On November 1st, I think many parents must throw up their arms and wonder, “What are we going to do with our leftover Halloween candy?”
The amount of candy our kids can receive is staggering. It is estimated that the average pillowcase can hold up to 1,600 pieces of candy when fully stuffed!
Even more impressive (maybe that’s not the right word? – ha!) is the fact that the average kid consumes up to 3 cups of sugar on Halloween – that’s equal to 7,000 calories and about 169 sugar cubes!
I don’t know about you, but I hope my kids aren’t eating THAT much!
While we generally let them enjoy the day (and eat a lot of candy!), what we do with the leftover Halloween candy has a huge impact on their health and well-being for the next few weeks and months!
Even with a global pandemic threatening the traditional trick-or-treating, I’ve got a hunch that my kids will still end up with a TON of candy for Halloween anyway!
I’ve got a really fun Halloween printable pack with one of my favorite ways to get rid of leftover Halloween candy right here!
If you’ve never heard of the Switch Witch and you’re looking for a Halloween candy exit strategy, you’ve gotta read this post too.
Read on my favorite ways to deal with the leftover Halloween candy!
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Halloween at our house
I can see it now: my 5 kids still in their costumes, staring at their gigantic piles of candy they’ve dumped from their pumpkin bags all over the living room floor. They will be rejoicing, their eyes wide, anticipating which pieces they’ll eat first as my hubs and I quickly inspect it all.
It’s a tradition at our house to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown as they start to dig in.
Wrappers end up everywhere, sugar pulsing through their veins. But I don’t mind one bit. It’s only for one night, after all.
A few years ago, we changed our diet and cut out all processed foods and added sugars. I wasn’t sure how to handle Halloween and all the candy.
I didn’t want to be the party pooper mom who didn’t let our kids participate on one of their most anticipated nights of the year. But I knew I didn’t want us to consume all that sugar!
After years of working on this, here are my favorite ways to deal with leftover Halloween candy:
Solution #1: The Switch Witch
After talking to a few friends who had adopted similar healthy eating goals, I learned about the Switch Witch – a magical Halloween witch who could come to our home on the night of October 31st and switch my kids’ candy for a gift instead.
I told my kids all about her and asked if it would be something they’d like to “sign up” to do. I was not entirely sure what they’d choose.
After debating between having candy in the house for a few weeks vs. a new toy they could have for a long time, they were ALL onboard with asking the Switch Witch to come to our house and leave them a surprise in place of their candy. I was elated, but still a little unsure how it’d all go down on Halloween night.
After their sugar-indulgence session with Charlie Brown, they put their gigantic pile of Halloween candy back into their pumpkin bags, and left their bags on the kitchen table for the Switch Witch to come.
They were so excited – it almost felt like Christmas!
The Switch Witch did come, and she’s been coming to our home every Halloween night for the past five years.
After the Switch Witch does her magic, my husband takes the candy to his office the next day and instantly becomes the most popular guy around. And – ta da! – the leftover Halloween candy magically disappears!
Remember, I’ve got an awesome Halloween printable pack with a Switch Witch sign up sheet for you right here! Your kids just might love her!
Genius leftover Halloween candy solution #2: Re-use candy from early October events
If you’re like us, my kids end up trick-or-treating several times throughout October.
Over the past few years, they seem to collect candy all month long. From the church trunk-or-treat, a work trunk-or-treat, Halloween school parties and more – that adds up to a LOT of candy!
While it makes sense to purchase candy for these pre-Halloween events, it is a great idea to hang on to the majority of the candy that your kids accumulate throughout the month.
Then, on Halloween night, you can hand out this accumulated candy to trick-or-treaters or at a small Halloween party.
Not only will you end up with less sugar in the house, you’ll also save yourself some $! Now, that’s a win in my book!
Solution #3: Save some leftover candy for Christmas stocking stuffers
One of my friends keeps some of her kids’ leftover Halloween candy to use as Christmas stocking stuffers.
I loved this idea so much, we’ve done it the past two years ourselves.
I recommend choosing how many pieces of candy you’d like to put in each Christmas stocking in advance.
(We typically save five pieces per child.)
You can ferret these pieces away while you go through and check your kids’ candy, or you can choose them after the kids have gone to bed and left their candy out for the Switch Witch.
It is helpful to divide the candy you save for Christmas stockings into separate piles of fruity and chocolate types.
Then seal them well in a zip top plastic bag and stick them in the back of the freezer where no on can find them.
You may want to set a reminder in your phone NOW to get the leftover Halloween candy out of the freezer on Christmas Eve morning!
Leftover Halloween Candy Solution #4: Save some for gingerbread houses
Along the same vein, I like the idea of freezing some leftover Halloween candy to use for decorating gingerbread houses at Christmastime.
Here’s a confession: I am a die-hard gingerbread house kit buyer. I wouldn’t even dream of making them from scratch!
Which is why I love this gingerbread village and house kit so much. It comes with four mini gingerbread houses that are perfect for kids with small hands and short attention spans.
It can be fun to grab a bigger gingerbread house kit too – this giant gingerbread house kit could be a great Santa’s workshop centerpiece for the mini village gingerbread houses to cluster around.
Even with these great kits, it would also be nice to have some extra candy decorations to get creative with!
Some of the best types of Halloween candy to save for gingerbread houses are:
- peppermint discs
- peppermint sticks
- Twizzlers pull and peel
- Jolly Ranchers
Solution #5: Leftover Halloween candy buy back
It is becoming more common for local dentist or orthodontist offices to offer a leftover Halloween candy buy-back program.
Completely genius for dentists to do this right!?
Often they’ll give the kids $5-10 depending on the amount of candy the kids bring in.
If you have young entrepreneurs who love to make money, this is a simple and logical option that will make everyone happy.
Be sure to call ahead or look online to find out which dentist offices are offering this in your town. Also, make sure you know (and follow!) the specific rules and procedures for the office where you’ll be making the switch.
Solution #6: Halloween candy rationing
One of the most common ways things to do with leftover Halloween candy is to ration it out to your kids over time. (And this is what we did pre-Switch Witch days!)
This works best if your kids consolidate all of their leftover Halloween candy into one big bowl or bin.
I do think it is worth it to separate the chocolatey candy from the fruity candy to keep flavors consistent. (Biting into a Snickers that tastes like it’s part Starburst is not so delightful, in my humble opinion!)
It’s a good idea to be consistent with how many pieces your kids get to eat at a time. For example, one or two pieces after school and two or three pieces after dinner.
The biggest drawback about this solution is that it may require a lot of self-discipline on the part of mom and dad! You may be tempted to keep dipping into the candy more often than you think you are!
Solution #7: Donate Halloween candy
Helping your kids donate their Halloween candy to the troops or to those who are less fortunate are both amazing ideas!
Halloween candy for troops
My friend Jessica J. shared the organization Operation Gratitude with me a few years ago.
Every year, this organization collects packaged Halloween candy to include in care packages for military members deployed overseas.
They run campaigns through larger organizations, and also accept donations from single families as well. As a military spouse who has sent my husband on long deployments, this speaks straight to my heart.
Operation Gratitude was founded in 2008 and still has plans to carry out their giving plans for 2020 as well. To register for the 2020 Halloween candy donation, click here.
Share with those in need
If you want to give your Halloween candy to non-military related organizations, check out your local homeless shelters to see if they are accepting candy donations.
Chances are, they will gladly receive what you are willing to give!
Your kids might also like the idea of giving their candy to Ronald McDonald House charities.
This organization seeks to provide care, comfort, and lodging for families with children who are facing long-term hospital stays.
Final thoughts about what to do with leftover Halloween candy
I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited for Halloween, even if it will be quite different this year.
Hopefully you are feeling inspired to do something with your leftover Halloween candy that will be memorable for your kids or impactful for others.
Don’t forget to grab your free Halloween printables or check out these other great Halloween articles!