candy because trick-or-treaters didn’t show.)
So, now what? What should you do with all those leftover Halloween treats?
As a first recourse, reduce the haul. Several groups offer candy buy-back programs at a rate of roughly $1 per pound, with the sweets going to troops abroad or other deserving parties.
“I think the best ‘trick’ is to take your child’s leftover candy to work,” says C. Lee Reed of HelicopterMomandJustPlaneDad.com. “Make your colleagues eat it! Better on their hips than yours.”
Then, it’s time to get creative:
“Kids can play with their candy, and maybe even learn some science lessons along the way,” says Kendra Peterson of BitingtheHandThatFeedsYou.net. Some of her tricks: holiday centerpieces and mosaics. And here’s another good resource for candy crafts.
“Crumble up some of the candy bars and use in a trail mix to add some sweetness,” says Steven Zussino, president of GroceryAlerts.ca.
Betsy Pruitt of BellyFeathers.com says it’s a fun way to use up candy and see who can come up with the best combination. “Plus, mom and dad will get to snack on some of the prized Halloween loot,” she says.
Miniature bars can keep in the freezer for a few months, easily. “Take out a piece or two when you want some or are going on a road trip,” says home cook Carolyn Huston-Ellenberger.
“My mother used to do this, and every time we went skiing, camping, hiking, canoeing, or other outdoor activities we had small energy boosts to take along.”
One mini bar = instant mocha.
“We freeze leftover candy and buy more at the store for 50% to 75% off to use for Christmas baking,” says home cook Pam McMurtry. “We make and give away dozens of little gift bags from ‘Santa’s Candy Shop at the North Pole.’”
Huston-Ellenberger says a piñata makes another fun option for kids at holiday parties, while Zussino uses her leftover Halloween candy to decorate gingerbread houses.
Mystery cookies (or cupcakes)
Denine M. Anderson-Regan, one of the sisters behind WeKnowStuff.us.com, suggests chopping up leftover candies for “Halloween Mystery Cookies.”
Frugal Foodie has made similar cupcakes and Rocky Road bars with her leftover Halloween candy.
“You can buy molds at a craft store and melt down the leftover chocolate bars,” Zussino says. “Pour this in the molds and you have some interesting gifts come Christmas time.”
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.