Milky Ways, Skittles, Dots: Ranking the best Halloween candy, and some of the worst
Trick-or-treat: a definitive ranking of the 10 best Halloween candies (and a few of the ones you can keep)
The worst Halloween candy, easily, is the unmarked, orange-wrapped mystery weirdo candy that somehow ends up near the bottom of your stash every year.
The best? Well, that's up for debate.
October is candy month. Every day there is some strange internet holiday dedicated to something or another — oh, it's National Pepperoni Pizza Day? If you say so — but with Halloween looming, candy is everywhere all month long, and a fun size serving is never far from reach. (And "fun size" is Latin for "resistance is futile.")
Most candy is good candy — and free candy is even better — but there definitely is a hierarchy at play when it comes to these tiny morsels of joy. It's why when there's a bucket of sweets at work or the gym, the good stuff is picked over quickly and all you're left with is a layer of Banana Laffy Taffys. (Sidebar: I will gladly swoop up those Banana Laffy Taffys, and I usually get a good chuckle out of the jokes, too.)
Candy tastes are highly subjective — there are those who love candy corn, and those who are wrong about it — so this list will differ from yours. But this is my best attempt at a definitive list of the Best Halloween Candy, Period.
1. Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins. Peanut Butter Cups are major, Reese's Pieces are a solid score, but nothing touches the purity of Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins, the gourd-shaped treat that Reese's stocks for autumn (see also Christmas Trees at the holidays, Eggs at Easter, etc.). Pure chocolate and peanut butter goodness.
2. Peanut M&M's. There are now 280 different kinds of M&M's, but there only needs to be one. The rare sequel that bested the original, and the yellow packaging has become iconic in its own right.
3. Take 5. You crazy for this one, Hershey. The Take 5 bar, introduced in 2004, combines milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel, peanut butter, and pretzels, everything a growing boy needs. Why didn't anyone think of this sooner?
4. Milky Way. Part of Mars' family of classic candy bars — you can toss 3 Musketeers and Snickers in this position, too — no Halloween season is complete without at least one of them. (Or a small handful of them.)
5. Skittles. There was a great "SNL" sketch in the late '90s where Jay Mohr did Christopher Walken doing a commercial for Skittles. That's just another reason to love these fruit-flavored candies, which are perfect in a fun-size serving.
6. Hershey Bar. No gimmicks, no extras, just pure milk chocolate. A candy bar for adults.
7. Sour Patch Kids. The sour-speckled chewy candy leaves behind a sugary residue in the the bottom of the package that makes for a perfect finisher, like a smooth single malt scotch after a fine meal.
8. Starburst. The fruit chews come in small packs of threes, which is just the right amount to feed a craving. Unless you get a yellow one, that is, in which case you have to go back for another pack to right that wrong.
9. Twix. It doesn't matter if it's the left Twix or right Twix — how is this marketing campaign still going? — the combination of chocolate, caramel and crisp cookie crunch is a classic.
10. Dots. The only problem with the tiny boxes of this gelatin candy is the fun-size just isn't enough. (Movie size all the way!)
As for the bad? Mounds and Almond Joy, show yourselves the door.