If You Have Unwanted Halloween Candy This Year, Donate It

Nothing demonstrates the phrase "too much of a good thing" better than the days after Halloween. Whether you're a parent suddenly swamped with sugary sweets, a homeowner who expected more trick-or-treaters than they got, or a host who went overboard for a Halloween party, it's often difficult to figure out what to do with the excess. Don't throw it out. In America, where 40% of food eventually gets trashed, food waste is a massive problem. But what are your options?

Feel free to call up your local food bank to ask if they take candy, but don't be offended if they turn you down. Food banks aren't always happy to receive candy — especially after Halloween. Piles of candy take up valuable storage space that could be used for more nutritious foods. Clients aren't asking for candy, either. The families that food banks serve often struggle to access nutritious meals, and their kids likely trick-or-treat, too. 

Instead, consider other places to donate. Nursing homes are a good place to start. After all, residents there are much less likely to have candy from their own trick-or-treating excursions. Several national charities accept donations, too. Check out the charities below, or get creative and try to think of places that could use donations in your own community. Who knows — maybe your idea could become a charity of its own. 

Where can you donate Halloween candy?

Want the candy to go to needy kids? The Ronald McDonald House, which gives families of severely ill children a place to stay, often accepts candy donations. Donations give kids who are too sick to trick-or-treat their own taste of Halloween. Not every chapter accepts candy, though, so reach out to see if you can donate.

Maybe you think kids should eat less candy. Check to see if any local dentist's offices or businesses participate in the Halloween Candy Buyback program. Kids trade in candy for cash, toys, and dental hygiene products; parents get excess sweets off their hands. Even if you don't have kids of your own, you can drop off bags of leftovers.

Don't worry, it won't go to waste. Like several other charities, the Halloween Candy Buyback program sends candy to servicemembers. Operation Shoebox, a charity that sends care packages to soldiers, accepts Halloween candy. Treats for Troops, a campaign by Soldiers' Angels, asks for donations, too. As adults, soldiers know the importance of moderation and dental hygiene — but honestly, who can blame them if they decide to indulge?