I love Candy Buffets! They’re pretty, fun, easy, and relatively inexpensive.
Candy Buffets add a nice splash of color to your party decor and double as party favors; no need to make those little “goody bags” for each guest to take home. And guests love them because they can choose what they want to put in their bag.
All you basically need for a candy buffet is candy, well duh! You can choose candies that match your theme and color scheme to tie the decor all together.
Raid your kitchen or the dollar store for containers. If need be you can make your own containers from garage sale and dollar store finds. To learn how to DIY your own sweets stands click here! You can even use hurricane vases/lamps. To learn how to DIY hurricane lamps click here!
Here are the basics to setting up your own candy buffet and some ideas we’ve used on some of the ones we’ve set up for our parties. The main thing is get creative and have fun!
At least 4 – 6 different types of candies – I like to have candies in the color scheme and if possible theme related; i.e. train whistle pops for a Thomas the Train party, Rock candy for a Flinstone theme, Pop Rocks and Ring Pops for a Super Hero Party, Cotton Candy for a Planes party, etc.
I also like to mix it up, have chocolates, hard candies, gummies or jelly beans, etc. I like to use different shapes like kisses, lollipops, candy sticks, gumballs, etc. ; they add a nice visual effect.
Do pick age appropriate candy, if you’re guests are toddlers gumballs and hard candies are not a good idea, they are choking hazards.
Don’t limit yourself to just candies, you can use “healthier” choices such as granola bars and fruit or juice drops.
Here’s a budget saving tip – Take advantage of holiday clearances, if you’re event is after a major candy “holiday” (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Halloween) you can scoop up a lot of candy when the holiday candies go on clearance the day after the holiday. Just be sure the candies aren’t wrapped in holiday themed wrappers and that they won’t expire until after your event. I did this for my mom’s party, it really stretched my budget! her colors were pink and blue and her party was in July; Valentine’s Day candies are wrapped in pinks and Easter candies in blue, perfect! I was actually shocked to find that most of the candies don’t expire until fall 2016!
Containers, scoops, & tongs – I’ve used many different type and shape containers: Mason Jars, bowls, apothecary jars, vases, canisters, over sized martini, brandy, and margarita glasses, etc. I have a personal preference for using glass instead of plastic (just like I prefer to use non-plastic trays and platters for all the food we serve) I just think “real” containers and platters add a touch of class to anything. But if you’re event is out doors or by a pool then do use plastic, you can find many nice plastic containers at most discount and dollar stores. You can get plastic scoops & tongs (I use clear plastic ones, that’s the only plastic I allow at most of my parties) from Party City and dollar stores.
Nice to have:
Wooden letters spelling out the birthday child’s or celebrant’s name. You can get these from the craft store or the craft department of Walmart. They come in natural wood, you can paint them or cover them with pictures, pretty paper, etc. (decoupage).
To learn how to decoupage click here! (This post will walk you thru the steps to decoupage a frame or a box, but it gives the basics you can use it on a wooden letter as well.)
A themed table cloth is a nice touch, like the one used for my grandson Devon’s Captain America Party and the one we used for my grandson Jett’s Planes themed party. If you can’t find a table cloth in your theme you can use one in your color scheme or just use white. I have many white banquet table clothes they work for everything. To make it match the color scheme or theme it’s easy to throw a table runner or overlay on them.
For a Pebbles & Bam-Bam themed baby shower I covered the candy buffet table with burlap to go with the theme. The dinosaurs added fun and the kids got to take their favorite dinosaur home with them.
Menu cards are a nice touch. You can print them out on card stock and fold them in half to make the tent cards used for the baby shower, cut out tags and put them in small holders or frames (we used frames for a wedding & tiny wooden easels from Walmart for the 80th. birthday), or just place them on the table or prop them up on the candy jars. If you don’t feel like printing them hand write them on little cards or chalkboards available at craft and discount stores.
A framed candy buffet sign is nice – you can make one that reflects your theme with words asking guests to help themselves and even thank them for coming to the party.
We use plastic or paper treat bags and put personalized stickers on them thanking guests for coming to the party. You can print them out on stickers using Avery tags available at Office Depot.
Back drops are another nice touch. For Devon’s party we used movie posters. We used helium balloons pinned behind the tables for my mom’s ’50’s themed birthday party. For the Planes party we hung a toy plane over the table. You can also use streamers, banners, or anything else you can think of or have on hand.
I like to combine the candy buffet with the cake table – it looks so pretty!
To add interest to the tables mix and match containers. Containers should be at different heights – you can use boxes, stands, etc. to add height to shorter containers. For the 80th. party we gift wrapped hardcover books, stacked them at varying heights, and placed candy containers on top. This is an inexpensive way to add height, all you need is wrapping paper and tape, you probably have books lying around the house anyway.
I’m busy planning my twin grandbabies’ first birthday party next month. You can be sure there will be a candy buffet. Stay tuned for that post!