The WORST Halloween Candy, and the Best Too

Over 20,000 CandyStore.com customers surveyed
Data compiled and combined from outside sources as well
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Updated Rankings for 2020

Sept 20, 2020 By Ben George

Excitement for Halloween candy is palpable this time of year. Indulging in your favorite candy is part of the fun...so long as they are your faves. Getting the wrong candy can go beyond disappointment. Though it's been written about before, we take it to the next level. Here are the WORST Hallloween candies of 2020, as voted on by consumers.

The Definitive Ranking of Worst and Best Halloween Candies

With covid-19 disrupting us all, there’s too much going on this year for guesswork on choosing Halloween candy. You may not agree with what is the most popular Halloween candy in your state, but you can at least avoid getting the worst candy.

Worst Halloween Candy Today Show

Ellie Kemper: “Tastes like medicine” …ouch

So, we’ve come up with a way to help you avoid disaster.

With so many candy ranking lists out there, it’s tough to get a handle on what’s what. So we took some age-old advice. Compile as much data as you can and methodically establish a ranking system to elucidate a mountain of data. You know that old saying, right? ;)

Twelve lists of best and worst candies were published on reputable websites. We grabbed the data there, added in our own CandyStore.com customer survey data (over 20,000 surveyed!) and mashed them all together into the ultimate list.

Here’s a little more detail. First, we looked at the following lists of best and worst Halloween candies.

Best and Worst Lists
BuzzFeed
Business Insider
Worst Best
Huffington Post HelloGiggles
FoxNews The Week
Houston Press Thrillist
PlayBuzz Mental Floss
Bon Apetit 24/7 Wall Street

Next, we surveyed over 20,000 of our own customers. Then, we put the best and worst candies into a spreadsheet. In Column A we had a number value. We weighted each list, so a candy that got listed as the worst gets 10 points, while one that ranks 10th worst gets one point. Same idea goes for the best list. We then tallied up the points and created our list.

Got it? Good. Let’s go.

Oh and please keep in mind, the opinions expressed here are not those of CandyStore.com. They are inferred from the data by a mere candy blog writer.

 

Without further ado:

The 10 Worst Halloween Candies

Worst Halloween Candy Top Ten

10. Licorice – Down 2 spots from #8 last year

Here we’re talking black licorice, and this does not include Twizzlers, and if you read the outside lists we included in our evaluation, you’ll see they also allude to, if not outright say, black licorice. So it’s maybe more understandable that way. Twizzlers are mostly fruity flavored, chewy sugar candies. Traditional black licorice has a savory side that perhaps isn’t associated with the sugar highs of Halloween.

9. Good & Plenty – No movement, #9 last year too.

Since Good & Plenty are pretty much licorice, it follows that they would come right after Licorice on the list. I never minded getting a box here and a box there on a Halloween excursion. But they were never my favorites — which meant I ate them first, to get them out of the way. Which is kid logic for ya. Never throw away candy.

8. Mary Janes – Re-enters the list at #8.

Mary Janes are no longer limbo, They’re back on online shelves after taking a brief hiatus following the liquidation of previous owner, NECCO. They are great sellers and have a huge following, but I guess not with the Halloween crowd. Perhaps expectations for the spookiest night of the year are different than the space Mary Janes occupy in our minds. Halloween candy may be less about nostalgia and more about maximizing pleasure receptors in the brain… I am not a doctor.

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7. Tootsie Rolls – Down one spot from #6 last year

Your kids will get a lot of these. They’re the easy way out for people who don’t want to spend much money handing out candy to kids. You can throw a handful into each kid’s bag and it won’t set you back much. But apparently kids tend not to like them for Halloween. Note that this is a combination of regular Tootsie Rolls and flavored Tootsie Rolls, which may be more or less appealing(?). We combined a few items on the lists to make it cleaner.

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6. Necco Wafers – Down one spot from #5 last year

They were off the market for a while, but are back now. You may recall the Great Necco Wafer Panic of 2018. It’s weird, because clearly some people absolutely love Necco Wafers. But these took the top spot on one list, and I’m personally surprised they weren’t on every list. When I started this project, I was sure that they’d be the hands down worst candy. But then again, since they’ve had a few rough years, maybe people aren’t as likely to kick a candy when it’s down. Complaints about these are that they’re dry and chalky.

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5. Smarties – Up two spots from #7 last year

Another one accused of being dry and chalky. Your kids will get plenty of these on Halloween. It’s inevitable. At first they’re not so bad. But the human tongue can take only so many vaguely sweet, chalky hard candy.

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4. Wax Coke Bottles – No movement, #4 last year too.

Wax coke bottles are holding down that number 4 spot. The novelty factor of these is great. The first time you get one. When you’re five years old. Then the realization sets in: you’re biting through wax to get not even a mouthful of sugar water. By age eight you toss them in the trash without even bothering.

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3. Circus Peanuts – Down one spot from #2 last year.

Personally, I’m shocked that these moved down the list for the second straight year. They were the #1 worst Halloween candy 2 years ago. People, there is no way to describe the vileness that is Circus Peanuts. How could there possibly be a worse Halloween Candy, much less two?

I have to believe that they weren’t rated as the #1 worst on everyone’s list because they blocked these inedible monstrosities from their memories.

2. Peanut Butter Kisses – Up one spot from #3 last year.

Jumping all the way to #2 from the #5 spot two years ago, these are the generic-looking candies with a plain orange or black wrapper. They are really on the move. Could there be a social media movement funded by Putin to discredit these? The increase in animosity for these seems to be growing at an unprecedented pace.

But, yeah they’re peanut butter flavored candies. Despite the name, they are neither Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups nor Hershey’s Kisses -level Halloween candy. I’ve seen them referred to as Mary Janes, which makes enough sense. You know these because Necco made a Mary Janes version of these for a while. Which explains a lot. My advice is to leave them in that wrapper and move onto the next candy.

1. Candy Corn, Repeat Winner (Loser?) Now

Candy corn slid up into the #1 spot last year when it knocked circus peanuts off the throne. Which is really saying something. Man. Hang in there, candy corn. Lot of haters out there.

I’m actually shocked, I love the stuff. Look, if you don’t like candy corn, you can just give it to me. Yes, it’s pretty much just sugar. Isn’t that the point? Candy corn is nothing special. There are absolutely better candies out there. But if you can’t enjoy stuffing handfuls of candy corn into your pie hole, well, I don’t even know what to tell you. But clearly, I’m in the minority.

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The 10 Best Halloween Candies

Now we get to the fun part. You can probably guess most of the candies on this list. They’re popular for a reason. But in case you wanted to know how your tastes stack up, here is the weighted list of the best Halloween candies of all time.

10. Hershey Bar – No movement, #10 last year too.

We’re again combining candies here, because there just isn’t that much difference between the original Hershey Bar and the Cookies ‘n’ Cream version. Or maybe there is for your palate. In any case, Hershey bars barely missed the worst list, yet got a few mentions on the best, including two mentions in the 24/7 Wall Street list. Which, since it was based on sales, is pretty good reason to include Hershey Bar on the best list, in our eyes. Even if it is only barely in there at #10.

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9. Nerds – Down 3 spots from #6 last year.

I was kinda surprised to see this on the list. The Nerds boxes you get on Halloween are typically tiny. As with Skittles, they’re pointless unless you down the whole thing in one mouthful. But maybe there’s something to that. I also recognize that the sound they make when you shake the box can be made into a musical experience. So they’re got that going for them as well.

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8. Butterfinger – Down one spot from #7 this year.

The classic Butterfinger appeared on a number of lists, usually in the second half of the top 10. We’re not going to argue. It’s a personal favorite of mine, but it’s easy to see why it would turn off some candy fans. I definitely think a full-size bar of it is just too much. But the bite size version is pretty much on point. Still, you’re not going to complain when one gets dropped in your bag, are you?

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7. Kit Kat – Down 3 spots from #4 last year.

On the surface the Kit Kat is pretty plain. It’s just chocolate and wafer. Yet it works so so well. And it works very well on Halloween, since with the fun size you’re getting essentially half of a full-sized bar. That’s way more than you can say for most of the fun sized versions of our other favorite Halloween candies.

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6. Twix – Down 3 spots from #3 last year.

If I’m getting a full-sized candy bar on Halloween, make it a Twix, please. There’s just something about them that makes them irresistible, and they’re not so overpowering that a whole bar is too much. On Halloween you can count on three versions: the aforementioned full-sized version, the one-stick half-sized version, and the fun sized version. We hope you and your kids don’t get the fun-sized version, given the alternatives.

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5. Sour Patch Kids – Up 3 spots from #8 last year.

Sour Patch is finally getting the recognition it deserves. A Top 5 ranking seems appropriate. But after high marks on both the BuzzFeed and Business Insider lists, Sour Patch Kids made zero additional appearances on the other lists we looked at. It’s probably because they’re not traditional candies, even though they’ve been around a while.

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4. Skittles – Up 5 spots, from #9 last year.

If you’re not eating the entire fun size bag in one mouthful, you’re doing it wrong. None of us here ever minded getting Skittles in our Halloween bags. It’s tasty enough, that rainbow. But they’re nothing special, in my opinoin and if you eat too many your mouth starts to feel all lumpy. Still, Skittles is having a moment and surging way up from #9 last year.

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3. Snickers – Down one spot from #2 last year.

There is no surprise here. I always preferred Milky Way, but I could see how people prefer more crunchiness in a candy bar. That slaty crunch does up the satisfaction level. Again, it would be so easy for people to go out of their ways and get full-sized versions. They’re not that big. But the fun-sized version is a pretty good bite and hits the spot.

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2. M&Ms – Up 3 spots from #5 last year.

An old classic that never gets old, M&Ms jump 3 post to take the #2 spot from Snickers. Will they ever be able to de-throne the #1 Halloween candy? That would be a tall order, but if anyone can do it, M&M’s seem like a strong contender.

One list had pretzel M&Ms, which is oddly specific. They weren’t around when I trick-or-treated (it was plain and peanut back then), so I don’t even know that people hand out the fun sized bags of them. In any case, M&Ms are great. You know our opinions about them.

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1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Still #1

This is the perennial blowout of the century. Of the seven lists we ranked, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups ranked #1 on six of them, and ranked #3 on the other. And that list had six candies that didn’t appear on any of the other six lists, so yeah, this was just a candy massacre. Do we have to extol the virtues of the Peanut Butter Cup? My siblings and I used to separate them out and hide them, lest they get stolen. Many a tear was shed when someone picked a poor hiding spot. Long live Reese’s Cups.

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For more info or press inquiries contact Ben at: ben@candystore.com

Comments

  1. S.Carras says

    Wow! I’m impressed! Circus Peanuts are probably the worst (and NOT “pea-nutty” but BANANA flavored!). Neccos? I think them more dubious than obnoxious, but they were weird…Smarties aren’t even the same thing (at least Neccos have interesting flavors like cinnamon and clover)-Smarties are just typical “sweet tart” type candies but otherwise same as described. But very breakable as already noted elsewhere.) LOVE me a KitKat or M&M or Hersheys.I also love the violet smell/staste of a Chowards (BOY, THERE’s a brand no one seems to bring up). I also love Swedish Fish.

    • S.Carras says

      UPDATE: I retried the Circus Peanuts this month and I am hooked now…also got back on Tootsie Rolls (MINI rolls, mind you) and some others…..LOVE Neccos, Candy Corn.,..

    • SCarras says

      Update oN Circus peanuts: I retried and am a clown for them (get it? circus) (though Spangler has a certain different style, I love those but in my opinion Melster (of the biggest by far rivals) are best).

      Still won’t retry dots or Nik L Nip. You can just suck it . Get it?

  2. NW says

    Sign me up for any of the dark chocolate versions: Reese’s Dark Chocolate Cups, Milky Way Midnight, Mounds, Hershey’s Special Dark, Snicker’s Dark…I’d put those over anything. Sour Skittles would probably be my top non-chocolate thing.

  3. Elic says

    Gee, so many of these I can’t eat. Butterfingers, M&Ms, Skittles, candy corn, they all have corn starch or some other form of corn protein (Butterfingers have confectioners corn flakes.) I didn’t even know they still sold wax soda bottles…

  4. Garrett Hawkins says

    One important candy that should be included for the 10 worst is Now and Laters. It tries so hard to be Laffy Taffy, but fails so miserably.

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