99¢ Only Stores, we love you so. Halloween is just around the corner, and you're our go-to spot for kitschy decorations, recyclable costumes and a parade of weird and off-brand candy choices. Buyer need only be aware of just how spooky things get in your aisles. Yes, you have all the classics, but these are the top five most awesome cheap-and-cheerful tricks and treats. LA Weekly tested, kid approved.
With their holiday spirit on dazzling display, our discount foodstuff friends offer up the usual array of Lemon Heads, Tootsie Rolls, Three Musketeers and Blow-Pops, but the funky stuff is what's worth seeking out. The following bags of candy were gathered from four different 99 Cent Only Store locations on the Westside.
5. Screechers Mega Sour Gumballs: Gum isn't the most exciting treat, so to sass it up, this candy maker added a super sour center and the extra bonus of neon colored food dye that is guaranteed to turn your mouth a color not found in nature. If your costume this year is "Zombie" look for the blue ones.
4. Skull and Bones: If you were the type of kid who enjoyed the hard, vanilla flavored Fun Dip stick as much as the accompanying powdered candy, this is for you. It seems to be the same product as that stick, but smaller and shaped like Skulls and Bones. Comes in individual packets.
3. Halloween Marshmallow Peeps: The sparkling sugar encrusted Marshmallow Peep we know and love from Easter, has put on a costume this October. Dipped in dark chocolate, the bright orange birdies become a triple threat: sweet, chewy and almost too cute to eat. Sold in packs of three.
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2. Chewy Atomic Fire Balls: Red hot and ready to go. Sold in a bag with 20 individual packets (which are only 40 calories each, should you be raiding the kids haul later) these pack the same incindiary heat as the hard candy version, but are soft and more molar friendly. If you have any left over, they also melt easily and are a super addition to any Goldschlagger cocktails you may be whipping up to celebrate the spooks.
1. Salsagheti: This is by far the most uncommon candy we found. Made in Mexico, they're watermelon flavored candy straws sprinkled with sugar, salt and chile paired with a packet of bright red tamarind-corn-syrup goo. Not quite sure how to combine the two, we went old school. Open mouth, drop in salsagheti, squirt in the sauce, close mouth and chew. Turns out, it falls on the trick side of the trick-or-treat equation. Maybe it's an acquired taste, but mostly it's just weird. The mad scientist combo of melon, heat and sourness is almost indescribable, but salsa-rific comes to mind. Much like many of the costumes out on Santa Monica Boulevard, it's a mish-mash that you may still want to take a bite out of.
Follow Rachael Narins on Twitter @chickswknives