What to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy – 7 Awesome Ideas

On November 1st, do you find yourself wondering, “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 about 169 sugar cubes! 

At Jen Bradley|MOMs, we believe it’s completely fine to let our kids enjoy the day (and eat a lot of candy!). Halloween only happens once a year, right?!

But what we do with our kids’ leftover Halloween candy can have an impact on their health and well-being for the next few weeks and months! 

Here are our best ideas for what to do with leftover Halloween candy: 

  1. Invite the Switch Witch over for a visit
  2. Re-use pre-Halloween event candy
  3. Save some for Christmas stocking stuffers
  4. Save some candy for gingerbread houses
  5. Participate in a candy buyback
  6. Family rationing
  7. Donate leftover Halloween candy to troops
  8. Share with those in need

Keep reading for all the details! 


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Solution #1: The Switch Witch

The Switch Witch is basically a magical Halloween witch who comes to your home on the night of October 31st and switches kids’ candy for a gift instead. 

If you have kids with food allergies or sugar sensitivities, the Switch Witch can be an especially great solution! 

the switch witch is my favorite way to solve the problem of what to do with leftover Halloween candy

Here’s how we started the Switch Witch tradition at our house:

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 gift in place of their candy. 

After their sugar-indulgence session on Halloween night, 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 six years. 

After the Switch Witch does her magic, you can either send the candy to your office the next day or your husband’s office or use it for any of the great suggestions we’ve still got coming!  

If you’re interested in starting the Switch Witch tradition at your house, you’ll definitely want to read this article right here!


Genius leftover Halloween candy solution #2: Re-use candy from early October events

Do your kids participate in more Halloween events throughout October than you did as a kid?

Soemtimes it seems like our kids are collecting candy all month long. Various trunk-or-treat events, Halloween school parties, and more – that adds up to a LOT of candy!

Instead of eating it all, it’s a great idea to hang on to the majority of it.

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, but you’ll also save yourself some money too! #winning


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.

How’s that for another great money-saving technique?!

you can save some leftover Halloween candy for Christmas stocking stuffers too

It’s a good idea to choose how many pieces of candy you’d like to put in each Christmas stocking in advance.

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 one can find them.

You may want to set a reminder in your phone NOW to so you’ll remember where you’ve hidden it!


Leftover Halloween Candy Solution #4: Save some for gingerbread houses

Along the same vein, you can also save some leftover Halloween candy to use for decorating gingerbread houses at Christmastime.

Even with the awesome gingerbread house kits you can buy today, there is always a need for more colorful candy to add wherever you can!

This adorable gingerbread village and house kit is perfect for kids!  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
  • Skittles
  • Runts
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Jawbreakers
  • Sixlets


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 trade.


Solution #6: Halloween candy rationing

One of the most common things to do with leftover Halloween candy is to ration it out to your kids over time. (This is what we did pre-Switch Witch days!)

you can re-purpose halloween candy for gingerbread houses at Christmas

Whether you have your kids combine all of their leftover Halloween candy into one pot is up to you.

You’ll want to be sure 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!)

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 to troops

Helping your kids donate their Halloween candy to the troops is an amazing idea!

On the JenBradley|MOMs Facebook page,  Jessica J. shared about an organization called Operation Gratitude 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 is still going strong. To register for the annual Halloween candy donation, click here.


8. 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! 

donating your leftover halloween candy to those in need is a great idea

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

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!

Related articles about Halloween for families:

The 21 Best Family Halloween Costumes this Year

5 Amazing You’ve Been Booed Ideas

11 Awesome Halloween Minute-to-Win-It Games for Your Family

19 Easy Pumpkin Carving Alternatives You Need to Try with Your Kids


What do you plan to do with leftover Halloween candy this year?

Pin the image below to make it easy to return to this article in the future!

your kids can give their leftover candy to the switch witch too

What to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy - 7 Awesome IdeasWhat to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy - 7 Awesome IdeasWhat to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy - 7 Awesome IdeasWhat to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy - 7 Awesome Ideas

Jen Bradley, the founder of Jen Bradley|MOMs

Hi there! I’m Jen and I’m so glad you’re here. I am a mom who believes that meaningful connections with our families can happen in small and simple ways. Read More …


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