You've hit every last house in your ZIP code, and as you watch your kids dump their bounty on the kitchen table, your mind flashes forward to three months of sugar highs. Never fear: With these ideas, you'll burn through that candy just in time for Christmas cookies.
Using Halloween candy for Thanksgiving desserts? Now that's just efficient holiday planning. Candy corn works great as tail feathers for turkey cookies or cupcakes. Just dab a little frosting on your already-baked Thanksgiving treat and stick them on! Or try these Pilgrim Hat Cookies to use up those miniature Reeses' peanut butter cups.
Repurpose that extra Halloween candy and take care of the entertainment for your holiday party. How's that for multitasking? You can buy a pinata and fill it with your own candy, or if you're a do-it-yourself, try this make-your-own craft and get whacking!
A nationwide partnership between dentists and Operation Gratitude, a military support organization, sent more than 61 tons of candy to troops overseas last year. Here's how it works: Dentists buy back candy from kids, then send it to Operation Gratitude, which distributes it to military bases. There are more than two dozen participating dentists in the Chicago area. Visit halloweencandybuyback.com and enter your ZIP code to find one near you!
Pixie Stix work as a sugar substitute in almost anything, and goes especially nicely with some wine, vinegar and salt as a meat glaze. Red Hots make a great addition to barbecue sauce or chili. Get creative!
If your kids are going to eat the candy anyway, you might as well having fun with it first. Try this craft, which uses candy (or anything else you might have lying around -- cereal, pretzels, popcorn, etc.) to create an edible necklace.
Instead of tossing candy wrappers in the trash, use them as the inspiration for a craft project. You'll need: empty, clean candy wrappers, a glue stick, a plain, wooden picture frame and some Modge Podge to create a piece of recycled art. Simply cover the frame in flattened candy wrappers and secure with glue. Then apply several coats of Modge Podge and let dry.
You could also save leftover candy for a future craft project, such as an advent calendar. Small size bars are perfect to dole out as daily treats. Halloween candy can also be the inspiration for a holiday gingerbread house. For example, melted Jolly Rancher candies or lollipops make lovely "stained glass windows." Peppermint candies and red licorice add a whimsical and decorative touch. Chocolate nonpareils or Skittles make ideal roof tiles. Tootsie Rolls can be used to create a mini wood pile. Get creative with those leftovers that no one wants to eat!
Halloween candy can also be fodder for some pretty cool science experiments. Try microwaving sugar-coated marshmallow candies to observe how they expand and collapse. Crunch Wint-O-Green Life Savers in a dark room and watch the sparks fly. For more science-related uses for your leftover candy (and full explanations of the actual science behind them), check out the Science Mom