For children across Southern Arizona, and across the country for that matter, that Super Bowl of sugar highs known as Halloween is less than two weeks away.

Much to the chagrin of Tucson's dentists, many of the city's big box stores are teeming with cheap bags of miniature Snickers, Jolly Ranchers and other popular chocolates and candies, all of which will be purchased and handed out to pint-sized ghouls and goblins on Oct. 31.

The stage is set for unbridled feasts and subsequent tummy aches.

But living the sweet life doesn't have to end when spooky season does.

There are a number of candy and chocolate shops in Tucson willing to help your family satisfy your cravings before Oct. 31 and long after your Halloween stash runs out.

Here are a few options.

Purple Penguin Candy Emporium

3392 E. 22nd St.,

This cozy shop, across the street from Reid Park, has a lot of flavor, and that's before you start shoveling the near-1,000 types of sweets available on its shelves into your mouth, Augustus Gloop-style.

Its owner, Dino Volpi, has a long history in the food service industry, but he also owned antique stores. Old crates, signs and larger-than-life M&M figures are sprinkled amid shelf after shelf of chocolates and candies from across the country.

“This is a place of imagination,” said Volpi, who opened the Purple Penguin in 2019. “If you sit here and look at these things through the eyes of an 8- and 9-year-old, it has got to be awesome.”

Volpi's primary clientele are families with children.

“We had a school bus full come in the other day," he said. “Twenty-one kids.”

But he also has a lot of older customers chasing their youth.

One of the Purple Penguin’s specialties is nostalgic sweets from different parts of the country (and the world) that you aren’t likely to find anywhere else in town.

Pick up some Violet Crumble bars from Australia, Huckleberry Gems from Idaho and a Twin Bing with cherry-flavored nougat from Sioux City, Iowa.

“If they are still making the old candies, we can get them,” Volpi said. “If there are new candies out there, the kids will tell you. We’ll pick them up.”

Purple Penguin is open 10:30 a.m.

-5 p.m. Mondays-Tuesdays and Thursdays-Fridays; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays; and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.

Candy World

9136 E. Valencia Road,

With a bit of distance from Tucson’s hustle and bustle, Rita Ranch seems an unlikely place for one of Southern Arizona's largest independently owned candy shops to succeed.

Alicia and Michael Huff, owners of Candy World, on the north end of the master-planned community, have proven otherwise.

The Huffs first opened their shop in Sierra Vista seven years ago as a way to give back to the community.

“There wasn’t a whole lot for kids to do in Sierra Vista," Alicia Huff said. “I wanted all ages to come in and be able to enjoy themselves, and relax in a fun place.”

They opened a second shop in Rita Ranch, on Tucson’s southeast side, after moving to the community in 2019.

After the first shop, which was located at the Sierra Vista Mall, shuttered permanently due to the pandemic, the Rita Ranch location became the couple’s flagship.

“It is a very strong community,” Alicia Huff said. “People here really support each other. Plus, it is easy to get to from Interstate 10 for customers coming from Sierra Vista and Cochise County.”

Candy World keeps the Rita Ranch area well supplied, with more than 800 types of candies, chocolates and even Thrifty ice cream in stock.

They offer nostalgic delights, novelty treats, fresh fudge and a selection of locally made products.

Parents come in for the candy bars that remind them of their childhood and Jelly Belly jelly beans by the pound, Alicia Huff said.

The kids go for just about all of it, but the candies that go viral on the social media platform TikTok, products like Slime Lickers and Jelly Fruits, are by far the most popular.

“As soon as a candy hits TikTok, you can’t even get them from distributors anymore,” Alicia Huff said. “They can't keep up with demand.”

Alicia Huff said the shop has done well in their little corner of Tucson.

“It is our happy place,” she said. “We like to make sure that it is the customer’s happy place as well.”

Candy World is open 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. They stay open late to accommodate the after-dinner ice cream crowd. It is open noon-7 p.m. on Sundays.


4500 N. Oracle Road in the Tucson Mall,

The sweet, sour and spicy flavor profiles found in many of the candies coming up from Mexico can now be purchased at this new shop at the Tucson Mall.

Mexicandy, near Dillard’s at the mall, offers all of the classics: Pulparindo, Paleta Payaso, chili-coated lollipops.

But they also do their own thing.

Visit the shop and you can pick up all manner of gummies, including Sour Kids, tart ropes and gummy worms, covered in Mexicandy's own chili powder recipe.

“Ours has a unique flavor,” said Michael Apalategui, who owns Mexicandy with his wife, Celina Guzman. “You get that chili powder, but it is not overpowering. You still get the full effect of the candy. It is the best of both worlds.”

Mexicandy also offers tamarind-based rim dips, to line your margarita and michelada glasses, in flavors ranging from watermelon and mango to cucumber and pickle.

Apalategui, a Tucson native, and Guzman, recently moved back to town from California, where Apalategui served in the Marine Corps for 13 years.

The couple launched their business in California, attending high-profile events, such as Los Angeles Comic-Con and setting up pop-ups at the Galleria Mall in Riverside.

“Some of this candy was really hard to get,” Apalategui said. “No one was really doing it on a mass scale. We wanted to make it so people could get it all the time.”

Finding themselves back in Tucson to be closer to Apalategui's family, they felt the opportunity was there to take their business concept to the next level.

“Many Mexican Americans resonate with what we are offering,” Apalategui said. “They are starting to see their culture out there more. When they come in, and see the candies from their childhood, they feel proud.”

Apalategui and Guzman opened Mexicandy at the Tucson Mall in August and are set to open their second location at the mall in Riverside in November. They hope to expand in Tucson. They inquired about a space at Park Place mall, but it already has a candy store, a Fuzziwig's Candy Factory franchise.

Apalategui said they hope to pop up at some of the big events around town in the coming months.

“I would love to start doing things, like UA tailgate parties,” he said. “We are trying to put ourselves out there.”

Mexicandy is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Chocolate Depot

6541 E. Tanque Verde Road,

You can add a little bit of European flavor to your chocolate intake with a trip to the Chocolate Depot at Trail Dust Town on Tucson's east side.

The shop imports its chocolate bars from Belgium, then melts them down to create an array of treats, including truffles, nut clusters and chocolate dipped strawberries. They also have fudge, peanut brittle, toffee and a wide selection of nostalgic candies and confections.

Owners Scott and Pascale Rail have owned Chocolate Depot since 2004. The business itself has been offering dessert delights to visitors to Trail Dust Town since 1997.

Pascale Rail said the fact that they are in Trail Dust Town, an Old West tourist attraction anchored by the longtime steak house Pinnacle Peak, has been crucial to their survival.

“We have seen chocolate businesses close down over the years,” Pascale Rail said. “It is hard to make it. But we get a lot of foot traffic because of where we are.”

Pascale Rail said business went through a significant downturn during the pandemic, but the Chocolate Depot is back on track now that tourism has returned.

“We get tourists, but we get a lot of locals, too,” she said. “This is also the time of year where we see a lot of our snowbirds coming back.”

Like most of the attractions at Trail Dust Town, the Chocolate Depot keeps evening hours, 5-9 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

If you are looking for something completely different, make your way to Monsoon Chocolate (, 234 E. 22nd St., for some high-end, award winning bon bons, with flavors such as chiltepín pepper, prickly pear caramel and chile mango.

Monsoon Chocolate, near downtown Tucson, is currently only open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will expand those hours starting Nov. 11. You can also find them selling at the Oro Valley Farmers Market, 10901 N. Oracle Road, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and the Rillito Farmers Market, 4502 N. First Ave., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.

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