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Halloween Candy Horror Showdown

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Let’s get this out of the way right now: Candy corn is garbage.

Here are the corn-related products I’d rather receive that candy corn.

  • Corn Nuts (any flavor)
  • Soda made with corn syrup
  • Corn Chex
  • Canned corn chowder
  • Those plastic corn-shaped spikes you shove in the ends of corn on the cob so you can eat it without hurting your hands
  • Actual corn

Every time I see candy corn out amongst the Halloween candies, I shudder and think about those terrible, sugar-deprived moments when I would try, one more time, to take joy in these multicolored blobs of earwax.


By Linda Keller (aka @puckchk)

Well, I need to break it down into two parts. Because there’s great trick-or-treat candy and great “for home” candy. 

House candy:

Best: Candy corn. Whatever haters. This however does not include the “candy corn” pumpkins. Although cute, the sugar bomb ratio is just too much. 

Peanut butter pumpkins are also tops. Generally I'm a very anal/perfectionist person, so normally the ratio of chocolate to peanut butter on this would turn me off, but it works. Unlike the Easter peanut butter chocolate eggs, the pumpkin shape equalizes much better. 

Trick or treating:

Best: Twix and Kit Kats. Bite size these days to lessen the guilt as you binge-walk.Worst: Halloween jelly beans. Is that still a thing? Just, no. NO NO NO. 

Linda’s kids’ opinions:10-year-old’s least favorite: candy corn. Favorite: Jolly Rancher Chews.

9-year-old’s least favorite: Smarties and Dots. Favorite: Tootsie Rolls.

Back to the sane opinion

Linda knows that it’s important to divide up the candy, but I take issue with the house vs. trick-or-treat dichotomy.

The true candy test is what you give away/let your children eat vs. the stuff you stash for yourself.

Candy that doesn’t matter:

1. Smarties. Somehow both sickly sweet and boring. The only thing smart about these is giving them to someone else.

2. Pixie Stix. If I wanted to eat pure sugar, I would go to the store and buy a bag. Putting these in “stix” does not make them worth eating.

3. Candy corn. See also: Anything candy corn flavored. Even you, M&Ms.

4. Now & Laters. Call me when you don’t suck, imposter Starbursts.

5. Most hard candy. Isn’t there an old person’s candy dish you can be sitting in next to a cough drop?

Candy that you can take or leave:

1. York Peppermint Patties. Not the worst thing ever, but I can recreate it at home with bargain basement chocolate and a swig of Listerine.

2. Homemade candy. Talk about a crapshoot. It might be delicious. It might have a razor blade inside. Definitely let the neighbor kids try one first.

3. Starbursts. Making you kind of hate stars for some reason.

4. Mars Bars and 3 Musketeers. Mars Dark, maybe, but the regular versions of these are duller than dishwater. These are good to leave behind so the kids can’t claim you took all the chocolate.

5. Twizzler. I mean, if you’re desperate.

6. Dum-Dums. Some flavors shine (root beer) and others are punishment for things you did during puberty (cotton candy).

7. Blow Pops. If you want gum, there’s better gum out there. And my sucker of choice has yet to come.

8. Laffy Taffy. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahawhocares.

Candy you want to take:

1. Miniature candy bars. The creme de la creme are your Butterfingers, Almond Joys, Kit Kats, Twix, et al. You drop down a step with the Hershey’s Miniatures, with the least tasty option being the plain Hershey’s bar. Unless I’m making a mini S’more, I don’t need plain milk chocolate.

2. Sour Patch Kids. These guys are superstars. I’d like to see how they grow up. What kind of Sour Patch Adults will they be? Too bad we’ll never find out, as we keep eating their young.

3. Double Bubble bubble gum. Extra points for sour apple flavor.

4. Tootsie Roll products. The least among these, the original Tootsie Roll, is still pretty solid, but add in Tootsie Roll Pops (the best sucker) and Tootsie Fruit Chews and you’ve got a surefire winner. Plus, there are so many, you can share with the kids.

5. M&Ms. So long as they aren’t those weird candy corn ones, these are great. I like to get a handful of them and pretend like they’re sunflower seeds. I will definitely die young.

6. Dove chocolates. Well, hello. Shouldn’t we be in a bubble bath? Because this is a luxurious treat that is only given out when they’ve run out of garbage candy and start handing out the good stuff.

Candy worth buying your own bag:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Whether mini, pumpkin, eyeball, regular or some weird leftover Easter egg version, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are hands down the finest Halloween candies you’re likely to come across. Just go get your own and stop stealing from your kids. They will end up deciding where you live when you’re old and feeble. That’s another point for dying young.

About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.