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Candy Overload

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The United States loves Halloween—and all its treats. In 2014, the National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spent $2.2 billion on Halloween candy, accounting for a little under one third of all Halloween-related spending, which totaled roughly $7.4 billion. An estimated 71 percent of Americans participated in the spooky holiday last year by handing out candy. And according to a 2013 report in USA Today, four percent of all American candy consumption occurs on Halloween.

But now that Halloween is over and the sugar rush is abating, what is a person to do with all the leftover candy? It could’ve come from slightly overzealous purchases or your trick-or-treating children. Regardless, for those who don’t want pounds of chocolate, caramel and nougat taunting them, we have some tips on how to cleanse the house of candy. Start by separating out any favorites to be stored and eaten later. Here’s what to do with the rest.

Take it to work

This ever-popular option has kept many offices’ kitchen candy jars well stocked for a long time and will be especially welcome among coworkers who don’t have children or are less inclined to buy candy.

Freeze it

Take a small portion of your favorite ice-cream toppings, like Heath or M&M’S, and make specialty ice creams to enjoy throughout the year.

DIY trail mix

Pick up some nuts, pretzels, dried fruit, granola, or whatever else suits your family’s taste buds, and mix in your favorite chocolates.

Save it for Christmas

Nobody wants to waste perfectly good candy on a gingerbread house that will sit around collecting dust, so set aside some Halloween candy to create a beautiful gingerbread house a month later.

Put it in a piñata

If your child has a birthday coming up and you want a touch of whimsy, buy an empty piñata and fill it with your loot. Not into piñatas? Add the candy to goody bags.

Donate it to a local charity

Some local charities, including food pantries like West Chester Food Cupboard (545 E. Gay St., West Chester), will take unopened candy that’s still within its “use by” date. Call ahead to find out if your local food pantry is accepting donations.

Send it overseas

Extra candy can also be sent overseas to U.S. troops through programs like Operation Gratitude. All candy must be sent no later than Nov. 15. They’ll also accept donations like dental-hygiene products. For information on how and where to send donations, visit www.operationgratitude.com.

Have another suggestion for what to do with leftover candy? Tell us about it in the comments.

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