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Creative Ideas for Repurposing Leftover Halloween Candy into Delicious Treats

The leaves are falling, the temperature is getting cooler, and stores are brimming with spice-scented candles. It’s no doubt fall is the best time of year — especially for folks who are obsessed with Halloween. While the holiday is primarily thought of as an opportunity for children to get dressed up in adorable costumes, it also offers a chance for people to eat two pumpkin-shaped peanut butter cups for breakfast and not feel bad about it. 

While having that much candy in your house, either because you have kids at home or no trick-or-treaters stopped at your door, can be a sweet blessing, it can also be a bit overwhelming to make your way through the pile over the next few weeks (and even months). We’ve compiled some of the best ways to use up your Halloween candy, that isn’t just eating a piece every day until the end of time.

Mix up chopped candy into ice cream

Ice cream with candy

Although you can peruse the grocery store aisle to find your favorite flavor, the secret to unlocking the best homemade ice cream is no further than your pillowcase of Halloween candy. Making ice cream from scratch is the sweet and simple way to use up leftover Halloween candy — and you can customize the recipe to include whatever candy you have. 

Chocolate candies, like crushed Kit Kat bars, M&Ms, Reese’s cups, and Butterfingers, are the best options because they tend to mix well into ice cream and don’t seize up. Leave the Lifesavers and the gummies for another occasion. And for the smoothest ice cream, mix some of the candy with the milk to infuse the flavor while adding the rest at the end so you get a bit of crunch in every bite.

Use chocolate-based candies for a fantastic cookie

Stack of M&Ms cookies

Why settle for a basic chocolate chip cookie? One of the most popular ways to use up your leftover Halloween candy is to chop up the pieces and mix them into your favorite cookie batter. This Jeff Mauro-approved recipe hack will taste great when mixed with a sugary batter and baked into light and airy perfection. Virtually any chocolate-based confection fits the bill, be it Reese’s Cups, M&M’s, or Three Musketeers. 

You’ll also want to be sure you chop up the candy into small enough pieces to ensure that each bite contains a perfect ratio of cookie to add-in. We recommend capping it at around 1½ cups of add-ins for each batch to ensure the cookie properly bakes. 

Repurpose tiny candies for piñata cookies

horse-shaped rainbow piñata cookies

Cookies are great alone — but they’re even better with a surprise inside. A sweet way to use up leftover Halloween candy this holiday season is to make piñata (or dreidel) cookies. Each cookie is made with sugar cookie dough encasing a selection of small candies like M&Ms, Mike & Ikes, or Skittles. 

The key to making these cookies is to bake and cool the cookies before cutting out the desired shape and attaching it with royal or piped icing. Pour a few candies into the hole and attach the other piece. When you’re ready to eat, smash the cookie and watch the candies pour out. You can also take a shortcut by making cookies stacked on top of one another, removing the center, and filling it with the candy before sealing it.

Take your Rice Krispies Treats to the next level

Rice krispie treats with candy

Hong Vo/Shutterstock

Rice Krispie Treats are enjoyable at any age. You’ll just need your favorite rice cereal (chocolatey, fruity, or the original are all viable options), mini marshmallows (since they tend to melt better than regular ones), and butter or a dairy-free alternative. Once the cereal has been mixed into the melted butter and marshmallow mixture, you can add your own personal twist to these bars. Add some of the candy to the mixture, place carefully into a lined pan, and press in the remainder of the candy pieces on top. 

You can also incorporate candy into the bars after they set. Dip the side of the treat in melted chocolate and roll in crushed candies for a dessert to satisfy any sweet tooth. 

Sandwich them into your s’mores

S'mores stack on table

Although Halloween is on the cusp of the nights that are a bit too chilly to roast marshmallows over a fire, we can still dream about adding our leftover candy to s’mores. Instead of using a plain old Hershey’s bar (which, we should admit, there’s nothing wrong with), substitute it with the best pickings from your Halloween jackpot. 

Reese’s cups, Hershey bars with almonds, and even the divisive Hershey Cookies n’ Creme bar are easy ways to upgrade your s’mores. It’s possible to use an Almond Joy or a rotund Snickers bar for your s’more, but we recommend sticking to flat chocolate candies that easily melt. Stuff it, along with a roasted marshmallow, into a pair of graham crackers and enjoy a delicious dessert sandwich.  

Add pieces to your trail mix

Candy in trail mix

You know what they say: Trail mix is just candy with obstacles. This is one of the easiest and most versatile ways to use up your leftover candy along with whatever kind of nuts and dried fruit you have lying around in your kitchen cabinet. Use your favorite Halloween candy in whole pieces or cut up depending on the size, and add it to an airtight container with the other ingredients. 

We love pairing salty roasted peanuts and almonds with sweet candy pieces and bringing in a few pretzels to help break up the texture a little bit. Whether you’re snacking on your homemade trail mix on a mountain hike or in between classes, you’ll be satisfied knowing you found a creative way to utilize your Halloween bounty. 

Bake unforgettable brownies

Brownies with malted milk balls

Brownies are a delicious treat any day of the year, but you can make this dessert much more interesting by adding leftover Halloween candy. One of the best add-ins to elevate your brownies are York peppermint patties. Chop up these minty fresh chocolate candies and stir them into the batter right before pouring them into the tray, or layer the candies in the tray for a bit of mint in every bite. Peanut butter options, including Reese’s Pieces and cups, are excellent additions to a chocolatey brownie, too. 

If you’re not a chocolate fan, consider baking blondies, which are essentially brownies without the cocoa powder. These sweet squares are best complemented with a handful of M&Ms or chopped peanut butter candies. 

Sprinkle them on popcorn

Popcorn with candy and sprinkles

Sprinkling candy on popcorn has been an up-and-coming trend in recent years. Adding a handful of bite-sized treats like M&Ms or Skittles is an easy way to add a burst of sweetness to your dessert and balance out the saltiness of the popcorn. Our favorite addition happens to be Sour Patch Kids which brings some tang into the equation. If you want to go the extra mile, melt down your candy with butter pour it over popcorn for a colorful movie night treat.

You may also consider making popcorn balls with your leftover candy. Go ahead and orange or black food coloring to your recipe since it is Halloween, after all. Pair your sweet snack with a scary movie to truly be on theme.

Make spooky Halloween bark

Candy bark pieces stacked

Halloween bark is an excellent way to use up your leftover Halloween candy because you can really add any add-ins that you want without messing with the taste or structure of the candy. Start by melting plain chocolate down. You can use Hershey’s bars or stick with a standard baking bar. Or, if you want a Halloween-themed treat, try using orange or black chocolate melts. Once the chocolate is liquified, pour it into a lined baking pan. 

A sprinkle of candy is the final touch. We recommend adding chopped Snickers bars, Reese’s Pieces, peanut butter cups, and chopped peanuts for a peanut-flavor explosion. You can also source other ingredients in your pantry to add to your bars, like pretzels, OREO cookies, or dried fruits.

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Incorporate it into a dessert dip

strawberry with cheesecake dip

All of the guests at your Halloween party will love a spooky, candy-forward dessert dip like our cheesecake fruit dip recipe. Mix together whipped cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, and vanilla yogurt in a bowl. From there, you can customize your dip by adding caramel sauce, melted peanut butter, cookie butter, or chocolate sauce. Then, gently fold in your candy of choice. We’re big fans of peanut butter cups, but a Snickers dessert dip topped with crushed peanuts and a drizzle of caramel sauce will also surely satisfy. 

Serve your dip with graham crackers, fruits (like strawberries, apples, and bananas), vanilla wafer cookies, or pretzels. This dessert is kid-friendly and easy to assemble in less than 10 minutes — with no cooking involved. 

Up the crunch with dessert nachos

Apple nachos on plate

Have you ever heard of dessert nachos? This easy-to-make snack is perfect for kids or hungry adults. Start by selecting and slicing your “chips.” Slivered apples are a healthier, fiber-forward option. But you can also go decadent with chopped ice cream cones, graham crackers, or homemade cinnamon sugar tortilla chips. The latter is made by tossing sliced tortillas in butter, cinnamon, and sugar and baking until crisp (no frying involved). 

Then, drizzle on your topping of choice. You can go with a squeeze bottle of caramel sauce or chocolate syrup, or melt some peanut butter in a bowl until liquidy before pouring it on. After you’ve added your sauce, pile on the chopped candy toppings, chopped nuts, and sprinkles. 

Use it to coat banana pops

Frozen banana pops on sticks

Banana pops are a seriously underrated snack. This frozen banana treat is all too familiar for fans of the hit show “Arrested Development” and for folks who love the sweetness of a frozen banana dipped in chocolate and rolled in crunchy toppings. 

To make this treat at home, start by freezing banana halves with a popsicle stick for at least two hours. Once the fruit has adequately hardened, you can move on to your toppings. Roll the banana in finely crushed candy pieces (M&Ms and peanut butter candies are our go-to) before placing it back into the freezer for a few hours to harden.

Add it to puppy chow

Homemade puppy chow in bag

Puppy chow, also called muddy buddies, is a whimsical childhood treat that everyone should try at least once. This Midwestern snack starts with Chex cereal (wheat, rice, and corn Chex are all suitable for this recipe). You’ll also need melted chocolate, nut butter (peanut or almond are popular), powdered sugar, and, of course, Halloween candy. Our recipe uses M&Ms, but you can add any Halloween candy you have in the bowl on your counter

Start by melting down the chocolate and peanut butter in a pan until smooth and creamy before pouring it over the cereal. Add your cereal to a bag with powdered sugar and shake, shake, shake until all of the pieces are evenly coated. The last step is to add your choice of candy and enjoy.

Infuse vodka with leftover Jolly Ranchers

Jolly Ranchers hard candy

Jolly Ranchers often get the short end of the stick because they’re too hard to add to other recipes. But they are the perfect vector for flavoring vodka for a fruity, Halloween-inspired cocktail. Start by separating your Jolly Rancher candies by flavor since you’ll be making a container of vodka with each. You can add your candy directly to a glass container. Unlike other candy infusions, you won’t have to skim off part of the candy for this recipe; all the corn syrupy goodness is dissolved straight into the booze. 

After your bottles have been filled, add in your vodka. You’ll need to allocate about 10 to 12 hours for your candies to infuse into the alcohol, so this is definitely a project you’ll want to undertake well in advance of your party. Chill your vodka and mix up some creative cocktails. 

Roll your caramel apples in crushed candies

Caramel apples on plate

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

There’s no fall treat quite like caramel apples. These treats are made of crispy, sour apples covered in a decadent layer of smooth caramel and coated in candy pieces, chopped nuts, or chocolate. Although this fall staple is wicked impractical to eat, they are a crowd-friendly way to use up your remaining Halloween candies. 

We recommend starting with a tart apple, like a Fuji or a Granny Smith, and rinsing it well to remove any waxy coating that would prevent the caramel from sticking. Whip up your caramel sauce with heavy cream, butter, and brown sugar. Once the candy has reached the softball stage, you can dip in your apples and roll on the chopped candy topping.

Turn it into fudge

Cube of Rocky Road fudge

Shingopix/Getty Images

It’s impossible not to love classic fudge. This soft, sweet dessert can be made simple with evaporated milk, sugar, marshmallow creme, chocolate chips, and butter. But from there, you have room to experiment with different flavors and add-in ingredients. Add chopped peanut butter cups to an old-fashioned peanut butter fudge recipe, or stick to a handful of M&Ms pressed into the top of the candy before it sets. 

You can also use one less popular candy as the base for your fudge. Tootsie Rolls, as divisive as they are, can be melted down with the other fudge ingredients to make a sticky, indulgent dessert. This fudge base pairs well with chopped nuts and M&Ms, and we reckon you won’t even know there are Tootsie Rolls inside. 

Layer it in a trifle

Candy trifle with gummy worms

Anastasia_Panait/Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a visually stunning and crowd-pleasing dessert, look no further than a layered dessert trifle. There are endless possibilities for what kinds of ingredients you can add to your trifle, so long as you have discernable layers in your mosaic.

One of the critical layers in a trifle is pudding — which you can make using a boxed mix. You should also have some sort of cakey or cookie layer, including brownies, crumbled cake, OREOs, or cookies. Go ahead and get creative with your candy toppings. If kids are your intended eaters, try adding some gummy worms (sour or original) to the top of your trifle. Chopped candy bars can be interspersed within the layers of the dessert instead.

Incorporate it into a sweet salad

Ambrosia fruit salad in bowl

AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock

We can guarantee we’re going to get some hate mail for this one. Do we think vintage concoctions like ambrosia deserve the noble title of a “salad?” Of course not. But we can’t argue that this sweet pile of marshmallows, whipped topping, and canned fruit isn’t the perfect vector for adding Halloween candy. It’s like something straight out of Buddy the Elf’s playbook. 

You can add any chocolate candy you have hanging around for this recipe, but you have to be careful not to clash flavors with the fruit. Instead of using tropical fruits, like pineapple, try substituting it with a more mellow apple or canned pear mixture. We find that the apples pair extraordinarily well with a Snickers candy or one with caramel.

Use it as a topping for cupcakes or ice cream

Halloween cupcakes on black background

Artiom Photo/Shutterstock

Not only should you add candy to your homemade ice cream base, but you should also consider using your leftover Halloween candy as an ice cream topping. There are some candies that work well for this — and some that do not. Gummy bears, worms, and other shapes tend to harden when added to a cold frozen dessert, so consider leaving these in the candy bowl for another time. Peanut butter cups maintain their shape and texture despite frigid conditions, which makes them a more viable option for adding to ice cream. Heath bars may be too crunchy for some, but the flavor is sublime. 

If you aren’t a fan of frozen desserts, try using your candies as a topping for cupcakes or cake. It’s an easy (and tasty) way to make cupcakes even more kid-friendly. 

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