Thursday, November 18, 2010

What To Do With Leftover Halloween Candy

For all the excitement that goes into trick-or-treating, there’s inevitably a mountain of candy left to rot outside of our kids’ mouths. If left until next year, the chocolate will look blotchy and weird, and the candy will have melted into their wrappers over the summer.

There’s always the option of freezing the goods until the kids feel like eating it, but that also sounds like a ripe opportunity for your freezer to accumulate junk you’ll only forget about until you move to another house or apartment and realize that candy’s been in there for the better part of ten years.

So, what earthly purpose can this candy serve past Halloween?
  1. You know what they say about lemons—make lemonade! If you’re stuck with bags of M&M's and Hershey’s Kisses, bake them into cookies or other desserts your kids, neighbors, family, and friends will gladly accept.
  2. Bring a bowl full of candy to work every Monday and place it in the break room.
  3. Similarly, bring a bowl full of candy to small, friendly gatherings, or use them as table centerpieces if you’re hosting.
  4. Use pretty candies—Kisses wrapped in gold and silver are great—on your Christmas tree if you celebrate. Just make sure the chocolates don’t melt under the lights!
  5. Chocolate candies are generally easier to get rid of than hard candy, so make a game of it—put it all in a large jar and have your kids, family, or coworkers guess how many pieces are in it. This doesn’t exactly solve what to do with the candy after the guesses have been made, but we’re getting to that...
  6. When you’re left with an armload of hard candies and have no intention of eating them yourself, make them into Christmas tree ornaments. Not only can you use these on your own tree but you can offer them to friends and family as cheap DIY gifts. Here's how...
You’ll need an oven, a cookie sheet, metal cookie cutters, aluminum foil, vegetable spray, a straw, and thin, decorative ribbon for this project.

First, separate the candy, since different types melt at different temperatures. For example, lollipops and hard Life Savers melt between 300 and 310 F, and caramels melt between 245 and 250 F.

If you’re working with Life Savers, preheat the oven to 350 F so it melts faster. Line the cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray it down with vegetable spray. Place the cookie cutters on the sheet and fill them to the edges of each cookie cutter with single layers of candy. Put the cookie sheet in the oven for up to 7 minutes, checking regularly.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and keep your hands off—it’s hot! Let it cool for a couple of minutes and make a hole with the straw at the top of each “ornament” (so the ribbon can slip through when it’s cooled and dried). When the cookie cutters are safe to touch, remove them from the candy ornaments. Pull the ribbon through, knot it, and cut it, so the ornaments can hang from Christmas trees.

Have fun with your leftover candy!

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online schools. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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