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Any time want to celebrate—or if you want to bring people together for no reason at all—setting up a candy buffet is a sweet way to look like the host with the most (without having to do or spend a lot)! Just make sure your guests know to eat a meal before they arrive, but to arrive ready for dessert.

You can create a candy buffet for super cheap by using containers you already own, borrow, or purchase inexpensively at a thrift store or dollar store. Clear glass bowls, drinking glasses, vases, and plates (like in the photo above) allow the candy to do all the heavy-lifting as the decor of your gathering. You can also use the candy colors to help set the mood: every color of the rainbow for a happy vibe, all green for St. Patrick’s Day, school colors for a college football watch party, etc.

A Thanksgiving Candycuterie Board

Year-end holidays are always hard on our budgets. Not only are they the biggest celebrations of the year, but they also all happen within six weeks’ time! A Thanksgiving Day candy buffet can make it less expensive to kick off the holiday season. Just save the big meal for the immediate family and serve a candy buffet for the larger group!

Since charcuterie trays are all the rage right now, riff off of that concept and use trays or cutting boards to lay out a candycuterie board! Surround small bowls of candy corn, candied fruit, chocolate covered peanuts, and caramel sauce with apple slices,  popcorn, and gingerbread cookies so your guests can mix up the flavors any way that they like!

A Christmas Candy Buffet

A Christmas candy buffet can be set up at any time during the holiday season which makes it a cheap way to kick off the festivities as soon as you’re ready! Set up your buffet with candy canes, butter mints, marshmallows, chocolate covered espresso beans, hot cinnamon drops and anything that tastes good with hot cocoa (or an iced chocolate soft drink) and the whole family can enjoy tree trimming with festive flavored drinks.

Candy buffets are flexible, they can be curated to suit your tastes—or your guests’ tastes—as well as  your budget for any possible theme. You can make your own candies, or you can purchase premade. It’s all up to you and the limits of your creativity.