Halloween Candy Buy Back Program (+ What do YOU do with All That Halloween Candy?!)

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What do you and your kiddos do with all that Halloween candy that you will likely collect tonight?! Do you have a big bowl in the kitchen where all the candy is collected and then up for grabs? Do you stash the candy in a secret place and then allow each of your kids to have one piece a day? Well, if you want to do something different with all that Halloween candy this year, consider participating in the Halloween Candy Buy Back.

Here’s how it works…

* Participating dentists “buy” back kids’ Halloween candy at a scheduled event
* Candy is “bought” with cash, coupons, toothbrushes, creative exchanges
* Dentists can partner with local businesses to give away coupons for food, services, goods, etc. They can give away the Hygiene Kits, they can set up an Opportunity Prize–each kid gets a ticket per pound of candy for an opportunity drawing to win special prizes, etc.
* Dentists then send the candy to Operation Gratitude or other Military support groups
* Operation Gratitude sends the candy to U.S. Military deployed in harm’s way

Here are some other suggestions on ways to make use of all that Halloween candy (these comments were left by Hip2Save readers last few years in a similar post)

* Donate candy to teachers

* Donate to a pediatric cancer center (many of the treatments that kids undergo leave a metallic taste in their mouth so sometimes the kids are given a candy like a lollipop to get rid of the after-taste)

* Use candy as prizes for potty training

* My kids eat a few candies, we pick out a few more, then we put all of the rest outside of their bedroom doors when they go to bed. While they are sleeping, the Halloween Fairy takes away all of the candy (which makes its way to daddy’s office) and leaves a toy for each child.

* Re-use the candy in a Pinata for a November/December birthday.

* Use all the chocolates to make some AWESOME brownies (just make the standard box brownie then cut up various chocolate, sprinkle the top and stick it back in the over to melt a bit)

* Save candy for decorating gingerbread houses at Christmas.

What great ideas! Have you ever participated in a Halloween Candy Buy Back? Do you have any other creative uses for Halloween candy? Please share! πŸ˜€

(Thanks for the reminder, Military Wives Saving!)

Join The Discussion

Comments 62

  1. Natasha in Fort Myers, Fla

    I work in a salon and overheard a GREAT idea! The mother was saying that her children eat only a few candies then they leave the rest of candy for the “Pumpkin King” who comes in the middle of night and exchanges the candy for one present!! What a fab idea. Now I dont have any children, but I think that this a amazing idea. And with getting great deal and coupons on This site- get the present ahead of time! Happy Hallooooowwween my Hip2Save friends and save travels tonight!

    • michellebelles

      I recently heard of the Great Pumpkin who does this. I only worry that the kid will feel strange when they start telling their friends about it, and they don’t know what he/she is talking about.

    • Sheila

      My friends call it the “switch witch.” πŸ™‚ At our house, we just eat it!

  2. Steph

    My kids are to old to trick or treat now but we received an email this morning from our dentist saying he is participating in the buyback program. He is paying $1 a pound and sending all that he receives to the troops overseas.

  3. Michelle

    We take most of the candy and put it in our boxes for Operation Christmas Child. These boxes are easy to pack (especially with all the freebies and deals I get!) and are sent all over the world to children who might not have ever had a present! πŸ™‚ https://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Pack_A_Shoe_Box/

    • Oralia

      I think that’s a great idea, that’s very nice of you!

  4. Janel

    When I was little my mom always let me eat as much as I wanted on Halloween and the next day and guaranteed every year I had my fill and literally forgot about it. She never made a big deal about it so I didnt care. lol

    I’m not sure whatever happened to all the extra. I think my mom and grandparents ended up sharing it. lol

  5. Lisa

    My kids don’t eat that many different kinds of candy…and they’re usually home before we’re done giving out candy. So, when they get home, we quickly go through their bags, take out what they don’t eat (along with some of what they do eat since they get so much), and put it in our bowl to give out. We can always get rid of the extras that way.

    • Allison

      Yep! We do this too! And the kids love ‘sharing’ their candy!

  6. Dana Ellicson

    The orthodontic office I work at in Grayslake, IL is doing this!!! We are listed on Operation Gratitudes website!!

  7. Sally

    It’s a once a year night to trick or treat… my four kids have always been allowed to eat the pieces of candy they collect during the trick or treat evening. Now, they don’t go crazy… never have, it’s all about moderation. When they are done going out, they all sit around in the living room and sort thru the ‘good and the bad’, swope with each other then tuck away the rest to snack on thru out the next week. Which by the second day they really are down to just one or two pieces then by the end of the week, they really don’t want any.

    If you limit the kids to the point they are ‘forbidden’, all you do is set them up to indulge later on or ‘hide and sneak’ the candy. I don’t care for the idea of taking their bags and having a ‘halloween ghost’ or whatever take the candy during the night and trade it for a toy. I don’t get that and seems just silly. Why then, have the kids go out and collect the candy if it’s just going to be taken away? Makes no sense, but just my opinion:)

    • Jocelyn

      THAT is exactly how I was raised. I personally, only like chocolate…candy to me is meh. I learned self control because I got my tummy ache once and ever since I just held onto my candy as long as I could eating it every now and then when I craved it only as opposed to eating in a fury like the cookie monster. Maybe I will teach my daughter about resources with candy? For example you don’t want to eat all your candy because tomorrow you will have none. Just like your birthday money, you should save it so it lasts longer (or use hot water as an example whatever)

      ps? I’ve never gotten a cavity πŸ˜‰ kudos to my mom for just letting me think on my own instead of making me want to over indulge

    • Anonymous

      I agree about the forbidden aspect of anything, not just candy. I know a family that has a “candy day” once a week. It is the only day the kids are allowed to have candy, and the kids just live for it! To me, it just puts way too much emphasis on what you are limiting. My son has the biggest sweet tooth in the world, and we usually have a candy dish sitting out. Once in a while he’ll ask for a piece (usually as dessert), and we’ll give it to him; most of the time it doesn’t really register for him.

      • Anonymous

        My friends parents were like that: Every Friday they didn’t have to brush their teeth!

        The girls ended up getting an insane amount of cavities thru out their childhood and? On Fridays they would eat candy/sweets/etc more than normal. They even loved going to sleep chewing gum.

        I’m SO PROUD my parents made me WANT to brush my teeth everyday (otherwise I can’t sleep) Forbidden = OVER indulge. In my opinion, just teach a child self control. lol

        • txhrc4

          I actually really liked the Halloween fairy idea – but maybe instead of a Halloween Fairy, teach the children to share with others less fortunate than themselves.

        • Anonymous

          Wow. I wonder if the kids look back fondly on their no-teeth-brushing Fridays or if they swung the other way and are hyper-vigilant about good oral hygiene?

          I would love to know how your parents made you want to brush your teeth, though. My son definitely doesn’t love it, nor do I. If he’s like me, toothpaste nauseates him. I’ve tried *every* toothpaste out there, and they all leave a sickly sweet aftertaste. (Also tried salt and baking soda–don’t love those, either! πŸ˜‰ ) To me, it’s one of those things you might not like but you gotta do–no free passes on oral hygiene!

          • Anonymous

            Now I feel badly … There was no special ‘trick’ mom and dad just always made me do it no matter what. If I lay down even for a nap I just simply can’t sleep until I brush my teeth.. Maybe it is because it is the ABSOLUTE LAST thing I do before I get into bed? No tv or anything (If I want to read book etc I will lay in bed and do that and when my eyes start closing I go straight to brush my teeth and then lay back down. The clean feeling makes me drift off to bed)

            Wish I could help more? Maybe if you get a fun toothbrush like a sonicare you will like it more? hope that helps <3

        • Em

          That is so odd. I never understood, even as a kid, not wanting to brush my teeth. It was never a big deal, only took a couple of minutes and my mouth always felt so nice after. Plus, we had fun toothbrushes! Thank goodness my kiddos take after me, lol

          • Em

            Whoops, I was replying to the first one, not this last anonymous at 1:21! Not being rude to you! πŸ™‚ we use tooth chips, from Rose of Sharon Acres. A slight soap taste every now and then, but otherwise they rock, really no flavor!

        • Mir

          I’m not quite sure not brushing every Friday leads to tons of cavities if the rest of the week you do everything right. My husband crunches on jawbreakers, eats lots of candy, has done that since he was a kid, brushes less than I do and has had two cavities in his whole life! I’ve never been much of a candy eater but cavities – I’ve had more than my share, and a couple of people’s share!
          I do agree though that the forbidden fruit is always the sweetest. In this case, literally!

  8. Elizabeth

    We do the Operation Gratitude buy back every year, and then our son gets to buy himself a little something with the few dollars he gets back, but using the candy for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is a great idea as well – we may have to save some for our boxes this year!

  9. Jen

    Our 6 young kids share their candy and get to have a couple pieces a day. After a few days it is often forgotten. We then pull it out and use it to decorate our gingerbread houses at Christmas time. We never have to buy candy for gingerbread houses.

    • Mere

      Great idea! Candy corn would be great on a gingerbread house. Thanks for the idea

  10. tracy

    i say let them eat candy

  11. Erin

    Gulp–Are we the only ones who end up eating it all? πŸ™‚ My kids have some on Halloween and we all have a piece every day as dessert until it’s gone. Sometimes we toss the last bits that no one wants to eat. (Necco wafers, anyone?) One of these days, I want to make some of the awesome baked goods recipes that I’ve seen that use candy, but we never seem to have that much extra.

    • Hxp

      Nope not at all. Our family eats it all up (except for the ones the kids don’t like.)
      Kids only get to trick or treat for a few years and it creates fantastic memories.
      I say just watch how much they are eating and make sure to brush their teeth πŸ™‚

    • Crystal

      We eat ours, too. What is the point of trick or treating if you are going to take away the candy? Our kids don’t have cavities, are not overweight, and don’t sit around eating candy all day. People need to relax a little and let kids be kids.

  12. wendy

    we’ve sold our candy the past 3 years and then we go to dollar tree and buy stuff. kids are allergic to pretty much all of it, so it’s a win win situation.

  13. tracy

    when does the candy go on sale at the store,like rite aid and such? is it later today or does it start tmrw,and i saw the halloween costumes for dogs at target are those tmrw too?

  14. michellebelles

    Bribe my kid to finish his dinner for one piece of candy for months to come. Keep a hidden candy jar for mom and dad with stuff he shouldn’t/can’t eat. Throw the other stuff that is not fit for anyone to eat away. The way I see it, this is free desert in my house!

  15. Mere

    Consider donating extra candy to a local youth center. These organizations have hundreds of kids come through and can use the candy for events or prizes! Contact your school district for local youth centers.

    ….also the toys/fun prizes are great trades for kids who are diabetic or allergic to certain foods. I am Type 1 diabetic and couldn’t eat the candy as a kid! I loved going to the store and trading in my candy for toys.

  16. rebecca

    we put ours in a big bowl and its used as treats for the kids. then at christmas we use the ones that weren’t obvious halloween candy to stuff stockings with.
    where do i find out how to do the boxes for the troups?

  17. Brandy

    We actually mix it all together and put it in our snack box. They usually get a treat or two a day depending on if they ask for one or not. I’m also all about not restricting things. I am teaching them that things are okay in moderation. I will take some of it out for their stockings because they won’t remember everything we put into the snack box.

  18. Amanda W.

    My daughter has a life threatening nut allergy so unfortunately we can not keep the candy we collect. I have prepared goody bags waiting for them when they come home and I swap out the Halloween candy for the safe candy which is usually a mixture of both healthy snacks and of course chocolate! We take the candy to the Dentist like you recommended above..so on Halloween night it is still fun to collect the candy to try and get as much as possible! Our Dentist sends the candy overseas so win/win. We take that money and the girls buy some cheap toys from the $1/$5 bins at some of the toy stores. πŸ™‚

    • Ashley

      Bummer! I’m glad you found a way so she can still reap the benefits of Halloween though!

  19. Kristen

    I don’t have kids, but I don’t seem to remember it being a problem to “use up” the candy I got when trick-or-treating as a kid πŸ˜‰ We were allowed to eat several pieces that night, then take several more in our lunch the next day. After Nov. 1 we could take 1 piece a day in our lunch, and maybe have another piece after dinner. (My mom usually gave us cookies or some other “treat” in our lunch anyway, so the candy took the place of that. Same with an after-dinner dessert.)
    I suppose it all depends on how you were raised, but I would have been sooooo sad for a “Great Pumpkin” to take my candy, even if he left me a present, haha. I really looked forward to picking out which piece I would take in my lunch each day πŸ˜‰

    • Joy

      This is exactly what I do with my kids! A few pieces tonight, then a piece or two in their lunch box and after school or dinner. I do, however, sort their candy and trade anything that is made in China, hard taffy/Tootsie rolls or things they don’t like for their favorite candy. We always keep the chocolate candy. πŸ™‚ I also put some candy aside for when we go to the movies.

      I have taken the unwanted candy in the past to the Buyback programs. But this year they really did not get a lot of bad candy nor too much because it was too cold to be out too long tonight. LOL.

      Also, they give their Dad any Almond Joys and peanut butter cups since those are his favs. I also buy Halloween candy on clearance and use in stockings if it doesn’t look Halloween-like. After Christmas I will buy clearance candy to use for Valentine’s.

      • Mo

        putting it aside for movies! Brilliant! Thanks for the idea I’m SO doing this!! πŸ˜€

  20. Heidi

    We sort our candy when the kids get home and I usually pull out all of the chocolate and put it in a bag in the freezer. The in Jan or Feb it’s fun to find a bag of chocolate in the freezer.

  21. Becky Buckles Derrickson

    I don’t understand this. Just let the kids eat there candy, and make sure they brush there teeth really well! Why would you take your kids out to collect candy and then take it from them?? As a mother of 5- don’t forget to let your kids have those fun memories!! Remember to let them share with you!

    • Ashley


      • Stacy

        Double Amen!!

  22. Kathy

    When my daughter was in kindergarten, a mother made the cutest Christmas Countdown. At the top there is a cute little poem about Santa. You take a strip of red felt and punch holes in it. Then you tie white yarn in each hole, (24 pieces) and add a piece of candy to each. You tie a bell at the bottom. The poem says for the child to take a piece of candy each day and when you get to the bell Santa will be here. I still have Stacey’s after 32 years and now make them for my grandchildren. This is a great idea to use the candy and a way for the kids to countdown to Christmas all in one.

  23. Danielle

    dang, I am 25, with no kids, but we were never restricted on what halloween candy we could eat. Now doing a good thing with it is a great idea, but, I would always trade what I didn’t want, or I would give the “yucky” stuff to my dad for his candy jar at work… but all the good stuff was mine to keep. And honestly, it would sit in the pantry for half the year until mom decided to bake with it, lol. I honestly feel like if I was told how much I could and couldn’t eat and on what days, etc, I would of snuck around to eat more.

    and I just got my first cavity… at 25, lol.

  24. Ashley

    I’ll let them eat it (they’re only 11 months and 2.5 right now, so the little guy will end up with 3 m&m’s and my daughter will eat hers as ‘prizes’ for good behavior). If they go overboard when they’re older I’ll take it away, but if they’re anything like how I was I won’t have to worry about it. As a kid, I only got candy on holidays, so I rationed my candy so that Halloween’s lasted until Christmas, Christmas until Easter, and Easter until Christmas. Yes, I was eating rock hard Peeps by August- lol!

    I love the pinata idea though. If my kids ever get an overload of candy it would work great since my son’s bday is in November πŸ™‚

  25. Em

    We eat a lot different than most families, but the kids still LOVE dressing up and trick or treating. We don’t go door to door all over town but we take the kids around the block to the houses we know and their grandparents send them a package full of fun Halloween toys/games and some treats that fits into our style of eating. One of the guys we work with brings his herd over (his words, lol) and the kids all play bean bag toss (we made a Halloween themed one a few years back) and with their new toys and such. We dump all of the candy they got while trick or treating into our candy bucket and hand it out to the trick or treaters while our kids play to their hearts content. Then once they’re worn out our friends go home and we pop in a fun Halloween movie and the kids fall asleep in the living room. On the Friday the week of Halloween the school has a festival and they always get more candy that they don’t eat, so we take some candy that fits out style in their buckets so they can munch while playing all of the games and bouncing their little heads off in the bounce houses. The candy they get we give to the boys and girls club for the underprivileged kiddos. Everyone wins and has fun!

  26. Crystal H

    My kids LOVE to trick or treat (10 & 12) and usually get boatloads of candy. I had weight loss surgery this year, so I won’t be eating my fair share of it, though I’m sure my hubby will lol. We usually don’t get many trick or treaters and I give out what they don’t want and usually bring some to work. This year I’m going to make them candy brownies :).

  27. Janelle

    Our family eats it or daddy takes extra/unwanted to the office. We just go a couple of blocks. Its really more about the experience than the whole “getting” candy thing… We just use smaller buckets and they fill up fast. The kids are happy with that so I am too πŸ™‚ Be safe and have fun tonight everyone!

  28. Sheri

    We put a lot of it into a treat jar and use it up over a period of time. We also use it to put on our advent calendar! The kids like donating some of this to the calendar, and they eventually get it as we count down for Christmas. It saves me from having to buy extra candy.

  29. Lana

    I had to do the candy for potty training thing. I had 2 potty training at the same time, and nights were such a problem. I told them that if thy didn’t pee the bed, hey could have a piece of candy. Now, before I get judged for bribing my kids, I’d give them something like 3 skittles. They’d wake me up in the morning saying “mommy, I didn’t pee in my bed. I want candy!” I’d have to put them off until after breakfast, but it was a deal that worked great for us. Now I have fully potty trained 3 and 4 year olds and everyone is happy. πŸ™‚

  30. Ashley

    I feel like Halloween is a privileged of being a kid. They went to all the work of collecting the candy that they should get to enjoy it. As a kid I got to eat several pieces the night of Halloween and then 2 pieces a day til it was gone, but it was all my candy. My kids will have the same joys of eating ALL their candy.

    • Crystal

      Agreed! Your kids go through all this work in collecting so why in the world would a fairy or whomever come & take it?! Now that’s just the most odd thing I’ve ever read. I think everything in moderation. I’m going to let my daughter pig out on Halloween & then award her 1 or 2 pieces a day from there. Otherwise what is the point? Happy trick or treating!

  31. cassie weaver

    We let them eat what they want through the weekend(so to Sunday this week) and then we will take it away and store it and let them have some every now and again. We have 3 kids, very cute ones at that πŸ™‚ and they already each have a full bucket just from the fall fest last night and will probably each get another bucket full tonight between church and T or T so they won’t be deprived πŸ™‚

  32. Jamie

    I want to jump in and say please DON’T give the candy to teachers! Lol! It is a nice thought, but I really don’t want to be eating candy. Plus, a lot of schools have a zero candy policy in school so teachers cannot give them out as prizes anymore.

    Lots of great ideas posted though!!

  33. Catherine

    My kids (ages 7 & 9) sell their candy to their dad…they get .05 per piece and he takes it to work for his candy jar. They can keep whatever they want but they end up selling most of it. Whatever they keep goes into their own container with their name on it. They can pick a piece for dessert after dinner. This works well for us!

  34. Annette

    We will be sending all extra candy to the USS Eisenhower this year to the men and woman who are deployed.

  35. Laura

    Gosh, we use the candy for my three kids’ desserts for lunch until Christmas break. Then we put in the grandparent’s stockings the candy that they love and the kids don’t (Almond Joy and Mounds–not their favorites!). Anything else goes to Operation Gratitude for the soldiers to enjoy. Win, win, win and lots of fun!!

  36. rebecca

    Last year my daughter and I donated enough candy for her to get $11 from Operation Candy Buy Back! She was able to to get quite a bit of it on her own but we also went through the cupboards and found anything candy like that was good. We even had quite a few candy canes that were from the last Christmas that were good! I had tons of freebie gum from couponing and other “goodies” that went in too. She was so proud when the dental office asked to take her picture with the staff! So sweet … pun intended! πŸ™‚

    PS Still to this day when she sees a soldier she wonders if they got any of her candy, lol. πŸ™‚

  37. Lyndsy

    This year my kids will be sending extra candy to family in Pennsylvania . Hurricane Sandy stole Halloween for our family members so we made a big “fun” box of candy, popcorn, snacks and a movie for them to enjoy in their hotel room.

  38. Angela Heisler

    There are so many more things that are better than candy, especially giving to a child that has cancer. Unless the candy only contains fructose sugar, which is not what most people hand out during Halloween, then it greatly increases the chance of the cancer cells growing.

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