Halloween is over. But once the last jack-o-lantern has rotted and the first holiday songs start to play, there’s still a problem many parents face: What to do with all that candy. However you deal with candy in the immediate aftermath of the holiday, many pediatricians and dieticians recommend eventually transitioning your kids to just a few pieces a day as a treat. Many kids will naturally lose interest after a bit, leaving parents with an excess of fun-sized candies to deal with. Another potential source for tons of candy: the candy you bought, not your kid’s free spoils. If you live on a quiet street (or just overestimated your trick-or-treater needs) you may have quite a lot of candy on your hands that will take a long time to disappear if you only dole it out a piece at a time.
In the past few years, a number of organizations have found ways to address this post-Halloween candy excess responsibly. Your own local communities may have their own programs at food banks or shelters as well, but here are a few national options:
1. Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude sends care packages to troops overseas, as well as veterans and first responders. Package contents vary but each one includes a handful of candy. You can read about Operation Gratitude’s guidelines for candy donation, but there are a few things to note: They cannot cover shipping and ask that you don’t send a package where the cost of mailing is more than the value of the candy itself. If you just have a few small handfuls of candy sitting around, this could be a good project to go in on with neighbors and friends. You can also include other donations to Operation Gratitude in the package as long as they are packaged separately from the candy.
2. Halloween Candy Buy Back
Many dentists opt to buy candy from kids at the rate of $1 a pound. You can see if any dentists or businesses near you are registered with the official program, or contact your kid’s dentist directly to see if they have their own program set up. Dentists are natural partners for these initiatives since candy can contribute to tooth decay. But they’re not just gleefully destroying the candy they buy from kiddos: Those participating will often then send candy to programs like Operation Gratitude.
3. Treats for Troops
Soldier’s Angels does similar care package work as Operation Gratitude and also does a candy donation push around Halloween. Instead of soliciting donations by mail, however, they also allow businesses to register as drop-off locations. You can see if there is a drop-off location in your area. Registration for becoming a drop-off site for 2020 will open next August.
4. Operation Shoebox
Another charity that takes candy donations for troops, they will also accept individually-wrapped candies around Valentine’s Day, Easter, and beyond. See more about donating here.
5. Ronald McDonald House
Ronald McDonald House Charities accept nonperishable donations year-round, and some will accept unopened Halloween candy to keep around for sweet treats for families. You should contact your local Ronald McDonald House to learn their policies.
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