Do you have a mountain of leftover candy from Halloween? You may be tempted to eat it all, but it’s probably not the best idea.
This year, after eating some of your favorites, why not find something else to do with the rest? We’ve got 15 awesome ideas — from selfless to silly. Give them a try — and give your teeth and your dentist a break!
1. Participate in a candy exchange. Some dentists and orthodontists offer candy exchanges. Turn in your candy and get healthy treats in exchange. Some exchanges will pay you money per pound of candy you turn in.
2. Wouldn’t it be cool if some of your candy went halfway around the world? Your Halloween candy could be included in care packages that are sent to soldiers serving far from home. Look on the Internet for organizations that ship packages to the troops. Donate heat-resistant candy only (chocolate melts). And don’t forget to include a handwritten letter of support to really put a smile on a soldier’s face!
3. Try reverse trick-or-treating! With a parent, make a trip to one or more local charities that accept candy donations. You’ll feel great, and you’ll sweeten someone else’s day too. Some ideas include your local Ronald McDonald House, nursing homes, food pantries, children’s hospitals, veterans’ homes and women’s shelters.
4. Ask your parents if you can exchange your candy for something else, like a book or a toy. Make it fun by using a scale to weigh your stash. For example, maybe you could earn a book for every ounce or pound of candy you trade in.
5. Reduce by recycling. If you have a birthday or other party coming up, offer to use your candy to fill up goodie bags.
6. Buy fun chocolate molds at a craft store, melt down your extra chocolate bars, pour into the molds, let cool and voilà — decorative, delicious gifts!
7. Make a special Halloween version of trail mix by tossing in a handful of candy pieces with your pretzels, nuts, raisins and dried fruits.
8. Glue candy pieces to an unfinished wooden picture frame (you can buy them at a craft store). Add a photo, and you’ve got a really sweet present for someone special.
9. Did you know you can make jewelry and crafts out of candy wrappers? Search for how-to instructions on the Internet.
10. Use the candy to fill a piñata for someone who has a fall or winter birthday.
11. Give “candy math” a whirl. Use candy corns to practice addition, subtraction or counting by fives and tens. Hershey bars or KitKats are great for visualizing fractions. Or, you can sort your candy (chocolate, gum, lollipops, fruit snacks, etc.) and figure out what percentage each group contributed to your total amount.
12. Donate your candy to … science? Yep, you can do lots of great candy experiments at home using Skittles, Lifesavers, Starbursts, M&Ms and more. Plus, you just might want to see what happens when you leave a gummy bear in water.
13. Create a board game using candy as pieces. Or use candy in a sweet game of checkers or — dare we say it? — Candyland.
14. Build a candy city. With some glue (ask a parent for help if using a hot glue gun), some toothpicks and a whole lot of imagination, you can design and construct a scene that will rival any Legos creation. And it’s never too early to start planning this year’s holiday gingerbread house.
15. Send candy to work with your mom or dad. That’ll really make it disappear fast!