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The buildup to Halloween can be pretty exciting for both kids and adults, but it’s the leftover Halloween candy that always stumps me afterward. Sure, you can give it away, eat too much, or find some fun ways to upcycle it.
If you need help figuring out what to do with leftover candy, we have some creative options. Don’t worry, you won’t need many extra tools, and you could probably grab any of these items from Dollar Tree.
Use these 25 ways to reuse leftover Halloween candy so you don’t carry it over to the new year. And don’t you dare pay full price for the sweet stuff; hop over to our candy coupons page for some boo-tiful discounts.
1. Take Rice Krispies Treats to another level with chocolate mix-ins.
It’s time to upgrade your Rice Krispie Treats for the fall. Mix in your extra M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, or whatever makes you happy. Follow the standard Rice Krispie Treats recipe of butter, marshmallows, and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. Quickly stir in chopped candy pieces and flatten into a buttered 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pan, and let it set for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares and devouring.
2. Whip up homemade Halloween popcorn balls.
Raise your hand if you’re into sweet and salty snacks like me?! Make your own or use microwaveable popcorn for these treats. Kettle corn would be an excellent option here also.
- Dump popped corn (about 10 – 12 cups) into a large bowl, add 8 cups of melted marshmallows, ½ cup of melted butter, 2 – 3 drops of neon food coloring, and chopped candy pieces.
- While still warm, form balls with your hands into desired sizes.
- Let set up on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Pro Tips: Pour popcorn over a cooling rack to catch any kernels. Coat hands with cooking spray before forming balls to avoid sticky hands.
3. Mix Reese’s Pieces, pretzels, and melted chocolate to make delicious bark.
Candy bark seems to be a logical choice for your extra chocolate-coated candies and edible googly eyes. The best part is that this is a no-bake sweet treat, but it’s a textural bombshell.
Ingredients and directions:
- Spread 3/4 cup of mini pretzels evenly on a parchment-lined large baking sheet.
- Heat vanilla candy melts and pour over the pretzels.
- Sprinkle chopped Reese’s Pieces (or M&M’s) and whole googly-eyed candy.
- Sprinkle one teaspoon of coarse sea salt over the entire bark.
- Refrigerate 15 – 20 minutes, then cut into desired shapes.
Store in an airtight container.
4. Assemble leftover candy into care packages for our troops.
Organizations like Operation Shoebox, Soldiers’ Angels, and Any Soldier send care packages to troops overseas.
- Operation Shoebox will take your individually wrapped candies all year long.
- With Any Soldier, you can decide which branch of the armed forces you want to support: Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, or Marines.
- Soldiers’ Angels distributes items to military service members, their families, and veterans.
5. Enlist in a Halloween candy buyback program.
Did you know that there’s a nationwide program to collect leftover candy? Yep, the Halloween Candy Buy Back program partners with dentist offices. Kids can trade in their candy for cash or prizes at local dentists’ offices and other businesses. The candy is then sent to our troops through Operation Shoebox or Move America Forward. Check here for a participating dentist or business near you.
6. Or send your extra Halloween candy to a college student.
With Halloween ending just prior to the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, send a package of Halloween candy to a college student as they prepare for finals. Students love getting care packages from home. Add in other goodies like soup packets, vitamins, and new toothbrushes.
7. Treat yourself to chocolate-covered frozen banana pops with toppings.
Turn a typical summer treat into a fall delight using bananas, popsicle sticks, melted chocolate, and various Halloween candy toppings. Peel a banana and stick a popsicle stick through the cut end. You may have to cut the banana in half, depending on the length of the stick.
Melted your desired chocolate chips, dip the skewered banana (removing any excess), and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle any toppings before setting in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
8. Add leftover Halloween candy to cookie dough.
Make your own or take the easy road by adding candy to store-bought cookie dough. Use any leftovers — from M&M’s to chopped-up Snickers to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Download Hershey’s coupons and Mars coupons to save some bucks.
9. Try making glossy paint out of Skittles.
Separate Skittles by color into cups — this is a wonderful task for kiddos — and cover with corn syrup. Wait several hours for the skittles to melt and turn into thick paint in the prettiest colors.
Shop at Dollar Tree for inexpensive canvas boards and paint brushes. Your artwork will smell great and be colorful; just don’t eat them.
10. Create candy kabobs with leftover Halloween candy.
Use a long metal skewer to slide on random, multicolored extra candy, like gummy worms and licorice spirals. As an alternative, skewer fruit like strawberries, pineapple, and kiwi, along with cut chocolate bars for a fun dessert. Because if you’re going to have all of that sugar, you should definitely incorporate a healthy item.
11. Use gummy and soft candy for construction STEM projects.
Hi, you future construction project managers and architects! Take your flat-surfaced gummy candy (and perhaps softer chocolate bars or even marshmallows) to make geometric shapes and multistoried buildings. Use toothpicks to connect the pieces and let them use their imagination on how their “building” will be constructed. You could also create a tall person with jumbo marshmallows and an ice cream cone hat.
12. Decorate the top of a cake with different candies to bring to a party.
Grab a store-bought cake with white frosting and dot the sides and top with your leftover Halloween candy. Try a multitude of shapes and candy types, like Sour Patch Kids, Sour Punch Candy Straws, Reese’s Pieces, non pareils, or gummy worms.
This creative idea will have you standing out long after Halloween is over. Plus, it’s super colorful.
13. Make trail mix with leftover Halloween candy.
Here’s a good way to get rid of your dreaded candy corn. Add M&M’s and chopped Hershey’s bars with pretzels, dried fruit, and nuts for a delicious snack on the go. You could even add the mixes to snack-sized Ziploc bags for kids’ lunches, road trips, or give some to your friends and family. If you plan ahead, use this as a Halloween party mix instead.
14. Indulge in infused alcohol using hard candy.
This one goes out to the adults because we deserve a cocktail. Using Jolly Ranchers, gummi bears, butterscotch, Starburst, and Twizzlers, separate each so you get pretty colors. Mix one cup of candy with two cups of vodka in a glass jar with a lid. Label each jar so you remember which candy was used. Shake occasionally over a 24- to 48-hour period so the candy dissolves. Enjoy.
15. Stuff a pinata with your leftover candy.
This is a great way to reuse your candy, especially if there’s an upcoming birthday or any other celebration. Fill the pinata with prewrapped candy and take turns hitting it. Be sure to buy non-stuffed pinatas so you don’t have double candy.
16. Create a rainbow science experiment with Skittles.
Use leftover Skittles to create a quick, easy, and colorful science experiment for kids. Arrange the candies on a plate in a ring shape. Alternate the colors or use just a couple of candies.
Carefully pour warm water over the ring so that the Skittles are covered. Now just wait for a cool pattern to appear. Since Skittles are coated with food coloring and sugar, the warm water will slowly start to dissolve the shell.
The goal is to design a unique pattern of colors, and it’s a fun and easy solution to all of that candy. Try this experiment with your young kids using leftover M&M’s, Skittles, or jelly beans.
17. Combine pudding, whipped cream, and candy corn to make a parfait.
This tasty parfait is layered with Rice Krispies Treats, orange pudding (vanilla pudding with orange food coloring), whipped cream, and topped with candy corn.
Another option is to blend vanilla ice cream, orange sherbert, and candy corn. It might not be an alternative to a sugar treat, but it sure is good. If you’re at your candy corn limit, go the old-fashioned way and make candy bar milkshakes with Snickers, Reese’s Pieces, or Whoppers.
18. Make candy necklaces with nylon fishing line.
Make candy necklaces by stringing candy together with a medium sewing needle and nylon fishing line. Obviously, you’ll want to choose soft candy like gummy bears so that the wire feeds through. Think edible DIY bracelets and necklaces.
19. Take leftover Halloween candy to work with you.
Take Your Leftover Candy to Work Day should be a work holiday celebrated the next business day after Halloween. This is by far the easiest way to get rid of all that Halloween candy. Leave it in a bowl on your desk and instantly make new friends.
20. Transform extra candy corn into turkey treats for Thanksgiving.
There’s a good chance that you’ll still have Halloween candy during Thanksgiving, so turn them into cute little turkeys.
- Sugar cookies
- Mini peanut butter cups
- Malted milk balls
- Candy corn
- Orange icing
- Red icing
- Vanilla frosting
- Chocolate frosting
- Edible eyeballs
Find step-by-step instructions and photos here.
21. Put candy into Popsicle molds, fill with lemonade, and freeze.
Pretty much any candy will work for this delicious Popsicle recipe — from candied fruit wedges and jelly beans to gummy bears and licorice sticks.
Place 1 – 2 pieces of candy in the mold. Fill it with lemonade, sparkling water, or sugar-free juice. Freeze overnight and enjoy!
22. Freeze leftover Halloween candy for a handy snack at a later date.
Leftover Halloween candy like Snickers, Twix, and Reese’s Pieces make for excellent cold treats. Freezing them halts the spoiling process so you can enjoy them whenever you’re in the mood for something sweet. Seal them in airtight plastic Ziploc bags and label them with a date.
23. Decorate a gingerbread house with leftover hard candy.
Yeah, it’s Halloween but with the right materials, gingerbread houses might be able to last a while. You could always hoard your Halloween candy and combine it with Christmas candy like gumdrops and candy canes.
For this project, use Nerds to make a cobblestone walkway, Snickers as benches, and M&M’s for shingles covered in frosting. How about lollipops for lamp posts? Use your imagination … and frosting to adhere.
24. Design a Thanksgiving advent calendar.
Here’s where you can get really creative for the holiday season. Here are some container options to store candy for your DIY advent calendar:
- Wooden, unfinished storage boxes
- Hanging advent calendar
- Mini takeout boxes
- Mini mailbox advent boxes
- Brown envelopes
Break out the colored markers, string, and Thanksgiving stickers to jazz up your calendar.
25. Create holiday teacher gifts just because.
If you still need a fun and creative way to get rid of extra candy, turn a mason jar into a teacher’s gift for the holidays.
- 8-ounce mason jars with lids
- Orange spray paint
- Brown acrylic spray paint
- Wooden knobs
- Green felt
- Brown cardstock paper
- Green cardstock paper
- Pencil for curling the paper
- Glue gun
Use orange spray paint to coat the outside of a mason jar. To ensure the paint sticks well, use a glass primer first (Rust-Oleum has a paint and primer spray). Try to avoid getting paint on the inside of the jar since you’ll be filling it with treats.
Paint the ring, cap, and a wooden knob (found in the wood section at your local craft store) with brown paint. Let the items dry thoroughly — at least one hour.
Attach felt leaves (here’s a leaf template) and curled green and brown paper to the knob and secure it to the top of the jar. Fill the jar with candy and gift it. I’m pretty sure your gift recipients will be impressed.