Food Friday: Halloween Leftovers


Skulking in my front hall is a large stainless steel bowl, brimming with evil intent and oodles of leftover Halloween candy. Being new to our neighborhood I didn’t know what to expect in the way of trick or treaters. I didn’t know if this was a street that the kids flocked to or shunned. So I bought a lot of Halloween candy. Just in case.

Our next door neighbors’ house seemed like it would be a real draw for the thrill seekers: there is an well-lighted, moving skeleton of a fire-breathing dragon, and another skeleton (human) that is either escaping from, or getting ready to leap down into, the chimney. Strings of purple and green lights flash along the roofline. Scary robotic cats line the front porch. There are dozens of foam gravestones, planted with precision in the middle of the lawn, and lighted ghosts and jack o’lanterns are lurking among the shrubberies. The kids will either hit this place like crazy, or will be deathly afraid of it.

Our current neighbors’ is a relatively restrained display of plastic-y Halloween zeal. We once lived down the block from people who went overboard on Halloween. One fabled year they built a corn maze in their front yard, and had a Freddy Krueger wannabee periodically rev up a real chain saw. There was a mysterious, silent figure holding s scythe. Our children, admittedly tiny and rational, refused to set foot on the property, even with the promise that there were full-size Snickers bars available to those who made it through the labyrinthian challenge.

I guess I can’t take it personally that our modest Halloween display was not alluring enough to draw crowds. We have half a dozen lighted pumpkins and a pair of black plastic flamingo skeletons poked into the urns with the Martha-approved rust-colored chrysanthemums. Maybe it was the tasteful hydrangea wreath with a chrysanthemum-coordinated rust-colored bow that sent them back into the night.

Two little girls braved knocking at our front door. They were a little taken aback when Luke the wonder dog barked with all the ferocity he normally reserves for the regular home invasions by the UPS guy. But when he was penned up in the kitchen, the girls took their fair share of Halloween treats, and not a goodie more. Which leaves me with this bowl brimming with quality candy.

I didn’t want us to be the bad neighbors who handed out raisins or popcorn balls. But I didn’t want to be the ones handing out the full-size Snickers, either. There has to be a happy medium between excess and handing out the wrong kind of candy. Did I want us to be known as the People Who Dole Out Dum Dum Lollipops at Halloween? Of course not. Sugarless gum? Hell, no. We had snack-size Reese’s peanut butter cups, glow-in-the-dark Twix bars (also snack-size), and the new-fangled dark chocolate (snack-size) Twix bars. Better than Tootsie rolls, but not as good as Bendicks Bitter Mints.

I doubt if our visiting princesses were super impressed by our candy. We had merely lived up to the neighborhood contract and had plenty o’candy ready for the invading hoarde of trick or treaters. Maybe next year we will get a few more. In the meantime, what to do with all that leftover chocolate?

The savory leftovers at Thanksgiving are one thing. Who doesn’t like sitting down with a nice turkey sandwich and a sliver of pie after all the pesky relatives have gone home? The idea of baking with leftover Halloween candy is mildly nauseating. I can’t face Hershey Kisses at the best of times, but to think of them as a massive decorative component is really quite beyond me. M&Ms and candy corn? I guess it depends on your sweet tooth. Here are some links to recipes that might just bail you out.

I am going to take the high road with our leftover candy, and donate it to folks who might appreciate it as much as the little princesses, if not more.

That way Luke the wonder dog and I might not have to take an extra-long walk this afternoon. It can be snack-sized.

‘Mr. Wonka: “Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted.”
Charlie Bucket: “What happened?”
Mr. Wonka: “He lived happily ever after.”’
― Roald Dahl

About Jean Sanders

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