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WOLF: Mastering the fine art of purchasing Halloween candy

COLUMN: Some may even make its way into the bags of trick-or-treaters
Halloween means mini treats for little ghouls and goblins. (Philip Wolf photo)

I ask myself the same question each year at about this time.

Why do I have such an aversion to finishing any full-sized chocolate bar – but think nothing of polishing off approximately 479 minis in a single sitting?

I asked myself that last week, as I mindlessly stuffed my face with tiny Mars bars.

Entire Mars bar? Gross. Take it away.

Bag of minis? Gimme. Gimme all of them.

Full-sized Snickers? Oof. That’s a meal right there. Maybe half now and half later. Bag of minis? Shovel them in me.

I hope I’m not the only one with this rare problem.

I love Halloween. Outside of being a parent, the most adult I ever felt was, having purchased our first home, heading to the grocery store to purchase candy to hand out to the neighbourhood kids.

Many years in now, I’ve got it down to a science, although skyrocketing candy costs will definitely stop my from achieving a longtime budgetary goal this season.

On Oct. 31 every year, I head to three different grocery stores.

One for the mini chocolate bars. One for the candy-style items (Skittles, Smarties, Starbursts, etc.) and one for the Rockets and lollipops to pad out the numbers.

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Our current neighbourhood annually overflows with little ghouls and ghoblins, so I usually need about 600-700 units (I’m very businesslike about Halloween). Of the three stores, each oddly has a best price point on a different type of treat. I have always maintained an approximate cost of 10 cents per unit. Chocolate bars are slightly higher, Rockets and lollipops lower.

A little secret: best costumes among the 300-plus trick-or-treaters get the chocolate bars only. Regular costumes get a combination of bars and candy. No-effort costumes or sneaky return customers (I see you all) get lollipops only.

Return customers with no costumes who appear to be more than 30 years old may get the trademarked ‘air drop’, whereby nothing lands in their treat bag, but a nifty waggle makes it appear like they did.

This year, with the rising cost of everything, I’ll be happy with 15 cents per unit.

And, recovering from surgery, I’ll be ordering the confections for the first time, missing out on the fun of shopping in person.

Part of the fun also involves the pre-Halloween chocolate bar sample box.

One box, up to 150 units, will be purchased for the home, with everyone having unfettered access.

This sadly results in the “I might as well eat all the mini Mars bars before someone else does” debacle. And I don’t even really like Mars bars. There’s just something irresistible about the minis.

Especially the undisputed greatest Halloween treat of all time – mini 3 Musketeers.

I’ve had this debate many times but it’s not especially close.

The lack of availability of the delectable morsels anywhere in Canada (without paying a crazy premium price online) remains a troubling mystery. I was crushed when my son recently made a brief trip south of the border and even stores down there didn’t have them on hand.

What’s your favourite Halloween treat? Any you liked as a child and can’t find today? How many trick-or-treaters do you get in your neighbourhood?

Email me with your spooky tales.

» PQB News/Vancouver Island Free Daily editor Philip Wolf welcomes your questions, comments and story ideas. He can be reached at or 250-905-0029.

Philip Wolf

About the Author: Philip Wolf

I’ve been involved with journalism on Vancouver Island for more than 30 years, beginning as a teenage holiday fill-in at the old Cowichan News Leader.
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