Everything Kids

Share Your Extra Trick-or-Treat Loot for a Good Cause

If your trick-or-treat bags runneth over, here's where you can donate the excess to troops, hospitalized children and first responders.

Halloween candy buyback Leena Robinson/Shutterstock
My kids love trick-or-treating—but one daughter's in the midst of orthodontal work and the other has a not-so-sweet tooth. Which means we end up with a big stash of candy that definitely shouldn't be hanging around my house. (Except for the Almond Joys. And the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And maybe the Butterfingers.)

Rather than trash the excess treats (or pawn them off on my husband's colleagues), we're looking for ways that we can share the wealth with people who could use a little sweetness in their lives. Fortunately, we're all in luck, as there's a set of charities dedicated to sharing candy with some deserving folks. Here's how you can donate:

Halloween Candy Buy Back

Your dentist's office may participate in this program, which pays kids per pound of candy dropped off, and then donates the candy to troops overseas through Operation Shoebox. (That's where my brace-wearing kiddo shared her banned caramels and bubble gum last year and scored a little cash for her good deed.)

Operation Shoebox

Skip the middleman and donate directly to this nonprofit, which sends candy donations to troops overseas. Bonus: You can include thank-you notes and drawings from your kids—and they take excess candy at Christmas and Easter, too.

Ronald McDonald House Charities 

Many local Ronald McDonald Houses collect candy to share with the seriously ill children and their families who stay at the houses. You can contact your local house to see if they accept donations.

Solders' Angels

This group's popular Treats for Troops program lets you drop off your bounty at local drop-off sites (dental offices, schools, and churches are all popular), and even get a tax deductible receipt for your generosity.

Operation Gratitude

This group, a favorite of Jimmy Kimmel's, sends thank you packages to all who have served our country, including active military, veterans, first responders, and more. You'll find dropoff locations all over the country.

Other options

Many local food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters may accept unopened candy—or bring it over to the local firehouse or police station to thank your local first responders in person.