Uncommon, old-fashioned candies provide alternative holiday treats

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If there is one thing to be said about
Halloween, it is that it offers so many different candy options. Sometimes, however, it can be hard to see beyond the common candy that is offered at Dillons or Hy-Vee.

Drew Tapley, Manhattan resident, is somewhat of a connoisseur of novelty foods. 

“Anything strange, I’m willing to try once,” Tapley said.

Tapley has been to many
novelty food stores in his life and attempts to find the
most uncommon food he can. Tapley is inclined to visit ethnic food stores, like Mexican, Indian and Asian stores, to find products outside of the mainstream.

There is something that Tapley finds appealing in a bug or a scorpion in the
middle of a lollipop. This kind of candy is available in grocery stores that carry Mexican ethnic foods, but you can find it in The Toy Store, which has locations in Topeka and Lawrence. 

According to Hayley Miller, employee of The Toy Store in Topeka, the store sells a variety of candy that people don’t normally see on shelves at Target or Wal-Mart.

Tapley said he has tried many things that people would not normally go to the store and buy, from chocolate-covered insects to flavored crickets. Who needs sour cream and onion Pringles when you can have tiny critters that taste the same?

The Toy Store thinks the same way. For the adventurous, the store offers chocolate-covered insects, such as crickets. It also carries Larvets, dehydrated insects that come in many different flavors, including barbecue and sour cream and onion. They also sell blueberry-, strawberry- and apple-flavored scorpion suckers. Has anybody dared to find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a scorpion pop? The world may never know.

Miller said boys will often come in and dare one another to try chocolate-covered crickets or the Larvets. Miller herself succumbed to a dare last Christmas and tried a box of crickets.

Tapley does not limit uncommon treats to just Halloween; he said they also make great gifts.

“Some sort of novelty candy, whatever present you’re getting, brings it together,” Tapley said.

The Toy Store also carries old-fashioned candies for people who want to go back to the basics. For instance, the store sells a variety of candy from the Pennsylvania Dutch Company, which manufactures peanut butter pillows (peanut butter coated with a candy shell), Razz M’ Tazz Mix (trail mix consisting of dried cranberries, pretzels, peanuts and candy bits), chocolate-covered cashews, Mary Jane Licorice, Moon Pies, Slo Poke Suckers (lollipops made of vanilla-flavored caramel) and Black Cows (caramel covered in chocolate). As for old-fashioned gum, The Toy Store sells Black Jack Gum (licorice flavored gum), Beeman’s Gum (gum that eases heartburn) and Clove Gum (gum that freshens breath).

Like I said, one of the best things about Halloween is the wide assortment of candy available. Now that you know what is beyond Hy-Vee and Dillons, you can now consider your other options. So will it be Twix or crickets? You decide.

Elyssa Stallcup is a freshman in pre-journalism. Please send comments to edge@kstatecollegian.com.

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