Halloween is all about creative costumes, hayrides, parties, haunted houses and candy. So much candy.
If you’re like us and your kids come home with so many pounds of candy they can barely carry the bag, you may be tempted to toss some in the trash (sorry, kids). We’re here to show you there are plenty of ways to use up their stash and make it so you’re not eating Halloween candy beyond New Year’s Eve.
Whether you bake it, melt it, paint with it or donate it, there are so many options for leftover Halloween candy. Here are 13 creative ideas to make the most of that Halloween sugar haul:
Halloween charcuterie boards: Our favorites are almost too spectacular to eat
Halloween candy blondies
Reese’s peanut butter cups, Milky Way bars and whatever else is in the candy bag can go into these leftover Halloween candy cookie bars. Simply make a basic cookie dough base and stir in chopped-up candy (chocolate-based candy works best). Press the dough into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, sprinkle with more chopped-up candy, and bake.
LEFTOVER HALLOWEEN CANDY RECIPE:Blondies
You can make cookies this way, too; just place scoops of batter on a cookie sheet and bake.
Halloween candy brownies
If you’re more into brownies than cookies, prepare some boxed brownie mix according to the package directions. Stir chopped candy into the batter, pour into a glass dish, sprinkle a bit more candy on top for good measure, and bake.
Leftover candy fudge
Basic chocolate fudge gets an upgrade when you mix in chopped leftover Snickers, Mars, Butterfingers or other chocolate candies. Sprinkle some on top, too.
Halloween cookie bark
Cookie bark is as much cookie as candy, with every eerily irresistible bite featuring delectable layers of graham cracker, chocolate chips, crushed Oreos, Reese’s Pieces, mini marshmallows, candy corn and sprinkles.
This recipe calls for our favorite combination of sweet treats, but is easily adaptable to include whatever Halloween candy leftovers you have!
RECIPE:Halloween cookie bark
DIY ice cream sundae bar
Invite some neighborhood friends over for an ice cream sundae bar. Chop up all the leftover candy and put it in small bowls, along with leftover M&Ms, Skittles and gummy candies. Kids and adults alike will have fun building their own ice cream sundaes.
Homemade candy ice cream
Speaking of ice cream, candy can liven up plain flavors such as vanilla and chocolate. Just stir in some chopped or melted-down candy before freezing (try Laffy Taffy or Reese’s Pieces), or mix in chopped candy bars or whole M&Ms or Nerds into softened ice cream before freezing.
Mix leftover candy into popcorn balls
Mix in leftover candy corn or M&Ms when making popcorn balls for a yummy sweet-and-salty combination that’s always a hit for after school or during family movie night.
Drink recipes: Halloween cocktails that are both spooky and delicious
Halloween Chex mix
Combine Chex cereal with pretzels, pour a glaze of butter, brown sugar and vanilla over the top, and bake. Once it’s cool, place it in a large bowl, and stir in leftover Halloween candy such as candy corn, M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces. (Recipe idea courtesy of One Little Project)
LEFTOVER HALLOWEEN CANDY RECIPE:Harvest Hash Chex Mix
Another way to use candy without actually eating it is to infuse alcohol with it to create liqueurs. Many candies work for this: Jolly Ranchers, candy corn, Skittles, Starburst.
Simply divide the candies up by color, place in flasks, and add vodka or tequila. Let the flasks sit for at least 24 hours, shaking them several times. As the candy melts down, it creates beautiful color and delicious flavor.
LEFTOVER HALLOWEEN CANDY RECIPE:Infused candy cocktails
Halloween Rice Krispies treat cake
Not your typical cake – or your typical crispy treat – this no-bake Halloween Rice Krispies treat cake is easy to make and hauntingly hard to resist!
No need to turn on the oven for this dressed-up Halloween cake. We cast a spell over the expected square-shaped rice cereal treats, and turned them into a giant chocolate-coated, candy-studded cake of crispy Halloween yum! Every bite is a sweet-tooth-satisfying party in your mouth with tasty chunks of chocolaty rice cereal crunch, chewy candy corn, and a welcome peanut butter invasion of Reese’s Pieces.
When in doubt, melt it
Too much chocolate? (Is that even possible?) Melt it in the microwave to make a syrup for ice cream, a glaze for a cake or even fondue dip.
Freeze candy for later
Don’t feel pressured to use up all that leftover Halloween candy at once! It will keep. Place the candy in an airtight container and freeze it. Most candy stays fresh in the freezer for at least 10 months, which means you can use it during the holidays to decorate gingerbread houses, or take some out at any time of year for some crumbled toppings on cakes, or to cut into chunks so you can mix them into cookies and other treats.
Donate leftover Halloween candy
Here’s a sweet bonus: Halloween candy can present a learning opportunity when you encourage your kids to share their bounty. Here are a few places to start:
- Soldiers’ Angels Treats for Troops ships donates candy to veterans and deployed service members.
- Some dental offices and businesses hold Halloween candy buybacks, in which they trade toothbrushes, floss or other items for candy that they then donate to troops.
- Want to know your local options? Contact nearby nursing homes and homeless shelters to see if they’ll accept such donations.
Check out these recipes to up your kitchen game: