The most terrifying thing about this time of year isn’t ghosts or zombies or having to sit through “Hocus Pocus” one more time. It’s not even trying to decide on a clever topical costume.
The most terrifying thing about this time of year is janky Halloween candy.
For every Kit Kat – a top-shelf candy, I think we can all agree – there’s a bag of Skittles, the most pointless candy ever. Why go to all the trouble of making them different colors when they all taste exactly the same?
For every delicious Twix bar, there are 200 gross, waxy, chewy Peanut Butter Kisses wrapped in black or orange paper. They lodge like a dagger in a small child’s heart.
For every Snickers there is a Butterfinger. Seriously, does anyone actually think trick or treaters want Butterfingers? They’d rather have an apple. With a razor blade.
But some reviled sweets just aren’t that bad. In fact, we can’t get enough of this horrible but heavenly Halloween candy.
Maligned and disdained, insulted and gagged over, candy corn is nevertheless the best loved Halloween candy in five states, according to candystore.com: South Carolina, Alabama, New Mexico, Michigan and Idaho. These states are clearly full of discerning eaters who have not noticed the word “shellac” in the list of ingredients.
And yet. Candy corn is patient. Candy corn is kind. Candy corn does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. If you eat too much too fast, you’ll develop a powerful sugar migraine and want to throw up. But sometimes we suffer for beauty and art and all that’s right about the world.
There is one rule, though: Candy corn MUST HAVE A YELLOW BOTTOM. I cannot stress this enough. Brown candy corn is a heinous perversion. You can’t fool us by pretending chocolate is involved. We are well aware this is high fructose corn syrup at its most delectable.
Sure, they’ll take out a filling faster than you can dial the dentist’s office, but Tootsie Rolls taste like nostalgia. Bite into one, and you are instantly transported back to that unforgettable time you almost died trying to eat candy and breathe through a cheap plastic mask at the same time.
What do you mean, coconut doesn’t belong in candy? Oh, I’m sorry. You put it in your water now, and it’s been in your pina coladas for years. And now you’re too good to have it in your candy?
Eating Mounds is good for you. It’s made with dark chocolate, which has been proven to be even more healthy than broccoli, or so I choose to believe. Coconut counts as a fruit, so eating a Mounds is practically like eating a salad.
We’re not entirely comfortable with the fact that our favorite Easter candy has been co-opted for every single holiday. What’s next, Arbor Day Peeps?
But we cannot resist opening up a package of ghosts or pumpkins or monsters, letting them get good and stale and then crunching into them. It’s like bubble wrap for your mouth.
While we do not approve of the candy pumpkins that are only a weak imitation of candy corn, we do have a soft spot for jelly pumpkins. Handing them out to trick or treaters is not advised, however, as it tends to anger them and can result in eggs or worse lobbed at your front door. Save them for yourself.
Eating a Jolly Rancher is close as you will ever come to sucking on sugary broken glass (and likely will result in the same painful and bloody mouth abrasions).
But you must admire the fortitude of this candy. No matter how long it’s in your mouth, it will never soften and never crack. Live your life like a Jolly Rancher.