This Halloween, you could go all mainstream and grab a box of those whatever chips to hand out to the neighbourhood kids. Or, you could grab the title as "the best house on the block" and give them what they really want: the kick-ass candies kids go crazy for and adults get all nostalgic over.
Luckily, even with the days of penny sweets long (like, so long) behind us, there are still folks dedicated to embracing the sweet stuff. For us here in Halifax, Freak Lunchbox is candy headquarters, hands down.
Since opening to a world of buzz in 2001, the family-owned business has maintained its sugary pace, now bringing in everything from a ridiculous assortment of Jelly Belly beans to old-school taffy and milkshakes to five more locations across Canada. Consider yourself lucky if you live in a city with one. Colour overload, more candies than you could fathom, plus pop-culture figurines and accessories out the wazoo, a trip to Freak Lunchbox brings out the kid in us all.
If you don't get a little giddy after walking into one of these shops, then you must not be human.
Hot Lips, Blue Whales, Bottle Caps, Tootsie Rolls, Gummi Sharks, Big Feet, Nerds, Pop Rocks, Sour worms — all your old favourites and then some. The best part is that with all the bulk candies at the same price, loading up a bag of goodies couldn’t be easier. Ask your five-year-old self which you would rather: a bag with three stale potato chips or a loot bag full of Freak Lunchbox awesomeness?
I thought so.
We grilled Freak Lunchbox owner, Jeremy Smith, on building his candy shop empire and what kids hate finding in their treat bags on Halloween.
There are millions of types of candy in the world, is there any rhyme or reason to what you choose to stock at your stores; is it just what you like?
There is definitely a reason to what we stock. We try to stick to our mandate of fun and freak. So, the weirder the better. We do not delve into very high-end items; we keep it light, fun and impulsive. We do not do cellophane and ribbon. Our branding and product selection is geared towards bringing everyone in and keeping it exciting. So, it is loud, vibrant and edgy.
Why did you decide to expand Freak Lunchbox outside of Halifax to other parts of the Maritimes, Montreal and Calgary?
The second Freak Lunchbox opened in 2005 in Bedford, N.S. (technically a suburb of Halifax). This was our prototype "away" store. We were running a large women’s clothing boutique at the time and it wasn’t until we decided to close it that we were able to fully focus on our growth. Peepshow (boutique) closed December 2010, and we opened our Saint John, N.B. store in June 2011. The St. John’s, Nfld. store opened in November 2011. This store has special significance for me as an accomplishment, as it was the first one that had significant distance between myself and a location that required a flight to get there. [St. John's] also crazy busy and an amazing city.
What is the best part about owning a candy store chain?
The best part is people's reactions, and honestly, the fact that it is fun! When it comes right down to it, that is why we do what we do. It has a natural energy that makes people come in and say "Wow!', then go home and tell their friends.
Hearing "Wow!" on a daily basis is very motivating!
What is the lamest candy a kid could get in their trick-or-treat bag?
Well, an apple, obviously, or a toothbrush; though, these aren’t candies. I do remember getting them as a kid. I have seen my kids bring home a juice box or a fruit roll-up. Really?
Happy Halloween, you crazy kids!