Cheapest US-ian way to get Halloween candy.
September 10, 2022 4:37 PM   Subscribe

We give out between 800-1500 pieces of candy each year. I’m hoping to find the cheapest way to get “substantial” candy (the giver-otters all feel bad about giving someone, like, one now-and-later or something, so end up giving 2-3 now and laters/Starbucks/whatever). Can folks make suggestions? Open to all sorts of ideas.
posted by arnicae to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Response by poster: (Starburst, not Starbucks…)
posted by arnicae at 4:37 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


If Costco is available to you, and the membership price can otherwise be of value, that's what we do.
posted by General Malaise at 4:44 PM on September 10 [12 favorites]


Oriental Trading? With the bonus of also being able to pretty cheaply get non candy handouts for any one who needs them.
posted by damayanti at 4:49 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


We give one good thing with a larger amount of cheaper stuff so the candy component feels more substantial and also include halloween stickers and/or temporary tattoos. Stickers are pennies each and kids tend to like them. We buy them by the 1000 roll and cut them into strips of 2-4 depending on how many we got that year.
posted by platypus of the universe at 4:54 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


We give out a lot of candy too, and last time I actually did the math (probably 3 or so years ago), Kroger was a better deal than Costco. IIRC Costco was a better value per ounce of candy, but not per piece. And no kid is out there weighing the candy. So in terms of pieces to give out, Costco was not a winner for us.

Generally what we do is just wait until close to the last minute, then buy whatever the local grocery store has left. At least around here they usually start reducing the price before the actual day of halloween, so you can get a better deal than buying earlier as long as you aren't really picky about what you get.

I don't know if that's the absolute CHEAPEST option, but it's what we and most of our neighbors in our extremely popular trick or treating neighborhood do.
posted by primethyme at 5:22 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


If you break up stuff into different buckets (like sticker, piece of candy, whatever) and let the kids grab one thing from each bucket, that might feel like more “stuff” than just getting a few pieces of candy at once
posted by raccoon409 at 6:12 PM on September 10


Amazon sells batches of all-unique vinyl stickers that are super cute, at a price point of about $8 / 100 stickers. You could spread some face-up on a tray and let the kids choose one. They're great for marking water bottles.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 6:24 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


I've seen bags of decent candy at the dollar store.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 6:26 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


There are open to the public, restaurant supply stores in most areas (in my area they a common one is called 'Chef's Store' formerly 'Food Services of America") that has wholesale-ish prices for all sorts of food in bulk-ish sizes. Membership isn't necessary like places like costco, and the portions are typically meant to be broken down for resale. This is typically my go to for stuff like this.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:48 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


What Costco has going for our family is that we can take back unopened boxes. We buy the BIG bars of candy which is expensive but makes the visiting goblins happy, and at least we know we're not going to be stuck with them (in a slow year). For what it's worth.
posted by forthright at 6:58 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Are you a non-profit or associated with one? If so, you might have enough lead time to ask a few local grocery stores to make some donations.
posted by aniola at 9:27 PM on September 10


Maybe candy by the pound from Economy Candy?
posted by crLLC at 5:03 AM on September 11


Are you a non-profit or associated with one? If so, you might have enough lead time to ask a few local grocery stores to make some donations.

Unless you're giving out the candy during a non-profit event or in the name of the non-profit (which it does not seem like OP is), please do not do this. It's fraud and makes it harder for non-profit orgs to obtain gifts in kind in the future.
posted by cooker girl at 6:12 AM on September 11 [7 favorites]


Amazon sells batches of all-unique vinyl stickers that are super cute, at a price point of about $8 / 100 stickers.

You can buy the exact same stickers on AliExpress at a price point of about $3/100 stickers. I went hard on stickers this year. (Order in the next few days to allow for shipping from China FYI.) I've been so impressed by the quality, they're REALLY nice stickers. Like, good enough for a teen to stick on her phone stickers imo.

I'm taking trick or treat very seriously this year, to the point where I asked for advice on mefi. One resounding takeaway was kids like to get a handful of several things, doesn't matter as much what they are. I've also been asking random children in the grocery store the last few weeks what their favorite trick or treat thing is.

I have many fewer expected visitors than you, so our methods of attack may differ here, but this is my plan: a nicer candy/snack, a juice box, a small inexpensive plastic glow toy, and as many stickers as you want.
posted by phunniemee at 7:03 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


I go to CVS, which generally has a pretty high markup, on Halloween and buy whatever's left. It's one of my greatest life hacks. By that point just about everything is BOGO (sometimes % discount AND BOGO!), and usually there's plenty of good stuff left (butterfingers, skittles etc.) I also end up making at least one additional trip when we run out, but I realize that is harder if you live more than a block from the store.

(Like others here I also have non-food treats for kids who want them, usually stickers + spider rings + whatever else was cheap at CVS on the day of.)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:36 AM on September 11


Oriental Trading Co has huge quantities of cheap candy. Big bags at Target and Walmart get under 10 cents/piece for brand name chocolate (but keep an eye out because some bags are better deals than others); I get a couple of those and then round it out with dum dums or smarties because they’re cheap and safe for a lot of food allergies.
posted by songs about trains at 8:20 AM on September 11


I hate giving junk candy. I often get a big bag of double bubble, or those tiny chiclets, because gym is generally popular. We only get a few kids, though.
posted by theora55 at 10:20 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


I second Double Bubble. Also, Dum Dums.
posted by smorgasbord at 7:21 PM on September 11


If you live in California, Nevada or Arizona, Smart & Final might be a good option. This non-membership bulk store sells boxes of candy, like Sour Punch Straws.

You can also contact some of the smaller manufacturers directly; Boyer Candies will sell you 15 pounds of peanut butter cups (about 450 pieces) for $63.00. I have ordered from this Pittsburgh company in the past--you can even call them on the phone to order!

Annabelle's will sell you 10 pounds of mini Big Hunk Bars.

Jelly Belly currently has a 50% off sale on Sweet/Sour mini jellybean bags -120 for $9.99.

If you have a business, or a good relationship with a local business, you might be able to apply for wholesale purchases from the manufacturers (American Licorice might sell you 25 pounds of Sour Punch Straws).
posted by JDC8 at 12:10 AM on September 12


I meant to link to this listing for 15 pounds of Clark Crunch peanut butter cups.
posted by JDC8 at 12:20 AM on September 12


Unless you're giving out the candy during a non-profit event or in the name of the non-profit (which it does not seem like OP is), please do not do this. It's fraud and makes it harder for non-profit orgs to obtain gifts in kind in the future.

Not suggesting fraud! Just thought candy-giving on this kind of scale might be done by an org.
posted by aniola at 8:57 AM on September 16


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