How to Make a Candy Buffet for Your New Year's Eve Party (via Kimberly Hale of Extraordinary Sweets)

Kimberly Hale has the kind of job that every kid (and sugar-addict adult) would fantasize about. She spends her days playing with candy. Or rather, carefully arranging well thought-out, highly customized candy buffets for weddings, showers, parties, and other special events as coordinated by her Florida-based business Extraordinary Sweets. So, basically playing with candy. Clean Plate Charlie reached out to Hale for some tips on how to put together a kick-ass candy buffet for your New Year's Eve party.

See Also:

- Meet Extraordinary Sweets: Their Custom Candy Buffet Will Be at This Weekend's Sweet Dreams Festival

- Recap of Sixth Annual Sweet Dreams at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (Photos)

- South Florida New Year's Eve 2013 Dinners: Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and Beyond

"The best and most attractive candy tables include a good variety of different candies with an established color or design theme, with varying flavors and textures," Hale said. "Presentation and decor are as important as candy selection."

"It doesn't cost a fortune," Hale said. She recommends hitting up Target, WalMart, or dollar stores for the sweet supplies. If you act now, you may have time to order from online sources like or

"Generally, the rule of thumb is to plan on four ounces of candy per person and four to five candy selections would suffice for a group of attendees (up to 50 people)," Hale said. Pick up a few jars or glass vessels from crafts stores like Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores -- Hale said "martini glasses are fun" -- or from local thrift shops like Goodwill.

"Scoops, spoons, and tongs are necessary for serving and can be obtained at many of the same outlets," she said.

When planning the menu, Hale suggests adhering to five primary categories: chocolate, fruity/gummy (like a soft sour), something with texture (like a shimmer gumball), jelly beans ("Everyone loves jelly beans"), and salt water taffy.

Her suggestion for a killer New Year's Eve spread -- which would have a black/white and silver or gold color scheme -- is as follows: silver foil wrapped Hershey's Kisses or gold chocolate coins; pina colada soft sour balls or coconut or cream soda flavored Jelly Bellies; black, white, and silver or gold shimmer gumballs; white yogurt pretzels or vanilla salt water taffy; black and white Jordan almonds or black and white malt balls; and silver wrapped mint reception sticks to use as an accent.

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Tricia Woolfenden