How To Pair Wine With Your Halloween Candy

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With fall creeping in, it's natural to start whipping up your favorite Halloween recipes and infusing spooky decor into your home. While pumpkin and apple recipes take over, we can't forget about seasonally inspired drinks. Sure, boozy apple ciders and cocktails intended to look like fluorescent goop abound, but don't neglect your favorite wines during the spooky season.  

It's far from the traditional pairings that grace sommelier handbooks, but if you're the kind of person who gleefully awaits the influx of candy in October, then you'll want to check out our list below. Wine pairings typically work by either contrasting or complementing flavor profiles. With regard to candy, there are plenty of excessively sweet and sour flavors to contend with. You'll want to keep that in mind with some of our sweeter wine suggestions. Although you might not be inclined to sip a high-sugar wine as you hang out by the pool, in some cases it's the perfect option to pair with a sweet dish ... or in this case, candy.

Candy corn and oaked chardonnay

This pairing brings together two controversial items that have a lot in common. Although candy corn maintains an infamous identity, it has been on the market for around 100 years (via History). Considering it continues to be a Halloween standard, the sweet must have enough fans in order to remain on store shelves. The flavor profile includes notes of vanilla, marshmallow, and a creamy butter caramel element to tie it all together. More specifically, a company spokesperson told Thrillist that "It should be like biting into butter."

As it turns out, a whole style of chardonnay wine offers up very similar flavors. Depending on the type, new oak barrels used to ferment or age chardonnay tend to showcase notes of vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, coconut, and spices. Additionally, many white wines undergo a process known as malolactic fermentation. The result is a smooth and creamy texture, and on a chemical level, lactic acid and diacetyl are produced (via MasterClass). More simply, compounds responsible for buttery flavors are actually present in the wine. Ultimately, for a complementary pairing with candy corn, you'll want to pick up a bottle of new oak-aged chardonnay. Bread & Butter chardonnay from California is a great choice.

Twizzlers and white zinfandel

Upon landing on the moon, Neil Armstrong famously said, "I could go for some Twizzlers right now." Thankfully, you don't have to leave the earth to enjoy this sweet licorice. Although it comes in a number of fruity flavors and was originally made with licorice extract, the current top-produced variety is strawberry.

While we're fond of the pairing due to the similar color spectrum, fruity rosé wine is our pick for other reasons too. Though bone-dry Provençal styles are a favorite match for light salads and sunny patios, we're veering toward off-dry types here. If you choose a wine that is too dry, it will take on a notably sour flavor when you sip it with sweet Twizzlers.

Here is your chance to revive the '80s and '90s with a chilled bottle of white zinfandel. Known for its off-dry quality, this wine is brimming with sweet red fruit aromas and a light body that makes it go down easy. Paired with a pack of chewy Twizzlers, this duo isn't so far-fetched. Try Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi's take on white zinfandel for a sweet treat.

Sour Patch Kids and sparkling rosé

Mouth-puckering Sour Patch Kids in assorted fruity flavors are common among Halloween treats. Although you might pick up a bag of watermelon or blue raspberry Kids, the original package features four flavors: lemon, lime, peach, and cherry (via Snack History). However, new or personalized mixes mean you can end up with various blends. The unifying factor among the different types is a powdery sour coating and a chewy soft interior.

Given that these gummy candies evolve as you consume them, you'll want a wine that stands up to the range. Sparkling rosé is incredibly versatile since it balances soft tannins with effervescence and fruity flavors, making it an excellent pairing wine. In this case, we'd recommend an option with berry aromas and a refreshing crispness to complement the sweet and tart elements of the Sour Patch Kids. Cono Sur's sparkling pinot noir rosé offers both along with a subtle touch of residual sugar.

Jolly Ranchers and Moscato d'Asti

Classic Jolly Ranchers are the perfect fruit-flavored hard candy to slowly savor. Whereas gummy sweets get stuck in your teeth and disappear within seconds, hard candies can last several minutes. The original pack of Jolly Ranchers consists of green apple, cherry, watermelon, grape, and blue raspberry flavors. While the candy offers some sweetness, there's no denying it has a subtle sour bite too. Not to mention, you might come across a pack of sour or gummy Jolly Ranchers given the product's variety.

When it comes to the standard version, we're pairing it with Moscato d'Asti. Slightly effervescent and sweet with floral aromas and notes of stone fruits, this wine will highlight the fruity flavors of the mixed candies. Try La Spinetta's Moscato d'Asti to experience the delicate complexity of fruit, flowers, and honey paired with Jolly Ranchers.

Pop rocks and Prosecco

If you haven't experienced the sensory delight of a mouth filled with Pop Rocks, then you're missing out. Per the name, the tiny pellet-sized sweets are actually carbonated and begin to fizz and explode when the candy layer breaks down in your mouth. The effect is unlike any other and sure to surprise anyone who's unaware of what they're ingesting. 

A couple of decades ago, an urban legend went around that a child actor had died due to the explosive outcome of mixing the candies with soda. Given our recommendation here, you'll be glad to know the rumors were completely false and the Federal Drug Administration even opened a hotline to reassure terrified parents. The candies come in assorted fruity flavors both sweet and sour, so we're pairing them with a bottle of Prosecco to highlight the bubbly nature of the duo. La Marca Prosecco offers a blend of fruity flavors, like peach, lemon, and green apple softened with a touch of sweetness.

Tootsie Rolls and ruby Port

Tootsie Rolls are beloved for their tantalizingly sweet and chewy cocoa essence. The recipe was perfected at its very inception and hasn't changed since the late 1800s. Much like sourdough recipes consist of a mother, Tootsie Rolls contain a bit of the previous day's batch. The candies are made with milk and cocoa, along with sugar and other ingredients to create a sticky consistency.

To pair with the creamy chocolate flavor, we've opted for ruby Port. This style of fortified wine is young, sweet, and typically served with a slight chill. The red fruit flavors are fresh and lively and offer just the right amount of sweetness to highlight the chewy treats. Since this type of Port is so widely produced, you won't even need to splurge when you pick up a bottle of Cockburn's fine ruby Port.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and shiraz

The iconic combination of peanut butter and chocolate is a hard one to beat, and Reese's Cups is certainly a winning rendition. The mix of sweet and salty flavors produces what Penn State University professor of food science Gregory Ziegler coins "a dynamic sensory contrast" (via Mic). (If you were wondering why these delicious cups are just so hard to put down, blame it on science.)

Since you're dealing with such a prominent taste, reach for an equally bold wine to stand up to the duo. Shiraz offers a range of flavors including chocolate, berries, jam, tobacco, and spices. Wines made with this grape tend to be fuller-bodied yet pleasantly smooth going down. Although it's the same grape as syrah, stylistic differences abound and we'd recommend opting for an Australian shiraz to pair with your Reese's Cups. Try a bottle of Logan Wines' Apple Tree Flat shiraz to experience a full range of gustatory delights.

M&M's and Beaujolais nouveau

It's hard not to love the ease with which you can pop a few M&M's into your mouth. Whether you're chomping down on a couple of candies to awaken your taste buds or digging into a party pack of the sugar-coated chocolate treats, you're bound to be satisfied. Although M&M's come in assorted flavors, including the magical peanut and chocolate twosome, as well as brownie, caramel, pretzel, and crunchy cookie varieties, our go-to is always the classic.

With both a candy and chocolate component at play, we're pairing this sweet treat with a vibrant Beaujolais nouveau. Made mere weeks following the end of the gamay grape harvest, this style is young, fresh, and juicy — perfectly sippable with a pack of M&M's. Given that these wines don't tend to last until the next year, you're best off saving a couple of bags of M&M's until the third Thursday of November when the new wines are released. Georges Duboeuf is among the wineries responsible for this quick-to-market wine and its version is a solid introduction to the style.

Smarties and sekt

Smarties have been around for over 70 years, cementing their position as one of the most common and beloved sweets to receive at Halloween. Production occurs 24 hours a day throughout the year, which means that you don't have to worry about being left with no candy after the holidays. The chalky pucks with a creamy finish come in an assortment of flavors: orange cream, pineapple, strawberry, cherry, grape, and orange.

To match the sweetness of Smarties and highlight the subtle fruity flavors, we've chosen an off-dry sparkling wine. Sekt is Germany's answer to bubbles and it is commonly made with riesling grapes. These offer plenty of floral and fruity aromatics that will bring out the flavors of the candy. Try Dr. Loosen's riesling sekt to experience the delightful duo of effervescence paired with the quick-dissolving Smarties.

KitKat and pinot noir

When you're undecided between a wafer and chocolate, KitKat comes through with its delicious blend of cocoa and cookie. This candy bar is made in various flavors around the world, notably sake and wasabi in Japan. Even in the U.S., KitKat releases new flavors on a regular basis, such as chocolate hazelnut and strawberry dark chocolate, which both debuted in 2022. That being said, most Halloween candy packs stick to the basic — but no less delicious — milk chocolate variety.

The delicate wafer center and milky chocolate coating work well with red fruit and spice flavors. Pinot noir comes in plenty of styles, so while we wouldn't recommend it as a pairing across the board, fruitier versions with some oak aging are a good bet. Meiomi pinot noir from California is a top seller, and its jammy berry and toasted mocha notes make it a delicious match for a KitKat bar.

Starburst and Lambrusco

Another fruity favorite, Starburst offers the ultimate chewy candy experience. Available in a range of sweet and sour mouthwatering varieties, the original mix comes in orange, strawberry, cherry, and lemon. These delightful candies are also sold in packs containing only red or all pink flavors if you have a clear preference on that front.

We're pairing these juicy sweet treats with a bubbly bottle of Lambrusco. Made with indigenous grapes from Italy's Emilia Romagna region, these wines come in an array of styles. From subtle bubbles to complete carbonation and bone dry to cloyingly sweet, you'll find it all. Our preferred option to pair with Starburst is a bottle of Manicardi's Lambrusco Amabile, a sweet style with flavors of dark fruit and violets.

Whoppers and malbec

Sphere-shaped Whoppers with their creamy milk chocolate exterior and crunchy malted center are deliciously tempting. They provide contrasting consistencies and complementary flavors that make the experience of eating them so enjoyable. While you could easily incorporate them in a baked treat — the brand's website suggests a Whop-pie or old-fashioned malted chocolate cake — we're content enjoying them for their pure essence.

To pair with this rich malted treat, we're reaching for a bottle of Argentinian malbec. The country's primary grape produces rich wines with notes of dark fruit, chocolate, mocha, and vanilla, among others. These flavors are the perfect match for a pack of tasty Whoppers. Try Kaiken Estate's malbec which boasts notes of chocolate, coffee, black fruit, mint, and oak.

Skittles and sauvignon blanc

If your sweet tooth is aching to "taste the rainbow," then Skittles is probably one of your Halloween picks. The sugary treats are also made in a sour version, but as with many experimental products, the original version is a reliable bet — the colorful candies come in strawberry, lemon, green apple, grape, and orange. Meanwhile, a wild berry pack offers up all of your favorite berry flavors.

For our pairing, we're sticking with the classic bag of Skittles and pairing it with a sauvignon blanc. To match the fruity taste of the candy, a wine brimming with tropical aromas is our go-to. Tangled Tree's tropical sauvignon blanc from South Africa is loaded with aromas of guava, melon, and gooseberries and a touch of residual sugar.

3 Musketeers and Brachetto d'Acqui

With a name that evokes a timeless masterpiece of literature, 3 Musketeers sets the stage for its glory. Originally, the candy packs contained three bars, which provided the basis for the product's name. The company says it best, by describing the treat as "fluffy, creamy nougat wrapped in a chocolatey hug." Although some nougat is made with nuts (per Britannica), 3 Musketeers perfects the airy texture using egg whites, cocoa powder, sugar, and oils.

To play up the milky chocolate and sweet fluffy contents, we're pairing our stash of 3 Musketeers with a bottle of Brachetto d'Acqui. This wine from Piemonte, Italy, is made with a local grape and produced in a sweet and lightly sparkling style. With a low alcohol content and gentle acidity, this wine is the perfect sipper to wash down bite after bite of chocolate-covered nougat. Pick up a bottle by Braida; the winery maintains that no other wine pairs so well with chocolate.

Nerds and cava

Nowadays it's common to end up with any number of Nerds products, but the classic dual-chamber box is cherished by many. With flavor pairs such as grape and strawberry or watermelon and cherry, there's always a new contrasting combination to discover with the tiny hard pellets. Meanwhile, rainbow boxes offer something sweet, tart, and fruity to crunch on for all palates.

To add some body to these miniature candies, we're pairing them with a bottle of bubbles. Spanish cava is made in plenty of styles primarily with native grapes. We've opted for one with residual sugar to stand up to the sugary sweets. Although Freixenet Cordon Negro extra dry cava is labeled as extra dry, in the sparkling wine world it translates to off-dry ... go figure. This sparkler displays fruity flavors of peach, melon, and citrus, making it a great match for the variety of Nerds you'll be ingesting.

Hot Tamales and off-dry riesling

Cinnamon lovers can't get enough of Hot Tamales, the fiery red chewy delights that are touted as "America's #1 cinnamon-flavored candy." Aside from the intense fall-time flavor, Hot Tamales pack in some heat. If you're used to eating spicy food then it might not be such a big deal. But for the uninitiated, you're going to want something to tame the burn, and water won't cut it.

Here is where off-dry sweeter styles of wine can really shine; sugar reduces the sensation of spice, making it a great way to soothe your taste buds. Riesling truly runs the gamut from incredibly sweet to bone dry, which is why we've selected a version by Chateau Ste Michelle in Washington's Columbia Valley. Here, the grape thrives and shows off typical aromas of green apple and peach. While it maintains a crisp freshness, a pleasant sweetness softens the finish and makes this an ideal match for spicy Hot Tamales.

Rolo and tawny Port

Caramel and milk chocolate are a timeless match, and Rolo has been proving it for decades. Although the chocolate candies only made their way to the U.S. at the end of the 1970s, they've always been a hit. Unlike full chocolate bars with a caramel center, Rolos are bite-sized and decadently melt in your mouth one at a time. Whether you need a quick hit of sugar or are ready to savor a whole pack, this popular candy doesn't limit you.

Rolo brings it all with its luscious caramel center and chocolate shell, so we're pairing it with a wine that highlights these flavors. The world of Port is vast, and tawny is a style aged in wood barrels, resulting in a broad range of flavors such as honey, nuts, toffee, and dried fruit that vary depending on the age. If you're willing to splurge a little, pick up a 10 or 20-year bottle to see what the fuss is about. However, if you're just snacking on leftover Halloween candy and don't want to break the bank, Burmester's Tawny Port is a great option with vanilla notes and a smooth finish.

Hershey's Kisses and zinfandel

Another bite-sized treat we love for its simplicity, Hershey's Kisses offer just the right balance of creamy and sweet. The original milk chocolate is always a winner in our eyes, but plenty of experimental flavors like candy cane, birthday cake, cookies 'n' creme, and hot cocoa make seasonal appearances. If you've dismissed this classic chocolate treat because you can't stand unwrapping each Kiss individually, consider that from 1907 to 1921 the sweets were wrapped by hand (via Hersheyland).

Zinfandel is often made into bold wines with jammy fruit, oak, and vanilla flavors and we're loving it as a match for Hershey's Kisses. Gnarly Head's old vine zinfandel from California is heavy on notes of dark fruits and toasted oak, which offer a lively contrast to the sweet milk chocolate. The tannins are subtle and smooth, making this an excellent wine to wash down Kiss after Kiss.

Snickers and Sauternes

Snickers has it all: nougat, caramel, and peanuts coated in milk chocolate. While it comes in plenty of creative variations such as brownie or filled with ice cream, the iconic trio with chocolate is our top choice. It offers contrasting sweet and salty flavors and a range of consistencies from chewy, to sticky, to crunchy, to melt-in-your-mouth.

We don't want to hide any of its delicious qualities, so we're pairing Snickers with a wine that complements its glorious essence. Sauternes is a dessert wine from Bordeaux, France, made using late-harvest grapes that have noble rot. Weird, yes; delicious, absolutely. The effect is rich, sweet, and honeyed, with aromas of dried and candied fruits, spices, coconut, caramel, and more depending on the age.

While it can get very pricey (grapes are often hand-picked individually), there are some reasonable options — plus it isn't really the type of wine you'll be downing all night. Château Sigalas Rabaud makes an excellent version that's smooth and fresh and sure to match the flavors of your Snickers bar.

Junior Mints and cabernet sauvignon

You might be surprised to learn that Junior Mints and Tootsie Rolls are produced by the same company although they have little in common. The former contrasts dark chocolate with a refreshing peppermint center, for a sensory experience that tastes great and feels cool. This is the perfect candy to eat if you're on the fence between a weightier chocolate option and something livelier. 

To match this dramatic range of flavors, Viña La Rosa La Palma's cabernet sauvignon from Chile fits the bill. Here, the grape is brimming with aromas of dark fruits, leather, cedar, and a minty finish that together both complement and contrast the peppermint filling. Smooth tannins round this out and prevent the chocolate from tasting too bitter.