Halloween has become dangerously homogenized. Everywhere, you find the same candy and the same superhero costumes and the same fake cobwebs.
Portlanders should know better: Trick-or-treating should be a valuable cultural experience, an opportunity to edify our youngsters by dressing them in the garb of Masai warriors and teaching them about Southeast Asian fruits, not a time to buy a Batman costume at Target and eat Nestlé Crunch bars.
If we're to build savvy citizens of the world, we need to start at Fubonn, the Russian grocery Good Neighbor, Barbur World Foods and La Tapatia. We shopped them to pick out tricks and treats for the little beggars at your door this year, from the sulky 4-year-old whose hipper-than-thou alterna-parents dressed him as Lenin to the punkass teenager wearing a dirty sheet who claims to be a ghost.
Country of origin: Mexico
These fruity bonbons—they come in mango, watermelon and tamarind flavors—pack a powerful chili center. They were our overall favorite. Look for them at East Portland's La Tapatia and any Supermercados Mexico.
2. Kinder Chocolate
Country of origin: Germany
An ultra-sweet chocolate bar with creamy milk filling, Kinder tastes like everything safe and loving in the world. Give to any anxious, stuttering cowboys.
3. Dupont D'Isigny Butter Salted Caramels
Country of origin: France
Sweet, sophisticated, mildly salty and oh-so-French, hand out this candy to that precocious preteen girl dressed as Gloria Steinem. Make sure she doesn't have braces.
4. Adzuki Bean Milk Candy
Country of origin: Taiwan
A refined candy, this one. A staple in macrobiotic diets, adzuki beans are nutritionally rich, and this little chewy morsel isn't too sugary and tastes pleasantly of peanuts. It will be most appreciated by families of co-oppers, but warn the parents—there's gluten in this one.
5. Bronhi Toffees
Country of origin: Croatia
Know those British wine gums? These are like absinthe gums. They may also numb children's mouths, making them a good option for the prissy Disney princess bossing her dad around.
6. Roshen Hunting Chocolate
Country of origin: Ukraine
We were hard-pressed to find a better label than this one. A jaunty green fedora sitting atop a hunting rifle? Amazing. Too bad the chocolate itself tastes like chalk.
7. Pumpkin Candy
Country of origin: Korea
In countries not colonized by Starbucks, pumpkin doesn't mean foul sugar-spice bomb. In this case, for example, it means something chewy, sweet and thoroughly meh.
8. Cedrinca Cappuccino Bonbons
Country of origin: Italy
Dirt and Aquafresh.
9. Ricolino Duvalin
Country of origin: Mexico
Remember that awful fluoride foam you used to get at the dentist? This is worse. Provide to any children looking like they need to kick their glue addictions.
10. Big Fruit Durian Flavoured Soft Chewy Candy
Country of origin: Thailand
The durian fruit gets a bad rap for its foul stench. This sweet does nothing to redeem its reputation: It tastes like a hospital smells. It's revenge in candy form. Dispense wisely.
GO: Halloween is Thursday, Oct. 31. Everywhere. Free.