For one magical night a year, kids and kids at heart dress up, celebrate with friends, and go shamelessly begging for candy. But after Halloween is done and the sugar hangover sets in, you’re left with the question of what to do with your stash of goodies. When it comes to candy, a little goes a long way. And let’s be real: you and your family are never going to finish all of it. By Christmas, you’ll be throwing it out. Or they’ll be filling up the dangerous candy bowl at work – you know, the one you dip into mindlessly because, hey, fun-size calories don’t count.

Instead, maybe consider these alternatives.

1. Operation Gratitude sends care packages to troops, first responders, veterans, new recruits, wounded soldiers and their caregivers, and military families. They’ll happily include your donated candy and a written note. Also, check out their wishlist for other items such as toothpaste and floss.

2. Check to see if any dentists in your area participate in a Halloween Candy Buyback. They have a handy dandy tool where you can plug in your zip code. From their site: “Participants buy back kids’ Halloween candy at a scheduled event with cash, xylitol products, coupons, toothbrushes, creative exchanges – They can partner with local businesses to give away coupons for food, services, goods, etc.”

3. The Ronald McDonald House, provides accommodations and support for families with seriously ill children. Their goal is to give these kids and their families a comfortable, home-like setting during treatment. Check to see if your local chapter accepts candy donations

4. Call local homeless and domestic violence shelters and ask if they accept candy donations. And while you’re at it, you might also ask what items they are in need of, such as toiletries and feminine hygiene products.

5. Make a sweet treat to bring to someone you know who could use a pick-me-up. Check in with your chronically ill friends, someone you haven’t heard from in a while who may be going through a struggle, or see if your local senior center or nursing home will allow you to bring in a dessert. Suprise a neighbor or coworker.

You may find that the sweetest part of Halloween isn’t the getting but the giving back.

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