Jersey Shore shops offer homemade treats

It’s not fair that kids get free candy just for putting on a costume.

Nor is it fair that adults have to buy an overpriced bag just because of the Halloween-themed packaging.

Wouldn’t it be nice to buy fresh homemade candies meant to be eaten and not devilishly eaten out of the bag while kids dressed up as Fortnite characters come knocking on your door?

Well, you can. Several Jersey Shore confectioneries have been honing their craft for decades.

One of them is Mrs. Hanna Krause’s (aka Hanna Krause Candy) Homemade Candy in Toms River, which opened in 1982. But the family behind it makes candy. a lot longer than that.

Alfred Krause was a child apprentice to a master confectioner in Germany before coming to the United States at the age of 13. He settled on Long Island, where he worked long hours to make ends meet. In his free time, he studies his passion: confectionery and chocolate.

In 1929, Alfred and his wife Hanna opened a gas station in Wyandanch, NY, where they handed out free homemade lollipops with gasoline purchases. Customers quickly wanted to buy the lollipops, so they started selling candies. Due to the war and rationing mandates, gasoline sales plummeted and they began to rely solely on candy.

Jack-o'-lantern chocolate lollipops at Mrs. Hanna Krause's Homemade Candy in Toms River.

They opened a café which also sold homemade ice cream, cakes and sweets. This is where Mrs. Hanna’s Candy was born. Four generations later, Krause’s children and grandchildren run the original Paramus store, which opened in 1957, and the Toms River store.

All candies, including rich milk and dark chocolates, fruit wedges and jelly beans, are made with fresh ingredients, baked and dipped by hand in the shop, the same way Hanna and Alfred did it nearly a century ago.

Go: 2220 Route 37, Toms River; 732-270-9236, hannakrausecandy.com.

Jenkinson’s Confectionery

Caramel-dipped apples are a specialty at Jenkinson's Sweet Shop in Point Pleasant Beach.

You won’t find many places open year-round on the Jenkinson Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, but business is always booming at Jenkinson’s Sweet Shop.

Open since the 1900s, the shop is known for a variety of sweet mediums, like salt water taffy in flavors like strawberry banana and chocolate sea salt, and fresh homemade fudge in varieties like chocolate or orange cream.

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But the real star of spooky season (and the rest of the year) are apples dipped in caramel, candy or fudge.

It wouldn’t be fall without one, and these are topped with candies like mini M&M’s, chopped peanuts or crushed Oreos.

Go: 300 Ocean Ave. North, Point Pleasant Beach; 732-892-7576, jenkinsons.com/sweet-shop.

Lucille’s Candies (aka OH FUDGE), Manahawkin and Beach Haven

A 7 ounce box of assorted saltwater taffy from Lucille's Candies in Beach Haven.

If you’re a real fan of Jersey Shore staples, like creamy homemade fudge or stretchy, chewy saltwater taffy, Lucille’s Candies is the place to get your Halloween fix.

The Eismann family has been in the candy making business since 1927 when they started in Philadelphia.

Surviving the Depression on candy sales alone, their business continued to grow. In 1947, they opened the original Manahawkin location just minutes from the current store. In 1965, they opened the store in Beach Haven (better known as OH FUDGE).

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Top-selling fudge flavors include Chocolate or Vanilla, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Cup, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Cookies & Cream.

The saltwater taffy stretches over a foot when pulled, which owner Janice Eismann says is the true test of a good taffy. Some of the most popular flavors are banana, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, and watermelon.

Go: Manahawkin: 156 East Route 72; 609-597-7300. Beach Haven: 4105 Long Beach Boulevard; 609-494-3700. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3TAJYMC or https://lucilles-own-make-candies-oh-fudge.business.site/.

Lucky Leo’s Confectionery

Candy at Lucky Leo's Sweet Shop in Seaside Heights.

If you’re still really jealous of those kids devouring Halloween treats, check out this decades-old shop that sits right next to a historic arcade.

Grab M&Ms, French vanilla, chocolate peanut butter or nut fudge before coming to play games in the game room that Leo Whalen opened nearly 70 years ago. The family still owns the confectionery, which opened in 1953.

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Leo’s is also known for using authentic Belgian chocolate. Some popular bites include Oreos covered in Belgian chocolate, as well as pecan and cashew turtles made with homemade caramel and dipped in Belgian chocolate.

Go: 217 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights; 732-250-8555, luckyleossweetshop.com.

Savannah’s River Street Sweets and Candy Kitchen

Taylor Mennie, daughter of River Street Sweets and Robin Mennie, owner of Savannah's Candy Kitchen, makes pralines at the Asbury Park confectionery.

This dynamic duo of dessert connoisseurs share the same storefront, dedicated to bringing an authentic taste of the South to the community of Asbury Park.

A popular type of candy here, inspired by the desserts of Savannah, Georgia, are pralines, a type of sugar-coated nut candy.

They also specialize in something they like to call “loggerheads”, but most of us know them as turtles.

Appropriate for the season, they sell chocolate and caramel covered apples, and other classic Halloween bestsellers, like warheads, lollipops and more.

In addition to candy, the store sells Southern staples like pecan pie and caramel cake.

Go: 550 Cookman Avenue, Suite C109, Asbury Park; 732-359-6550, ilovepralines.com, Facebook.

Other sweets to try

Berkley Confectionery has been pouring and pulling salt water taffy by hand since 1910; 1205 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights; 732-250-4230, berkeleycandy.com.

Country Pot Fudge offers salt water taffy, fresh traditional fudge and more next to Fantasy Island amusement park; 830 North Bay Avenue, Beach Haven; 609-492-2800, and 1915 Long Beach Blvd. #8, Surf Town; 609-494-2822, countrykettlefudge.com.

Van Holten chocolates is known for its wacky popcorn flavors and delicious fudge. For The Brick: 1893 Route 88; 732-840-0888. For Seaside Heights: 819 Boardwalk; 732-830-2220, vanholtenschocolates.com.

Gabriela L. Laracca joined USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey in 2021 and enthusiastically brings her passion for food and culture to our readers. Send restaurant tips to [email protected].

Helen J. Jimenez