Dear Great Pumpkin: Halloween is now only a few days away. Children all over the world await you coming. When you rise out of the pumpkin patch that night, please remember I am your most loyal follower. Have a nice trip. Don’t forget to take out flight insurance.
Linus, From Peanuts by Charles Shultz
Halloween might mean costumes, it might mean fancy drinks, it might even mean lots of decorations. However, if we are to be brutally honest, it really means candy and lots of it. Most households will be filled with bowls of tightly wrapped, poorly made treats that were bought in bags en masse. But there’s a better option, check out these local candy stores.
We would never advocate skipping fun-sized chocolates. It is the only way practical way of getting to eat Mr. Goodbars or Krackels. And let’s be fair, most of us wouldn’t touch a Tootsie Roll or Milk Dud at any time other than Halloween.
However, these mass-produced sugary lumps are, by any definition, kid’s stuff. Although candy isn’t on any diet that we know of, certainly artificially flavored, unnaturally colored lumps crammed into micro packaging don’t fit any eating plan, healthy or otherwise.
A Better Option
Fortunately, as adults we have options. Gone are the days where we riffle through Halloween bags while our kids have sugar driven dreams. Likewise, we no longer have to make excuses for our candy and treat purchases. We no longer have to ration the candy we hand out, secretly hoping that there is a bag or two left at the end of a trunk or treat.
We have options…really good local candy stores for indulging our sweet tooth. Below is a list of local purveyors of treats, including a couple of bakeries that produce amazing “fun-sized” treats without the obnoxious packaging.
If you have to have a treat (and who doesn’t), go local. Our list is the ultimate study in quality over quality.
Local Candy Stores
Maumee Valley Chocolate and Candy: Rapidly becoming a fixture in Uptown Maumee, M.V. Chocolate and Candy is a great candy store visit while downtown. They have very high-end chocolates, clusters, and covered pretzels and all are beautiful and luscious. Hidden around the store are other treats, including a selection of candied nuts. Of particular note are the candy-coated sunflower seeds. Don’t question them (or how they coat those little seeds); just try them.
Ben’s: Located right in downtown Bowling Green, Ben’s is a wonderful candy store that has been providing bin candy along with house-made fudge since the ’70s. The entire store is retro, to be sure. However, it has particular charm during both Halloween and Christmas. If you are looking for decorations and crafts they can help you as well. As long as you are downtown, don’t forget to stop in at Grounds for Thought, one of the areas best local coffee shops and used book store. Grab some fudge, coffee, and a Stephan King novel and you are all set for a great Halloween
Boyd’s Retro Candy: Let’s face it, kids these days don’t know anything about candy, with all their fancy flavors and glitzy marketing campaigns. Thankfully, Boyd’s is here to keep candy stores real and keep it retro. With that being said, don’t let the retro part of Boyd’s fool you. They have chocolate foil wrapped footballs, caramel candy corn, and dark chocolate cherry slices. They also have regular candy corn, Necco candy buttons, taffy, Pez, Atomic Fire Balls, and everybody’s favorite, Wax Fangs. The bottom line: this is a candy Mecca. Bring only what you want to spend, however, because regardless of your age you will be…well…a kid in a candy store.
Grace Chocolates: Bean to bar chocolate made in Maumee. In some areas of the country, the bean to bar revolution is, well, a revolution. Although not as popular here around Lake Erie Grace knows their chocolate and makes a great product. Sold across the area at places including Walt Churchill’s Market, Kazmaier’s, SIP Coffee, The Bard’s Coffee, In Bloom Flowers and Gifts, Sofo’s.
Christie’s Candy and Mints: Perhaps the longest and one of the most well known local candy stores around, now serving well into its 4th generation of kids. Not big or flashy, Christie’s has a decent selection of candies but is particularly known for its chocolate. If you must, buy the chocolate for yourself then buy the kids off with their foil-wrapped candy coins.
The Village Candy Shoppe: Another great candy store caring novelty and retro candy, The Village Candy Shoppe is more boutique and less “in your face” than other stores of its ilk. That doesn’t mean they don’t have gravitas in the candy department.
Bassett Nut Co.: A Toledo staple since 1028, Bassett has become a great example of bulk and gift candy done right. Although many people rightly think of Bassett as a corporate or personalized gift company (and they certainly do that well), they also have an outlet store where you can pick up their chocolates, caramel corn, clusters, and covered nuts. It is another great place to satisfy your Halloween sweet tooth without scrounging around at the bottom of the candy bowl.
Bulkfoods.com: Yes, they ship all over the country but we are fortunate to have them in our back yard. They have a great selection of chocolate nut clusters, nuts in general, and other candies and dried fruit to make a great fall party. They also offer spices, cooking and baking supplies, and other bulk cooking items
Marsha’s Buckeyes: This Perrysburg company basically does one thing and it is a regional favorite. The beauty of Marsha’s, besides the fact that it is local, is that you can count on both their quality and dogmatic support of the humble Buckeye. Selling from 2 packs to tubs of 50, these treats are a great way of avoiding stale and crushed peanut butter cups. If you are really in the spirit, call them “monsters eyeballs” instead of Buckeyes.
Dietsch Brothers: This iconic ice cream and chocolate shop in Findlay is worth the drive. Their ice cream is to die for. If you don’t feel like a pilgrimage Dietsch is sold locally at Walt Churchills Market, Kazmaiers, Sautter’s, and Schramm’s Flowers. From basic chocolate covered pretzels to high-end chocolates, clusters, brittles, and barks, Dietsch has been helping adults avoid bad Halloween candy since 1937.
The Next Sweet Thing: Although ostensibly a bakery, TNST has chocolate-covered Oreos and they are a great treat to indulge in while the kids fighting with packaging to get half a bite of a Twix bar. If you have an adult-themed party, check out both the Buckeye or the Pumpkin Oreos for something that does double duty as a table decoration and a tasty treat.
So Sweet – Lebanese and French Pastries: Sure, So Sweet sells pastries and they sell excellent pastries. However, they also sell them in small bits, like a wide variety of macaroons in beautiful colors. Then there are the bite-sized Lebanese pastries including baklava and birds nests. Sure, it’s not “candy” but it might as well be. Skip the stale prewrapped store-bought candy and indulge in a tray from So Sweet.