I received an email asking for tips on what in the world to do about the candy excess after October 31. Throw it all away? Donate it? Let the kids just eat all they want until they are (literally) sick of it?
About two years ago I started a post-Halloween candy sorting system that has worked amazingly well for us, and I am happy to pass it along to you:
The day after Halloween, sort all the candy.
Throw away the yucky stuff and the items that no one likes. Be ruthless about this. No mercy. If you have a ton of chocolate candy bars, do you really think anyone is going to want the smooshed chocolate frankenstien head? You have to decide. Keep all the GOOD stuff. Divide what you have into ziploc bags accordingly (I use a variety of gallon, sandwich and snack sizes):
- Lollipops for mom’s purse/the car/pantry (moments where a little “bribery” may be needed in an emergency!)
- Chocolate bars. Chocolate can be melted, shaved for cake decor, chopped for cookies, added to recipes or just snacked on later! After the first week, throw this bag in the freezer and it will save for a long time.
- Soft fruit flavored chewy candies like Starburst, Skittles, etc. can be saved for future use as garnishes for cocktails (cut a slice out of the side of a lemon candy and place it on the rim of the Lemon Drop martinis for your Thanksgiving dinner party!)
- Hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, Lifesavers) can be crushed and used for holiday “stained glass” cookies
- Small novelty candies (Nerds, candies shaped like fruit, food, body parts, etc) are perfect for decorating cakes and cupcakes for upcoming birthdays and holiday parties.
- “Real food” items like pretzel bags, raisins, and gelled fruit snacks can go in the pantry for lunches and snacks.
- Anything remaining can be divided further or thrown away.
Separating the candy into clear bags will help you see what you have, and takes away the “mystique” of the Big Bowl of Candy that seems to draw the children in. Once they can actually see what they have to choose from, they go for what they like the first week and then the rest is picked over fairly quickly.
I find that after about the first week following Halloween, the whole “Can I have a piece of candy?” mantra begins to fade. I hustle that mentality right along by strategically having some more exciting seasonal options available for snacks like oatmeal raisin cookies and pumpkin muffins.
The last (and best) use for your trick or treat goodies is to use up as much as possible when decorating gingerbread houses in December. What is still left over at that point can be tossed out without the guilt of being wasteful. With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, you can end up using so much of your Halloween candy in holiday baking and decorating
and save some holiday money in the meantime!
Here are my own organized bags sorted from the goodies my three daughters collected last night:
Other bags included Tootsie Rolls (GREAT for gingerbread house decorating in December!), bubblegum, Nerds, lollipops, Starburst/Skittles, chocolate candy bars….
Oh, and this little ol’ bag? Ummm, it’s called “Mommy’s Bag”!
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