Spooktacular Ideas for Leftover Halloween Candy

Make no bones about it, the sweetest part of trick-or-treating with your costume-clad kiddos on Halloween is combing through that candy haul to pick out your…er, we mean their favorite candy bar or sweet treat. After the sugar rush recedes, you’ll likely have some wayward Tootsie Rolls, Skittles, jawbreakers or other candies leftover that you know will never get eaten. Rather than throw them away, they can be traded in, via candy buybacks. for other goodies or donated to some very special people. Check out these special, candy-swapping and candy trade-in hot spots below.

photo: Operation Gratitude via Facebook

Operation Gratitude
This amazing organization sends care packages filled with entertainment, hygiene products, handmade items, letters of thanks and non-perishable snacks to U.S. Troops, first responders, veterans, military families and wounded heroes and their caregivers. Included in every package is a handful of yummy candies—most of which are collected from their yearly Halloween Candy Give-Back Program.

Groups and individuals are welcome to organize drives for candy or send in donations on their own. All donations must be received by Nov. 9. For details and guidelines on donating your leftover goodies, visit their website below.

Chatsworth, CA
Online: operationgratitude.com

photo: Soldiers’ Angels via Facebook

Soldiers’ Angels
This organization prides itself in providing aid and comfort to the brave men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, their families, and veterans. Among their many acts of giving, Soldiers’ Angels assembles and delivers care packages filled with everything from books and socks to candy and mints that are donated by generous people from all over the country.

If you’re interested in donating your Halloween treats, remember to include: your name, address, phone number and email address in each donation box so you can receive a donation receipt. Also, make sure to contact the organization directly to get an address of where to send your items, as they ship to many different places, depending on need.

Online: soldiersangels.org

photo: Operation Shoebox via Facebook

Operation Shoebox
Yet another wonderful non-profit organization, this group provides hands-on support for our troops deployed overseas and those returning home. They realized that while necessary meals and shelter are provided by the U.S. Military, our troops also need tokens of kindness to boost their morale, including care packages filled with personal care items, entertainment, thank you notes and snacks. Volunteers love packing up boxes with candy year round, but especially love doing so around the holidays and will happily take bags of individually wrapped candies off your hands for distribution.

Belleview, FL
Online: operationshoebox.com

photo: Ronald McDonald House of Los Angeles via Facebook

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California
Since 1974, Ronald McDonald House Charities has provided compassionate comfort, health services and housing close to medical care for millions of sick children and their families. Candy donations serve as an extra special treat for families who are understandably exhausted and stressed out while caring for their little ones. Contact your local Ronald McDonald House chapter to see if they’re accepting donations of unopened candy this Halloween season.

Online: rmhcsc.org

photo: Halloween Candy Buyback Program via Facebook

Halloween Candy Buyback Program
This program was started with the goal of promoting good dental health for little ones while also supporting our military troops. Participants like local dentists buy back Halloween candy from kids at scheduled events and in return give them cash, xylitol products, coupons, toothbrushes and various other types of creative exchanges. The candy is then distributed to our men and women bravely serving in the military.

To find a local buyback event near you, make sure to visit the site or contact your dental provider directly to see if they’re participating.

Online: halloweencandybuyback.com

Other Sweet Ideas for Leftovers:
1. Contact local homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or nursing homes to see if they accept wrapped candy donations.

2. Host a lemonade and candy stand for charity and donate proceeds to a local children’s charity or animal organization.


3. With the holidays just around the corner, store candy away until December and use it for a gingerbread house decorating party.

4. Have kids trade in their Halloween candy haul for a gift from the Switch Witch, available in stores and online.

To see what Red Tricycle Editors are up to this month, follow us on Instagram!

–Jennifer O’Brien


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