Halloween Candy is serious business – just ask anybody under the age of 12 … or me. It would be weird if you knew that I don’t like cakes, pies, cookies, and that sort of sweet, but candy is a different matter. I still don’t like most of it but there are some types that are worth eating so for the last 6 years – ever since I started writing Life of an Architect, I planned on putting together a blog post that would help those out there that are oblivious to the lure of certain confectionery delights.
So for today’ post, I risked certain diabetes and put together the definitive list of Halloween candy worth eating. I have no doubt that this will be an extremely controversial list, some people will think “candy corn” belongs on this list … it doesn’t. Just like earwax doesn’t belong on this list either.
Some evaluation ground rules:
- This is Halloween Candy, not specialty confections that get flown in from Paris. If you’re not willing to pass out 600 truffles, they don’t belong on this list.
- The target demographic for Halloween candy typically doesn’t include people who prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate. If you’re passing out dark chocolate on Halloween you deserve to get your house egged.
- There are always leftovers so my evaluation process is partially derived by what I would like to eat in the days immediately following Halloween.
- Part of my evaluation criteria is the time-honored tradition of trading candy. I had two older sisters and when we returned from our night of Trick-or-Treating, we immediately sorted through our haul and discarded any semi-opened candies, apples, raisins, pennies, and then we started trading candy with one another. All of the candy on this list was would be traded straight up with any other item on this list. For example, Tootsie Roll’s were a volume item … if you want one of my Hersey Bar’s, it’s going to take at least 4 Tootsie rolls.
Got it? Let’s get ready to rumble!
Junior Mints are the only acceptable Halloween mint. Chocolate-y Minty goodness that is worth eating. Any hard candy mints are just mean-spirited substitutes that probably came out of some old ladies purse.
Smarties are NOT for Dummies. This is one of those candies that delivers a lot of awesomeness in each packet. Anytime you have a candy that allows you to sort it by color and flavor earns bonus points in my book – but unlike a lot of flavor variety packs, there isn’t a single flavor in this roll that isn’t tasty. (of course, we all know that the purple ones are the best – all purple candies are the best). I defy you to tell me that you haven’t tried stacking different colored Smarties together to develop your own flavor profile.
Speaking of sorting, M&M’s are the original sorting candy. Only an animal wouldn’t sort their M&M’s before eating despite the fact that the color doesn’t add any flavor to the experience. Is there a correct order to eating them? You’d better believe it, but you have to go to architecture school to learn what that order is.
Tootsie Pops are a value candy that also just happens to be delicious – of course, if you could ever find the Tootsie Pop Drops then you’d really be in business (the sticks just get in the way). How many licks will it take to get to the center? The world still doesn’t know the answer to that question – the furthest I’ve ever made it is about 20.
Starburst – There have been 54 different flavors of Starburst since they were invented (in 1960) but 50 of those flavors are disgusting. Skip the tropical fruit flavors and stick with the original Lemon, Orange, Cherry, and Strawberry. I will admit that this was one candy that almost did not make the cut – Lemon used to be my most favorite flavor but over time, now it tastes slightly reminiscent of cleaning wood polish. With points for longevity, sorting opportunities, and on the strength of the other three flavors, Starburst makes the final cut.
Milky Way candy bar – the vastly more delicious cousin to the disgusting Three Musketeer bar. Caramel is an important ingredient in many candies and is almost imperative in any candy bar worth eating. Unless you want to see some 9-year-old in a Dora the Explorer costume crying on your front porch as you reach for an Almond Joy, Mounds, Three Musketeer, or Payday candy bar, keep them on the shelf in the store and stick with a Milky Way bar.
Nerds (the candy) didn’t exist when I was a child and I feel completely robbed. The first time I ate some was a few Halloween’s ago as I was “reviewing” my daughter’s haul for the night. As soon as I “sampled” the entire purple box of sugar nuggets I wondered where they have been my entire life. The fact that they come in a box so that you can pour the whole thing into your mouth is definitely worth a few bonus points.
Speaking of candy that comes in a box, you have Milk Duds. Another example of chocolate and caramel combined together to make Halloween candy magic. They don’t look very good and as a result, I will leave it to your own aesthetic discretion whether or not you as a self-respecting architect should serve them at your house. Louis Sullivan would tell you that form ever follows function and as such, they deserve to be a Halloween candy in my house.
Skittles are another sorting candy, but unlike M&M’s where the color has no flavor value, the color of Skittles makes all the difference between eating them and throwing them at your 12-year-old daughter. (I’m looking at you sour apple green Skittles!) The disgusting green bits notwithstanding, Skittles are a definitely a crowd pleaser.
Twix candy bars fall into that category of simple and timeless. Created in 1966, Twix bars have seen many other candy bars come and go while they have remained virtually unchanged. While I admit that the Halloween mini Twix bars look a little like something left behind in the woods by something on four legs, their trade value in my house is as high as it comes.
Did you know that there have been 36 different flavors of Twix bars over the years? Yeah, I didn’t know that either.
Coming in as the best Halloween candy ever, Hersey’s candy bars as the cream of the candy crop. What’s there to say about this final entry? This is the modernist candy lover’s choice for the only candy worth having and eating. Hersey’s candy bars were the only candy that was never traded.
Putting together a list of the worst Halloween candy would have been much simpler – I think we can all agree that Circus Peanuts and Boston Baked Beans are crimes against tastebud humanity. There are 11 candies on this list and other than the Smarties, I don’t think any kids are going to be disappointed if they come by my house for Halloween.