Throwing out free candy is a treasonous act, and giving it away or hiding it just isn't the Halloween spirit. So what do you do with leftovers? With savory ingredients, leftovers can become soup or quiche in a snap. But for candy, I look to ice cream, dessert's very own recycling program.
'Halloween Candy' on Serious Eats
For a sweet treat that embraces the excessive sweetness of the Halloween spirit but also takes advantage of surplus candy (or the cheap prices of Halloween candy the day after), try your hand at this Fun-Size Candy Studded Cheesecake.
The first question that comes up when discussing Swedish Fish is: Large or small? For me, small. Followed by: Assorted or reds? The answer: Reds. Variety is great, but there's something so satisfying about having all the ones you would have picked out already wrangled together in one package. The I-can't-quite-put-my-finger-on-it flavor of the red fish (I've heard rumors that it's lingonberry) is so elusively delicious. Why bother with the more predictable greens, yellows, and oranges?
I'm a total wet mop during Halloween. Every year of my adult life, the ghoulish holiday comes and goes without the slightest bat of an eyelash. I made plans to attend a party one year and even sketched out a costume, but nothing ever came of it. I flaked and stayed home. As a kid, it was very different.
As far as modern chocolate bars go, Nestlé Crunch is rather plain. I've never seen someone at a store choose a Crunch bar over a chocolate hybrid, like Twix, or something with a cutesy presentation, like Hershey's Kisses. But as long as we're talking about what I haven't seen, it's someone being disappointed to eat a mini Crunch.
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a See's Lollypop? Answer me that, Mr. Owl. Because it's not a one.. a two-hoo.. a tha-three.. in this case. Try biting a See's lolly, Mr. Owl. (Hopefully you have dental insurance because you'll need Dr. Owl if you try.) Unlike other lollypops, the See's version is pretty un-bite-able, and it'll take more like two hundred licks to get anywhere near the center stick.
Being allergic to peanuts sucks. Being allergic to peanuts AND chocolate sucks even more. Having a brother with these allergies, however, is awesome. Because that meant I only had to duke it out with my sister for the best candy in the peanut/chocolate family—Goldenberg's Peanut Chews.
Let's talk about Reese's Cups, the most iconic of chocolate/peanut butter combos. I love them with a desperate passion and think I can comfortably say these are one of the most beloved candy bars of all time. Now let's talk about Kit Kats. Everyone loves those crispy, irresistible little bars that you eat layer by layer or crunch away at all at once. And now let's talk about a combination of the two. Add in the enviable 2-bar format of Twix and you have Reese's Sticks, the perfect candy bar.
Life Savers don't necessarily taste better than other fruit-flavored hard candies (I can't judge the minty ones; I rarely eat mint candies), but they're more fun because they have a hole in the middle. Different shape = INSTANT FUN FOR YOUR MOUTH.
As an actual edible treat goes, they are terrible. They taste like watered down corn syrup with a faint soupçon of artificial fruit flavor—that's if you can even manage to get the stuff out of the little bottles to begin with. In order to get at them, you're required to bite the waxy tops off of the containers and spit it out. What other candy in the world requires you to spit before you eat?
Why are Nerds more fun than most other candies? Because there are two flavors in a box! It's like getting twice the candy! And since each piece is tiny, it's like getting twice the amount of a lot of candy.
Ever wonder why Sour Patch Kids don't look anything like kids? It's because they were actually first designed and marketed to be aliens. All through the 70's they were sold under the name Mars Men. Who else loves these sweet and mouth-puckering gummy aliens?
If your sweet tooth leads you to the movie theater concession stand, what do you buy? Sour Patch Kids? Twizzlers? Twix? For me, there's only once answer, and it's Junior Mints.
These sweet marshmallow-based popcorn balls work beautifully when studded with candy corn; adding an extra shake of salt makes for a sweet, salty, crunchy, crispy, sticky, and overall pretty irresistible fall treat.
Raisinets are part of the poppable-by-the-handful classification of candy. But you somehow feel more virtuous eating them over M&Ms or Reese's Pieces thanks to the raisin-makes-things-healthier rule.
When you were a kid, did you ever make capes out of the plastic wrappers of your Blow Pops? I'd inevitably get about 30 of these every year for Halloween and try and hoard them, spacing them out over the course of a couple months (I never made it past December). By the last few you sucked down, the wrapper would be so stuck to the candy that it'd peel away in strips, leaving long oblique triangles of plastic still stuck to the pop, which you'd have to spit out.
I know this whole column is meant to feature candies we really love, but all of this talking of candies we like has reminded me of a question I often asked myself in my youth: Does anybody in their right mind actually like Mary Janes?
I'm putting these pumpkins on a pedestal—literally—in a full-sized cake form tribute to the Mellowcreme Pumpkin. The look may not be exact, but I hope you'll forgive me when you taste it: made using a pumpkin cake generously coated in tinted cream cheese frosting, this is a highly delicious homage to a second-banana Halloween sweet.