I live in a very senior-heavy neighbourhood. In fact, my kids are the only elementary-aged kids on our street. Every year when my kids go trick-or-treating, I stay at home to hand out candy. Some years, my doorbell never rings. My children come back loaded with candy—with so few trick-or-treaters around, the people on my street give them handfuls of chocolate bars, lollipops, and gum. The neighbours in my immediate area buy special treats just for my children—buckets of candy popcorn, light sabres filled with sours, full-sized candy bars. One year a very elderly neighbour walked over to my house at suppertime to give each boy a bagful of candy. Since they were going out on Halloween, she didn't want to miss giving them their treats.
I know a lot of people, when faced with such largesse, take up local dentists on their offers to buy back candy, or they do the "Switch Witch" thing and trade their children's candy for toys, but I will never do that. I will never rid the house of those treats so generously and kindly given by my aged neighbours.
And yet, what to do with all those candies? After letting the kids gorge for a couple of days, they tend to lose interest, popping the occasional mini-Aero here and pack of Sour Kids there. This means that we have frequently had Halloween candy in the house in May. Not only is that ridiculously tempting for me since I work from home, but it is also wasteful since the candy is past its prime by that time. Fortunately for us all, I've devised ways to use up those candies, so as to not waste it OR surreptitiously eat it all myself when the kids are at school.
Smarties and M&M's
Smarties and M&M's are the perfect substitute for chocolate chips when making cookies or brownies. Try these Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies, using Smarties instead of chocolate chips. Your kids will love them, I promise! Stirring a few fun-sized packs of M&M's into pancake or waffle batter makes a nice treat, too.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
For a decadent sweet treat, bake a peanut butter cup into a chocolate cupcake. Take this recipe for Pot-of-Gold Chocolate Cupcakes, fill each cupcake tin only 1/3 of the way, and place a peanut butter cup inside. Top with batter and bake!
Chop up Hershey's Bars and use them to make a milk-chocolate version of these truffles or this chocolate mousse pie. Use the Cookies 'n' Creme Hershey's Bars to make a white-chocolate version of this mousse trifle.
Coffee Crisp, Crispy Crunch, Kit Kat, and Aero
Elevate your favourite brownie recipe by adding chopped up chocolate bars to it—the different flavours add a whole new element to basic brownies.
Caramilk and Rolo
Try these decadent brownies for a special treat.
Gummy Candies, Sour Patch Kids, Jaw Breakers, Lollipops, Swedish Berries
Save these and use them to decorate gingerbread houses at Christmastime.
Chocolate bars freeze very well. Like a snowball in the freezer for July surprises, is there anything more exciting for kids than getting a Halloween treat in the summertime?
Chips, Cheezies, Doritos, and Popcorn
This is my real weakness. I am like a shark smelling blood when there are chips in the house. Schedule a movie afternoon for your kids and their friends—everyone gets a fun-size bag of chips. Then you can enjoy these healthy chip alternatives instead: dill pickle or nacho cheese, your choice. It's a win-win!
Um, there's no way to repurpose these. No way at all. So just send those to me. I'll take care of them for you. Nom nom nom.