Create Your Own Candy Buffet

Tips and advice for assembling a spread of sweets for your next party
Apples & Onions
Apples & Onions

Instead of serving cupcakes or a traditional dessert at your next party, put together a colorful candy buffet that will surely awaken everyone's sweet tooth. Guests can’t help but exclaim with glee at the sight of jars and boxes of chocolates and chews of all shapes, sizes, and colors that they can scoop to their heart’s content.

Before you go out shopping for candy, read our tips below for planning the perfect spread. While a candy buffet is often used as a favor for any shower, birthday party, wedding or other celebration, it also makes for a fun, surprising alternative to dessert for a cocktail or dinner party. After all, what host doesn’t want to send their guests home with a memorable sweet taste left in their mouth?


Choose a Theme

1. Color

Most candy buffets are distinguished by color. Opting for a monochromatic look with variation in sizes, textures, and shades of candies makes for a fantastic visual focal point for your event. Or go in the opposite direction and plan to use an a rainbow of colorful candy for a more circus-themed look.


2. Flavor

You can also plan a candy buffet around a specific flavor. Make it a celebration of one flavor like vanilla, berry, or caramel. Or go for classic flavor combinations like peanut butter and chocolate, or berries and vanilla. Have a birthday child who loves bubble gum? Choose a variety of pops and candies with bubble gum flavors and centers.


3. Favorite Variety

If you’re creating a candy buffet in honor of a bride and groom, or one person, honor that person by offering a selection of their favorite candies in all sorts of shapes and sizes. If the guest of honor loves chocolate, then consider a palate of all the best little chocolate bites like mini Snickers, Dove Promises, Ferrero Rocher, and See’s chocolate lollipops. My personal candy buffet would be all gummy candies, with my favorite gummy grapefruits as the star of the show. If I did one for my grandmother, I would showcase a variety of vintage candies popular in her youth, including her favorite hard candies in sassafras and root beer flavors. You can also choose candies that are popular with your guests.

Build your Buffet

Once you’ve determined your theme, it’s time to pick out the loot. Order candy in a variety of shapes, textures, sizes, and colors (that is, if you’re not going for the monochromatic look). Sweet Factory is a great resource for bulk candy and you can order custom-printed M&M’s and custom Jelly Belly flavor combinations at each of their websites. Looking for retro candies from decades past? The internet is again your friend. You’ll find Clark Bars at Hometown Favorites and Warheads and Soda Poppers at Old Time Candy.

As a general rule of thumb, consider each of the below candies for a well-rounded candy buffet:

1 chocolate

1 chewy (like caramel or taffy) candy

1 gummy candy

1 small fruity candy (like jelly beans or Skittles)

1 lollipop or stick candy


Serving the Candy

While I ordered these apothecary jars from Pottery Barn, you can use any clear vessel you can find. Just make sure the mouth of the vase is wide enough to fit a scoop (and your hand) in and you are set.

Looking for a more seasoned style? Seek out cool vintage vessels at yard sales and thrift stores. Other vessels to consider are large Ball jars, tall vases, short and round vases, metal tubs, and vintage cut-glass bowls or candy dishes.

Once you’ve determined how you want to serve the candy, decide on what candy will be served in each vessel and whether you will need a scoop for serving. For individually wrapped candies like lollipops and candy bars, scoops aren’t essential but add an elegant element. But for things like jelly beans and M&Ms, metal candy scoops, sccop spoons, or small ladles are essential to keep hands out of the candy.

Glassine bags are the standard when it comes to bags for taking the candy home. They’re available here and at most party supply stores. Alternatively, you could use small paper bags, mini Chinese takeout boxes, or cellophane bags, as well. Whichever you choose, consider customizing the container with a stamp or sticker for a final personal touch — you can even make your own at My Own Labels.


Looking for more great entertaining and tabletop ideas? Visit our site here.

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