October 10, 2005

Candy Lineup

As I shuffled down the aisles of a convenience store this weekend, I was bombarded by the variety of candy that comes out for Halloween. The candy that you really only see around this time of year, unless you frequent candy stores, or stumble upon it at a movie theater (whose candy supplies seem to operate outside of the normal candy chain of command… I mean, that’s about the only time I ever see Dots anymore).

This got me thinking about bringing home that big pillowcase full of sweet loot after a night’s worth of trick-or-treating. I remember flopping myself down on the floor and overturning my sack, spilling a mountain of candy before me. Afterwards, I would immediately set to sorting from a pre-defined candy hierarchy I had constructed in my head. For me, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Crunch bars always came in at the top, followed closely by Snickers and Mr. Goodbar. But, as much as there was an upper candy echelon, there was an even more pronounced lower candy serfdom. The candy that gets you actually upset that someone would dare hand it out. You know, all forms of marshmallow abominations, weird homemade frippery, things with nougat, and non-edible money. Fuck you 50¢ piece! Get over there with the candy corn! *blech*

What are your most/least favorite Halloween treats? Also, feel free to share some good trick-or-treating stories.

Commentary (41):

1. Rob Weychert says… oct 10, 2005 | 10:35 am

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Nestle Crunch Bars were at the top of my list too. The bottom? Easy: Mary Janes. Who the fuck eats that shit?

2. AJP says… oct 10, 2005 | 10:41 am

Bit O’ Honey was at the bottom of the totem pole. Trollie Eggs were the best until they stopped making them. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers stood tall.

3. Dave Simon says… oct 10, 2005 | 11:06 am

I grew up in a neighborhood where people practically bussed their kids in to go Trick-or-Treating. Good loot to be had.

My parent’s house has a big iron screen door that is made to look like a spider web. When it’s back-lit at Halloween it looks scarey. Add to that my audiophile (until he almost totally lost his hearing) dad would put on really spooky music.

One year my dad decided to give Hershey bars out - not the little ones, the full size ones. That was a good year.

The people who give out nickels or apples should get in the spirit. It’s about ruining teeth!!

4. M.e. says… oct 10, 2005 | 11:23 am

My favorite is that impossibly hard gum with 90 seconds of flavor. It’s a good jaw workout and I like to see how many a can chew at a time.

This year will be my first my daughter’s first night trick-or-treating. She is lightning excited. I can’t wait to see what kind of 3 year old hierarchy she comes up with. I hope it’s the opposite of mine.

5. Peter Venero says… oct 10, 2005 | 11:29 am

Oh God how I miss Halloween candy - candy corns, teeth shattering jaw breakers - yum! Sadly I’m stuck down under in Australia where Halloween isn’t really celebrated. Perhaps I can throw together a Halloween Mascarade for my OZ mates. *sigh*

Here in Sydney stores are already bringing out their Christmas stuff. But then Christmas here isn’t all that great either. It’s just not festive enough! I’m a deck the halls kind of guy for goodness sakes.

And I miss oatmel cream pies!!

6. Jon says… oct 10, 2005 | 12:01 pm

Back home in PA, when we were too old to go door to door trick or treating (and the trick was more important than the treats) my friend Doug and I would hide out on my parent’s roof and waterballon the unsuspecting kids and parents out in the neighborhood. We had rules that we would never hit the really little kids or parents or hot babysitters - instead we’d drop the water balloons right in front of them - which would scare the crap out them. Anyway, one year while camped out on the roof, we noticed a man across the street trying to jimmy the window of my neighbor’s house (my neighbors were out with their kids trick or treating). Doug and I saw only one course of action - we pelted the would-be robber with water balloons from the sky. He ran in circles for a few seconds, trying to figure out where the barrage was coming from, before taking a flying leap over some bushes and sprinting off down the street. Doug and I were left as the victorious 8th grade protectors of the neighrborhood. Good times.

7. JHwang says… oct 10, 2005 | 12:31 pm

Crunch was at the top of my list, too! So was Krackle; I liked the ones that had rice crispies in them. Being a pint-sized candy snob, there were a lot at the bottom of the heirarchy, including candy corn (gross!), anything that contained coconut and Toostie Rolls. I could never bite into those things! Rotting teeth is okay; breaking teeth is not. Oh, how I miss freezing my toes off, filling my pillowcase with candy and hoarding it against my siblings. Thanks for reminding me of lighter days (or nights in this case)!

8. Jared says… oct 10, 2005 | 12:35 pm

Regarding Rob’s question about the Mary Janes, the answer would be ME. Not sure what my problem is, but I love ghetto candy, especially candy corns and peanut chews. However, the ellusive Charleston Chew was always the prized pig of my pillow case.

My least favorite “treat” was the toothbrush and mini toothpaste from the neighborhood dentist. What a jerk!

9. Jason Santa Maria says… oct 10, 2005 | 12:59 pm

Jon: That is really damn funny. Victory!

Jared: you and I would be a good time on Halloween night. You like everything I hate. We could swap what we deem to be our “low-ends” and both make out like bandits.

10. Ritz says… oct 10, 2005 | 1:28 pm

The best part, after dumping your mountain of candy and sorting it accordingly, was the immediate fast-talking auction that follows.

3-4 kids can turn ruthless when candy bartering begins. No effing way am I giving you 2 snickers for a butterfinger! Then, of course, when it was close to over you would be offered all the candy corns on the entire earth for a baby ruth.

Candy corn are the currency equivalent to the yen.

11. cass says… oct 10, 2005 | 1:44 pm


i hate the little effers.
let me count the ways

1. they are indestructible
Peep Research

2. they travel more than i do. they are so cosmopolitan and so effin well-travelled
Peep Passport

3. they like frodo. weird renaissance faire peepy freaks
Lord">http://www.lordofthepeeps.com/”>Lord of the Peeps

hmm. what would Jesus peep?
Eat Peeps for Jesus (?)


12. wayne says… oct 10, 2005 | 1:49 pm

1. reese’s peanut butter cups [the gold standard]; 2. goldenberg’s peanut chews—dark chocolate, not milk [yeah, philly]; 3. snickers [for when your appetite’s pokin’ at you, pokin’ at you]. the bottom three are clearly candy corn, circus peanuts, and anything with coconut. i think you should pitch “fripperies” as a candy name to hershey or nestle.

13. Shaun Inman says… oct 10, 2005 | 2:12 pm

Obviously Dave Simmons has never tried to chew a nickel. ;)

For me the top was always Butterfingers. Anything grape make up the opposite end of the spectrum. Like those fruit flavored Tootsie rolls? Ugh!

14. Rebecca says… oct 10, 2005 | 2:14 pm

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Peanut M&Ms were always on the top of my list.

Gum and these weird ‘Candy Fun Sticks’ that came in boxes with monsters on them were awful. I once got a card that said “Jesus Loves You” with a penny taped on it too.

15. Andrea Piernock Barrish says… oct 10, 2005 | 2:42 pm

Anything with a combination of chocolate and peanuts (or peanut butter) would make it to the top of my list, although I often times had to fight my mother for the Reese’s Cups. I think the worst things I’d ever gotten were pencils. Not even Halloween-like decorated pencils, I’m talking Dixon Ticonderoga standard yellow #2 pencils.

16. Mike D. says… oct 10, 2005 | 2:42 pm

All this time I thought I knew you and NOW I find out you are an anti-nougat-ite? How could you???

No Snickers? No Milky Way?

As for the worst candy ever, it’s candy corn… hands down. It’s always stale and nothing at all like corn.

Best candy ever? That’s a tougher question and probably not answerable in this here tiny text box.

17. Lanny Heidbreder says… oct 10, 2005 | 3:29 pm

“Sometimes they gave you that little white bag, twisted on the top, you know that’s gonna be some crap candy. It’s gotta have those Official Halloween Markings on it. ‘Hold it lady, wait a second, what is this, the orange marshmallow shaped like a big peanut? Do me a favor, you keep that one. Yeah — we got all the doorstops we need already, thank you very much. We’re going for name-candy only this year.’”

— Jerry Seinfeld

18. trysop says… oct 10, 2005 | 3:40 pm

I used to be afraid of those orange and black wrapped peanut-butter things for a very long time. I avoided them for years, until I finally decided to try one and they ended up being my favorite!

It was awesome because everyone HATES them and so I always got TONS of them - I didn’t even have to trade anything for em.

My amount of candy I had was doubled after that.

I kinda question my decision to eat them all though. I think they were made from old recycled newspapers or something…

…from 1943.

19. Maxine says… oct 10, 2005 | 5:42 pm

Peter: not only do we not celebrate Halloween (though in my opinion it is yet another feature of cultural imperialism that encroaches further and further each year :-), we also call them “lollies” not candy.

20. Jason Santa Maria says… oct 10, 2005 | 5:44 pm

Maxine: For you and your country’s sake, I sure hope Halloween gets there soon. If you ever want to come here (up over?) and see what it’s like, drop me a line.

21. John says… oct 10, 2005 | 7:54 pm

How can Snickers be in the second tier when you claim that anything with nougat is bad?

On a side not, Snickers is the all-time best candy ever.

22. Jason Santa Maria says… oct 10, 2005 | 8:11 pm

Snickers does have nougat, BUT, its main selling points are the chocolate, caramel and peanuts. I am mainly talking about candy where nougat is the main shebang, like 3 Musketeers and Mars bars. Nougat is frightening because it’s the soy bean of the candy world; those people can make it taste like anything!

23. Rachael says… oct 10, 2005 | 9:12 pm

There was someone in the neighborhood who used to give out homemade popcorn balls in saran wrap. Those always went directly in the trash. I also remember there being loose candy corns in the bottom of my bag. Those also went into the trash- who wants to eat something that a) has probably been in an open, unfinished bag in someone’s house for at least a year and b) who wants to eat something that was scooped out by some stranger’s grubby hand? Ew.

PS- All about the Reese’s.

24. Lanny Heidbreder says… oct 10, 2005 | 9:58 pm


I dunno how widespread the popcorn ball thing is, but if you lived in northeast Arkansas then it was my mother you got them from, and you have my condolences. ; )

(although I actually liked them, but no one else really did.)

25. Ryan S. says… oct 10, 2005 | 10:04 pm

Sweet Tarts and Smarties were on top for me … on the bottom, 3 Musketeers or Heath bars . Ick.

Slo Pokes were good too, though they were the best at pulling fillings out.

I used to hate when neighbors would put fruit in my candy bag. Fruit, WTF?!? Apples and oranges were the worst because they were so damn heavy. I even got a grapefruit one year.

I’d walk around the block just so I could chuck that stuff at their garage door. “Here’s yer fricken healthly kick!”


26. Ara Pehlivanian says… oct 10, 2005 | 10:34 pm

Rockets were definitely at the top of my list, those and the giant sweet tart lollypops. I have to agree with you about the marshmallow stuff, the worst being rice crispie squares.

27. matthew says… oct 10, 2005 | 10:46 pm

Although I never did do the whole ToT thing I did like passing out candy and making a dummy from baseball bats(arms/legs) jeans, a football helmet, pillow and jacket(all tied together very well), climbing to the top of my grandmas house and throwing it down behind people and kids as they went for the bell.

My favorite candies we had left over at the end of the night was always 3 Museteers, Candy Corn(yes, I like candy corn a LOT but remember I never ate candy corn from a stranger!), Bit’O’Honey and dude, Carmel squares, rolls of life-savers! I like the duller less chacolate sweets.

28. Ian says… oct 11, 2005 | 11:25 am

Awesome subject!
I’m totally down with 3 Muskateers. They’re so good! Snickers are a bit endulgent for me. Reece’s are awesome — the big ones not the bite-size deals. Smarties are fun to disolve in my mouth one by one or to scarf the entire stack and pulverize it into a caustic paste. Above all: crème-centered caramels (kayr-uh-mel not kar-muhl). That’s some good old, homemade, generic, Huck Finn-lip-lickin’ goodness right there. Mmmm.
Wait ’til November though, when most of this stuff will be flooding the shelves at the Dollar Tree.

29. cpawl says… oct 11, 2005 | 12:38 pm

I guess I am going to have to be the wierdo of the bunch but I never really into anything chocolate. To me, Snickers, and all that- especially anything with peanuts was at the bottom of the bunch. I would eat them here and there, usually my little sister would steal them from the frig because it would take me three months to go through them.

I was more into the sugar items like Smarties, Nerds, jaw breakers, and gum.

But to be the most honest- once I hit 6 or 7 years old- having the money was the best part- screw the dollar store candy bags. We would go up to the rich neighborhoods where they were giving out 50 cent pieces and sometimes dollar bills and sometimes I can come home with at least $35.00 which to a kid is ALOT. Then I got to go to the toy store and get something i really want. I remember trading chocolate bars with my little sister and brother for their loot. Suckaz would be paying movie theater prices for 5 cent candy bars.

30. Joshua Kendall says… oct 11, 2005 | 4:08 pm

Nothing beats a Reese’s Cup. The only problem where I lived was that people either didn’t give them out, or they gave out a couple of those damn bit-sized ones…when I say couple, I mean 2. In second place were the good old gums/hard candies (i.e. Jolly Ranchers)

At the bottom of totem pole was anything that was more than 20% caramel, homemade, or fruit.

31. Matt Davis says… oct 11, 2005 | 5:00 pm

The thing that I hate is when kids come to your door without a costume. Even if they can’t afford the store-bought variety, they can at least make an effort to find things around the house. I’ve considered putting up a sign that reads “No costume, no dice”. My wife insists that would be too mean, so now I have a graduated candy standard. No costume gets 1 starburst. Average costumes or crappy costumes with funny or witty kids get a Reese’s or snickers. Cool costumes or average costumes with funny kids gets 2 “class A” candies. Cool costumes with funny kids (or hot moms) get 3 picks.
Did anyone check out the costumes at TARGET? They had Michael Knight, A-team, and Magnum PI!?! The Knight Rider costume even came with a Hasselhoff wig!!

32. sutter says… oct 11, 2005 | 5:11 pm

i think we all know whats at the bottom of my candy list: Peanut Chews. also, circus peanuts.

33. RJ Hampden says… oct 11, 2005 | 5:19 pm

Man. Best damn Halloween ever…I got a pair of panties from that chick in the double-wide a couple of doors down. I was dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire.

34. Terry Tolleson says… oct 11, 2005 | 5:57 pm

Butterfinger. Hands down. Mouth open.

Snickers played a cool second and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups got a working over something fierce too.

The worst: Candy corn. It is some kind of Halloween staple and I am just not into the little triangles of bland. It doesn’t even taste like corn. Hell… it doesn’t even look like corn!

You folks can bad mouth money alls you want, but I capitalized on the givers-of-the-coin in my neighborhood and used that dough to get me the good stuff. Yup — more Butterfingers!

35. Shannon says… oct 11, 2005 | 6:34 pm

Tied for first: Butterfinger, Kit-Kat and Reese’s Peanut-butter cups.

I also loved those wax lips with the fangs … never knew if I was supposed to chew on them or not. Anyone else get those?

Still grosses me out: a pop-corn ball with BLUE gel goo holding it together. It was my first meeting with a popcorn-ball, and I didn’t know what to think.

Worst ever? Raisins. Gick.

36. Jason Beaird says… oct 12, 2005 | 9:47 am

My wife and I just had this conversation the other day. There are so many GOOD things to shovel out on halloween: Any of theose miny Hershey Bar things (Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Peanut, Krackle…), Snickers, Reese’s, Reese’s Pieces, Mr. Goodbar, M&M’s, Heath Bar (OOooohh, the Heath Bar!), Whoppers…OK, so that’s mostly chocolate.

What about: Runts, Laffy Taffy, Air Heads, Jolly Ranchers, Blow Pops, Sweet Tarts, StarBursts?

Finally, the houses we always wanted to EGG on halloween gave out: Raisins, Apples, Change (If I wanted ¢15 on halloween I’d sell my frickin’ candy, lady!…and don’t even think I’m going to sell you a Snickers for a quarter.), Anything in a “Halloween” bag, Anything in an Orange or Brown wrapper, Mary Janes, Circus Peanuts, Candy Corn. I’m sure there were more oddities that I’m leaving out here.

37. margalit says… oct 14, 2005 | 2:35 am

Hands down, Junior Mints, Butterfingers, Reeses PB Cups, Hersheys milk chocolate, Almond Joys, and Charleston Chews.

Fortunately I’ve got a couple of kids who do a massive Trick or Treat and come home with bags filled with candy. One kid only likes the fruity stuff like Mike and Ikes and Smarties and (ugh) sweet tarts, and the other kid loves Kit Kats and crunchy candy bars. So I get the stuff I love out of their loot, and they get what they want. Such obliging kids!

38. Joe Clay says… oct 17, 2005 | 9:17 pm

Why does everyone have it against candy corn? It rocks. Not as much as Crunch though. That’s the top.

39. Mattigan says… oct 18, 2005 | 10:32 pm

Ahhh the great heathen holiday. I grew up in the midwest and more times than not I remember it snowing!! while trick or treating so not too many tricks were handed out that I recall…As for the goods I for one don’t recall being the great segregator when it came to my stash…all candy was created equal in my eyes…and belly…I do remember running out of any candy bar type item right quick…but gave everything it’s chance and my attention…man, what were our parents thinking…I don’t remember any policeing going on when it came to the goods! No…”only two pieces before you go to bed” type stuff. I am sure I slept with the daggone pumpkin bucket under my arm!

Good memory candies: Sixlets, 3 muskas, kitkats and the less than popular popcorn balls and candy corn VIVA LA CANDY CORN!! and especially the orange and black wrapped mistery candy!!!

Never got stiffed by some ba-humbat that I can remember…candy apples probably made me do a double take a couple of times…

And MONEY? where in the heck did you live to get money thrown into the old sack on H-Day?

Best Halloween costum doned…Ronald Raegan…man I tell you! Oldies were taking snap shots left and right…”Hey Herb dear…come and look at who is at our door”

I was suited out like a champ…”well Nancy”

HAHAHA Good times…Here’s to Cavitys and keeping dental hygenists in business!

40. Dan says… oct 26, 2005 | 12:06 pm

When I was a kid, we had a big long porch in front of our house with a swing at the far end of it (about 40 feet from the front door). One year, my dad dressed up as Jason from Friday the 13th. He would sit still on the swing, looking forward. Then when the kids would walk on the porch, he would turn his head real fast in their direction. Then he would get up real slow with his hatchet, then gradually start walking faster and faster. And let me tell you, he could sell it. According to my folks, every single kid pretty much freaked out that night.

41. Emily says… jul 14, 2006 | 2:44 am

candy corn and reese’s would have to be the best! however i live in Australia and never get either :(