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15 Chefs on the Best Bulk Candy to Pass Out on Halloween

Photo: Paramount Pictures

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.)

“Kit Kats. I never buy them for myself, but I use Halloween as an opportunity to indulge a bit. They’re just perfect candies — crunchy, chewy, sweet, and salty.” —Sarah Rich, chef/co-owner, Rich Table, San Francisco

“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

“I like to pass out fortune cookies. Not only do you get a sweet treat, but you get a nice message too.” —Kris Yenbamroong, chef/owner, Night + Market, Los Angeles

“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

“My top pick for Halloween candy would be Daim, a Swedish crunchy chocolate bar with caramel and almonds that I used to eat as a kid.” —Marcus Samuelsson, Chef/Co-Owner of Red Rooster Harlem and Streetbird Rotisserie, New York

“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