Adults can relive childhood nostalgia by trick-or-treating along CT Chocolate Trail

Halloween this year is going to be very different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean people can’t still have fun.

Connecticut is home to a number of chocolatiers and sweet shops with locally made treats; there are so many that the state has its own Chocolate Trail, where people can browse a variety of offerings. With Halloween creeping up, some of the Trail’s chocolatiers have incorporated Halloween or fall-themed treats to their usual lineup of sweets.

Those looking to make new Halloween traditions this year might want to try their hand at adult trick-or-treating and pick up sweets from a local chocolatier.

Newtown’s Castle Hill Chocolate specializes in handcrafted artisanal treats. Erica Sullivan, owner and chocolatier at Castle Hill Chocolate, said, “Some would consider our confections to be edible art.”

For the fall season, Sullivan said her shop will be offering a variety of treats featuring the flavors and colors of fall.

“These include our handcrafted hollow pumpkins, made with a half pound of pure Belgian chocolate, our colorful variety of bonbons with flavor combinations, such as Cinnamon Pear Caramel, Pumpkin Pie Ganache and Apple Pie Spiced Caramel made with real apples and our hand-painted pops and chocolate dipped Oreos.”

When asked which treat in her shop is her favorite, Sullivan found it a bit difficult to choose just one. “This is like choosing between my kids! If I had to pick a favorite today, I would have to say our gold bar. It has this sort of salted caramel meets toffee meets creme brûlée vibe,” she said.

Barbara Crowley of The Chocolate Shell in Old Lyme described her store as a “chocolate shop that has a candy section” and noted that the store has a history of selling a considerable amount of dark chocolate. With the pandemic altering the traditional Halloween fun this year, Crowley lamented that it won’t be the same for Old Lyme, a community with a fondness for the spooky holiday as the street where her business is located would normally be flooded with trick-or-treaters. “I have given out 1,000 small bags of gummies each year,” she said. Candy fans can still visit the shop to pick up Halloween treats, including gummy brains, gummy body parts, gummy skulls, chocolate ghosts and mummies, a chocolate voodoo doll, Halloween popcorn and more with nut-free and vegan offerings.

Munson’s Chocolates is a homegrown company with shops in Orange, Bolton, Avon, Newington, Mystic and South Windsor that specializes in chocolate molded novelties. Karen F. Munson, president of Munson’s Chocolates, said, “We handcraft everything from pumpkins, to ghosts, to witches” and noted that the company also offers pumpkin fudge made with real pumpkin and chocolate-covered Oreos.

“The classic chocolate pumpkin is by far our top seller. Pumpkin pops, pumpkin chocolate bars, pumpkin gummies — we also have a gorgeous chocolate pumpkin face that is decorated with milk, dark and white chocolate that is always a top performer,” Munson said when asked about what treats were popular this time of year.

Kim Poole, store manager at Thompson Chocolate, said all of the Thompson treats are free from artificial ingredients. The Meriden store’s fall offerings include “cats on pumpkins, ghosts, assorted ghosts and goblins, pumpkin marbles (balls), pumpkin crisp, autumn-colored wrapped marbles and leaves, hollow chocolate turkeys [and] Thanksgiving minis.”

Poole said bark is one of the most popular items in the shop, but said her favorite treat is the dark chocolate leaves.

While some folks might be all about the chocolate, Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe in Ridgefield offers not only chocolate but also fudge and candy apples.

Michael Grissmer, co-owner of Deborah Ann’s, Sweet Shoppe said, “Our most popular fall/Halloween treats are our fresh apples (Honey Crisp or Fuji) dipped in our homemade caramel, chocolates and rolled in fresh nuts.”

For those looking for a sweet that can meet dietary constraints, Manchester-based Divine Treasures is known for offering vegan and gluten-free artisan chocolates. Diane Wagemann from Divine Treasures said, “We’re most excited about our two seasonal assortments: a Halloween assortment with lots of variety and festive designs, and a fall assortment inspired by the flavors of the season, like pumpkin spice and caramel apple.”