17 Clever Ways to Use Leftover Halloween Candy
Put leftover Halloween candy to good use with these creative crafts, recipes, and more.
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. 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. 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. And if you don’t want to pass out candy, here are non-candy Halloween treats to hand out that everyone can enjoy.
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 by putting the gummy in a bowl of water and observing what happens after a few days. Or, follow Science-Sparks.com and build a Sweetie House to test which candy material makes the best “cement.” For more, Google “science experiments with candy” to stimulate kids’ curious minds—not their sweet teeth. Check out these other 14 cool facts even adults don’t know about Halloween candy.
Craft with candy
Calling all future artists: Convince an artsy kid to make cool crafts instead of chowing down on an excessive amount of candy. Make Mike and Ike butterflies by filling a plastic baggie with the candies, decorating a clothespin to look like a butterfly’s body, and clamping the clothespin down through the bag. Or you could always go for the classic candy necklace—the crafty possibilities are endless. Alternately, set aside candy for a holiday gingerbread house in a few short weeks, Kinsman suggests. Can you guess the candy without its wrapper?
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. Are you superstitious? Read up on these 14 spooky Halloween superstitions and how they came to haunt us.
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. Before you head to any Halloween party, make sure you remember these 20 hilarious Halloween jokes that’ll hit everyone’s funny bone!
All those extra Skittles can turn into a surprisingly bright DIY watercolor paint. First, sort the Skittles into containers by color. Then pour corn syrup into the containers and watch the magic happen. Within a few hours, you’ll have a thick, glossy paint perfect for unleashing your little one’s creative genius. And did you know that Skittles are the most popular Halloween candy in Florida? Find out the most popular Halloween candy in your state with this map.
Candy corn pretzel hugs
Make use of extra Hugs and candy corn in one sweet treat. Best of all, they don’t take any measuring, mixing, or beating. All you’ll need to do is melt some Hershey’s on top of a pretzel, stick a candy corn on top of the chocolate and voilà! Your tasty treat is complete. Skipping the candy this year? Try these 16 healthy Halloween candy swaps that won’t disappoint.
The best thing about making candy bark is you can use whatever you have on hand. The recipe from browneyedbaker.com calls for Butterfingers, Heath bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and M&Ms, but any mix of chocolate bars could work. While you’re making this sweet treat with your friends and family, share these 14 facts about Halloween not many people know.
PB ice box cake
This 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. All you’ll really need to do is let the different layers of this delicious cake set by refrigerating overnight.
Halloween candy blondies
Replace 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. Feel free to use your typical blondie recipe, or you can follow one at justataste.com. Your sweet tooth has a history–this is why we pass out candy on Halloween.
Candy cookie bars
Lazy 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. These are 12 things you probably never knew about Halloween.
Chocolate PB 7-layer bars
Your usual 7-layer bars get a major upgrade when subbing in leftover Halloween candy. Instead of coconut and butterscotch, the recipe from thedomesticrebel.com is loaded with Reese’s and honey-roasted peanuts. Don’t miss these Halloween candy tips that nutritionists use and you should too.
PB and Snickers candy pie
Sweet 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. These are 13 ways Halloween is celebrated around the world.
Rolls of Smarties and packs of SweeTarts are some of the trickiest candies to get rid of once the thrill of Halloween is over. However, this is no longer the case with this simple cake recipe. 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. Here are 7 delicious Halloween desserts you have to make this October.
Don’t know what to do with all that candy right now? Throw it in the freezer so you can use it throughout the year to mix into milkshakes, sundaes, ice cream, and even plain cookie dough. Your taste buds will thank you later on. Ever wondered why Halloween colors are black and orange?
DIY trail mix
Are your kids begging for candy? A simple (and healthy!) solution is to create your own trail mix. Add some leftover M&Ms, KitKats, or any other sort of chocolate treat to a mix of dried fruit and nuts. Healthy and tasty? Yes, please! Read up on these 12 mind-blowing things you didn’t know about Halloween candy.
Parents-only: Mocha in the morning
Do you love your morning coffee? Add a few extra chocolates to your usual cup to create a delicious and indulgent mocha. Who says dessert for breakfast can’t be a thing? These are the spookiest towns to celebrate Halloween in America.
Decorate with it
After Halloween is over, that only means Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Save some of the leftover candy to use as decoration for future gingerbread houses, Christmas wreaths, or even tree ornaments. Not only will you be able to find a sweet alternative to eating the candy, but you won’t have to go out and buy more candy once the next holiday rolls around. Score! Next, read up on what Halloween could look like this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
For more fun facts, costume ideas, traditions, candy inspiration, spooky entertainment, and updates on how October 31 will look different this year, check out our Halloween Guide.