Skip to main content

Halloween Candy Dos and Don’ts for Trick-or-Treating Hosts

boy holding candy in an orange pumpkin bowl

Did you know that almost half of the entire U.S. population buys candy for Halloween? That’s over 150 million people. While we don’t know if everyone’s buying it to give away or eat themselves, we can confirm that a lot of folks hand out Halloween candy. Like us, you’re probably one of them. As seasoned candy pros, we wanted to share some of our top eight dos and don’ts for handing out the sweet stuff to every little ghost and goblin this holiday season. Read on for the ultimate Halloween candy guide!  

DO: Hand out individually wrapped Halloween candy.

Opting for individually wrapped chocolate or candy, like Reese’s Cups or Skittles, ensures the product is safe to eat. Buy them pre-wrapped with seals and closings intact so that parents of trick-or-treaters can confirm what’s inside.

DON’T: Worry about waiting until the last minute to buy Halloween candy.

If you haven’t stocked up on Halloween candy yet, that’s okay. While the selection might not include your preferred choices, stores aren’t going to run out. Your procrastination may even save you a few bucks. Shops with an overabundance of candy are likely to have sales on or near October 31. In fact, a recent study from Ibotta reveals that shoppers get the best Halloween candy deals about four days before the big event. 

DO: Keep your favorite sweets stashed separately.

orange pumpkin jars with packaged Halloween candy chocolates

Pick out a few of your favorite candies and stash them away in your own Halloween candy jar or Halloween candy bucket. That way, you don’t spend the evening munching on what’s intended for trick-or-treaters. Don’t want to be tempted to eat any of it? Buy the ones you don’t like—it’s that easy!

DON’T: Provide homemade treats.

While it’s a nice gesture, some ingredients may cause children to choke or have an allergic reaction. Plus, parents are going to want to know what their kids are eating. Save yourself some time and effort and stick to the store-bought stuff.  

DO: Donate leftover Halloween candy.

There are usually nearby businesses or dentist offices that’ll take candy donations for their own Halloween candy dish. In fact, Soldiers’ Angels Treats for Troops is a Halloween candy collection program where local businesses accept excess Halloween candy in exchange for goodies once trick-or-treating season is over. Visit to learn more.

DON’T: Get too spooky.

group of children in costumes trick-or-treating at front door

Creepy holiday decorations with sounds and lights might be entertaining for older kids and adults, but they can be frightening for the younger crowd. Households welcoming the littlest of ghouls should stick to outdoor decorations, like smiling pumpkins and friendly characters, that won’t deter them from getting near the prized treats.

DO: Make sure to distribute fairly.

You’re either the type who allows kids to pick their own candies or the one who distributes a certain number of pieces individually to each trick-or-treater. However you decide to hand out candy, make sure it’s fair and consistent. Flip-flopping between one kid and the next might create a bigger conflict than you’re ready for.

DON’T: Forget to turn off outside lights when you’re all out.

Lights out: That’s the universal signal for no candy here. After you’ve run out of candy, turn off your outdoor lights, so trick-or-treaters know to bypass your house. Just remember to turn them back on, for safety reasons, before going to bed.

Beyond Halloween Candy: Go All In This Fall!

two children in Halloween costumes sorting candy on the floor

With these Halloween candy ideas, you'll be off to a good start. Overall, remember to buy individually wrapped candy, keep your favorite treats stashed separately, distribute candy fairly, donate leftover candy, and more.

But, participating in Halloween is just one way to celebrate the season. If you’re looking for more fall must-dos, don’t move. Check out “Your Ultimate Fall Bucket List” for fresh ideas on traditional, season-right excursions.  

Halloween Candy FAQs

Read on for answers to the most frequently asked Halloween candy questions. 

1. What is the most popular Halloween candy?

According to, America's favorite Halloween candy includes:

  • Reese's Cups
  • Skittles
  • M&M's
  • Starburst
  • HotTamales
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Snickers
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Candy Corn

2. What should you do with leftover Halloween candy?

Got leftover or extra Halloween candy? Here are a few things you can do with it: 

  • Eat it within six to eight months
  • Donate it to a local homeless shelter, nursing home, or food pantry
  • Bring it to work with you 
  • Send it to the troops
  • Use it to make another yummy treat
  • Freeze it and save it for later

3. How long does Halloween candy last?

Unfortunately, most Halloween candy expires within six to 12 months. Candies that contain chocolate and peanuts will expire faster than hard candies and gummies. Just to be safe, though, it's a good idea to toss out all candy by the time Easter rolls around.