Ghost preparers can haunt you long after your tax return is filed
4 tax moves to make this November

Ways to donate leftover Halloween candy…

…and possibly get a sweet tax break for your gift.

Young girl in Halloween costume checking her candy collection_getty-images-oLiiVDu8ESY-unsplash
Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images

There are two kinds of Halloween candy people.

There are those who low-ball their trick-or-treater count and end up running out of goodies to give out early in the night's festivities. They turn off the porch and interior lights, and ignore the doorbell ringing by costume clad candy seekers who refuse to bypass any house.

Then there are those who buy waaaaay too much candy. Even when they start doubling the handouts to the later goodie-seeking groups, they end up with a lot, a whole lot, of leftover mini sweets.

If you tend to buy too much candy, you can always eat it yourself. 

Or, if you work in an office, take in the excess Halloween treats so your coworkers can share in the calories . My experience is that it will be gone before lunch on Nov. 1.

Or you can donate your Oct. 31 leftovers. Here are some options.

1. Give sweet thanks to soldiers: There are several groups that specialize in care packages for members of the military, especially those posted overseas. Here are three that include candy in the boxes.

Treats for Troops, organized by Soldiers' Angels, is a Halloween candy collection program where local businesses and organizations register to collect excess Halloween candy. In most cases, collection sites accept excess Halloween candy from kids in exchange for goodies.

The most popular businesses that participate are dental offices. But Soldiers' Angels says any business, as well as gyms, schools, and churches, participate. The website has an interactive tool where you can find a place near you that will take your excess Halloween candy.

Treats for Troops Austin donation sites search
As the above screenshot shows, you can enter your location — I went wide, typing in Austin, Texas, not just my Zip code — or click on the nationwide map.

Halloween Candy Buyback was started by Dr. Chris Kammer, a dentist who saw it as a way to prevent sugar overconsumption by children by removing the temptation of excess Halloween candy.

Kammer acknowledges that he didn't invent the candy buyback concept, but is proud that it has expanded to so many dental offices. The collected goodies are sent to troops overseas, along with other necessary items like toothbrushes and socks.

At the Halloween Candy Buyback website, you can search for an office near you that will take your excess candy.

Operation Shoebox puts a bag of candy in every care package it sends to troops deployed around the world.

It accepts any and all kinds of candy donations year-round, but post-Halloween is obviously a prime donation time. You can mail your excess candy to the Florida-based nonprofit at Operation Shoebox, 8360 East Highway 25, Belleview, FL 34420.

Operation Shoebox's donation page also has a list of the goods it needs the most right now, as well as other ways you can contribute to its efforts.

2. Extend Halloween to hospitals: Children who can't participate in the season's tricks still should get some treats. Check with your local hospital. Its children's ward might like to have some extra sweets that can go to the kids and their families who are unable to go door-to-door this year.

Start with your local hospitals and clinics. You also can give to national groups that focus on children getting treatments, such as Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).

RMHC provides facilities where families can stay close to the hospital where their youngsters are being treated. While the main charity doesn't have an official Halloween candy donation program, your local RMHC chapter might. Check it with to see if they want your excess candy.

3. Feed sweet cravings: Nutritional meals are important, but nobody can live on bread alone. And families with children know the importance of keeping kiddos spirits up, as well as feeding them healthy food.

Families who rely on food pantry supplies probably don't have the discretionary cash to spend on candy, so some food pantries make it available during holidays like, of course, Halloween.

Feeding America and FoodPantries.org can help find your local food bank. Check with it to see if they'll take your Halloween treats.

Other options for giving your excess candy are soup kitchens and food delivery programs for shut-ins.

4. Donate to the displaced: While we tend to think about those who rely on shelters during the November and December holidays, these housing options of last resort also might welcome sweet gifts.

Check with local homeless shelters and facilities that house victims of domestic abuse, who often are women and their children, to see if they accept Halloween candy.

Your religious group of choice also might have ways to put the extra sweets to good use.

Neighborhood gourd pumpkin jackolantern inflatable_2023-10-17_09-35-29_833-3
You're right, there's no candy in this photo. But I love my neighbor's huge gourd-shaped inflatable pumpkin/Jack-O-Lantern, and the accompanying smaller pumpkin ornaments in the tree, and I'm sure they'll get a ton of trick-or-treaters. So I'm posting this snapshot of it! (Photo by Kay Bell)

Tax treat for you: In addition to adding a bit of needed sweetness to those in need, your gift of Halloween goodies might provide a tax deduction treat.

I know most folks don't donate anything just for tax reasons. They do so because they want to help.

But if you itemize your deductions and your sweet gift goes to a qualified charity, which you can confirm by checking the Internal Revenue Service's online tax-exempt organization search tool, you can claim the value of the donated edibles at tax-filing time.

If you do that, just make sure you get a receipt. You don't need it to file, but you will if the IRS haunts you later with questions about your gift.

You also might find these Halloween related tax items of interest:

 

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