Your trick-or-treating days may be long behind you, but that doesn’t mean you’re too old for Halloween candy just yet.
Using CandyStore.com’s ranking of the most popular Halloween sweets in America as our guide, we’ve put an adult spin on the top ten rated candies for 2018. What follows is a carefully cultivated list that pairs all your favorite Halloween goodies with the wines, beers, and ~spirits~ that we feel will best highlight the flavors found in this year’s haul.
Besides, what’s a little hangover gonna hurt once the sugar coma sets in?
Here are the drinks you should be pairing your Halloween candy with this year:
10. Jolly Ranchers
Pair With: Sauvignon Blanc
They’re fruity, they’re tart, and while it’s certainly true that Jolly Ranchers might not be the first sweet you reach for on the 31st, there’s no denying that these babies are classics for a reason. Long-lasting and uber sweet, pair your green apple Jolly Rancher (the best of the rancher flavor lineup, imho) with a crisp sauvignon blanc for a sip that’ll meld with the hard candy’s sour taste without overpowering you on the acid front.
Be warned though, Jolly Ranchers last practically forever. So you might wanna grab a few extra bottles, you know, just in case.
9. Tootsie Pops
Pair With: A Dark Sour Ale
When it comes to Halloween candy, your personal preferences will likely land you into one of two camps: you’re either a ride-or-die chocolate lover or an absolute fiend for fruity finds.
But for those few confection connoisseurs who transcend these hard-drawn enemy lines, there exists one, holy grail sweet: the Tootsie Pop. Soft, chewy chocolate enveloped in sugary hard candy, no other treat is quite so adept at bridging the chocolatey/fruity gap as this long-loved standby.
Pair your Tootsie Pop (preferably cherry, because, duh) with a dark sour ale that’ll play nicely with both its tart and chocolate notes.
8. Hershey’s Minis
Pair With: Rum
From Krackel to Mr. Goodbar to the namesake chocolate itself, Hershey’s – and Hershey’s Minis in particular – are a must on Halloween. High in sugar and relatively low in cocoa, however, it can be hard to match these foil-wrapped pieces of Americana with the right drink.
For the perfect balance to Hershey’s milk-chocolatey goodness, pair with a robust, or even black strap, rum. A little sugar, a little spice, and everything nice. You can’t really go wrong.
7. Hot Tamales
Pair With: An IPA
Hot Tamales are, in a word, divisive. You either hate or you love these fiery little candies, and by the end of the night, those of us who lean towards the latter will likely have the bright red tongue to prove it.
And though, true, Hot Tamales don’t pack quite the same punch as a spicy pad thai or a plate of Nashville hot, there is a precedent set for what to drink alongside peppery eats. So this year, take a cue from your fellow spicy food lovers and pair your Hot Tamales with an extra-hoppy IPA for a mellowing effect that won’t kill the flavor of your favorite Halloween treat.
6. Candy Corn
Pair With: A Pumpkin Lager
Now, before you launch straight into attack mode, hear us out: we know that Candy Corn gets a bad rap. Largely chalky in texture and cloyingly sweet in flavor, these tiny pieces of Halloween tradition aren’t necessarily good, per say.
But yet, Halloween tradition they are nonetheless, meaning that whether you like it or not, you’ll probably indulge in a piece or two of Candy Corn when the big day comes. And when you do, you’re gonna want something good to wash it down with. Trust us.
This year, pair your Candy Corn with a pumpkin lager for an extra-festive take on the season’s most famous – and most derided – snack. I mean, it can’t really get worse, right?
Pair With: Gin & Tonic
Ah, Starburst – a commendable Halloween candy choice. All the fruity flavor of your favorite hard candy without the necessary long-term commitment. What can we say, we love ‘em!
While there are, undeniably, many a tropical drink that would pair nicely with this simple, chewy fav, we’d have to recommend a straightforward gin and tonic. This bar-friendly classic – mixed with plenty of lime, of course – is guaranteed to play well with any of Starburst’s classic flavors.
Yes, even the orange one, you heathens.
4. Reese’s Cups
Pair With: A Stout
Have you ever tasted a combo more perfect than that of chocolate and peanut butter?
Reese’s Cups – and, specifically, Reese’s Cups Minis – are a hallmark of the Halloween season. And even when those damn waxy wrappers pull half of the chocolate right off the bottom, there’s nothing we could really do to improve the joy of popping a Reese’s straight into your mouth.
Nothing, that is, except chasing it with a swig of a deep, dark stout.
Pair With: Scotch
First introduced to the American candy roster in the 1930’s, Snickers are legendary when it comes to the curating perfect Halloween stash. A vintage chocolate bar packed full with peanuts, caramel, and nougat, its signature flavor is one beloved by dessert lovers both young and old. So much so, in fact, that it’d hardly be a shock to discover that Snickers are the treats most often swiped by parents combing through the trick-or-treating hoard once the kids are asleep.
This Halloween, respect your elders by pairing the time-honored candy paradigm that is a Snickers bar with a generous, two-finger pour of Scotch. Sip slowly by a fireplace to get the full effect.
Pair With: Merlot
Look, when it comes to Halloween candies, M&M’s are pretty much as close to perfection as you’re gonna get. Sugary sweet, and colorful to boot, these teeny chocolatey morsels are oft renown as kings of the candy-trading table. I mean, you could get at least, like, three Jolly Ranchers for the price of one, itty bitty packet of these easy-snacking goodies. No problem.
This spooky season, pair your M&M’s with a drink that will meet this big-spender of a candy with the gravitas it deserves. A smooth merlot, complete with an extra long-stemmed glass, should do the trick.
Pair With: Vodka
When compiling their list of the most popular Halloween treats, CandyStore.com used 11 years worth of candy-buying data to determine which sweets Americans purchase the most of in October. And purely numbers-based as those rankings may be (seriously, did you know that we’re likely to spend $2.6 BILLION on candy in this month alone?) we can’t help but agree with their chosen winner.
Skittles are a testament to all that make Halloween great. Pocket-sized and practically bursting with color, these sour-sweet candies are the premier vehicle for delivering sugar-based fun directly into your mouth. Period.
For Halloween 2018, pair your Skittles with an equally exuberant – and perhaps, even more fun – splash of vodka. Plus, if you can’t take the straight stuff, feel free to explore the wide, wide world of candy-flavored bottles, just be sure that your pour is anything but fun-sized. It’s gonna be one helluva night.