Please Buy Yourself Some Fancy Halloween Candy

Kendra Vaculin
·6 mins read

A few years ago, my parents moved from the high-traffic, kid-friendly neighborhood where I grew up to a quieter part of town, and they immediately became the kind of people who give out full-size candy bars on Halloween. This never would have worked at the old house, where news that you could get a real, actual Snickers bar—none of that miniature B.S.—would’ve traveled the fourth-grader grapevine in minutes and led to a mob at their front steps. But in the new place, where their across-the-street neighbor is fully 97 years old, the number of trick-or-treaters who ring my parents’ doorbell on October 31 barely hits double digits. It’s kind of a bummer, but there is an upside: They don’t need to buy a ton of candy, so they get the good stuff and blow the mind of every kid who comes their way.

The moral of this story is that the fewer people you’re supplying candy to on Halloween, the more you should ball out. A Hershey’s minis variety pack absolutely makes sense if you’re distributing sugar to an office, classroom, or suburb full of Spider-men and Moanas, but this year my guess is you’re looking at a steep decline in treat recipients. It’s possible you’ll need only enough candy to stock your own personal spooky-movie marathon, in which case it is my humble opinion that you need to go big.

What is Halloween in 2020 if not an excuse to buy the fanciest candy you can find? You deserve the primo chocolate bars and best gummies around, the ones you’d usually pass over for being a bit too deluxe on a regular day. This is no regular day—it’s no regular year—and as a dedicated candy aficionado I feel I have been training for it all my life. This Halloween, without the usual fanfare, we are bringing the sparkle by not settling for whatever’s in an orange bag in the seasonal aisle at the drugstore. This is the year we plan our fancy Halloween candy consumption weeks in advance. Please accept my recommendations for the top picks in each classic candy category, and in the wise words of one Donna Meagle, treat yo’self.

Highbrow Chocolate Bars

What is the point of “plain” chocolate, I wonder, particularly on a holiday centered around candy? Even in bar form, it’s better to celebrate with a fun flavor, smart infusion, or surprising textural element to keep things interesting. My favorite highbrow bar is Ritter Sport, a German brand that makes perfect sectioned squares in flavors like strawberry creme and cornflakes. If you can’t pick just one, there’s a box of assorted minis.

Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Praline Filling, 13 Bars

$39.00, Amazon

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Ritter Sport Minis Variety Box, 84 Bars

$51.00, Amazon

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For a cool domestic bar, try Raaka for subtle flavors and ethical bean-to-bar practices, Fine & Raw for rich varieties in sassy cowgirl wrappers, and Compartes for wacky mix-ins like churro bits and caramel corn. Also, associate commerce editor Lauren Joseph says the Hu Kitchen cashew butter bar is “melty and creamy” with better texture and less sweetness than a Reese’s—just FYI.

Raaka Bananas Foster Dark Chocolate, 3 Bars

$15.00, Amazon

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Fine & Raw Brooklyn Bonnie Espresso Bar

$8.5.00, Fine & Raw

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Compartes Donuts & Coffee Milk Chocolate Bar

$10.00, Compartes

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Hu Kitchen Cashew Butter + Pure Vanilla Bean Dark Chocolate, 4 Bars

$29.00, Hu Kitchen

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Fancy Gummies

Sour Patch Kids, I love you, but now is not your moment. The world of gummies is wide and this Halloween calls for only the very best. Sugarfina is the move if you’re willing to pay top dollar; $16 is steep for a fancy box of rosé gummy bears or chewy ice cream cones, but this is truly some of the chicest candy around. Swedish filled licorice, a favorite at pick-and-mix candy stores, is also tough to beat, especially in flavors like rhubarb lemonade and rambo crunchy (strawberry filling with tiny Nerds-like crunchy pieces throughout—a textural marvel, trust me). Kasugai gummies from Japan deserve a mention, too, for their delicate fruit flavors and button shapes; they’re individually wrapped, so they’re a good choice if you do have company.

Sugarfina Rosé All Day Bears

$16.00, Bloomingdale's

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Sugarfina Ice Cream Cones

$16.00, Bloomingdale's

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Sockerbit Rabarberpinnar (Rhubarb Licorice)

$4.00, Sockerbit

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Sockerbit Rambo Crunchy

$4.00, Sockerbit

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Kasugai Melon Gummy Candy, 3 Bags

$11.00, Amazon

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Go Nuts

Level up from Almond Joy and Mr. Goodbar with a distinctly elegant (but still very nutty) candy alternative. I’m personally in a committed relationship with Schluckwerder marzipan, which has all of the flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture of those tiny fruits but none of the fussiness; the brand calls this chocolate-dipped shape a loaf, which…okay! If you love the filling of a Milky Way, try crunchy Spanish almond turrón and soft Italian pistachio nougat; both are egg white–based confections. Or go the sesame route (a seed, I know) and sink your teeth into a bar of just-sweet-enough halvah from classic tahini brand Joyva.

Schluckwerder Chocolate Covered Marzipan, Pack of 5

$15.00, Amazon

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Nicola Di Gennaro Soft Pistachio Nougat

$10.00, World Market

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El Almendro Crunchy Almond Sea Salt Turrón

$8.00, World Market

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Joyva Marble Halvah, 12 Bars

$17.00, Amazon

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Forrest Gump–Style

Not to be a broken record here, but you are not sharing this candy. There is no reason why, if you are a lover of the assorted chocolate boxes usually reserved for Valentine’s Day, you shouldn’t buy one for yourself to celebrate the scariest day of the year. What could be spookier than never knowing what you’re gonna get?!

The truffles from New York City chocolate shop Stick With Me are unlike anything I’ve ever seen or eaten, little works of art in tiny perfect edible dome form (think flavors like kalamansi meringue pie and speculoos s’mores). Mini Melanie’s cake truffles are slightly rowdier but no less delicious, shaped like cut gems and studded with sprinkles. Both ship nationwide.

Stick With Me Bonbon Box, 24 Pieces

$88.00, Stick With Me

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Mini Melanie Signature Mix, 8 Truffles

$38.00, Mini Melanie

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Really More of a Cookie

If Kit Kats and Twix are your jam, I would argue you’re more of a cookie fan than a candy lover, which is obviously totally allowed. The best fancy Halloween candy for you is fun-to-eat Pocky (get the variety pack that includes matcha and chocolate banana boxes), delicate Coffee Crisp (wafers layered with coffee creme), and definitely-meant-for-small-children Kinder Happy Hippos (tiny cookie hippos full of chocolate and creme and lined with sprinkles: delightful).

Pocky Variety Pack, 12 Boxes

$29.00, Amazon

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Nestle Coffee Crisp Chocolate, 6 Bars

$12.00, World Market

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Kinder Happy Hippos, 10 Boxes

$34.00, Amazon

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Originally Appeared on Epicurious