Greetings and welcome to the final days of spooky season! To celebrate, we've got a tricky treat for you from Steve Mossberg: "Candy Caper," a variety cryptic set in a haunted house (thunderclap sound effect)!!! Steve tells me that he is easily frightened on Halloween, preferring only to trick-or-treat in the protective company of his wife and young daughter, but is fearless in the face of a variety cryptic. On top of the two he constructs every month at Square Chase, he's extra excited to be back with this one here at AVCX.
Enjoy! Note that since there are no black squares in the puzzle, there is no Inksaver PDF this week, and more importantly, no .puz file. Of course I recommend solving on paper for ease of making notes, but for those who prefer solving digitally but don't have an app that can open .jpz files, you can always solve online using the interface at Crossword Nexus. (Finally, as a public service announcement for anyone invited to any Samhain parties, "Samhain" rhymes with "a barn to put your cow in.")
-- Francis (and the rest of the AVCX Cryptic gang)