Alas, Halloween, the biggest candy day of the year, will look different this year. There won’t be many communal candy bowls or crowded costume parties, and many communities are opting out of door-to-door trick-or-treating. Here’s another option: take a family field trip to one of these nearby candy stores.
sukker & sweet
A year ago, husband and wife team, Michael and Greer Missouri, finally realized their dream of opening a boutique candy shop featuring quality candies and chocolates from around the world. It was ambitious: 250 varieties from almost every continent, with an extensive self-serve selection. And then the pandemic struck.
They’ve recently re-opened with a refined selection of 71 candies, chocolates, and licorice from around the world, sold in their own custom designed stand-up pouches. It’s a delightful array of international treats, including crunchy strawberry logs and rainbow ribbons from Spain, sweet and salty licorice logs from Denmark, and red licorice knits from Finland. Other top sellers include dark chocolate gummy bears from Sweden and stracciatella gelato dragées from Greece. The United States gets showcased with milk chocolate caramel marshmallows.
“We are also in the process of manufacturing five flavors of our own small-batch vegan chocolate bars, with ingredients sourced from Nantucket to Norway, in addition to a line of bespoke sukkers or lollipops,” says Michael. “It’s been a crazy and challenging time, but we’re excited for the future.” Candy, culture, and geography makes for a perfect family outing. Open daily noon-5 p.m., 43 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-340-9294; www.sukkerandsweet.com.
There’s always a reason to indulge someone, says Linda Gulman, owner of this longstanding and beloved candy shop in Newton. Gulman opened the doors in 1991 and is still sweetening up her community. “I’ve been in business for 29 years; a pandemic isn’t gonna’ bring me down!” she says.
During the pandemic closure, she offered free delivery and shipping. “People wanted to send their friends and families care packages, and also wanted candy for themselves.”
Today, her re-opened shop remains a cheerful, colorful place, filled with favorite sweets. Walk through the bright pink door and you’ll find a wall of more than 200 candy bins, a fine chocolate case (thank you from the parents!), and lots of individually wrapped candy that the kids will love. Think: Smarties and Skittles.
In the past, they’ve offered in-store trick-or-treating. This year, there will be curbside pickup for pre-ordered goodie bags. “I am already inundated with orders!” Gulman says. Open Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 16 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, 617-965-7855; www.indulgesomeone.com.
Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie
Dubbed America’s Oldest Candy Company, this historic shop began in 1806 when founder, Mary Spencer, started selling Gibralters candies from a horse and cart. It was the first commercial candy sold in the United States, and Ye Olde Pepper is still making them with the same recipe. Gilbralters and Blackjacks are the most popular sweets at this old-fashioned, family-owned store. Their chocolate turtles, which were named one of Oprah’s favorite things in 2009, are also top sellers.
The shop is a step back in time, where you can watch traditional candy making, and see the antique equipment and selection of molds on display. Old-fashioned candies, such as ginger slugs, clove drops, and peppermint kisses, are all made from original recipes handed down for generations.
In addition to candies, you can also get saltwater taffy and an assortment of award-winning, homemade fudge. For Halloween, pick up bags of gummy witch hats, Jack-O-Lanterns and eyeballs, and chocolate witches. Through October, open daily 10 am.-6 p.m. Nov.-June, open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 122 Derby St., Salem, 978-745-2744; www.oldepeppercandy.com The company also has a location in North Andover.
The Penny Candy Store
“There’s sugar in the air,” indeed! This colorful shop claims to be the largest candy store in New England, with more than 1,000 items on display. Their specialty is old-fashioned penny candies, some dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Adults will journey back to their childhood days. Remember Candy Cigarettes, Airheads, Boston Baked Beans, Bit O' Honey, Wax Bottles, and Mary Janes? They’re all here, and more.
There’s also an assortment of kid favorites, like Emoji Pops, Big League Chews, Fun Dip, and Harry Potter chocolate frogs, plus more than 60 kinds of saltwater taffy.
As JoJo Siwa sings: This world’s got more than you can ever hope for. Just gotta' walk through the door like a kid in a candy store. Open Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.10 Merchant St., Sharon, 781-784-1600; www.thepennycandystore.com.
Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at email@example.com