Halloween Candy Experiments

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Well, the initial blood sugar rush of Halloween has subsided and sugar comas have set in, and we have lots of leftover candy. In our vegan household, I divide the candy into three piles: vegan candies to eat and enjoy; non-vegan candies to donate to our military overseas through Operation Gratitude; and non-vegan candies with which to do a little experimenting.

For the first experiment, make a “magical pumpkin” by stripping the color off any hard-shelled candy. Reeses Pieces are ideal, since you’ll have orange and brown galore, but we only had Skittles to work with. First, arrange the candies in the outline of a pumpkin on a plate. We nearly didn’t have enough orange for the outline, but by adding in a little brown and a green stem, we made it work.

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It was Travis’s idea to add red as the pumpkin’s “guts”!

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Once you’re outlined your pumpkin, fill the plate with a little hot water; the colors will bleed and fill in your pumpkin almost like watercolors. Sweet and neat!

Halloween Candy (5)Travis wanted to stir the candies, which messed up the pumpkin shape, but allowed us to see the white candy left behind.

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Next we tried to make gummy worms dance, following instructions we’d found online. Cut your gummy worms into small pieces, then fill a cup with 3 tablespoons baking soda and 1/2 cup water. Add the worms and let stand for 15 minutes.

Transfer the worms to a second cup filled with vinegar. You’ll see bubbles appear, and then hopefully the worms will float up and wriggle.

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Unfortunately, ours did not rise up (perhaps because we used Surf Sweets brand?) – but that didn’t seem to matter. Travis loved the fizzing, and declared this his favorite of all our experiments.

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You can also test for any candy for acid with a similar method. Add candy to a cup of water and sprinkle with baking soda; if you notice bubbles, the candy has acid. Mike & Ike’s left our water still, but sour patch kids did the trick!

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Finally, you can test your candies to see if they contain oil. Dissolve any candy (we used Starbursts) in hot water, and let stand for a few minutes.

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If there’s oil, you’ll soon see a shiny or waxy layer on top. Yup, Starbursts definitely had oil!

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Try this with Laffy Taffy, too, or any other chewy candy.

That was the end of our experimentation, and we finished with some more noshing, of course. Travis’s favorite vegan candies to eat by the way? The following make the top of his list:


Swedish Fish

Surf Sweets gummy worms

Dum Dums

Unreal dark chocolate peanut gems

Glee gum blow pops

Hope your Halloween was equally sweet and full of treats!

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Indian-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

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As promised from our pumpkin carving post, we didn’t toss the seeds this year, but saved them instead for roasting! There are so many ways to spice your pumpkin seeds, but this year we gave them an Indian flair (thanks to a recipe from Little Passports) to honor both the American holiday and Travis’s Indian heritage.


  • Seeds from 1 pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Rinse your pumpkin seeds very well, then transfer to paper towels and pat dry.
  2. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add the pumpkin seeds and stir to coat.
  3. Arrange the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, until golden brown.

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Note: Travis really enjoyed spooning out the sugar, so we ended up with closer to 2 teaspoons sugar in our recipe.

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Good thing everyone around here has a sweet tooth!