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5 Simple Ways To Give Back At Halloween

Do you know that Halloween isn’t only about pumpkins, hayrides, picking out costumes, scary movies, trick or treating and getting lots of candy? You can also give back during Halloween season in a variety of ways.  

Now I’m not trying to start some sort of Halloween wars here by saying you can’t have fun collecting all the treats and Halloween snacks, but you can make giving back to the community and others a part of it as well. 

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Where can I donate leftover Halloween candy near me?

My family and I are constantly trying to find creative ways of giving back and paying it forward. In fact, we no longer send Christmas cards and instead use the money to donate to a different organization or charity each year. 

Halloween is no different, so a few years ago we started researching where to donate leftover Halloween candy and it thankfully led to so much more. 

This can be a pricey holiday between Halloween costumes, decorations, celebrations (like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party) and of course lots of candy

This year, especially with possible Halloween trick or treat cancellations, instead of letting the Halloween costumes sit around and collect dust or a Halloween basket full of uneaten candy go to waste, why don’t you join in with some of these ways to give back at Halloween.

3 pumpkins sitting in grass

5 Ways to Give Back at Halloween

1. Goodwill

After Halloween day is over, and if you have costumes and accessories that are in good condition, pack them up and take them over to your local Goodwill donation center

Goodwill is a great place to donate to because they give more than 88 cents of every dollar earned to create employment placement, job training programs and support services for people who face challenges to finding employment.

When you donate to Goodwill you are helping people go to work.

2. Women’s Shelters and Children’s Hospitals

Family Halloween costumes, themed clothes, accessories and sometimes even candy and treats can be donated to women’s shelters or children’s hospitals.

Giving back in this way, especially women’s shelter donations, is such an incredible and heartwarming experience because sometimes you may even get to see and interact with the women and kids you are donating to.

3. Operation Gratitude 

Get involved easily by donating your Halloween candy to the troops. 

You can even host a GIVE-back, which is a way to collect candy to send as part of care packages.  All you have to do is simply mail your leftover candy to Operation Gratitude, and they will send it in with care packages to be sent to the troops.

Another way to participate is by volunteering to deliver Halloween candy in your community to First Responder departments. This is a great way to show kids how to say “thank you” to local heroes. 

bowl of snack sized chocolate candy

candy corn

4. Spirit of Children Program

Shop at a Spirit Halloween store for all of your Halloween costume and accessory needs and make a donation (online or in-store) to the Spirit of Children program. 

Spirit of Halloween has a Spirit of Children program that brings fun and funding to hospitals at Halloween and all year-long through the support of Child Life at hospitals in local communities. Their mission is to make hospital stays less scary for kids and their families.

100% of every dollar collected supports the Child Life Department within their 141 partner hospitals across the United States and Canada.

Look up your local Spirit Halloween hours to shop for cute Halloween costumes, last minute Halloween costumes and more! 

5. Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Instead of giving out candy, hand out Frosty Boo Book coupons.

Each book, which includes 5 free Jr. Frosty coupons, costs only $1. The best part is that $0.85 of every $1 purchase goes toward the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. 

This incredible foundation helps kids in foster care find permanent homes with their forever families. 

What can you do with old Halloween candy?

The next time people wonder or ask can you donate candy, share these 5 simple ways to give back at Halloween. I hope this encourages you to participate in the spirit of giving back not only during the holidays but all year long.

Leave a comment and let me know if you have any ideas to add.

Wishing you all a happy, safe and healthy Halloween 2021!



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Michelle Gwynn Jones

Sunday 8th of November 2015

These are such great ideas. I wish I had known them before I ate all the candy.


Sunday 8th of November 2015

Thank you! There's always next year.

Chris Bernholdt

Friday 23rd of October 2015

Well done Clarissa! Great tips for everyone that are easy to apply around the Halloween season. I'll be using these for my own family!


Friday 23rd of October 2015

I appreciate that Chris. My kids are excited to give back as a family too!

Keith R Laskey

Friday 23rd of October 2015

This is a fantastic post, Clarissa! I have not heard of Operation Gratitude before this. Look forward to sending them a ton of candy next month! Really nice idea behind this post, Clarissa. Great job.


Friday 23rd of October 2015

Thank you! Even when our kids are getting at Halloween, we can think about and encourage families to give as well!

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