What do you do with Halloween candy?

It’s that most blessed of holidays, when tonight our kids will adorably dress up like their dreams, neighbors come out in mutual camaraderie, and we all crash from a massive sugar high and feel like death warmed over the next morning.

Kyle and I often greet each other with a, “Happy Candy Season Eve!” on October 30, because starting today, and pretty much through Easter, it’s hard to avoid the amassing of candy at All The Holiday Events.

I’m fine with candy when the celebratory event warrants it. I don’t, however, love dealing with the onslaught of sugar for days/weeks/months on end.

We’ve done a variety of tricks to handle the candy: everything from limiting their collection to whatever can fit in a quart-sized mason jar, to letting them eat as much as they want the night of October 31, then keep only 10 pieces to eat later.

We haven’t settled on a one, true We Do This situation. So, I asked you guys.

halloween candy

Here are some responses from both the AoS writers and from those of you on Twitter.

Nina Nelson: “I ask the kids to take out a ‘parent tax,’ which they decide on (they’re usually pretty generous. Then we eat it for a few days and when I’m tired of how much candy we’re all eating, I have my husband take the rest to the ambulance station the next time he’s on duty.”

Alysa Bajenaru: “The kids pick out a small jar’s worth of their favorite candy. The rest we take to a dentist who pays cash per pound and sends the candy to troops overseas.”

Nicole Bennett: “Our kids pick five, we eat our favorites, and David takes the rest to work or we serve it to our community group.”

Kat Lee: We mostly eat it (although we don’t get a ton.) My kids have a stock exchange-like event each night – bartering with each other and paying parent taxes to us.”

trick or treat

In the comments below, add your $.02 about what you do with all the Halloween candy. And what are you or your kids going dressed as? (I’ve got a ninja, Luke Skywalker, and Stitch the cute alien, and I’ll be donning my boring mom, super low-key witch hat.)

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40 Comments

  1. Rebekah

    I save all the hard candy/non-chocolate to put in our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

  2. Lauren

    Growing up, we could eat a few things the night of, then the rest went in small tupperware. My parents would occasionally allow a treat after dinner- it was up to us to decide how long we wanted it to last and if we would eat all of the good stuff first. Funny to see 6 months later who had been more judicious in their selection and who was left with the less appealing candy. 🙂

  3. Sasha

    We make compost cookies. We basically dump it all into a chocolate cookie base (except the stuff like smarties/rockets and suckers and sour patch kids). It’s gets rid of it quick and feels more civilized. Plus the novelty makes for a really fun family tradition. Yes, chips taste delicious in cookies. Whatever doesn’t go in the cookies ends up in lunches for about a week then just kind of disappears because the kids have lost track.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Fascinating! That’s one I’ve never heard of before, but I’m intrigued.

    • Shayne

      I do this too. Best Cookies Ever, my family loves. I use my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and sub in all the chocolate candy bars cut up. Sooooo good!

    • Adrianne | The Shelton House

      This is EXACTLY what we’ve landed on as well! The boys are thrilled with the cookies and the rest is usually forgotten 🙂

  4. Mary Wilmot

    Last year our church collected it for a big ginger bread house making event, which was a lot of fun. People were so ready to get rid of their candy though so there was way too much and the rest ended up going to the youth group! Haha!

  5. Seana Turner

    First, we would go through and donate whatever candy the girls didn’t care for (usually anything that wasn’t chocolate.) Then, I used to just put each child’s candy in their own bowl in the dining room and they continued to enjoy a piece or two until it was gone. It usually lasted until Thanksgiving, just in time for pie! My husband was also known to go “dip in” when he had a hankering.

  6. Addie

    We usually let the kids eat about 5 or so pieces Halloween night… then the pumpkins go in the pantry, and every night, if you eat your dinner, then you get a piece of candy…. usually what left by easter is thrown away and replaced by easter candy…. that way they get one piece of candy a day, they learn to eat their dinner and because they aren’t deprived of candy, they rarely want it any other time

  7. Alanna

    It’s not necessarily the candy that bothers me…It’s the habit of eating candy every day that starts with Halloween that does. I don’t want the kids to think that we should have something sweet everyday. So I let them eat a lot up front and then warn them a couple of days afterward that Halloween is almost over, and that we’ll be done with the candy soon. Then my husband takes his faves and we trash what we won’t use for gingerbread house decorations.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I’m with you, Alanna—that’s what bothers me, too! Good thinking.

  8. Elizabeth

    Hmm. It appears I’m the first to say this, but we let our kids eat as much of their candy as they want to whenever they want to. Most of my kids binge on candy for a few days and then it’s gone.

    As for costumes, we’ve got a Harry Potter, an owl, a jellyfish, and a neon guy.

  9. Sarah M

    The kids eat it throughout the next month, I eat it in hiding…

  10. Heidi

    Oh man, I’m with you on candy season! My husband and I both have our birthdays in January, so we don’t even get a month between Christmas and Valentine’s Day to detox.

    I think this year I might charge a wrapper tax in addition to the traditional parent tax – I get two pieces of candy for every wrapper I find not in the trash. I like the idea of saving out some for decorating gingerbread houses.

    We’ve got Batman and two mimes trick-or-treating tonight. I had no idea we had so many invisible walls in our house.

    • Margaret

      I love the wrapper tax idea! This year, the kids are a referee and a fox. (My daughter made the fox costume out of construction paper in July!)

  11. Thora

    The night of we let them eat a bunch, and then we put it in a communal bowl (that my husband and I raid often while they’re asleep….). They get a few pieces a day, for one to two weeks, and then usually it’s all gone. One way we work on dealing with all the candy is limiting getting it in the first place – when our church has a trunk or treat, we use the candy we got for that (after all of us have taken out our very favorite pieces) to hand out on Halloween. Then, when that candy runs out, and our kids are back from trick or treating we hand out candy that they got (like the candy bars, which we don’t like). We also only trick or treat around the block. That way there is a manageable amount of candy to deal with in the first place.

  12. Susan

    My kids eat as much as they want on Halloween night and then the rest goes in a communal candy bowl except those coveted full size candy bars which they guard with their lives. 🙂 The stuff they don’t like usually goes to the office with my husbandl. The kids have a piece or two here and there. They are 12-17 now, and I’ve found that by letting it not be some huge off limits thing, they aren’t that interested in downing as much as they can as fast as they can. We usually end up throwing half of it away before Easter. This year, I have an Olympic gymnast, a Venetian masquerader and my oldest is TBD. He’ll reuse a costume from the past few years: Batman, Hamburgler, Uncle Si (duck dynasty).

  13. Alicia G

    We don’t eat a lot of the candy so I let her keep a few pieces and the rest I trade for like a sticker book or something like that. Some candy we take in to the librarians and others we do Candy Smash on our deck (with a rubber mallet + goggles) or she makes “experiments” with them. Which is mostly dissolving the candy until it looks disgusting. Fun fact: The S from the skittles will float to the surface b/c it is made of cellulose.

  14. Sarah T.

    Ours get a few pieces night of. Then we dump it all in a big pile, pull out all the chocolate and immediately freze it. What’s left us why they can pick from when I deem it okay to do so. Hubby usually takes much oif it to work for teachers meetings and student prizes. I’ve never heard if a parent tax. Will have to look that one up. And I love the idea of taking away candy for wrappers found strewn about!!

  15. Linda Sand

    On the handout side, we mix up a bowl of pennies, nickels, and dimes and each kid gets a handful. That way we are not adding to the problem and kids love it!

  16. Heather

    We figure it’s a good opportunity for them to learn how to control themselves. They have free reign over how much candy they eat BUT I get to control WHEN they eat the candy. Candy can only be eaten at snack time, which is after our quiet time around 2:30 in the afternoon. This way they aren’t spoiling their meals and they can run off the sugar high during the afternoon. They can choose to eat it all the first day if they want, but they they watch their siblings enjoying it later on and theirs is gone!. Usually they will ration it out on their own and it lasts a week or two, or more! Last year my youngest ate his more quickly and when he was sitting wistfully watching his older brother, his brother very sweetly shared some with him. That was nice to see!

  17. Kimberly

    I play “Switch Witch” (from Mama Natural) and trade it for something fun like bowling, roller skating, or a movie at the theater. They can pick 5 pieces first. I want to have a reputation as being the fun-creative-safe house on the block, but I honestly hate Halloween.

  18. Jessica in Canda

    My kids only go to a few houses and they have a whole pillowcase full!

    System:
    -throw out the gross candy or stuff I dont’t want anyone eating
    -apples in fridge
    -hot chocolate in cupboard for the winter
    -stickers, toys, etc. to the craft bin
    -eat 5 or so pieces Halloween night
    -I take the good chocolate I want
    -take out all the hard candy for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes
    -take out 25 pieces to make homemade advent calendars
    -the rest they get one treat after each meal; saves me making dessert for months (if there’s stuff sticking around too long I throw it out)

  19. Katheryn

    My children are pretty picky about candy. I’m not sure where they got this from, as I do not discriminate. Anyway, they love the trick-or-treating, and when we get home they unload all their loot. They usually only end up keeping around 20 pieces, their choice, not mine. The rest goes in the bin. This year we have a plague doctor, a rainbow, and a dinosaur rider.

  20. Emily

    I’d love to get rid of what’s left after two weeks, but I have one kid who is totally into delayed gratification and saves his best candy for last. Then he has a meltdown because his dad helped himself thinking it was fair game. We need a better system!

    This year I have an elf princess (she designed the dress and I sewed it), a martial arts black belt (he’s actually only started this year), an “I don’t like costumes” and a “Meh”. Yup. Teens in this house as well as younger ones! 🙂

  21. Susan S.

    Our pastor asks the children to tithe with their Halloween candy. He usually takes time during the children’s message to explain what tithing is and how it looks with candy. They count out ten pieces and put one to the side to give away. These are then given to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. Oftentimes the idea of “first fruits”is discussed when a little one pipes up that they will give a certain kind of candy away because it isn’t their favorite.

  22. Susan S.

    Our pastor asks the children to tithe with their Halloween candy. He usually takes time during the children’s message to explain what tithing is and how it looks with candy. They count out ten pieces and put one to the side to give away. These are then given to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. Oftentimes the idea of “first fruits”is discussed when a little one pipes up that they will give a certain kind of candy away because it isn’t their favorite.

  23. Tracy Alsterlund

    This year my 8th grader decided she wanted to give most of her candy to the military and found a website for where she can donate. She said she had more fun this year knowing she was giving her candy. Also because of the annual Art of Simple chocolate article we changed the candy we gave out. All to say, no chocolate for the neighborhood. But I also passed the artcle and documentary on to the eighth grade social studies teacher who is on the look out for current events/justice issues for his students. When my daghter has seen the article in the past years she has asked for Fair Trade chocolate for Christmas or Valentines Day. Halloween however is much tougher, but then again that is where the commitment to social justice really lies, in the hard places.

  24. Tracy Alsterlund

    This year my 8th grader decided she wanted to give most of her candy to the military and found a website for where she can donate. She said she had more fun this year knowing she was giving her candy. Also because of the annual Art of Simple chocolate article we changed the candy we gave out. All to say, no chocolate for the neighborhood. But I also passed the artcle and documentary on to the eighth grade social studies teacher who is on the look out for current events/justice issues for his students. When my daghter has seen the article in the past years she has asked for Fair Trade chocolate for Christmas or Valentines Day. Halloween however is much tougher, but then again that is where the commitment to social justice really lies, in the hard places.

  25. laura

    as a kid-we kept a little bit and then the rest was used to decorate our gingerbread houses with in the Christmas season.

  26. laura

    as a kid-we kept a little bit and then the rest was used to decorate our gingerbread houses with in the Christmas season.

  27. Ann

    Chiming in a wee bit late here (just getting to my newsfeeds)
    We’re in NZ – where Halloween happens, but it’s not such a big tradition in the way it is in the US.
    I limit the size of the ‘take’ by limiting the size of the goody bag (it’s about the size of a pint mason jar (think I’ve got the American terminology right).
    Mr 8 chooses to take a few pieces of candy from each place – knowing that when the bag is full, it’s time to go home.
    Luckily (for me) he enjoyes the decorating and dressing up and being with his friends much more than the actual candy.
    He eats whatever he wants to on Halloween (cast iron stomach!), and munches on his favourites (fruit bursts) over the next couple of days.
    Then he loses interest, and I put the rest away – adding it to the stash for the pinata for his birthday in November.

  28. Ann

    Chiming in a wee bit late here (just getting to my newsfeeds)
    We’re in NZ – where Halloween happens, but it’s not such a big tradition in the way it is in the US.
    I limit the size of the ‘take’ by limiting the size of the goody bag (it’s about the size of a pint mason jar (think I’ve got the American terminology right).
    Mr 8 chooses to take a few pieces of candy from each place – knowing that when the bag is full, it’s time to go home.
    Luckily (for me) he enjoyes the decorating and dressing up and being with his friends much more than the actual candy.
    He eats whatever he wants to on Halloween (cast iron stomach!), and munches on his favourites (fruit bursts) over the next couple of days.
    Then he loses interest, and I put the rest away – adding it to the stash for the pinata for his birthday in November.

  29. Shannon J

    My children(3 and 5)have been sorting, playing and making candy hunts with their Halloween stash. I have found candy in my shoes, in my husband’s shoes, under my bed, in a box of Kleenex, and carefully concealed under a pile of laundry.

  30. Susan

    We let our son eat all he wanted on Halloween while trick or treating with his pal. He picked 10 to keep after that and then he “traded” us for a Lego I bought at Goodwill. It was something small but meaningful and he was happy with the swap. He has not asked about it since.

  31. Laura Brownstein

    We let our kids eat a few pieces that night and then they get to pick 10 pieces to put in a baggie to eat over the next few days. The rest usually gets taken to my husband’s work and we donate a lot to their school that sends it to the troops. But this year was different because I used a lot of it for science experiments and art for my kids bc we are homeschooling this year. We still have lots leftover so we plan to take it to residents at a retirement home.

  32. Laura Brownstein

    We let our kids eat a few pieces that night and then they get to pick 10 pieces to put in a baggie to eat over the next few days. The rest usually gets taken to my husband’s work and we donate a lot to their school that sends it to the troops. But this year was different because I used a lot of it for science experiments and art for my kids bc we are homeschooling this year. We still have lots leftover so we plan to take it to residents at a retirement home.

  33. Lisa

    We recycle ours for a gingerbread decoration party I host for a few friends. I even choose our candy to give away to be complimentary like twizzlers.

  34. Lisa

    We recycle ours for a gingerbread decoration party I host for a few friends. I even choose our candy to give away to be complimentary like twizzlers.

  35. Mallo

    My parents would occasionally allow a treat after dinner- it was up to us to decide how long we wanted it to last and if we would eat all of the good stuff first.

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