HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Halloween Candy

Do you give out candy for Halloween?
If so, do you buy big bars or minis?
Do you offer something non-food as an option?
Do you buy only things you don't like so you won't eat it all?
We seem to get more an more kids each year. Seems like mothers are driving kids to all the surrounding neighborhoods! We also buy treat bags and stuff them with 4 or 5 small pieces of candy so you just hand a treat bag to each kid rather than letting them rummage around for what they want. We also decorate the porch with jackolanterns, bats, cauldrons and witches!

I confess to eating too much candy but oh well. I love red licorice and dots. For chocolate, give me Twix, Kit Kat and Milky Way!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not many kids make it out to my boat.

    When I lived in a house, the neighbors all got huge chocolate bars. The greedy brats trucked in from other neighborhoods got whatever was cheapest at Big Lots.

    The adults got their choice of a shot of rum or bourbon.

    1. I give out whatever is cheap at the local store. Two years ago I had a separate bowl of Serrano chiles for the adults, because the single plant I had in the yard gave me hundreds of chiles!

      I like IndianRiver's idea of shots...

      1. We give out full size bars. We don't get too many kids so it's not an issue. Anything we don't give out, we take to work and let our co-workers fight over them. About all I can add is every thing has to be packaged or the kids parents will just throw it out. Unfortunately, that's the way things are these days.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mike0989

          Very true! Even when I was a trick-or-treater many years ago, it had to be completely sealed and even then my parents would throw out anything potentially suspect. My dad is quite the OCD/anal-retentive military officer and I must admit that he even had my candy x-rayed one year as offered by a local hospital. I think it was really for his benefit as most of my candy ended up in his belly as I'm not a fan of most candy :)

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            I remember the days when hospitals offered to x-ray Halloween candy. I have since learned how many pieces of candy had needles inserted into them and were discovered by the x-ray machines, exactly zero. It was an urban legend.
            Many years ago be we had children my brother brought his two young boys over to knock on our door. I had taken two full sized Snickers bars and put a 6" nail through each of them. The kids were a little confused, but my brother got a good laugh.

            We don't get as many Trick or Treaters as we used to but we give out full sized candy bars to the neighborhood kids that we know and the minis, usually a couple each, to the kids we don't know. Last year, we varied things a bit by giving away small cans of Playdough to the young kids. I took an idea from my SIL who lived in a neighborhood with hundreds of kids coming to their door. She would get a bag of the red and white mints to give to the kids she thought were too old to be Trick or Treating.

            1. re: John E.

              Unfortunately it is not an urban legend. In 1974 a Houston area man gave his son a poison Pixy Styx laced with cyanide and killed him for the insurance money. I was in high school back then and still remember his name to this day, I went right to it on Yahoo. Around town he was known as the Candy Man killer and the Man Who Killed Halloween. It took years for trick or treating to come back.


              1. re: James Cristinian

                You are describing a local incident unrelated to the national scare over candy with pins and needles. The scare as I remembered it was about needles and pins in candy, thus the x-rays of candy. There was never an authenticated instance of this kind of sabotage.

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  That's a little different considering he did it to his own son for money.

                  I remember trick or treating with new friends in 7th grade. Afterward their father checked all of the candy, asking "who gave you this" and somehow they were able to remember exactly which snickers bar out of 7 were given by who. Smarties were tossed because "they put LSD in these." I do recall lots of foxnews at their house.

          2. Big bars cost around a dollar each. As we get several hundred trick or treaters, (I think some of the little buggers came back more than once) we'd have to win the lottery to afford them. Last year, I think we went through maybe ten bags of 100 or so pieces each. Our neighbor got tired and gave us a bag, too. The bags of the good stuff cost around fifteen dollars these days. Yep, we are the nuts with the semi-pro decorated yard, skellies and 'stones and music and spooky lights. We had to put up a fence topped with skulls, to prevent the kiddies (and the adults!) from swarming across our lawn like zombies--"caaannndy, caaannndy."

            1. Oh, I love the shots idea. We toyed with it a few years ago, but decided it might get us arrested. We have given out baby cookies and dog biscuits, for the infants and pups.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RosePearl

                This was a tradition on a Kaserne in West Germany. It consisted of an NCO Club, Bachelor officers Quarters, and 4 buildings with officers and NCOs. The NCO Club always had a great party.

                We hung 10 cl. wine tasting glasses from our necks using the holders on a string. BOQ had a station at each door with Jim Beam and Apfelkorn. Plus any weird liquor donated to the basement bar by folks leaving. This was the era when you could have 1 liter of beer with lunch. Legally.

              2. This year, we are handing out 1 oz bags of various chips. A few weeks ago, Target had a sale on a 22 bag variety pack for $4.99 including a $2 off two coupon on the bag.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Clams047

                  Not many kids in my neighborhood so pretty low volume. I too buy the small bags of kettle corn and leave them in a bowl on my front steps. The bowl is usually more than 1/2 full the next morning. If it's rainy/snowy the bags hold up better in the bowl than paper-wrapped candy. The kid next door (the only one I know) gets a treat pail with candy and toys. I leave it in their mailbox and leave a candy bar for the mailman in my mailbox as a thanks for not yelling at me for my illegal use of mailboxes :<P

                  1. re: Pwmfan

                    I can't imagine leaving a bowl of candy on the steps and finding some left in the morning! In my neighborhood, the first kid coming to the house would take the entire bowl I'm sure!

                2. Several years ago we had plans on Halloween and my wife filled an enormous plastic bowl with minis of all kinds and left it on the front porch as we were walking out of the house. I laughed and asked her what she was leaving for the second kid who came to the house. We came home later to a bowl with about 1/3 of the candy left. I was completely dumbfounded.

                  1. Halloween is my favorite holiday! I dress up and go to a couple parties through out the week leading up to it. Unless Halloween falls on a weekend night, none of the parties I attend are usually on Halloween. I always decorate for it, as well.

                    My first year living on my own, I did treat bags like you mentioned, but after not getting many trick or treaters, I stopped doing that. Last year was my first year in a new place, and I bought candy but didn't even have a single trick or treater this time. I live in a condo complex that's within a large subdivision of single family homes and town homes of varying sizes. I also live across the street from an elementary school, so you'd think I'd get some kids, but no, not the case. I've already boughten a bag of candy for this year (something I like considering I'll probably end up with it all again if last year is any indication).

                    1. I get a TON of kids every year (except when it is cold and rainy), so whole bars are not an option. I do get candy that I love - so minis of what I consider the good stuff. I have to get Reece's peanut butter cups (my favorite).

                      I also always get suckers (dumdums, blow pops, etc). Little kids always love the suckers and the older kids like the candy bars.

                      If someone has a bag of really good "creepy" candy (one year I found severed fingers and eye balls - gummy candies but they looked great) I throw some of those in as well.

                      Like I said, I always have lots of candy for halloween. There is something about a huge bowl of candy to choose from that I love, the kids eyes go huge. I love halloween.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: thimes

                        Dumdums were always a first-grab.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          To narrow it down further, root beer (first and foremost).

                      2. We get a zillion kids, so don't do whole bars. On of my favorite shopping trips used to be the yearly trip to Target to buy candy. But...I learned the hard way that having a big tub of too many choices leads to traffic jams and kids just pawing through the candy looking for the "best." Now I just buy one single choice (at the most two) each year. Yes...I do get the complainers that "I don't like that." or "I can't have that." Well, then don't take it. It's not like you aren't getting more candy than you'll ever eat!

                        My kids always come home with a ton. After a couple of weeks, I usually freeze a lot of it and then grind it up later on and use it for ice cream toppings, cookies, cakes, fruit toppings, etc.

                        Off topic here, but what really irks me is the adults who actually expect me to give some to them. And the adults who are asking for candy for their three-month-old!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: jbsiegel

                          Wow, I never would have thought to freeze the candy. It would be useful for the leftover candy we usually have.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            Yep. I freeze anything that's "grindable", so I don't do the fruity-chewy stuff. I just dump it all into big Ziploc freezer bags and use it as needed.

                          2. re: jbsiegel

                            I'll give candy to anyone in a costume, even the high school kids. No costume though . . . then we have a problem. And I make them all say "trick or treat" (exception for little kids who are still a little scared to be trick or treating)

                            1. re: thimes

                              I love the no costume kids with a 2 huge pillowcases wide open ready for a treat.

                              1. re: thimes

                                Agreed....happy to give to HS kids (since I have a couple myself). It's the adults. I just want to send them to Walgreens to buy their own candy LOL!

                                1. re: jbsiegel

                                  As a sweet toother who did Halloween in high school, I agree with giving candy to the teens. Can't say I've ever encountered an adult or a non-costumed (at least the minimal hobo) person looking for candy. Don't adults just steal candy from their kids?

                            2. I LOVE Halloween! My husband and I have a deal. He takes the kids out for trick or treat and I sit on the front porch with a big bowl of candy and a HUGE glass of wine. By the time he's back, the kids are all sugared up and I'm about to pass out.

                              Win Win!

                              I usually buy the big bags of candy, but they have to be name brand. I don't want to be "THAT HOUSE". I do keep a stash of full size bars and goodie bags with pencils and rings for my kids' friends from school though. Too bad it's such a different time. I loved the old fashioned popcorn balls and little baggies of homemade cookies. And remember those little McDonald's certificates? WOW, that must have been 35 years ago.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: bugablue13

                                I was just about to comment, I totally miss seeing the popcorn balls. They were so fun to make and to eat as well. And, a great option for the kids who aren't too into candy.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Oh man, I remember those from when i was a kid. If you went to a house that was giving out popcorn balls, you scored.

                                  1. re: mike0989

                                    When I was a kid (think early '60s) my parents made hot popcorn, tossed with butter, paprika and the "Parmesan cheese" from the green can. They'd portion it out in paper snack bags, and keep it warm on the hot plate. Warm popcorn on a cold New England night was a real treat!

                                    1. re: kcshigekawa

                                      You're a bit older than me, but I remember getting homemade popcorn balls as treats. I also remember getting apples and was quite disappointed. There was a man who managed a dairy who lived down the block. He gave out small cartons of orange drink.

                                      1. re: kcshigekawa

                                        Wow, that popcorn sounds great. I need to make that for myself. Warm, too...oh wow they must really like the holiday or the kids in your neighborhood.

                                2. As a kid, mom always bought enough candy for a small army. It was always the minis and a mix of chocolate and tangy fruity candies. We would buy everything since any chocolate leftovers went to dad and tangy fruity leftovers went to mom. There were always dregs which sat in the candy bin for months after the holiday if no one liked them and guests would grab them. We usually had a good influx of kids for 4 or so hours every year and a fair share of quite annoying teenagers. We never offered any non-food options. We did have neighbors that would bake treats or offer candy apples but the homemade treats seemed to always be looked upon with a careful eye especially if I couldn't remember which house it came from. Usually there were 5 or so bags leftover. I am an only child and not a candy fan so mom and dad were always happy with these leftovers and I think strategically bought extra so that there would be leftovers. That was in the suburbs, now that I live in a city I buy 1 bag a year in case anyone stops by but inevitably in 6 years I have had at most 2 kids ring the door bell but it's nice to have something for the few that do stop by. The rest gets brought to work, given to neighbors to work or gobbled up by SO. I really miss Halloween night and all the costumes and handing out treats.

                                  BTW I always liked the multiple small treats in a bag idea. Also, as more and more older kids seemed to join the fun, it became sort of necessary to hand out candy rather then letting people dig in the bowl and pick out what they wanted. Aww, now I'm nostalgic, great thread Jpan99

                                  1. Sort of related to this post - do you set a cut off time? We would often have big clusters of visitors at the usual times, but then there were stragglers, even younger kids after you've packed up and put your feet up for the night.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      We definitely have start and end times. I always put a note on the door (nicely made on the computer) that says something like "Happy Halloween. Trick-or-Treating starts at 4. See you then." Otherwise we'd have people showing up at 10 a.m. - not kidding! For end time, I usually go with 8 or 8:30 at which point we completely shut off all the lights, close shades, lock the door, etc. But...people just don't get the message and STILL ring the doorbell...odd!

                                      1. re: jbsiegel

                                        Oh yea, they will ring, ring, ring at 10pm as if the 4th time might arouse someone.

                                    2. Another one that's usually a big hit in my area is the mini cans of soda. Some people do those.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jbsiegel

                                        Mini cans of soda ???
                                        Heck, no !! Those are a teenager's dream ... mini projectiles.

                                      2. I buy mini bars cuz a lot of kids get greedy and asks for more candies. the nerve. ha.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Monica

                                          Yep...and the kids that ask "how many can we take" get the answer of "one"!

                                          1. re: jbsiegel

                                            and then there are ones that dig through the whole basket of candies and pick the ones they like the most...what nerve. ha!

                                            1. re: jbsiegel

                                              oh - but there is nothing cuter than when a little kid (2-ish) just can't stop themselves and tries to take a handful - it cracks me up every time and the parents are always so mortified

                                          2. i wish i could! i live in a 13-story, 2-tower, 24-hour secure apartment, though... so unless the neighbors bring their kids around (my building is mostly older folks and young professionals, though) i don't think i'll get the chance. maybe i'll ask the concierge today... otherwise, i think i'll just go to a couple parties.

                                            my parents live way out in the 'burbs, and don't tend to get many trick-or-treaters either. doesn't help i suppose that late october in seattle is usually not very conducive to running about outside in (usually not warm enough) costumes...

                                            1. Those wonderful peanutbutter kisses, ya know the ones, 300 for a dollar. 1 apeice and any left over, keep them on a shelf someplace so they are good and hard for next year.

                                              Naw, we don't get many kids, I give out full size hershey bars, get them at WM $2.79 for a pack of 10, get 2 packs, that usually does it.

                                              1. For most of my life I lived in a "safe" city neighborhood. As more and more neighborhoods became "unsafe," the number of kids coming to my door rose dramatically: churches, youth groups, etc brought kids in to trick or treat. This bothered some neighbors to the point of stopping the giving of candy. Personally, I found the kids unfailingly polite and loved their smiles when they got a few small candy bars. C'mon people: kids are kids.

                                                I now live in the burbs and still get a ton of kids. I have a big black bowl that I fill with the "fun sized" candy--chocolate, fruit, sour--as well as small bags of pretzels and tootsie pops disguised as ghosts. The kids get to pick 3 or 4 of their faves and are pretty good at being fast and polite. I sit on the front porch with my adult beverage and refill as needed.

                                                My favorite burb story? A father and his little girl (2 or 3?) approached just as a big group wiped out my bowl of candy. I told dad I was empty and would be back. Little girl thought I had run out of candy and started bawling. When I returned with the replenished bowl I was relieved how quickly tears turned to smiles. But I felt bad . . . dad seemed a bit embarassed. Hmmm . . . maybe this year I'll use 2 bowls.

                                                1. First year in our home: Gave out tons of expensive candy. A lady came and said she was trick-or-treating for her grandbabies who were home with the chicken poxes. (Yes that's how she said it.)
                                                  Second year: Gave custom bags of expensive candy to kids we knew and those in costume. Those not in costume got cheaper candy. Grandma came around with the same story. Poor grandkids apparently get chicken poxes every year.
                                                  Third year: Good candy for kids in costume, mints for thugs with back packs and no costume. Grandma showed up again and would you believe her grandbabies had the chicken poxes?
                                                  Now we just sit in the dark.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: mrsfury

                                                    So you stopped giving candy to the neighborhood kids because of one grandma? Why not just give grandma something crappy? Or think grandma has a sweet tooth and limited income and give her the expensive stuff?

                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                      Nope. The whole street stopped when the thugs took over. Not fun anymore. It used to be a blast. We'd have a pot-luck sort of evening until they showed up and began vandalizing homes down the block.

                                                      1. re: mrsfury

                                                        It's a shame the older kids can ruin it for the young ones.

                                                    2. re: mrsfury

                                                      Back when I lived in my old house I would give out good stuff to the local kids, Milky Way, Snickers, etc. but I ate all the Butterfingers. About 8 or so I'd shut the light off because that's when the immigrant teenagers not in costumes invaded the neighborhood. I counted 40 in my neighbor's yard, wiping him out in mere minutes.

                                                    3. I live in condo complex in the middle of a city block (it replaces the old mansion that first sold off the lawns and was later demolished for the condo). I usually get five to six kids, tops. The next-door neighbors :) There was one year a roving gang of teens, not in costume, showed up with pillowcases ... I thought that was rude, but gave them candy anyway. Better they should have it than I should eat it.

                                                      I usually buy a bag or two of good-quality fun-size bars, try not to eat candy before or during (and fail), then give away the rest. I've lost over fifty pounds and I'm not gonna gain it back!

                                                      1. I get the minis bags.Kit Kats,Hersheys,Dot's,Reeses,Dum Dums,and all the others I like.I buy ten bags or more.Each kid gets a nice handful. They line up at the door and I ask each one, "what's your costume". I really like halloween just to see the smiles on the kids faces. I never have any candy left when the night is over.

                                                        1. I just bought two huge bags of candy from Costco. I buy the mix bags of minis all good chocolate candies. Once those bags go..that's it..lights off.