Here’s How To Handle the Impending Candy Shortage This Halloween

happy multiethnic family mother, father and little son have fun and celebrate Halloween at home.
evgenyatamanenko / Getty Images/iStockphoto

As if the cruel joke of a largely cancelled Halloween falling on a Saturday during the height of the pandemic in October 2020 wasn’t enough, a report from Reuters warns that Halloween 2022 may suffer a candy shortage due to supply chain issues, based on statements from Hershey. And thanks to inflation, expect Halloween candy to be more expensive than ever this year.

Hershey is the manufacturer of classic Halloween candies such as Kit Kats, Twizzlers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The company warned that it may not be able to meet demand due to a shortage of ingredients and other supply chain challenges. Hershey typically makes roughly 10% of its holiday sales during Halloween, Reuters reported.

The company begins producing Halloween candy and chocolate in the spring, but the increased immediate demand for candy due to the pandemic led to the company scaling back on producing Halloween candy. “We had opportunity to deliver more Halloween, but we weren’t able to supply that. And we were really producing,” said CEO Michele Buck during a July 28 earnings call.

In 2021, sales of chocolate and other candy grew by 11%, The Washington Post reported. For Hershey specifically, net sales grew 19% to $2.4 billion in the second quarter year-over-year.

If you’re determined to hand out bowls of of candy to trick-or-treaters this year, it might be smart to shop the sales now and buy small quantities of candy weekly leading up to the big day. Don’t worry. It won’t go bad if you store it properly.

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How To Hand Out Chocolate on Halloween

There are a few solutions to the impending chocolate shortage.

You can begin stocking up now, whenever you see highly coveted chocolate bars and other candy on store shelves. Milk chocolate will store well at room temperature for up to a year, according to The Chocolate Journalist.

Dark chocolate can store up to two years from the manufactured date. So, you may want to stock up on those Hershey’s Special Dark for your own consumption, but regular Hershey’s bars will also last easily until Halloween.

If you don’t know when your chocolate was made, take the “Best Before” date seriously and look for chocolates on sale that don’t expire before November 2022. We all know the kids eat the best stuff before they even return home.

Check wholesale clubs like Costco for discounts on bulk chocolate bars, buy them now and get ahead of Halloween.

Think Beyond the Candy

Although many parents want to hand out full-size Hershey’s bars or Kit Kats for Halloween, that may not be possible this year. Stores like Walmart and Target sell bags of other candies at low prices year-round.

Don’t forget kids with allergies. One in 13 kids live with a food allergy, according to FARE, an organization that advocates for those with food allergies and intolerances. You can find toys, temporary tattoos and fun trinkets on sites like Oriental Trading at steep discounts any time of year. Stock up now to have something to offer kids who will never know the pleasure of biting into an Almond Joy or Snickers because they have a tree nut allergy. Come Halloween, place a teal-colored pumpkin on your doorstep to signal that kids with allergies can find safe items at your home.

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If you have allergy-safe items in addition to traditional treats, make sure to keep them separate from those peanut butter cups. Or better yet, opt for non-food items for all your trick-or-treaters and be assured you’ve created a Halloween home welcoming to all.  

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