It’s the day after Halloween, and you’re in possession of the unthinkable: too much candy. Perhaps you’re starting to realize that you were overzealous in ringing doorbells the night before, and you’re staring at your mountainous trick-or-treating haul in astonishment. Perhaps there was a surprising deficiency of callers at your house and you’re left with a giant bowl of candy and unopened super-sized bags. Either way, Halloween left you with an abundance of treats, and if you don’t have the biggest sweet tooth, no worries. There are plenty of uses for your leftover Halloween candy.
The obvious choice is to save it. That doesn’t mean hoarding it for years until it becomes stale and crumbly. Saving is a calculated waiting game. Around Halloween, candy is ubiquitous and undervalued, but after a few months, it’ll be a hot commodity. Clever savers can then use sweets as an incentive to spice up a game or even as currency for favors. Alternatively, if you have good self-control, ration your candy out or pack a few pieces for lunch to reward yourself after a particularly difficult test. As a last resort, you can always keep it to distribute next Halloween. Happily oblivious trick-or-treaters won’t be able to tell that it’s recycled candy . . . hopefully.
To turn something common into something unique, try baking dessert with your extra candy. You can even invite friends or family members to help out and have fun. Extra candy corn can become the nose of an Oreo snowman or the feathers of an Oreo turkey, right on time for the seasonal holidays. Transforming Oreos doesn’t require an oven at all—just melted chocolate chips and decorative candy. Stained glass cookies are another example of candy-based treats; they use crushed, melted hard candy to create a smooth, stained glass effect in the center of a cut-out cookie.
For those feeling generous, it’s always nice to share extra candy. If you have younger relatives attending a Thanksgiving dinner, keep in mind that candy means the world to most kids. Who knows? Candy handouts just might earn you a promotion to “Favorite Relative.” Other occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and birthdays are perfect opportunities to make a thoughtful gift out of someone’s favorite sweet.
Consider bringing your generosity to the school community. Distribute extra candy at your lunch club or among your friends. You can give candy to your teachers with a suggestion that they use it as a prize for a future class activity.
Want to make a larger impact? National programs such as Soldier’s Angels, Operation Gratitude and Halloween Candy Buy Back will take your surplus Halloween candy and distribute it in care packages for veterans and deployed troops. Donors can offload extra candy at drop-off locations or ship them in the mail with the satisfaction of knowing they’ll make someone’s day. Two drop-off sites within ten miles of Gunn are Fenwick & West LLP in Mountain View, an Operation Gratitude location, and Safari Run in Sunnyvale, a Soldier’s Angels location.Visit the organizations’ websites for more information.
With these options in mind, please don’t let your leftover Halloween candy languish in a stash for years. It has value, whether as a saved reward, a creative baked good or a meaningful gift. So go ahead, take something sweet and make someone smile.
—Written by Jessica Wang