How to pair Halloween candy with your takeout food

If you’re working the door this Halloween, you might not have time to cook. And when the trick-or-treating comes to an end, you’ll be left with leftover candy and (hopefully) some tasty takeout. To elevate your gastronomic experience, I’m going to fill you in on perfect candy pairings for your Halloween takeout meal.

Monster BashKitchen Gadgets to Help You Prep for Your Halloween PartyGrowing up, Halloween was a big deal. I’d probably say it’s (to this day) my mom’s favorite holiday. As a result, we went all out at the house. Decorations. Scary music. Costumes. Spooky tricks. The works! Trick-or-treating hours started at 3 pm, and we stayed on call until about 9 pm (even though official hours ended at 7 pm). So, we didn’t have home-cooked meals on All Hallows Eve; we had takeout. Our go-to for a while was pizza. Then, we switched over to a Chicago favorite, Portillo’s, for Italian beef, hot dogs, Italian beef, and ribs. By the end of the night, we were always pretty wiped out, but we could count on one thing for sure—extra sweets. Some folks relish the challenge of purchasing the perfect amount of candy, running out at the end of the night, prompting the last couple revelers to take two to ensure an empty bowl. Not us. We liked giving candy out, and we liked indulging a little bit ourselves.

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about an interesting article to write for Halloween. I’d covered pumpkin farms, and pumpkin carving this year, and needed a new angle. Then I thought, “Wait, Halloween is all about candy. I should find a way to write about great candy!” So I thought some more, and it hit me. Given the way my Halloween’s historically played out, I started to think about how likely it was that others ended the evening enjoying takeout and Halloween candy. Concluding that it’s somewhat common, I thought, “Hey, I wonder if I could make pairing suggestions,” and here we are.

When my wife saw that I had an article due via our Amazon Echo Show (we have a 1st Gen model, but the 2nd Gen looks pretty sweet), she asked me what it was about. After I told her, she looked at me somewhat puzzled, and said, “That’s weird.” Yes, it is weird. I made it up. And because I made it up, it’s an original. I’m an artist. AN ARTIST! Admittedly, when I pitched it, I thought it might be a little out there. But, now that I think of it, the concept is pretty legit. Takeout is usually pretty salty. Halloween candy is sweet. Salty and sweet go together like…like…Freddy Krueger and nightmares! And with that, I give you my take on perfect candy pairings for your Halloween takeout!

Burgers/Hot Dogs

In-N-Out animal style burger recipe

Chowhound’s Animal-Style Burger

When I think of desserts that go with burgers and dogs, I automatically think of classic ice cream shop favorites—sundaes and milkshakes. Given this, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend a candy made with a friend of the milkshake, malted milk. That candy, of course, would be Whoppers. Not into Whoppers? Very well. I’d go with a Snickers. With nougat, caramel, chocolate, and peanuts, it may just be the closest thing you’re going to find to a classic sundae in candy form.

Mexican/Tex-Mex

Spanish rice

Chowhound’s Spanish Rice

Whether you’re talking Chipotle, or your favorite neighborhood joint, Mexican/Tex-Mex takeout has become amazingly popular. Tacos, burritos, taquitos, tortas—they’re all delicious. Throw a side of rice and beans in there, and you have yourself a great meal! When it comes time for dessert, I always like fried ice cream. If there’s one candy that reminds me of the taste and texture of fried ice cream, it’s the 100 Grand. Plus, the toasted rice might go nicely with your side of rice!

Subs/Sandwiches

easy Philly cheesesteak recipe

Chowhound’s Easy Philly Cheesesteaks

Sub shops are all over the place. Plus, some of them can make your food pretty quickly. This comes in quite handy if you find yourself famished at the end of the night. And if there are two things that go exceptionally well with sandwiches, it’s chips and cookies. Even my two-and-a-half-year-old kid is hip to this. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that my recommendation for a candy pairing would have cookie in it. And as George Costanza most clearly conveyed, Twix is the only candy with the cookie crunch!

Fried Chicken

best buttermilk fried chicken

Chowhound’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken

It really doesn’t matter where you get it from, whether it be your local supermarket, a neighborhood spot, a local chain, or a national chain. Fried chicken is good. Sure, some examples are better than others, but if you’re lucky enough to be eating fried chicken, you’re doing alright. Recently, I’ve noticed a lot more spots have been serving up a southern-style favorite pairing with fried chicken—the waffle. Now, I’m not really familiar with a candy that has fully captured the waffle essence, but the Kit Kat is in the ballpark. And I, for one, think it would pair wonderfully with a fried chicken meal! Not into that? I find that hard to believe.

BBQ

I’ve ordered takeout ribs on Halloween. But pulled pork or chicken works too! This can be a tricky one to select candy for. Depending on your sauce, you could be dealing with bitter/sour (Carolina), spicy (Memphis), sweet (Kansas City), tangy (St. Louis), or smoky (Texas) flavors. Because there’s nothing I enjoy more than BBQ, corn, and a warm summer day, I might tell you to enjoy some candy corn. That being said, it’s corn in name only, and it’s a pretty polarizing pick. I enjoy it, but I know others really, really don’t. So, instead, I’m going to pull out a fan favorite—Peanut M&M’s.

Thai

homemade pad Thai

Chowhound’s Pad Thai

I don’t really stray too far down the menu, opting for pad Thai and pad see ew. Despite my lack of adventure, one thing I’ve noticed about Thai food is the prevalence of peanut and lime flavors. The thing that I like about peanut at Thai restaurants, particularly involving softer noodle dishes, is the crunch. Therefore, when I think of the perfect Halloween candy pairing, I think a Payday would be a great choice. If you want to steer clear of peanuts, go for a candy that features lime flavors, like Skittles.

Greek

ground beef gyro recipe

Chowhound’s Ground Beef Gyros

When I think of Greek takeout, I think of gyros, kabobs, Greek potatoes, rice pilaf, souvlaki, and baklava with flavors of rosemary, thyme, lemon, and honey. Given this, I’m thinking candies that feature citrus, mint, and honey are great options to pair with your Greek takeout. For citrus-flavored candy, think about Starburst and Lemon Heads. For mint, go with York Peppermint Patties or Junior Mints. For honey-based candy, look no further than Bit-O-Honey.

Chinese

Slow Cooker Fried Rice

Chowhound’s Slow Cooker Fried Rice

One of my favorite foods since I was a little kid, I’ll always have a soft spot for Chinese food. And when it comes to takeout, not a lot of cuisines do it better. My favorite dishes are Szechuan, which means they can bring with them a little bit of heat. Dark chocolate is a great option that can stand up to the intensity of a spicy main dish. For my money, I’d go with a Mounds Bar (perhaps my all-time favorite). Not into coconut or dark chocolate? Maybe try something that plays off the rice in your meal, like a Nestle Crunch.

Mediterranean

beef shawarma in pita

Shutterstock

My favorite Mediterranean takeout is pretty straightforward. I’m either getting beef or chicken kabobs or shawarma. Throw in some rice and a pita, and I’m a happy guy. In many ways, there’s a decent amount of similarity with Greek cuisine, and, therefore, any of the above candy would probably go pretty well. If you’re looking to differentiate your pairings, take a cue from Mediterranean desserts that feature chocolate mousse and almonds. For the former, I might go with a Three Musketeers. It’s not exactly mousse, but in the Halloween candy world, whipped chocolate is about as close as it gets. For the latter, check out Hershey’s Kisses with almonds!

Pizza

Perhaps the king of all takeout food, pizza rarely disappoints. At its core, it’s bread and cheese. There’s not much I can say about either that’s bad. Put them together, splash some tomato sauce in between and throw meat and/or veggies on top and you have yourself a winner. Plus, there are few foods that can withstand the transport from oven to home like pizza can. So, if you find yourself ordering a pizza, a takeout classic, go with a Halloween candy staple for dessert—a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Like pizza, I’m pretty sure those things go with anything.

All right, that about does it. You now know the perfect candy pairings for your Halloween takeout. You can rest easy knowing that your tastebuds will be taken care of, just like all the trick-or-treaters who come to your door. Stay safe, have fun, and don’t overdo it on the sweets!

Related Video: The Most Adorable Halloween Candy Taste Test

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Greg is a Chicago guy who likes to cook, dine, and help others navigate their food choices. Why? Because food is an integral part of our lives, and he's the best version of himself when he's well fed. When he's not writing for Chowhound, he's writing about handling the domestic responsibilities of a husband and stay-at-home parent for his new online community. Visit philosophyofdad.com.
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