ATTENTION ALL CITIZENS: PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE WEIRD PEANUT BUTTER TOFFEE THINGS WRAPPED IN ORANGE AND BLACK. THE TRICK-OR-TREATERS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD DON’T WANT ANY! (Although, if you actually find those things somewhere, you should buy them in bulk. They’ll probably stay “good” for years and your friends who were kids in the 70s and 80s would get a big kick out of seeing them at your next Halloween party). So, what do those little monsters (and ghosts and princesses) want in their treat bags this year? Let’s consider some Terror-ific options:
Old reliables like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit-Kat Bars, M&Ms, and Snickers are always safe bets (for kids to enjoy—NOT for kids with food allergies) and are among the most popular currency for The Candy Tax* (*The Candy Tax is a term that describes the proportion of candy we parents are legally allowed to collect from our children’s treat bags in exchange for the hours spent searching for the perfect costume and walking door-to-door-to-door-to-door with whiny, sugared-up kids for roughly 7 straight hours on Halloween Night. The current Candy Tax Rate is whatever-I-can-get-away-with-without-being-caught % of the total haul). The mini sizes of these treats are great for handing out multiples to each kid but, if you only have a few trick-or-treaters each year, watch how big a kid’s eyes get when you drop a full-size candy bar into her buckets. Greatest. Neighbor. Ever.
Some fun, relatively new options center around the more popular flavors for fall like candy corn, caramel apple, and, who could forget, the omnipresent pumpkin spice. Candy Corn M&Ms are sure to be a crowd pleaser and Hershey’s make a snack-sized candy corn bar for fans of white chocolate. For a twist, consider the Fruit Flavored Candy Corn in a rainbow of colors from Starburst. There are Caramel Apple Milky Way bars and Jolly Rancher suckers, but my favorite new option is the Caramel Apple Twizzlers. They just look creepy, which makes them all the more enticing to the kiddos. You can’t get Caramel Apple M&Ms (yet) but Candy Apple is pretty close (and makes my teeth hurt to think about, so the kids should love it!). I won’t list all the Pumpkin Spice products available this fall but, suffice it to say, candy makers like Hershey’s, Trident, Brach’s, and Peeps are starting kids’ taste for this flavor out very, very early. M&Ms even has created a Pumpkin Spice Latte version, which I can only assume Starbucks paid for to create future addicts customers.
Whatever you get for the Trick-or-Treaters in your neighborhood, remember to have some options on hand for younger kids who may not be able to enjoy the candy treats listed above. Snack-sized Goldfish or Teddy Graham Crackers are good choices for littles – look for Halloween versions wherever you shop for candy. Happy Halloween!
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Kristen Berthiaume is a clinical psychologist whose other day job is as mom to three willing product testers. Find her articles on all things child-wrangling at “Parenting with a Ph.D.” over on birminghammommy.com.