Halloween isn’t even here yet and we are already in candy overload! Halloween parties, events, trick or treating, and leftover candy from your own bowl usually excite the children to no end. Unfortunately, these large amounts of candy usually overwhelm well-meaning parents. In order to keep the sweet treats in moderation, you may need to find a new home for some of the goodies.
Interested in donating? Here are some options to put your candy in someone else’s hands for a good cause:
Operation Gratitude: This organization sends up to 100,000 care packages filled with letters, snacks and entertainment items to soldiers deployed overseas, their children at home, veterans and first responders. Many local dentist and orthodontist offices take part in this organization’s efforts by buying back candy from kids who are willing to part with it. Here are some dental offices in this area that you can check out and donate your candy for a good cause:
Children’s Dentistry Group, LLC
195 S. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich, 60047
Collection dates: November 1-5, during normal office hours
Russell S. Pollina, D.D.S.
18 E. Dundee Rd. Bldg 5, Barrington, 60056
601 W. Central Road, Suite 4, Mt. Prospect 60056.
Collection dates: November 3rd and November 4th 4-6 pm
Dr. David Honey
915 N. Milwaukee Ave Ste B, Libertyville, 60048
Collection dates: November 7 from 8am-12pm and November 8 from 8am-1pm
Pediatric Dental Associates, PC and Partners In Oral Health
195 Arlington Hts., Rd. St.150, Buffalo Grove, 60089
Collection dates: November 1st, 3rd and 4th, during normal business hours
Please adhere to collection days and times. For more details, information, and hours of operation, we recommend calling the offices directly. You can find more information on the Operation Gratitude Halloween Candy Program page.
For other locations of dental offices participating in this program outside of Lake County, visit the Halloween Candy BuyBack website and type in your location search information.
If you’re willing to make the drive to Mount Prospect and your child suffers from nut allergies that limit which candies he or she can enjoy, consider trading your candy for a nut-free cupcake!
259 Rand Road, Mount Prospect, 60056
Collection dates: November 1-7, during normal business hours
Nutphree’s is completely free of peanuts, tree nuts and any form of cross-contamination. Children can trade their candy for a safe and FREE cupcake. For more information visit Nutphree’s Cupcakes on Facebook.
Operation Shoebox: Operation Shoebox is an organization founded to send support to the men and women putting their lives on the line for us overseas. This organization also sends care packages filled with things to boost the morale of these brave soldiers. Donations of all sorts are accepted and Halloween candy is on their list as well!
If you have leftover Halloween candy, they would love to take it off your hands. You can send it to them at the following address:
8360 E. Highway 25
Belleview, FL 34420
You can feel good about donating to a great cause and putting the candy to better use! For more information on how to donate to Operation Shoebox, please see their website.
P.A.D.S of Lake County is a non-profit organization that helps out in Lake County providing emergency shelter, housing and resources to families experiencing homelessness. Prairie Orthodontics collects your candy expressly for donation to P.A.D.S. of Lake County:
6121 Washington Street Suite 204, Gurnee, 60031
Collection dates: October 27th-November 6th, during normal business hours
Looking for some creative ways to use the candy at home? Look no further. Here are some ideas to put it to good use in some creative and fun ways:
- Freeze It: Freeze it in tightly wrapped freezer bags. Use it throughout the year in cookie dough, cake batter, and as part of an ice cream sundae bar when summer greets us again.
- Mix It: Add a few pieces into a healthy trail mix for snack time. Combine dried fruit, high fiber cereal, and a variety of nuts and seeds together in a snack bag. Add a few pieces of candy for a special sweet treat trail mix.
- Learn with It: What better way to learn about science than science experiments with candy? Check out Science 20′s Top 10 Scientific Uses For Leftover Halloween Candy for ways to have fun and enjoy your candy, while learning a lot about science! Or, use it to brush up on Math skills. It is always more fun to do addition or subtraction with small chocolates than anything else!
- Re-treat It: Save some for your children’s birthday party treat bags. Freeze it and take out to toss into a bag with some other non-candy goodies when party time arrives.Or, use it to fill a pinata and let all the kids enjoy the windfall.
- Decorate It: Save it for your next holiday get together and use for edible crafts. Gingerbread houses, thanksgiving turkey cookies, and edible Easter basket crafts can always benefit from some tasty candy.
- Play It: Use the candy pieces instead of the regular ones in a board game.Use a game you already have, or create your own. Enjoy a game and some family time, with a sweet surprise afterwards!
- Craft It: use candy pieces to decorate a wooden frame, make a candy necklace or a fun craft of your choosing. Get creative with the candy…or the wrappers!
- Gift It: Have your child make a care package for someone they know who is sick, or hurt. Have them make a card and send along a small wrapped bag of treats to really sweeten their day!
- Bring It: Package it up and bring it into the office. Put it in a little bowl and watch it disappear.
- Eat It: Let’s be honest. You know you want to. Snag your favorite pieces from your child’s bag. Unwrap. Eat. Enjoy.
These are ways you can still enjoy your Halloween candy in moderation, and maybe even start new traditions for your kids at Halloween by donating, recycling and just getting creative!
What do you do with your Halloween candy haul? Share it with us in the comments!Editor’s Note: Originally authored by Heather in 2013 with editorial updates for 2014