What will you offer to your Halloween trick-or-treaters?
The Huffington Post says savvy stockers keep plenty of Kit Kats, Butterfingers and Starburst on hand.
But sticking Smarties, raisins or pencils in the sacks of tiny ghouls? That's good cause to sleep with one eye open for miffed tricksters.
While sweet treats like chocolate bars, peanut butter cups and gum balls will continue to be perennial Halloween standbys, other sweets businesses are thinking outside the Junior Mints box.
While bugs in suckers and candy flavored like meat might not sound like the best option for the neighborhood goblins, that's not stopping daring companies from making sweets on the wild side.
And who knows — the kids on your block might really dig bacon frosting.
Everything's Better with Bacon?
Ashley Judge, who launched AlwaysFits.com in 2010, is one candy woman with a wealth of strange stuff at her disposal.
AlwaysFits' offerings are a mix of handmade artisan candies and big-name brands. But some items in the company's inventory are truly unique. Looking for butter-flavored lollipops, onion ring mints and bacon-flavored frosting? Well, who isn't?
“Plus, we have lollipops with actual scorpions inside,” Judge says.
Indeed. For the ultimate shock factor sweet treat, the multicolored pops come in standard fruit flavors, the relatively tame tastes of which stand in stark contrast to the creepy crawly critter inside. The scorpions are completely edible, according to the company, which tosses out a singular caveat. Beware, it cautions, "each scorpion varies in size.”
If the thought of irregularly shaped insects embedded in colored sugar is off-putting, AlwaysFits has plenty of holiday-appropriate fare — just not necessarily the holiday you might have in mind.
“Just in time for Thanksgiving, we now carry gravy candy," says Judge.
Meat-flavored candy? Yes, it's a thing.
“With the look of old-fashioned candy and the taste of herb-infused gravy, these are sure to be the hit of your candy bowl,” reads the product description.
We'll let the trick-or-treaters be the judge of that.
Gravy hard candy isn't the only meaty sweet Judges' company carries. The past few years have seen bacon-flavored everything, she says.
The AlwaysFits candy catalog sure offers a bacony array. Among the many smoked-pork themed offerings are bacon-flavored mints, bacon candy canes, gumballs and jelly beans. Not over-the-top enough for you? Wrap it all in bacon paper.
Is there such a thing as bacon fatigue? Probably. According to Judge, this trend just might have peaked.
“We’re starting to see a decline in the bacon obsession,” she says. “A few years ago, every other sale involved a mustache or bacon product, but we’re seeing a shift. I’m looking forward to keeping my eyes open for the next 'bacon.'”
According to Roxy Klein, owner of Nifty Candy, the "next bacon" might just be crazy-hot candy made with real chilies.
“I find that a really interesting trend, that people like those really hot and spicy things in their mouth," she says. "When we were younger all we had were red hots and cinnamon bears."
Klein certainly has her finger on the pulse of candy trends. Her father, David, invented the Jelly Belly jelly bean in 1976.
David sold his interest in Jelly Belly to The Herman Goelitz Candy Company in 1980, but that didn't stop the man from being candy minded.
Roxy, who says her dad is something of a modern Willy Wonka, was always encouraged to think outside of the box.
“He encouraged me ever since I was younger to come up with candy ideas,” says Roxy, who created her own candy (Sandy Candy, a customizable Pixie Stix-like product) her senior year of high school.
Currently, the Nifty Candy roster includes plenty of ghoulish fare, stuff that includes candy blood as well as dragon boogers, tiny red candies made with Bhut Jolokia. Also known as the ghost pepper, the Bhut Jolokia is one of the hottest chilies on the planet.
There's something called unicorn poop, too.
"Yes, I thought that it was really weird and I was hesitant at first, because our main products are just fun, kid-oriented products, and that obviously isn't," Roxy laughs. "But then I figured what the heck. It seemed like there was a market for it. People were ordering it and from there we've expanded to several other weird candy items."
What's selling along those lines? “The boogers are really popular,” says Roxy.
With all of the talk of zombie boogers, it's hard not to giggle, even for adults. Klein, 35, agrees.
“Sometimes when customers are ordering it, we just start laughing, because it is pretty fun,” she says.
Roxy says she has no idea how much her sales spike during the Halloween season. "It's one of those things where we're busy year-round," she says. "But there are always these spurts where you're just trying to keep up and everyone's calling wanting zombie boogers."
What's in your Halloween basket? Tell us in the comments below.