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Updated: October 20, 2023

Friday Food Insider: Halloween is more of a trick than a treat for local candy sellers

Courtesy / Len Libby Candies Len Libby Candies produces "Ding Dong, the Witch ISN'T Dead!," which are Hostess Ding Dongs coated in chocolate then topped with a witch done in icing.

With Halloween around the corner, it's time to stock up on your candy supply and get ready for the trick-or-treat visits. But for Maine candy shops, it may be just another day.

According to the National Confectioners Association, Halloween is often referred to as the candy industry's Super Bowl. But that's not necessarily the case for specialty candy shops in Maine, where Easter, Valentine's Day and even Christmas are what ring the register. What's handed out at Halloween is more frequently supermarket trick-or-treat sized candies from major manufacturers like Hershey and Mars.

Halloween candy treats
Photo / Alexis Wells
A variety of candy bars for Halloween trick or treaters.

Maine-based businesses say it's business as usual and the spooky holiday is one of their slower holidays.

Halloween shoppers are more likely to buy gifts for family members, grandchildren, co-workers and office parties.

At Len Libby Candies, at 419 U.S. Route 1 in Scarborough, the busiest seasons are Easter, Valentine's Day and Christmas.

"Halloween is not one of our busier holidays, as we don't sell many of the typical 'bite-size' candies that people usually buy for trick-or-treaters," said Gisele DeGrinney, co-owner of Len Libby Candies, known for its life-sized chocolate moose.

"That said, we have seen our sales increase year over year as the holiday has increased in popularity among adults, especially for parties, such as office parties or gatherings in their homes, or maybe for their children's classmates or teachers. Events more suited to buying specialty treats in smaller quantities seem to be growing in popularity for Halloween, especially since COVID."

While candy stores may not be too busy for Halloween, retailers like Len Libby still stock up for the holiday. 

"We have come up with some really cute products, such as Ding Dong, the Witch ISN'T Dead!, which are Hostess Ding Dongs that we've coated in our chocolate and then topped with a little icing witch," said DeGrinney.

"Or we have the Devilish Dog, a Drake's Devil Dog that we've coated in our chocolate and decorated with hand-piped white chocolate dyed orange and yellow, and then we packaged each one with a little red plastic pitchfork." 

They also carry a variety of chocolate pops in the shape of ghosts, pumpkins, mummies, bats and tarantulas. And, of course, candy corn, foiled chocolate pumpkins and Halloween gummies. 

It's a similar story at Haven's Candies, a specialty candy maker with locations in Portland and Westbrook.

"The candy store is mostly for gift giving and not a place where but candy to give out to trick-or-treaters," said Allison Holt, retail director of Haven's Candies.

Holt told Mainebiz that even though the other holidays are her busiest time, the store still has Halloween and fall items like caramel apples, candy boxes, nutter-butter mummies, ghost chocolate pops, chocolate "coffins" full of eyeballs and worms, and more. 

Heather Barter, manager of Sweetz & More at 298 Bath Road, Route 1, in Wiscasset, says that the pumpkin-shaped Reese's peanut butter cups have sold the most, along with ghost-shaped chocolates, candy corn and caramel apples. 

Chocolate still rules

Nationally, candy is a $42 billion-a-year industry, according to the National Confectioners Association. The trade group reported that Maine's candy industry generated $119.1 million in economic activity, including $22.2 million in wages. The industry accounted for direct and indirect employment of nearly 2,000 jobs statewide.

According to the national trade group, this year's most popular Halloween treats are chocolate, No. 1; gummy candy, No. 2; and candy corn, No. 3.

Fun fact: A survey of adult consumers by the National Confectioners Association found that 60% of parents say they steal Halloween treats from their kids' stash. Of the pilfering parents, 37% say they sneak the treats after the children go to bed.

Where do you buy your Halloween candy? The Mainebiz Food Insider wants to know! Contact Alexis Wells at

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