By Ed Pierce
It seems a bit early this year, but a trip to the grocery store over Labor Day Weekend unveiled for me that a vast selection of Halloween candy is already filling supermarket shelves.
Making the decision to not purchase Halloween candy during this visit, I did, however, carefully examine what products have currently made their way onto the supermarket shelves in 2022, what old favorites are returning, and what is new this fall that I should consider.
The first item that I noticed this year is not something I would hand out to neighborhood kids for Halloween. A price tag of $19.95 for a 1-pound grape-flavored gummy bear in the shape of a skeleton is more of a personal gift for the grandkids in Connecticut, except after mailing them a huge box of Easter candy in April, I have been asked not to mail them sugary snacks going forward to avoid childhood hyperactive “sugar high” meltdowns.
Next, I noticed some odd-looking fun-sized Twix and Snickers candy bars with packages bright green in color. The Twix bars were labeled as “Ghoulish Green” while the Snickers bars were identified as “Ghoulish Green Nougat.” I suppose if these new candy products don’t sell for Halloween that they can always be relabeled and recycled next spring for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Moving on, I proceeded to look over a creative section filled with small colorful and collectible tins of Halloween candy that caught my attention. I laughed at the “Sugar Skulls Tins” which encourage celebrations of “Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in colorful style!” Each of these decorative skull tins contain 1.4 ounces of vibrant candy skulls for $3.99 each. The product line also offers “Ouija Mystifying Mints” for $3.99 featuring an embossed tin with retro artwork of the “Mystifying Oracle.” Inside are 1.5 ounces of Ouija planchette-shaped peppermints. I chuckled when I saw the “Childs Play Chucky Tins” filled with sour cherry candy knives and adorned with artwork of the serial killer doll “Chucky” all for just $3.99.
For those trick-or-treaters who can’t live without the sensation of the Pop Rocks candy that explodes in your mouth, there are two new must-have products for 2022. Bags of KOOL-AID GHOUL-AID Popping Candy and Warheads Popping Candy are now found on store shelves. KOOL-AID GHOUL-AID comes in Scary Berry flavor while Warheads Popping Candy features Wicked Watermelon, R.I.P. Raspberry, and Cackle Apple flavors.
There seems to be a lot of gimmicks associated with returning candy favorites this year too. Hershey’s is offering a large candy skull filled with bite-sized treats and chocolate kisses now rendered to resemble eyeballs, while M&Ms, Snickers, Milky Ways and Skittles now come in a bag proclaiming they are “Glow in the Dark.” Kit Kat is selling “Pumpkin Pie” treats, and Reese’s has gone all-in on Halloween this year with an array of new products including King-Sized 2.4-ounce peanut butter and chocolate pumpkins, white crème peanut butter ghosts, and large Reese’s potato chip big cups.
Also new for 2022 are Froot Loops Gummies; Nerds Candy Corn; M&M Creepy Cocoa Crisps; Tootsie Roll Caramel Pops; Dove Dark Chocolate Pumpkins; Monster Mash Jelly Belly jelly beans; Jelly Belly Pumpkin Lollypops; Dubble Bubble Jack O’ Lanterns; Sour Patch Kids Zombie Orange and Purple Candy; Brach’s Caramel Apple candy corn; Fruit Stripe Gummy Candy; Nerds Rainbow Rope Candy; assorted Halloween-themed candy canes; Toxic Waste sour candy in plastic drums; and Red Vines in Halloween candy corn flavor.
Looking over the Halloween aisle this year, my own personal favorites are the Peeps assortment. Made of marshmallow, Peeps were once exclusively shaped like small chicks and were rolled out for Easter in yellow, pink, and blue colors, but they are now available in varying shapes and flavors for other holidays and especially for Halloween. On this visit to the store, I found Halloween orange pumpkin Peeps, green and red Peeps skulls; glowing green Peeps Monsters shaped like Frankenstein heads; all-white Peeps ghosts; and purple spooky Peeps cats. And for the first time this year I spotted Astronaut Freeze-Dried Halloween Peeps in green, orange, and white colors.
As for our household for Halloween this year, we’re more than likely going to purchase our giveaway candy around Oct. 15 and in keeping with Pierce Family tradition, we’ll be handing out an assortment of full-sized Hershey bars, Snickers bars, Kit Kat bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Starburst, Skittles, Three Musketeer bars, and Milky Way bars. These typically come in 20-full-size packs.
We always plan on 80 trick-or-treaters and end up having about 48 or so kids ring our doorbell, meaning 32 candy bars are left over for me. <