Preferences are changing all the time. Kid’s these days like all kinds of things we’ll never understand. Did you know TikTok is almost bigger than YouTube now? Gen Z is growing up fast. How’s a grown-up supposed to keep up with the latest trends in Halloween candy?
And I don’t know about you, but decision fatigue is real for me in 2021. Trying to see the signal through the noise of delta variants, masks, vaccines, back to school, politics. If you too are over trying to piece together what is reality, we’re here to at least make Halloween candy decisions easier.
We remove the guesswork with data. There are a lot of choices on both sides of the good and bad spectrum. 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.
Here’s how we 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|
|Bon Apetit||24/7 Wall Street|
Next, we surveyed over 17,000 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
10. Black Licorice – no movement, #10 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. Tootsie Rolls – Down one spot from #7 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 very much 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.
7. Mary Janes – Up one spot from #8 last year
Mary Janes are no longer limbo following the shuttering of NECCO a few years back. They're back on online shelves in a slightly different shaped piece of candy than before. 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.
6. Wax Coke Bottles – Down 2 spots from #4 last year
Wax coke bottles are holding down that number 6 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.
5. Necco Wafers – Up one spot from #6 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.
4. Smarties – Up one spots from #5 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.
3. Peanut Butter Kisses – Up one spot from #3 last year.
Falling to #3 this year from the #2 spot last year, these are the generic-looking candies with a plain orange or black wrapper. If you’ve never actually opened the wrapper to try them (understandably), they’re peanut butter flavored chewy 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.
2. Circus Peanuts – Up one spot from #3 last year.
Personally, I’m shocked that these aren’t #1. They were the #1 worst Halloween candy 3 years ago and fell back, but seriously, why? People, there is no way to describe the vileness that is Circus Peanuts. How could there possibly be a worse Halloween Candy?
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. Or maybe they haven’t gotten them for Halloween because everyone knows not to give them out. Thus they are not “Halloween candies” in their minds. That must be it. Still at #2 though.
1. Candy Corn, Strong Repeat Winner (Loser?) Now
Candy corn slid up into the #1 spot 2 years ago 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 was 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.
Ok yeah, the texture could be better.
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. Nerds – Down 1 spots from #9 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.
9. Butterfinger – Down one spot from #8 last 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. Butterfinger gets mega points on crunch, and I lika da cronch. You’re not going to complain when one gets dropped in your bag, are you?
8. Hershey Bar – Up 2 spots from #10 last year
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.
7. Twix – Down 1 spots from #6 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.
6. Kit Kat – Up 1 spots from #7 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.
5. Sour Patch Kids – No movement, #5 last year also
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.
4. Snickers – Down one spot from #3 last year.
There is no surprise here. I always preferred Milky Way, but as a lover of da cronch I could see how people prefer more crunchiness in a candy bar. That salty 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.
3. Skittles – Up 1 spots, from #4 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 opinion 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 two years ago.
2. M&Ms – No movement, #5 last year
An old classic that never gets old, M&Ms remain in the #2 spot this year. 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. Easy choice that kids will love.
1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Still #1 (Always will be?)
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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