by Robin B

Let’s face it – candy and children (even us adults) go hand-in-hand.  Halloween is fun, but what to do with all of the Halloween candy. There’s a ton of it, right? We’ve got you covered. Check out our listing of what to do with all that candy!


Local Halloween Candy Buy-Back Programs

If you’re looking for something a little more local where the children can participate, then consider the candy buy-back program. Participating dentists will “buy back” children’s Halloween candy at scheduled events and the candy will be shipped through the Operation Gratitude program to U.S. Military Members. Here is the list of participating dentists in the area:

Kalamazoo Pediatric Dentistry

1900 Whites Road, Kalamazoo, MI 49008 | 269-343-5386

Tuesday, November 1st through Friday, November 4th bring your child(ren) with the unopened candy you want to donate to the office located at 1900 Whites Road in Kalamazoo during regular office hours (Tuesday – Thursday 8 am to 5 pm and Friday 7 am to 3:30 pm).

Children will be paid $1 per pound of candy (5 lb. per child maximum). All children will receive a goody bag (while supplies last). Contact the office at 269-343-5386 with any questions.


Lindenwoods Dental 

200 Turwill Lane, Suite 1, Kalamazoo, MI 49006 | 269-344-9006

Stop by the office on either November 1st or 3rd between the hours of 8:00 am – 6:00 pm. For every pound of unopened candy, you will receive $1.00 (limit 10 pounds per person). Kids are encouraged to draw or create a card/picture to send along with the candy to the troops.


Galesburg Dental Care

357 East Michigan, Galesburg, MI 49053 | 269-665-9997

Visit the office on Tuesday, November 1st from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. Bring in any unopened candy and receive $1.00 per pound. All donated candy will be sent to troops overseas!


Susan M. Dennis, D.D.S.

8150 Moorsbridge Road, Suite A, Portage, MI 49024 | 269-327-3400

Candy can be dropped off to Susan M. Dennis office on Tuesday, November 1st or Wednesday, November 2nd from the hours of 7:30 am – 5:00 pm. The office will pay $1.00 for every pound of unopened candy. There will also be a raffle for children to win an iPod Touch! For questions contact the office at 269-327-3400 or visit their website.


Operation gratitude

Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude is collecting candy to send to deployed U.S. Service Members. In addition to donating candy, have your children write a letter or draw a picture to be included in the care package. You can also send along toothbrushes/toothpaste with the candy and letters! All Halloween candy MUST be shipped by mid-November – check out the link for detailed shipping instructions.

Operation Shoebox

For 2016, the following types of candy can be included in shoebox gifts: hard candy, gummy bears, caramels, taffy, and gum—as long as its expiration date is at least six months after National Collection Week: November 14-21, 2016.

Starting in 2017, no type of candy can be included in shoebox gifts.

Bake With It

Sometimes it’s just too tempting to give all of the Halloween candy away. Here’s 27 Tasty Ways to Use up Leftover Halloween Candy. Halloween Candy Hot Chocolate anyone?



The Switch Witch

The idea of the Switch Witch is to have your children trade their candy for a special present on the night of Halloween. The switch witch is a GOOD witch and she loves candy, so much so that she is willing to trade toys for candy. The kids leave their candy (all of it, or perhaps a selected amount) out by the pumpkins and in the morning they’ll awake to find a present just for them, courtesy of the Switch Witch. If the notion of a witch coming to your home is a little too scary, she can go by different names such as the Candy Fairy or Great Pumpkin.


Other Tips To Use Halloween Candy

  • Use it as a filler for gifts – a gift basket or coffee mug filled with chocolate pieces is sure to delight!
  • Let kids practice counting or do their math homework with little pieces of skittles or other candy.
  • Freeze it for later. You can freeze candy in small plastic bags to use for baking or special treats later in the year. You can organize your candy before you freeze it by type, color or your child’s favorites. You can even use your thawed out candy to decorate a gingerbread house in the winter.
  • Make a special Halloween version of trail mix by tossing in a handful of candy pieces with pretzels, raisins, and dried fruits.
  • Use the candy to fill a piñata for someone who has a fall or winter birthday.
  • Did you know that you can use all sorts of candy to do science experiments that will amaze the kids? Get instructions for making lifesaver lights, playing sink or float, getting the “m” off the m&m’s, and lots more at
  • Decorate the house with it. Make a great Thanksgiving or Christmas decoration.
  • If you’re feeling generous, you can even have your kids trade-in their Halloween candy for cash or that special toy that they’ve had their eye on.

Please share any other ideas you have for donating or sharing Halloween candy!


By | 2016-10-19T07:12:50+00:00 October 19th, 2016|Categories: Around Kalamazoo, Newly Published, Parent resources|Comments Off on Halloween Candy Buybacks and More: A Sweet Way to Reduce the Sugar!

About the Author:

Robin is a native Michigander and mother of two. She has a keen eye for discovering deals and an honest desire to share local activities and family fun. In addition to enjoying early mornings with strong coffee, she likes hanging outside with her kids, biking and reading.