This list is based on my personal opinions. It is not the result of rigorous statistical analysis or polling. It is not based on nutritional or social value. Obviously this list does not cover every variety of candy (what of licorice, Lifesavers, Milk Duds or Junior Mints?), nor does it include the myriad of sugary treat spin offs — such as Nerds, Air Heads, Runts, Sour Patch Kids, etc. but really now, why should it?
Full Size Bar or Bag
Varieties: Snickers, Milky Way, Mars Bar, 3 Musketeers, Twix, Kit Kat, M&M’s, Reeses Cups, Baby Ruth, Pay Day, Nestle Crunch Notes: Any household giving out full-size candy on Halloween is sure to have its supply depleted in less than an hour, due to sophisticated kid networking techniques. Full-size handouts are a rare occurrence, usually from a comfortably retired couple who miss the grandkids. Capable of generating 52 weeks of starry-eyed kid-love.
Mini-Bar or Bag
Varieties: See Full-Size Bar or Bag, above Notes: One reason that the mini-bar is so well-positioned in the pecking order is that most people give out multiples. Also mini’s are less likely to be confiscated by parents on grounds of “no way you’re eating that whole thing, pal . ” Mitigating Factor: Mini Mr Goodbars are over-represented in the mix and have stale nuts.
Goetze’s Caramel Cremes
Notes: This soft caramel with a powdered-sugar center was a local specialty in Baltimore, where I spent most of my childhood. I assume that most municipalities boast a similar confection of tooth-enamel-destroying deliciousness.
Pixy Stix – a.k.a. Fruit-Flavored Sugar
Related: Skittles, Sweetarts and — from the sub-species Taffy Fruitorum – Starburst or Now & Later Notes: Hats off to the genius who invented Pixy Stix. Sucrose-based crack, the Stix deliver pure sugary pleasure, in neon colors with a barely detectable citrus flavoring, and in a STRAW! Kids love straws! Administer and then stand back while subjects go apewire.
Acceptable Fall Back Candies
: Swedish Fish, Mike and Ike, Good & Plenty, Gumdrops, Jelly Bellies Notes
: While not personally a fan of most things gummy, I have long recognized that gummy fans are legion. For that reason, gummies are good for holding onto and then trading at a later date. Like the jokers in a deck of cards or the blank tiles in Scrabble game, gummies are both worthless and potentially quite valuable.
Note: This is a case of chocolate failure. They’re chalky and bland, plus the packaging easily comes loose, allowing for contamination from, whatever. Leaves a weird taste in the mouth and is never satisfying. I am nostalgic for the idea of the Hershey kisses, with their cute shape and holiday-themed foil wrappers. But not for the reality of them.
Box of Raisins
So Ethan Frome. Raisins are not candy, people!
Tastes like waxy corn syrup. Even worse when not “korn” shaped.
Hard as granite. Has probably been in a cupboard for five years.
Variations: Anything inedible, such as plastic toys, toothbrushes (Thanks, Dr. Konigsberg) or religious pamphlets. Notes: As an adult, I understand the circumstances that can bring this situation about. (What is the deal with all these nutball kids running around outside tonight? Aw geez … Get the penny jar out, Alan.) As a child, I did not.
Straight into Trash Can
Notes: I know, they’re home-baked and adorable, and the ears are made out of organic gingersnaps, plus the woman who gave them out has been in the PTA with all the other moms for four years. Doesn’t matter. It’s going in the can. This category also includes fresh fruit, which everyone knows is just a clever delivery system for razor blades and poison. And anything unwrapped. You cannot toss a loose handful of Sno-Caps in a kid’s bag. It’s like saying “Why don’t you go home and throw these away? “