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Savvy Mom: Top Halloween Candy


Rachel Hutton provided some drool-worthy ideas for grown-up Halloween treats on Friday's TC Taste. That got me thinking about what to serve the younger ones, who aren't such picky eaters when it comes to candy. As I contemplate the hordes of trick-or-treaters who will descend a week from Wednesday, quality is a factor, but so are cost and quantity. (Every year, things start out slow, but after an hour, the bell keeps ringing, and I'm raiding the sacks of my kids when they return for things they won't miss, to keep up with demand! Am I alone in this tactic, or other ways to make some kids' candy stash "disappear"?!)

When I stock up for Halloween, I remember what I liked when I was a kid, and it wasn't pencils or healthful snacks. But I'm also haunted by that poster at my dentist's office that shows how the citric acid in sour and fruity candies compares to battery acid. Given the many variables, I choose cheap but decent chocolate. Kids (and most parents) like it, I like it (because I will have to sample a few for quality control), it has healthful tannins (I'm reaching here, I know), plus it clears the mouth faster than other candies, so isn't as destructive to tooth enamel.

Top 5 Conventional Candy Picks (if you like your candy Cheap and Plentiful):

1. Take 5 has salty/sweet and crunchy/gooey contrasts of pretzels, caramel, peanut butter, and peanuts covered in chocolate.
2. Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kisses
3. Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops
4. Snickers Peanut Butter Squared
5. Pretzel M&M's

Tip: combine 4 and 5 to approximate a Take 5 bar!

Top 4 Earth and Tooth-friendlier Sweets (recommended by staff at local co-ops):

1. Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops. Even though it lists carrot, currant, pumpkin, apple, and alfalfa as possible ingredients, I think we still need to remember, candy is candy. But some are easier to rationalize.
2. Mini Clif Z Full Moon brownie bars
3. Mini Endangered Species chocolates
4. Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks

I can't in good conscience, as a former kid, let this list go to 5. But other items recommended by co-op staff included mini boxes of raisins, single servings of kid vitamins, local beef snack sticks, mini carrots, and fruit.

Either way you go, the time to buy your stock for trick-or-treaters is now, now, now! Chances are that store shelves will be pretty picked over after the weekend.

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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