The Definitive (Read: Completely Subjective) Halloween Candy Rankings

I love sugar. It’s my friend. If I could survive and be properly nourished by ice cream, brownies, and chocolate milk, I would be. But alas, sugar is bad for you. Or something.

Yet despite that known fact that copious amounts of sugar are not great for humans, we’re about to reach the biggest candy day of the year1Or so I would assume. Depending on where you look on the internet, you get different answers.. Halloween is next Monday, which means that children — and adults — everywhere are about to begin a sugar filled binge that last until approximately Nicolas Cage’s birthday.

While I’m an adult who has the fortunate position where I can go to the store and purchase my own candy freely at Halloween, I was not so lucky as a kid. I didn’t go trick or treating for the first time until I was 12, meaning I only got two years to experience the joy of ignoring the “don’t take candy from strangers” rule for one night a year. On top of that, the people in my hometown weren’t very good at giving out quality candy.

That’s why I’m making this list. There are a lot of lists on the internet telling you that one candy is better than another. And while some of those thoughts are good2For example, while Reese’s Cups aren’t my favorite candy, they’re perfectly fine, plus lots of people like them. It’s a safe bet as you’re handing out candy., others promote terrible candies that I found myself giving to any family member who would take them.

Instead of doing a lengthy list of individually ranked candies, I’ve divided candies into groups. Each of these candy groups has a target audience. If you’re passing out candy, know what group you want to belong to and purchase candy accordingly.

The “I’m Buying Candy I Like, But Don’t Want Any of It Around to Tempt Me” Candies

Examples: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Take 5

If you’re buying from this group, you’re probably picking an occasional treat out of the bag throughout the night to eat if for yourself. That said, when you tell the neighborhood kids that they can have two if they want, they’ll actually take two.

Tiny Candies In Tiny Packaging

Examples: M&Ms (all kinds), Skittles, Bottle Caps, Pez, Nerds

Similar to the previous category, these candies will be quickly picked up by whatever grubby little hands are showing up at your door. Just one word of caution if you’ve got leftovers. You’ll be finding trash from any of these candies in various corners of your house for months after Halloween. If you’re okay with that, go for it.

You’re Buying For Your Kid Who Doesn’t Like Normal Candy

Examples: Dots, Good and Plenty, Fireballs, Warheads, Charleston Chew

Read: All the candies I hoped to get every Halloween. With the exception of Warheads, I know most of these candies are hated, But I didn’t want anything out of the top two groups as a kid. While I’ll eat most of them now, there’s still a soft spot in my stomach for a box or two of Dots at Halloween. Plus, they’re easy to come by. No one else wants them.

The Store Was Out Of Everything Else

Examples: Spree, York Peppermint Patties, Twizzlers/Red Vines, Pop Rocks, Fun Dip

You might be a bit hesitant to purchase these candies when you walk into Walmart at 4pm on Halloween and see a desolate candy aisle with only these options left. The thing is, you’re not doing too bad for yourself. No one else bought these things. Every kids likes each of the items on the list enough to have one of them in a year3It’s like me with pumpkin pie.. You could have done worse.

You Think You Know What Kids Like, But You Really Don’t

Examples: Jolly Rancher, Starburst, literally anything with a Tootsie Roll in it, Airheads, Sixlets

Look. I get it. Jolly Ranchers are classics. Starburst has great marketing. The Tootsie Pop was huge at the same time Sonny and Cher were. Same goes for Airheads for that six month span when Hanson mattered. If your trick or treaters are adults4Particularly ones who have had too much alcohol and won’t care what they’re eating., you’ve got a decent collection of candies. For kids and their pickier palates, avoid these candies. Also, if you’re buying Sixlets, don’t. Just spend the extra dollar and get a similar sized bag of M&Ms.

You Want To Buy Candy People Say They Like But Actually Don’t

Examples: Nestle Crunch, Twix, Pixy Stix, Smarties (American version), SweetTarts

Walk up to nearly anyone and ask them if they like any of the five candies stated above. They’ll say yes to at least three out of the five, if not all five. Then give them one. That candy will sit on their kitchen counter for six months, then get thrown out during the bi-yearly purging of the fridge.

You Got Lost On the Way Out of the Store and Just Grabbed the First Thing You Saw

Examples: Any gum, Cow Tales, Circus Peanuts, Candy Cigarettes5Are candy cigarettes still a thing?, Mallo Cups

Why are you doing your Halloween candy shopping in a rural Ohio gas station at 2am in 2004? Leave me those Mallo Cups and get out of here6Actually, leave the Cow Tales too..

You’re A Dentist, A Lawyer, or Allergic To Everything

Example: Toothbrushes

Sure. Remind me that I’m going to have astronomical dental bills all throughout my twenties because I saw the dentist one time between birth and age 20. See if I care7Update three years after I wrote this: I do care. It was a LOT of money to fix my mouth..

You’re My Mom

Examples: There are none. Halloween is the Devil’s holiday and an abomination unto the Lord.

8Yep. Actually heard these exact words in my childhood.

You’re An Asshole

Example: Zero Bars

Fuck off.

  1. I had to Google a lot of the candies you’ve listed as we don’t have them in Canada.

    It sounds like the Halloween desirables are a little bit different here. Fun Dips would be considered a huge score, and while everybody would get annoyed that they got WAY too many Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops were a hot commodity.

    Chip bags were also a pretty big score and the odd house that gave out cans of pop. Jolly Ranchers and Starburst were rare and were highly desired.

    Now, we just buy all the candy we want and buy the kids the stuff we don’t 😉

    1. Chip bags would absolutely be a huge score, however since this was a candy list, I left them off.

      I have a major issue with American Smarties thanks to a friend of mine who brought me back Canadian Smarties in high school. American Smarties are terrible…Canadian Smarties are better than most American chocolate candies. Frankly I’m just sad about that.

      I think the other issue I have is that I hate candy that gets stuck to my teeth easy. With the exception of Jolly Ranchers (which are just vile…but also get stuck to my teeth), I think that’s a big reason I don’t like the candies you mentioned that would be highly desired for you.

      1. Canadian Smarties are awesome. We call your smarties ‘Rockets’ here. Scott loves them, I hate them.

        I’ve never liked the getting stuck to my teeth thing, but I am addicted to Jolly Ranchers… they’re one of the few candies I actually still eat once in a blue moon.

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