Thursday, November 3, 2011

What to do with all that leftover Halloween candy........

I stole that title from the many, many articles of the same (or similar) title I've seen in the past few days. What on earth can we do with all that leftover Halloween candy? Do a candy buy-back? Let the kids pick their five favorite pieces and chuck the rest? Take it to the break room at work? Let the kids conduct science experiments with it?

Here's an idea. EAT IT! Yes, that's right, I give you permission to eat it. Or let your kids eat it. Or let your kids eat the stuff you don't like but steal the stuff you do and hide it in your nightstand drawer. Or whatever. The point is, if you really, really do not want your child to consume a vat of candy, then don't let them go trick or treating for it in the first place! If you only want them to eat five pieces, then only go to five houses. But I say if you dressed them up and trotted them out in public begging for free candy, then the least you can do is eat it!

Let's face it, what other time of year do you walk around getting free candy? How many times do you bring home a haul of sweets in a pillowcase? So, go ahead and eat it. I'm not condoning letting your kid go all-out and consume a bowlful of candy in one sitting. No way. 'Cause you know who's gonna clean up the barf later.  I'm just saying that it's ok to let your kids eat their own Halloween candy.

When my kids were little, I'd sort through their candy under the guise of "checking it." That was code for "let mommy pick out her favorites and try to convince you that Reese's are yucky." Then, and I'm not embarrassed to admit this, I'd put it all together, sort it into varieties, put the yucky stuff in a container (dubbed "the candy jar" even though it wasn't a jar) and let the kids have a piece now and then. I'd put some in their lunches for a few days and after a week or so, they had pretty much forgotten about it. I'd then feel bad about throwing it away so I'd come up with some sort of dessert to make with chopped up candy, which was generally a fail, but somehow it felt better to throw away a Snickers cake than a bag of Snickers. Go figure.

And the good news is this - there will be MORE candy on Christmas! Yes, Christmas is an official Candy Holiday, too. So, before all the candy corn is gone, there are chocolate-covered cherries and candy canes. So, I throw out the Halloween candy (if there is any left over) and start collecting Christmas candy. After the first week or two of January, looking at a candy cane generally makes a person sick, so it's time to clear out the candy jar for....Valentine's Day! Yes, those conversation hearts and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sure to be entering your house so might as well toss the Christmas candy and get ready for the heart day sweets. Now, there is a bit of a candy drought between Valentine's day and the next official Candy Holiday which is Easter, but if you play your cards right, you can stretch it. Easter brings jelly beans and chocolate bunnies, which, if you get the large, solid chocolate variety, can last well into early summer. My kids were once given huge, solid chocolate bunnies which they never even opened. Again, I felt bad just throwing them away so I painstakingly chopped them into tiny bits and baked them into a banana cake. Yum!

Once the jelly bellies are gone, one must not despair for July fourth is just around the corner and all manner of red, white and blue candies abound! The Great Candy Drought comes between July fourth and Halloween, but it's tempered by the many chocolate candy bars consumed in summer s'mores.

So, you see, the candy is here to stay. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If your kids don't eat it all, you will, and if you don't eat it, you'll just pass it on to someone who will. I used to have a hard and fast rule that I'd only buy candy for Halloween that I didn't like so that after the holiday, should any be left over, I would not feel bad throwing it out. Laffy Taffy? Yuck! Skittles? Ewww! Starburst? Ick. But Hershey's? Reese's? Three Musketeers? Yummmmm!!! See a pattern?

I ended up this year with a whole bag of unopened candy corn. And, lucky me, I happened to find a recipe for white chocolate fudge topped with candy corn and containing bits of pretzels. A salty-sweet combo that sounded too good to be true. I'm going to make it. I'll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, if anyone has any leftover Reese's, send them my way. My kids finally figured out that they're not yucky.

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