What to do with all that CANDY after Halloween?


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:


This year we had so many M&Ms I decided to dedicate a big bag just to them! 


These are all great drink garnishes for the Cocktail Cabinet. 


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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15 Responses to “What to do with all that CANDY after Halloween?”

  1. Shandra Says:

    LOVE this helpful advice! Always wondering what to do with the stuff we don’t eat. Using it for cocktail garnishes, soo great. You always do have the best garnishes on your martinis.

    What’s even better and the ONLY good thing about having kids with allergies?? Is that their WHOLE LOOT goes into the “Mommy bag” and then they get a new container of their own safe candy! LOVE LOVE LOVE my “mommy bag”. Now I have even more great ideas of what to do with the stuff I can’t/don’t eat.

    LOVE your site! :)

  2. Teach Says:

    We took your advice! I feel so much better about that candy now. Plus the kiddos did some counting and sorting. Now to plan out when we are going to do gingerbread houses, maybe plan a party and make a contest out of it… I will be looking out for you gingerbread house blog! Can’t wait!

  3. Sarah's Fab Day Says:

    I LOVE this idea on what to do with leftover candy, such a good idea. I might have to do this immediately so I don’t eat it all. Bad Mommy.

  4. Sarah's Fab Day Says:

    I had to link this idea, it’s a goody! Thanks.

  5. Michelle Stepp@Everyday Celebrating Says:

    ahhhh! I love you!!!!!! What great ideas!!!!!!! I’m going to feature you today and these great practical ideas!

  6. Teach Says:

    After sorting and organizing, I realized we have to take some of this to our local fire department. Those fellas will eat anything and what an easy way to say THANKS!

  7. Kira Says:

    Great tips…hey, waht about this fun left over candy wrapper craft? http://blog.craftzine.com/CandyWrapBag.jpg

  8. Karen Says:

    Of course you’d have a post about post Halloween candy–BRILLIANT! TOO bad John didn’t trick or treat enough. Big JOhn and I ate the good stuff the first night alone! :)

  9. G. Says:

    I found your blog via “Everyday Celebrating”. Love this idea! Glad I came over here. :)

  10. Diane at kidoozy.com Says:

    Thanks for the great tips.

    In our house not only do we have three trick or treating kids, but my husband works for a candy company and they get a free big box of candy each Halloween so I’ll share what we do with our candy.

    The bagged stuff along with the other bars that we have too much of go directly to the local food bank.
    Then we sort and save other pieces to make Candy Countdowns to Christmas for kids and any of our other chocolate loving relatives and friends. You can find a how to video and directions on our website. http://www.kidoozy.com

  11. Jhoni Says:

    Another idea for the leftover hard candy is to send it to Iraq for the soldiers to give out to the children. I’ve been collecting and buying it for my son (who is deployed to Iraq) to give out to the children while on patrols. He said the children are just happy to get a bottle of water. He requested hard candy (other kinds melt before it gets there) and toys. Anyone interested in donating their leftover hard candy can email me.

    I found your blog through everydaycelebrating.com.

  12. Donna Says:

    Robyn, It was great meeting you yesterday ! I am Donna of Grand Photography http://www.grandwebsite.com . I have listed you on our Wedding Vendor website @ http://www.gulfcoastweddingservices.com
    I love your blog :-) A great information source

  13. » Blog Archive Says:

    [...] readers know that I have long been a fan of the Candy-Cocktail Combo, saving Halloween candy for garnishes, always rimming a glass with a colorful and/or flavored sugar, and finding fun new goodies to pair [...]

  14. merijoe Says:

    Dont throw any candy away, please, please….think about sending to the soldiers in Afgan http://www.anysoldier.com Thanks and God Bless

  15. Fiona of Sydney, Australia Says:

    Sort them out. What a great idea.

    I… we have lots of candy left over and I had no idea on what to do with them. Thanks to your page I have a plan.

    Thanks for sharing.

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