Avoiding Halloween candy clutter

Halloween used to create clutter in my home; I’d be afraid of running out of candy, so I’d overbuy. Then, because I bought good stuff, I’d be tempted to eat way too much of the leftovers.

I also knew I was creating candy clutter for others. It’s been a long time since I went trick-or-treating, but I know I always came home with more candy than I needed, and more than my parents wanted for themselves.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I’ve got some suggestions: three for getting rid of excess candy, and one for helping to minimize the excess candy glut in the first place.

Donate candy to poll workers (and voters)

When I became self-employed, I lost the easy “take the leftover candy to work” option. But then I noticed there are often elections being held very shortly after Halloween, so I started taking my leftover candy to my polling place — and everyone was delighted to get it. The enjoyment of good candy is a non-partisan issue!

Donate candy to U.S. troops deployed outside the U.S.

If you’re up to shipping off your candy, you could send it to groups such as Operation Shoebox or Operation Gratitude. Some dentists in your area might be participating in Operation Gratitude’s Halloween Candy Buy Back program. In the Washington, D.C. area, there’s MoverMoms’ Treats-4-Troops program.

Donate candy in other ways

In San Francisco, At The Crosroads can use your candy. On Dallasnews.com, I found some more good ideas. Annabel Lugo Hoffman says she donates her leftover candy to her local fire department. Claudia Moore says her church collects leftover candy and “donates it inside Thanksgiving meal baskets that are given to families in need.”

Give books instead of candy

I discovered Books for Treats a few years ago, and I’ve been giving away books ever since. Some of them came from my own bookshelves; as much as I love children’s books, I had some I no longer felt any need to keep. Others I got at a used bookstore where I had a huge store credit from prior uncluttering efforts.

My Halloween book “treats” range from board books to chapter books, so I have something for kids of all ages. Yes, the kids were a bit taken aback when I first offered them their choice of books instead of candy bars. But then they got into it, and I heard things like “Awesome!”

Another advantage: I don’t need to worry about giving children a treat they may not be able to eat, depending on any allergies or dietary restrictions they may have.

My neighborhood doesn’t get many children trick-or-treating any more, so when the evening is done, I just put the remaining books away for the next year, making sure to store them where they won’t get damaged, just as I would pack away holiday decorations. If my book selection for any age group gets low, I note that so I can replenish it before the next Halloween.

5 Comments for “Avoiding Halloween candy clutter”

  1. posted by Thekla Richter on

    I love giving out stickers on Halloween. Even older kids really seem to like them. A neighbor gave out small play-doh cannisters one year which everyone loved and I have also seen Halloween pencils given. Lots of non-candy options!

  2. posted by Dorothy on

    At the risk of sounding heretical, sometimes I think it might be good to give each kiddo a couple quarters or a dollar bill.

    I do like the book idea and the other options Thekla Richter mentions.

  3. posted by Nana on

    Stickers and pencils for the win! Happily, my kids’ school collected ‘left-over’ candy…I don’t know or care what they did with it, as long as it was out of my house!
    Similarly, to avoid tempting myself, I would buy candy I don’t personally like. Easy to donate without nibbling.

  4. posted by Rebecca Morgan on

    Thanks so much for posting about Books For Treats! It’s really easier than most people think. We provide a free downloadable kit on how to give book for treats at your home or community. Come join the movement!

    Rebecca Morgan
    Books For Treats

  5. posted by Michelle on

    Many dentists and orthodontists have a buyback program for post-Halloween candy excess. It’s a motivation for the kids to only keep their very favorite pieces and make some $$ for the rest!

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