Once the fun of trick-or-treating is done, a candy mountain covers the dining room table, it’s time to deal with the abundance of yummy goodness your kids (and you) have been waiting for!
Before letting your kids dig in to the candy mountain, inspect the candy first, of course. Check it over and make sure that the packaging is intact and closed, and toss any pieces with torn and open wrappers into the garbage.
Take Your Cut
While inspecting the sugary goodness, sort through the pieces that you want to keep. For me personally, these are Junior Mints, Almond Joy, Mounds and Milky Way (to name a few). Have each member of the family take a share of their favorites, and provide small lunch-sized paper or plastic bags in which to keep them. We tend to be territorial over our personal candy stashes, and like to decorate our bags for good measure!
Provide Snack Time
Halloween candy brings with it a set of challenges. When it comes to my children, I want to avoid them asking for candy, whining about it, begging for it, sneaking it, and lying about eating it. My strategy is to provide regular times for candy eating the week after Halloween.
Personally, I don’t like my kids taking candy to school – it gets confiscated and I don’t like the idea of sugared-up kids in the classroom. Our candy-eating time of the day is after dinner. Everyone grabs their own stash of Halloween Candy and they eat a certain number of pieces in a specific amount of time. Then it’s time to put the candy away and for everyone to brush their teeth!
Inevitably during the evening after trick-or-treating, there will be a pile of The Candy Nobody Likes once everyone has their own stash. It may be tempting to just toss it in the garbage, but there are actually several ways to deal with this surplus Halloween candy.
Give it Out
Take your own kids out to trick-or-treat earlier in the evening. Hand out the leftover Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters still circulating later at night.
There are many places that could use a candy stash. Donate your bag of leftovers to your kids’ classroom teachers or your school’s PTA for school events. Give it to your friends or neighbors for upcoming birthday parties. Stop by a local nursing home or hospital and leave the candy for staff members.
Store the surplus Halloween candy in the freezer for a special occasion, like your own child’s upcoming birthday party (plan on a piñata) or other Goodie Bags, or a night when you’re craving a chocolate fix. Store the leftovers in airtight containers and keep it for decorating Gingerbread Houses during the holiday season.
Create a new recipe or look up existing ones that use the leftover candy for a special treat later in the year. Take these baked treats and use them for Christmas Goodie Bags or Boxes as inexpensive and simple gifts.
American troops could use some yummy goodness from home. Go through an organization like Soldier’s Angels to send leftover Halloween Candy to troops deployed overseas. If you personally know a soldier, send his/her favorites to enjoy and share.
Take heart as you summit the mountain of Halloween candy when trick-or-treating is done. Enjoy the favorites, and plan how to best use the leftovers when the sorting is done!