Dear Halloween grinches. Have a heart and buy some lollies for the excited children who will be knocking on your door on Thursday.

Trick or treating originated in North America (although the origins of Halloween are said to be Gaelic) and you could say children are "begging" for sweets.

But when else do you see your neighbours out and about on the street, en masse, enjoying themselves as much as this?

Halloween is the second biggest day of the year (after Christmas) for my kids and they plan their costumes and makeup months in advance.

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In preparation for Thursday, I've bought a couple of large bags of sweets to hand out to the army of well-mannered kids that always arrive at my door.

Anyone who reads these columns will know that I'm a bit of a tightwad. Until this year, I have bought a 1kg or 2kg bag of the cheapest wrapped chewy sweets from the supermarket - although I felt a bit guilty handing them out.

This year, I chanced upon Kmart's very reasonably priced sweet section and bought big bags of popping candies and other assorted sweets that look far more appealing. The Warehouse is another source of cheap bulk lollies.

The most generous households are the ones that hand out individual treat-sized chocolate bars. Foodstuffs, which owns New World and Pak'nSave, say Freddo Frogs and Milky Ways are the most popular treats and that sales of confectionery will leap by 25 per cent this week.

If you don't want to hand out lollies, consider buying small juice cartons. Eating sweets is thirsty work.

Every year, there are more and more specialist Halloween lollies for sale from the chain stores and also importers such as The Candyman in Mt Eden, The Old Lolly Shop in Takapuna, The London Lolly Shop in Queen's Arcade and Unitedsweets.co.nz. These small stores often import from the US rather than Asia.

Another source of out of the ordinary Halloween lollies is Reduced To Clear stores, which have gummy witches' fingers, spiders, fangs, body parts sushi and liquid blood all at $2.99.

There is still time to order online for Halloween. The most popular key word search in Trade Me's food and beverage category in the past 30 days has been "chocolate" followed by "lollies". CRAZYCandies.co.nz, which sells through Trade Me and direct, offers 24-hour delivery in Auckland. I like the sound of its "Coffin Body Part Gummies" pack, which includes 750g of eyes, feet, brains, fingers and ears in a coffin at $22.

A popular hit with Countdown shoppers last year and back again is Scary candy bowl at $24.99. The bowl has a sensor so that when you put your hand into it to grab lollies, a scary hand pops out from behind.

More deals

• Chupa Chups 10pk lollies for $1.49 at Reduced To Clear branches.

• Cadbury Creme eggs minis $2.99 a pack at Countdown.

• NZ-made Carousel Maxi Mix 2.2kg $15 at The Warehouse

• Loose wrapped sweets, $14 a kilo at Bin Inn.