Old-Fashioned Taffy Pull Party – How to Host Your Own

Old-Fashioned Taffy Pull Party - How to Host Your Own

Want a unique party idea for your child’s birthday—or even her next weekend sleepover with friends? Try hosting your own taffy pull. It can get pretty messy, but kids absolutely love it.

Just follow these steps to minimize the mess and maximize the fun!

1. Stock Up on Supplies.

If you don’t already own basic candy making tools, stocking up is pretty easy. You’ll need a medium-size saucepan (3 or 4 quarts) with a heavy bottom and straight sides. You’ll also need a long-handled wooden spoon, a pastry brush (used to brush off any crystals that might form), and a good candy thermometer with a metal clamp that attaches to the side of your saucepan.

Next, go shopping for taffy ingredients. For the recipe in this article, you’ll need to pick up the following: sugar, corn syrup, salt, unsalted butter, flavoring extracts (vanilla, raspberry, and lemon), food coloring (red and yellow work nicely), flour, wax paper, and candy wrappers.

2. Prepare Your Kitchen.

If you resign yourself to the fact that this party is going to get messy, you’ll be in the right mindset to just relax and let the kids have fun. Still, there are a few simple steps you can take to minimize the mess.

First, lay down several painter’s cloths, taping the edges to protect every inch of your floor. Next, sprinkle a light layer of flour over the painter’s cloths—this will help keep everyone’s shoes from sticking to the cloths when the inevitable spills occur. Finally, tape down some wax paper over the table or countertop where you plan to start your taffy pull.

3. Make Your Favorite Taffy Recipe.

The process of making taffy can be a little tricky for young ones. I suggest making the taffy yourself, and after the candy has cooled, call in the kids to start the pulling.

Here’s a classic recipe for saltwater taffy. Try it!

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Flavoring and coloring as desired
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Measure 2 cups sugar, l 1/4 cups corn syrup, 3/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt into a saucepan and blend well with a wooden spoon. Place over low heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring continuously. Increase the heat and do not stir during the rest of the cooking. Wash the sides of the pan with a brush or fork covered with muslin and dipped in water, using an upward motion. This will prevent the formation of crystals which might cause the candy to sugar. After the syrup boils put in the candy thermometer, and when the thermometer registers 265 degrees, remove candy from heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and stir very gently. Divide the taffy into three parts; you’ll add different flavors and coloring to each one during the pulling process.

4. Prepare The Little Ones.

First, have everyone wash his or her hands with lots of soap and warm water. Then, let them grease their hands generously with a stick of unsalted butter to prevent the fresh taffy from sticking to fingers. Don’t use vegetable oil or margarine for this step—the flavor when mixed with taffy isn’t nearly as good as real butter.

5. Let The Pulling Begin!

Once the taffy has cooled enough to handle, it’s time to start pulling. Instruct your party-goers to use only their fingertips to lift the edges of the warm, flowing candy up, and then to pull out about 12 inches. Then, they’ll quickly fold the taffy back from the one hand to the other, catching the center, and then pulling again.

If you’re adding food coloring and flavoring, pause briefly after a few pulls to add a drop or two to the mixture, folding the mixture over on the color and flavor. Try using raspberry flavor with red coloring, lemon flavor with yellow coloring, and vanilla flavor with no coloring. Continue to pull until the color and flavor are thoroughly mixed in.

6. Wrap it Up.

When your taffy is very hard to pull and holds its shape when laid out on a platter, it’s ready to cut into pieces. Rub a pair of kitchen scissors with unsalted butter, and then cut the hardened taffy into bite-size pieces. Have the kids wrap the pieces in candy wrappers, twisting each end. (You can also use wax paper or colored plastic wrap.)

Wrap up the taffy. Photo. Laura Musikanski

Now you can fill small baggies with the taffy, and send each child home with their own homemade party favor!

The Author:

Vanessa Kirkland

5 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Taffy Pull Party – How to Host Your Own

  1. I am looking for a recipe for pulled taffy. I used to love making it when I was in Camp Fire Girls. The flavor was licorice so I’m guessing we used anisette flavoring. HELP! If anyone can help me I would be so grateful!

    1. The above comment is a good recipe and yes, you would use anisette flavoring but go easy on it. It’s quite strong.

    2. Of course! Here is a recipe for pulled licorice taffy that you can make at home:

      – 1 cup sugar
      – 1/2 cup light corn syrup
      – 1/2 cup water
      – 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
      – 2 tsp anise extract
      – 1/4 tsp salt
      – Vegetable oil for greasing hands and surfaces


      1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.

      2. Continue cooking, without stirring, until the candy thermometer registers 260 degrees F (hard-ball stage).

      3. Remove from heat and stir in anise extract and salt.

      4. Pour the mixture onto a lightly greased surface (such as a non-stick baking mat) and allow it to cool until it can be handled.

      5. Grease your hands with vegetable oil and begin pulling the taffy, folding it over itself and pulling it again, until it becomes light in color and has a satiny finish.

      6. Cut into pieces with an oiled pair of scissors or knife, and wrap them in wax paper or cellophane.

      Enjoy your homemade licorice taffy!

  2. I recently saw an episode of the Waltons where they were pulling taffy and memories just came FLOODING back … to a birthday party when I was young. If you are a parent with little ones DO THIS!! It’s timeless fun, interactive and your kids and their friends will be like me in their rocking chair years remember this party above the dozens in their childhood. I can’t tell you a single thing about other parties but this one I recall every tiny detail. GO FOR IT!!!

  3. Hi, this is an old post, so I’m not sure if anyone will check to reply, but I also have a wonderful taffy party memory. We are going to pull taffy at my daughter’s birthday – but there are SO many kids, and I wanted to have it ready and then have them take turns pulling – how far in advance can it be made, does it just have to be kept warm?


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