Going to Trader Joe's has always been a trick-or-treat affair: It's tricky to get in and out of their parking lot, but once you do make your way into the store, it's worth it for all the treats inside. It stands to reason, then, that in October shoppers can find all kinds of Halloween snacks at Trader Joe's that satisfy both your wallet and your craving for slightly spooky noshes.
This festive time of year finds many stores offering a handful of pumpkin-flavored items, but TJ's really pulls out all the stops. Walk down almost every aisle, and you'll find something that screams (ha!) Halloween, from seasonal versions of traditional snacks to foods created specifically for the scary season. This year's selection includes both returning favorites and a couple of brand-new Halloween foods.
Here's a sampling of what you're likely to find when you maneuver through the crowds at your local TJ's. (All info and photos come from the branch in Rego Park, NY.) Get your shopping list together and plan your trip soon: These are sure to sell quickly, and once All Hallow's Eve is over, they'll be retiring for the season as the Thanksgiving cranberry tarts and Christmas Candy Cane Joe-Joe's take their place on the shelves.
1. Candy Corn Popcorn
Fans of blended salty-sweet snacks will dig into this seasonal popcorn. With the crunch of traditional corn and the vanilla-caramel flavor of the candy variety, they're sure to please even people who hate candy corn. TJ's is offering them for $2 a bag.
2. Spider Gummies
Nothing creepy or crawly about these spiders. The colorful gummy candy is chewy, slightly sour, and priced right at $2. Buy a few bags to pour into a bowl and serve at your Halloween party.
3. Ghosts & Bats Crispy Potato Snacks
Some ghosts go "Boo," but the ones from Trader Joe's go "crunch" — and so do their bats, for that matter. Their holiday version of their popular potato-crisp snack ($2 per bag) comes in fun shapes that will get your goblins gobblin'. A bonus: They're gluten-free, too!
4. Spooky Iced Sugar Cookies
"Spooky" is a bit of an exaggeration; the only thing scary about these shortbread-style sugar cookies is how quickly they'll disappear once you get them home. The $4 assortment is just the thing to go with a cup of tea or hot cocoa on a chilly fall afternoon.
5. Halloween Joe Joe's Cookies
Trader Joe's famous store-brand sandwich cookies get the Halloween treatment once a year. The seasonal treats come in four jack o'lantern patterns, but don't let the "costume" fool you. Underneath the disguise is the same familiar combo of chocolate wafers and vanilla-bean cream. Selling for $3 per one-pound box.
6. Halloween Gummies
In addition to their Spider Gummies, Trader Joe's has a mini-bag assortment of gummy candy. Made by a French confectioner, they contain no gelatin (vegans take note) and are colored with natural plant extracts. The pouches are perfect for tossing into kids' lunch boxes or into your purse for the midday hungries.
7. Harvest Collection Belgian Chocolates
Let the trick-or-treaters have their mini-candy bars and lollipops. This is a big-kid treat. The decadent Belgian chocolate comes in an assortment of seven autumn designs, all with rich nut-praline or caramel fillings. A box sells for $4.
8. Pumpkin Joe-Joe's
Can't get enough holiday Joe-Joe's? TJ's has you covered. In addition to their jack o'lantern version, they offer pumpkin cream-filled sandwich cookies ($3) that just beg to be served alongside a glass of milk.
9. Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies
For those who like their treats bite-sized, these mini pumpkin-shaped cookies are rich with nutmeg and allspice, coated with either white yogurt icing or pumpkin-spiced orange frosting. Further proving that good things come in small packages, the cookies aren't an over-the-top indulgence. They're going for $3 per box.
10. Chocolate Mousse Pumpkins
In true Halloween fashion, these mini-cakes ($4) only look orange-flavored. The pumpkin-colored fondant icing disguises the indulgent chocolate layer cake underneath. Adding to the treat: the creamy chocolate mousse between the cake layers. Great for a snack or an after-dinner treat.
11. Boo Bark
A brand-new addition to the TJ's Halloween mix is this extravaganza of a candy bar ($3). The milk chocolate bark on the bottom is topped with candy corn, candy gems, and chocolate eyeballs, plus pieces of Joe-Joe's Cookies. Break off a piece when the afternoon slump strikes, or be nice and share it among your family or friends.
12. Spooky Half Moon Cookies
The popular black-and-white cookie gets a Halloween makeover from Trader Joe's. Soft and moist vanilla cake cookies ($4 per box) are decorated with a half-black, half-orange frosting. You and the kids can debate which half is best saved for last.
13. Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage
Into seasonal flavors, but can't do dairy? Trader Joe's has you covered here, too. Pour a glass of this totally dairy-free almond-based beverage, thickened with real pumpkin purée and flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. Hot or cold, it's like Halloween in a glass. Each carton retails for $3.