We all have favorite candies for Halloween. As a kid when we came home separated the candy into categories. If your parents did the separation, you know they were going to keep some of your loot. One of my favorite sites this time of the year is candystore.com. Ben George from candystore.com compiles a list of the 10 worst Halloween candy and also the 10 best Halloween candy from customer surveys plus 12 outside ranking sources.
By no means is this endorsing bad candy, this is all subjective. You might be that one person that likes Candy Corn or Circus Peanuts, knock yourself out. All candy is good! Ben encourages you to buy them too from his site.
10. Good & Plenty – Down 1 Spot From #9 Last Year
Since Good & Plenty are pretty much licorice, it follows that they would come right before 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.
9. Black Licorice – Up 1 Spot From #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.
8. Tootsie Rolls – No Movement, #8 Last Year Too
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 – No Movement From #7 Last Year
Mary Janes are no longer in 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. Smarties – Down 2 Spots From #4 Last Year
Another one was 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 candies.
5. Wax Coke Bottles – Up 1 Spot From #6 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 the wax to get not even a mouthful of sugar water. By age eight you toss them in the trash without even bothering.
4. Necco Wafers – Up 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 we 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 kids aren’t as likely to kick a candy when it’s down. Complaints about these are that they’re dry and chalky.
3. Peanut Butter Kisses – No Change This 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 on to the next candy.
2. Candy Corn – Fell One Spot To #2
Candy corn slid up into the #1 spot 3 years ago when it knocked circus peanuts off the throne. A lot of haters out there. But like the timeless champion it is, candy corn has hung in there and is now only the runner-up worst Halloween candy! Great job CC.
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 too.
1. Circus Peanuts – Up One Spot From #2 Last Year.
These have rightfully reclaimed the dark throne of the #1 worst Halloween candies. They were the #1 worst Halloween candy 3 years ago and fell back to #2. There was a trend to hate on candy corn and the circus peanuts benefited slightly. People, there is no way to describe the vileness that is Circus Peanuts. How could there possibly be a worse Halloween Candy?
Well, for this year anyway, there isn’t.
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. Butterfinger – Down One Spot From #9 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 like-a da crunch. You’re not going to complain when one gets dropped in your bag, are you?
9. Twix – Down 2 Spots From #7 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.
8. Kit Kat – Down 2 Spots From #6 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. Also, since the weather is typically cooler, you shouldn’t have to deal with a melted Twix on Halloween, which is maybe the candy bar that most changes for the worse when melted.
7. Hot Tamales – New To The Top Ten List!
A new addition to the Top Ten Best Halloween Candy list this year because the kids just can’t get enough of it. The spicy trend has been heating up for a few years now and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. These were not hugely popular when I was growing up, but the times they are a changing. You will need to change as well. So grab some Hot Tamales and watch the kids snatch them out of your trick-or-treat bowl first.
6. Hershey Bar – Up 2 Spots From #8 Last Year (#10 Before That)
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 one for your palate. And the assorted mini candy bars from Hershey are also very popular, so that’s included here as well, even though it does technically include Krackel and Mr. Goodbar. They’re really just Hershey Bars with crispies or peanuts.
Anyway, they’re super popular and people love them. Mini/fun size seems to be the best way to go here.
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.
Voters loved Sour Patch and it does seem to be gaining in enthusiasm, despite holding steady at #5. Keep going, Sour Patch Kids. Your future is bright.
4. Skittles – Down 1 Spot From #3 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 three years ago.
3. Snickers – Up One Spot From #4 Last Year.
There is no surprise here. I always preferred Milky Way, but as a lover of da crunch, 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.
2. M&Ms – No Movement, #2 Last Year
An old classic that never gets old, M&Ms remains 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 seems 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. An 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.
Of interest: Absolute worst Halloween candy for 2021