The Best And Worst Halloween Candy To Give Trick Or Treaters
Mary Janes (Thomas Hawk/Creative Commons)
Unless your parents were dentists, you probably grew up with clear opinions about Halloween candy. Each child has their favorite candy they hope will end up in their trick or treat loot in large amounts. There's also candy they are more than happy to trade away for something that doesn't taste like poison. As you become an adult, sometimes these preferences of bygone years seem mystifying and those dark chocolate bars you used to give to your older siblings are now totally delicious. Other favorites persist, buoyed by pure nostalgia. This year we asked the food and drink department to share their favorite and least favorite Halloween candies. What are your picks? Share in the comments.
Favorite: Midnight Milky Way. The original Milky Way is a classic: a chewy chocolate nougat layered with caramel and draped in milk chocolate. Sure, most people love its simplicity, but it’s too sweet and without a nutty crunch, it also lacks texture. But at some point during my trick-or-treating years, something magical happened— that nougat transformed into an entrancing vanilla and the chocolate veil turned dark. A previously modest candy bar rebelled into a gothic midnight mistress. The slight bitterness added a hint of depth and balance to the sweet interior and the coating was somehow crisper. The Midnight Milky Way is the most addicting and seductive of Halloween treats. Side note: if you’re looking for someone to steal away all your weird licorice candy, I’m your girl. That’s my number two.
Least Favorite: Mary Jane candy. This candy came into production in 1914 and I strongly believe that they never made it again, but rather recycled the uneaten pieces year after year. Mary Janes are made up of peanut butter and molasses, which are both delicious things on their own. When combined into this tiny rectangular shaped candy they harden into tooth-shattering weaponry. If by chance you have super-human saliva with the ability to melt this candy down, it will become so deeply lodged in the depths of your teeth that it will never leave. OK, so maybe a freshly made Mary Jane is decent but the stale stuff I always found at the bottom of my candy bag was such poison that not even the most extreme case of munchies could force me to eat it.
— Erika Kubick
Favorite: PayDay. This candy bar does not get the respect it deserves. It is a magnificent, chewy hunk of caramel surrounded by crunchy, salty peanuts. How do more people not count it as their favorite? Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been much of a chocolate gal that I always dug through my trick-or-treat bag looking for these sweet and salty gems instead of the more popular chocolate-covered options.
Least Favorite: Milk Chocolate Hershey's (or anything covered in milk chocolate) . As previously mentioned, I don’t dig chocolate and always prefer gummy or fruity candy when given the choice. This makes me the best person to swap candy with. You get your Reese’s Cups, and I get your banana Laffy Taffy. Win-win. Who wants to go trick-or-treating with me now?
— Carrie Laski
York Peppermint Patty (Mike Petralia/Creative Commons)
Favorite: York Peppermint Patty I have neighbors who hand out Snyder’s of Hanover pretzel bites and stale PAL bubblegum to kids every Halloween who still wonder why their homes are egged after the begging is done. My treat game is strong and my secret weapon is the refreshing taste of a York Peppermint Patty. There are few things that make my heart skip a beat when the kids in my neighborhood look in their bag and see those chocolaty, minty discs among their candy haul and they shout to everyone nearby, “He’s handing out York Peppermint Patties!” I did the same as a young trick-or-treater— all I’m doing now is passing good karma forward.
Least Favorite: Bit O’Honey: On paper, the combination of almonds and honey taffy should be a winner. But this confection first created by the Schutter-Johnson Company in 1924, has long disappointed me with its chalky texture, brick-like hardness that I lost more than my share of baby teeth to as a young’un, and the candy’s ability to get stuck for days between teeth once the consistency finally resembled taffy. Not every candy to come out of Chicago should be fondly remembered; this heads my list.
— Chuck Sudo
Favorite: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup . It can be the regular sized or mini’s, I just love the chocolate and peanut butter combo. Much like the Rock n Sock Connection (only wrestling fans will get the reference) it’s beyond the bomb. As a child, standard chocolate was cool (and still is), but it didn’t provide the plush, soft texture that a Reese’s will. Even if it did, it didn’t have that chocolate and peanut butter pairing going on.
Least Favorite. Any fruit flavored candies. Could be Skittles, could be Jolly Ranchers, they didn’t, and still don’t, satisfy my candy cravings. Artificial flavors faker than Milli Vanilli, these type of candies just don’t jive with my taste buds. Maybe I’m just a fool, but you’ll find me down in Chocolate City before you see me hanging around Jolly Rancher Bay.
— Ben Kramer
Flavored Tootsie Rolls (ClickedByCarol/ Creative Commons)
Favorite: Vanilla Tootsie Roll. These are the white whales of Halloween candy and boy are they difficult to find. Some even insist they don't exist. Typically they are sold as part of an assortment that includes a bunch of other fairly disappointing avant garde Tootsie Roll fruit flavors like lime and orange. But what I was after for some reason as a child was the pungent flavor of cheap fake vanilla with a creamy and chewy Tootsie texture.
Least Favorite: mini dark chocolate Hershey’s bars. I was normal for a child in at least this respect. These were carefully sorted from my candy bounty and dutifully given to my father as part of his “Halloween candy inspection tax.” As an adult I have learned to like dark chocolate, but unfortunately these still taste like bitter chalk to me.
— Melissa McEwen
Favorite: Mounds or Almond Joy. I always gravitate toward coconut or chocolate on a dessert menu so these little treats are heaven for me. The only conundrum? I prefer dark chocolate over milk, but love the almond thrown into the mix. Dark chocolate Almond Joys would be my Halloween candy dream come true.
Least Favorite: Tootsie Rolls . The texture is weird, they get stuck in your teeth and I’ve always considered it an unfortunate bastardization of chocolate. The popularity of Tootsie Rolls continues to be a complete mystery to me. I feel like they resemble chocolate in the same manner that strawberry Starbursts resemble fresh strawberries, which is to say, not at all.
— Julia Weeman
Favorite: King Candy Bars of Any Glorious Kind. My neighborhood was the ‘it’ hood of our district in the 90s. Hundreds of kids (honestly - my mother counted) ventured from all over to reap the sacks full of goodies. That is, if you were willing to trek up and down every street, particularly the ones with the longest and steepest driveways. I'm talking a mountain of a hill for a wee lad. Those homeowners must have been highly aware of their intimidation factor— I swear they only bought maybe three dozen King bars for those brave enough to make the trip. One King was a success, but multiple made you a Halloween sensation.
Least Favorite: Apples. I know, I know— it's a fruit. But for all of those treks up giant driveways, there too existed the grumpy old farts guilefully offering something even worse than two measly Snickers minis— apples. You don't think my mother gives me an apple a day?! The weight of an apple alone put a dent in your pillow and your night.
— Kristine Sherred