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Even years later, as a world-weary adult, I can clearly remember the excitement of getting a full-sized candy bar while trick-or-treating on Halloween. Households that handed them out were rare enough that you often heard about them from other kids first; word would quickly spread about what was instantly the coolest, best house in the neighborhood.

Looking back, I’ve wondered: At what cost comes such glory? How much more expensive is it to take up the mantle of the local folk hero, bestowing untold chocolate riches on all who come begging? With bulk pricing offered by wholesalers like Costco or Sam’s Club, this honor may not come at as high a cost as you might expect.

The case for giving out full-sized candy bars

It’s true that you’ll have to spend extra money to outshine your neighbors, but doing so is hardly prohibitively expensive compared to what you’ll pay for bags of “fun-sized” candy, either. According to my calculations, the price premium for full-sized candy is about 30%, once you factor in wholesale prices and realistic servings sizes.

And serving size is key, as most households that offer those dinky “fun sized” candy bars usually toss 2–4 of them into kids’ bags (or that seems to be the consensus after scouring the web, though there’s no accounting for the fact that some people are just incredibly cheap). The other consideration is going to be volume: How many of little ghosts and witches and Elsas can you expect to stop by on Oct. 31? This will vary with the number of kids in your neighborhood; again, based on some web-spelunking, most houses welcome between 100 and 400 trick-or-treaters, depending. For our breakdown, I’ll split the difference and go with 200—a healthy crowd, to be sure.

Fun-sized candy cost: For this example, we’ll use a popular item on Amazon, this 55-count fun-sized bag of candy ($10).

  • 1 serving (3 fun-size pieces): 54 cents
  • 200 servings = $108

Full-sized candy cost: Wholesalers typically sell 24-count or 36-count boxes of full-sized candy for less than $30. For this example, I’m using a 48-count box of Snickers from Costco ($37).

  • 1 serving = 77 cents
  • 200 servings = $154 (a 30% premium)

If you aren’t a member of Costco or another warehouse store, you can still scour the internet for more reasonably priced bars. Amazon sells that same 48-count box of Snickers for $42.72 (with the caveat that at this point, it’s probably too late to get a big box of candy by Halloween unless you pay about $7 more).

  • 1 serving = 88 cents
  • 200 servings = $176 (a 39% premium)

As you can see from the prices, full-sized candy is indeed more expensive, but you can limit the increase to around 30% if you have access to a whole sale provider. (Tip: When ordering fun-sized candy online, double-check negative reviews for complaints about inaccurate counts: It seems as if some vendors’ bags boasting of 400 or 500 items might be over-promising).

Bottom line

Buying full-sized candy certainly won’t save you money, but it’s probably cheaper than you think—and paying a little extra might be worth the glory the neighborhood children will bestow upon you. As one Lifehacker commenter put it last year:

“I do full size candy bars. There’s about 20% [of kids] that when they get it, their brain just shuts down. They have this dumbfounded look and then joy [spreads] across their face. Makes it 100% worth it.”

Sounds worth the 30% bump to me.



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