9 Ways to Use That Leftover Halloween Candy

Because they can't eat it all in one night ... even with our help

By Erika Veduccio, Kara Murphy & Emily Papa October 27, 2023

Halloween is all about the costumes, the boos, and of course the C-A-N-D-Y!

Going door-to-door (or trunk to trunk!) dressed in costumes with family and friends is fun and a great tradition, but let's be real — it's all about those fun-sized treats! 

Plus, did you know Halloween is the ultimate day to indulge without the guilt? (That's official.)

But all that candy may be overwhelming and, despite our best efforts, we can't eat all of those chocolate bars after they've gone to bed — right? But we'll give it the ol' college try!

If you do have leftovers, what can you do with the next-day sweets?

We have ideas! Nine to be exact. Here's what you can do with all that extra Halloween candy starting Nov. 1:

1. Donate to troops or first responders

Operation Troop Appreciation is a local non-profit located in West Mifflin that accepts candy donations to make packages to send to troops overseas. 

Operation Gratitude distributes Halloween candy to deployed troops, local military units, veterans, and first responders all over the world — providing a sweet opportunity for grateful Americans to thank those who serve our nation. You can sign up as an individual, group, or business and send your candy to Operation Gratitude. Want something closer to home? A group called Soldiers' Angels lets you search by zip code to find a location near you to donate.

2. Support a good cause 

Many charities take candy, not just after Halloween but after Valentine's and Easter too. Call your local food pantry, homeless shelter, or nursing home to see if they would like a donation of unopened Halloween candy. SHIM located in Bethel Park often accepts candy donations. Meals on Wheels in Bethel Park and South Park will accept unopened candy donations meaning, extra leftover bags of candy. Due to COVID and for the safety of their clients, they are NOT accepting candies that have been passed out/handled by others. 

3. Find a candy buy-back program near you

The most common candy buy back we hear about is at Learning Express. Trade your candy for toys!! After the sugar high wears off from November 1st - 4th, bring your candy into Learning Express and exchange it for Toy Bucks! Each customer will be given $1 in Toy Bucks for each pound of candy.* Toy Bucks work just like cash in the store!

*Limit of 5lbs of candy per customer and limit of $5 in Toy Bucks per purchase. 

Do you know of any other local buy back programs? We'd love for you to share the deets so we can share with our readers! Check the Halloween Candy Buy Back site to see if there are any locations near you!

 blueorangestudio via Canva

4. Get in the holiday spirit

Christmas is right around the corner. Store your leftover Halloween treats until it's time to decorate that gingerbread house!

 Getty Images Signature via Canva

5. Make trail mix

Just add chocolate, candy corn, raisins, pretzels, and other leftover goodies in with some pumpkin seeds, nuts, dried fruit, and/or popcorn and you'll have an instant afternoon pick-me-up.

6. Freeze it

Freeze leftover candies, then add to your holiday coffees or hot chocolates for a little surprise you and the kids will love!

Getty Images via Canva

7. Sweeten up that sundae bar

Have a birthday or other special event coming up? Make a sundae bar with leftover Halloween candy! Simply unwrap the candies and divide them into bowls for kids (or adults!) to add to a DIY sundae. It's always sundae night somewhere.

8. Say goodbye to chocolate chips

Instead of adding chocolate chips to your favorite cookie, brownie, or cupcake recipe, cut or smash chocolate candy bars into similar-sized pieces. It'll be a surprise in every bite! Here's a tried and true yummy Halloween candy cookie recipe to try!

 Olga Kriger via Canva

9. Make a fondue

Yep, empty all that chocolate (don't forget the caramels too!) into a slow cooker. Add some cream, and let it get ooey-gooey. Just add fresh fruit on skewers to dip and you're set!

What is your favorite thing to do with leftover candy? We're always open to new ideas

If you are a local Pittsburgh business doing a candy buy back program this year, please let us know, so we can include you! Email Emily at with your information.