Is there anything more nostalgic this time of the year than Halloween candy? Whether it’s a pucker-inducing Sour Patch Kid or a salty-sweet Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, everyone has that one treat from the bulk aisle they can’t resist — even the ultimate tastemakers: chefs. We asked chefs of some of the country’s top restaurants to share with us the candy they plan to pass out for Halloween this year. (Today’s a great day to get some on sale, too.)
“I love gummy candy but especially Haribo Gold Bears. I first ate these when I was in hospitality school in Switzerland. I remember eating an entire large bag in the bus. They are tart and flavorful — the kind of candy you could eat all the time.” —Floyd Cardoz, chef/owner, Paowalla, New York
“Peanut Butter Twix. It may sound odd but I am not usually a chocolate or peanut butter fan. There is something about this combo that hits all the right flavors and textures. They are even better when frozen.” —Matt Hyland, chef/co-owner, Emily, New York
“I love sour anything. I grew up eating sour pickled plums from the Asian market my mom shopped at, and now I am addicted to anything sour and sweet and snacky. Sour Patch Kids used to be the only way you could get sour candies, but now there are sour worms, sour straws, sour watermelon — my mouth is literally watering as I type this.” —Joanne Chang, chef/owner, Flour Bakery and Myers + Chang, Boston
“Tootsie Fruit Chews. I remember from a very young age that only at Halloween would I see these, and I never even really knew what they were, but I loved them. I loved the fact that, at least at the time, they seemed so special, so rare. And those flavors — mixed berry, lemon, and vanilla — taste so good in chewy candy form.”—Dan Kluger, chef/owner, Loring Place, New York
“Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I love them because chocolate and peanut butter are perfect together. I can’t think of a better candy, especially around Halloween. I’m pro-pumpkin shaped or regular.” —Anna Posey, Chef/Co-owner, Elske, Chicago
“Hands down, a Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll. It has everything you need: soft nougat center, thick layer of caramel, and a salty, crunchy peanut coating. It’ll get bonus points from your gluten-free trick-or-treaters — but everyone will love it.” —Angela Garbacz, chef/owner, Goldenrod Pastries, Lincoln, NE
“I haven’t handed out candy many years since my childhood. Working, living in condo buildings, and traveling (did I mention my cookbook comes out October 31st this year?) prevents this from happening. But I love the chewy fruity, fun shapes — in particular, the mini gummy burgers, or even the ones shaped like spiders and clowns. The more colorful the better. The more ‘cartoonish’ and artificial, the more delightful to eat. For me these candies always win out over the houses that give out full-sized candy bars.” —Kristen Kish, chef/author of Kristen Kish Cooking
“The only candies I actually pass out during Halloween are the Lindor Truffles by Lindt because I believe in sharing only candy that I would eat, and I am obsessed with the truffles. I ration them out — only one per trick-or-treater — because I need to have some left over for myself.” — Maneet Chauhan, chef/co-owner, Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Nashville
“Butterfingers. The peanut butter filling reminds me of my grandmother, who use to grind roast peanuts with jaggery on our home stone grinder for herself because she did not have any teeth. I used to steal bites from her.” —Manish Mehrotra, chef/owner, Indian Accent, New York
“My favorite has always been the Hershey’s four pack of Milk Chocolate, Special Dark, Mr. Goodbar, and Krackel. The variety is key here — so many options of good, low-brow chocolate in one bag, for whatever mood you’re in. I tend to gravitate towards Krackel and Special Dark first, because it’s rare to see these at any time other than Halloween. Mr. Goodbar is next, then the milk. Pop them in the fridge for extra deliciousness.” —Thea Habjanic, executive pastry chef, La Sirena, New York
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