Never again forget how much Halloween candy to buy

Kristin (mom of 2 sets of twins ages 6 and 3) answers the annual question: how much candy should I buy?

I can never remember how busy our neighborhood is and how many trick or treaters we get so every year I overbuy candy. (And with 4 trick-or-treaters in residence we have WAY too much candy on November 1st!)

Two Halloweens ago, I saved the empty candy bags as I dumped them into the trick-or-treater bowl so that at the end of the evening I had a tally of how many bags of candy we actually used. I then recorded that number in my Palm on the calendar on 10/31. I also noted the weather (e.g. "rainy and cold") so that I can remember whether the trick-or-treater traffic was unusually light or heavy that year.

Now I can peek at my calendar from last year or the year before on my cell phone and make a more educated estimate of how many bags I ought to buy this year. (I'll note the info again for this year of course!)

If you use an electronic calendar on your computer or PDA, you could even set a reminder to pop up the week before Halloween! Because some of us, ahem, might forget that we very wisely recorded this info the year before.

More: Halloween hacks


  1. andrea says

    That’s some planning! I usually count on extra candy, because it supplies our gingerbread house party just after Thanksgiving. In fact, I buy the candy with good house decorating-possibilities in mind.

  2. Bonnie says

    Boy, I’m a librarian and I’m not even that organized!

    I go a different route. Instead of candy, I buy small Halloween toys from Oriental Trading Co to give to trick or treaters. What ever I don’t use one year gets saved for the next. And I feel better about giving something other than candy – plus the kids seem to like it better anyway!

  3. lace says

    Great Idea. Although I don’t have that problem. All I have to do is buy one bag and hope that we actually get some trick or treaters. We usually have a grand total of 10. Neighbors down the street and then our own family. We live in town but not in a heavy residential area.

  4. mark says

    Huh, my wife and I handed out play-doh last year and that was a real hit with the kids. Their eyes lit up when they saw what they were getting.

  5. Jill in Atlanta says

    I actually prefer the gingerbread house hack! I just bought my candy today and have eaten a good bit of it already. If (somehow) it is gone by the 31st, I’ll keep our future gingerbread house in mind the next time around!

  6. Gina Clowes says

    I buy trinkets as well. Even if you dont want to special order, you can buy multiple bags of non-edible treats at party stores, Target, & Walmart. For Halloween, you can get bags of a couple dozen mini playdoughs for under $4 and save the rest for party favors or stocking stuffers!


  7. Serene and Not Herd says

    This seems like a great way to not overbuy, something we have done the past several years.

    Without a palmpilot handy, but with a great program called Active Desktop Calendar by Xemico, I’ll put the information in a task for Halloween 08 with a 15-day-out reminder, since we usually buy at the last minute. The weather condition portion is just as inspired as the primary hack.


  8. Audi says

    Love that idea. For those that don’t have a Palm most e-mail programs like Yahoo or AOL offer a reminder calander that would work for this. It would send the remider to your e-mail.

    Instead of candy I give out the snack sized popcorn. The kids love it becuase they can eat it. I love it because it is better for them than candy. Then anything that is left gets used for movie nights at our house.

  9. Jackie Pettus says

    Believe it or not, we get about 700 “trick or treators” in our San Francisco neighborhood every year. (Parents actually drive their kids in from other areas of the city!) I keep a record of how much candy was needed on “Do Due Done, ” the household chore reminder at Also, I keep a big bowl in my office, and my husband and I dump pennies and small change in there when our wallets get too heavy. By Halloween, we have plenty for the kids who collect for UNICEF, or others who prefer coins over candy.