What to do with leftover Halloween candy?
Last year, Denver mom of two Audrey Kinsman realized Halloween was becoming a problem for her younger son, 4, who has a serious food allergy and can’t eat most of the candy he collected trick-or-treating. (Find out which 7 allergy-friendly candies you can give out.) On a whim, Kinsman convinced her kids to forfeit their loot after keeping their five favorite pieces, because the “Switch Witch” was going to visit their house that night and swap their candy for a special toy. (Here are 12 non-candy Halloween treats to hand out so everyone can enjoy.) Kinsman’s kids were enthralled—“they came flying down the stairs the next morning and couldn’t wait to find out what happened with the Switch Witch”—she recalls. Thinking that other parents would also like this fun, magical way to purge Halloween candy, Kinsman transformed her made-up fairy tale into a new Halloween tradition called Switchcrafted. Her book, which comes with a Switch Witch doll (like The Elf on the Shelf), tells a whimsical story about witches who need candy to fuel their brooms and heat their homes. In chatting with Kinsman about the Switch Witch phenomenon, we also discovered many other creative things you can do with your leftover candy.
Do a Candy Science Project
Encourage wannabe Einsteins to conduct candy experiments: Parenting.com recommends the Incredible Growing Gummy Worm, which demonstrates how candy grows bigger when it absorbs water. (Check out these other 14 mind-blowing facts even adults don't know about Halloween candy.) Learn all about density with Skittles in this Density Rainbow experiment, suggests KidsHealth.org. Build a Sweetie House and test which material makes the best “cement,” proposes Science-Sparks.com. Or Dissolve the “M” off an M&M in this fun idea from Coffee Cups and Crayons. For more, Google “science experiments with candy” to stimulate kids’ curious minds—not their sweet teeth.
Craft With Candy
The average kid consumes between 3,500 and 7,000 calories on Halloween night, according to Donna Arnett, PhD, chair of the department of epidemiology in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health, via CNN.com. (Learn which 5 Halloween candies are the worst for your teeth.) Convince an artsy kid to make cool crafts instead: Mike and Ike Butterflies from the blog Busy In Brooklyn, Candy Cane Sleighs from the blog One Hundred Dollars a Month, a Candy Potted Plant from About.com, or these Candy Necklaces from The Crafty Crow. Alternately, set aside candy for a holiday gingerbread house in a few short weeks, Kinsman suggests. Way more fun than dealing with the number of jumping jacks you'd need to do to burn off Halloween candy.
Donate Candy to Our Troops
Send a sweet thanks to our military by donating your candy to Halloween Candy BuyBack. How it works: Local dentists’ offices pay a few bucks for your haul and then donate it to Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to U.S. troops. Use the location finder on their site to find a donation site near you. You can also mail your candy directly to Operation Shoebox, which also sends care packages to our military personnel. Don't miss these other 7 creative ways to donate your old stuff.
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Parents-Only: Do a Candy Wine Pairing
Kinsman, who is trained as a sommelier, says pairing wine and candy is a perfect way for parents to enjoy Halloween after the kids head to bed. It also ensures you sample and savor candy mindfully, as opposed to gobbling down the fun-size bars. Combinations she recommends include Butterfingers and a California Chardonnay. “The creaminess of the candy and the acid in the wine bring a nice balance and make the wine even more luscious and buttery,” Kinsman says. Another match is sour candy with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc—“the wine’s high acidity balances the tartness of the candy,” says Kinsman. Other pairings to try might be dark chocolate with Merlot; Pinot Noir with red cherry-flavored candy, like licorice; and candy corn with Riesling, which is likewise very sweet. As a bonus, you'll reap these 8 benefits of drinking a glass of wine every day.
Courtesy Mama Papa BubbaAll those extra Skittles can turn into a surprisingly bright DIY watercolor paint. Half the fun is just making the paint, but the glossy, bright finish makes for a cool finished product. Find out how to make your own Skittles paint from Mama Papa Bubba. Learn the scientific reason red Skittles (and other pink and red candies) are the most popular.
Candy corn pretzel hugs
Courtesy Sally McKenneyMake use of extra Hugs and candy corn in one sweet treat. Best of all, they don’t take any measuring, mixing, or beating. Get the full recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Skipping the candy this year? Try these 16 healthy Halloween candy swaps that won't disappoint.
Courtesy browneyedbaker.comThe best thing about making candy bark is you can use whatever you have on hand. This recipe calls for Butterfingers, Heath bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and M&Ms, but any mix of chocolate bars could work. Get creative with the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.
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PB ice box cake
Courtesy browneyedbaker.comThis ice box cake is a heavenly way to use up leftover Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but adding in some extra chocolates couldn’t hurt. Best of all, you can throw it together without any baking. Find the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.
Halloween candy blondies
Courtesy Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste www.justataste.comReplace ho-hum chocolate chips with chopped-up chocolates for a blondie that’s equally beautiful and delicious. The Kit Kats on top look particularly striking. Learn how to make your own from Just a Taste. Don't miss this map showing the most popular Halloween candy in every state.
Candy cookie bars
Courtesy The Domestic RebelLazy bakers, take note: these chewy cookie bars only call for five ingredients. Plus, it’s totally versatile, so you can throw in whatever leftover chocolates you have on hand. Head to The Domestic Rebel for the directions.
Chocolate PB 7-layer bars
Courtesy The Domestic RebelYour usual 7-layer bars get a major upgrade with this recipe from The Domestic Rebel. Instead of coconut and butterscotch, it’s loaded with Reese’s and honey-roasted peanuts. Don't feel bad about all the sugar—here are 8 reasons it's good to eat dessert every day.
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PB and Snickers candy pie
Courtesy Confessions of a Cookbook QueenSweet and salty lovers, meet your new favorite dessert. This peanut butter and Snickers candy pie loads a pretzel crust with a creamy peanut butter filling, topped with candy. This recipe uses up all your leftover Snickers and Peanut M&Ms, but we bet Milky Ways and Heath bars would work well, too. Learn how to make it from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.
Courtesy Ruthanne VandenBosch easybaked.netRolls of Smarties and packs of SweeTarts are some of the trickiest candies to get rid of once the thrill of Halloween is over. Enter this cake recipe from Easybaked. You might expect a recipe made with Pixy Stix, SweeTarts, and Smarties to put your teeth on edge, but the tanginess of the cake balances things out. If you're feeling sugared out, find out how to recover from a sugar binge.