A list of the best (and worst) candy to give kids this Halloween

Chocolate is a safe bet

Halloween candy and decorations are displayed at a store, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Freeport, Maine. U.S. sales of In this year of the pandemic, with trick-or-treating still an uncertainty, Halloween candy were up 13% over last year in the month ending Sept. 6, according to data from market research firm IRI and the National Confectioners Association. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) (Robert F. Bukaty, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

After a year and a half of staying indoors, wearing masks and watching us all argue, kids finally get the green light to go outside, relax and experience some Halloween fun.

As COVID-19 cases in the U.S. decline, top infectious diseases experts said families can feel safe trick-or-treating this year, and clearly, excitement is growing.

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According to a National Confectioners Association press release, Halloween chocolate and candy sales are up 48% from what they were this time in 2020 and up 59.8% from what they were in 2019.

So, please, let’s not be that house ruining the night by giving out the candy kids hate. This year, the little ones deserve better.

There are a couple of fair arguments that could be made against this. Popular candies are often more expensive, and besides, what on Earth is even popular with kids now? Our grandparents liked sugar plums, our parents liked Tootsie Rolls, and while these are usually inexpensive, we all know they could get us TP’ed — and perhaps rightly so.

The good news is, some cheap millennial favorites are still hip with the new generation of witches and ghouls and for the good of the season, we’ve decided to help and seek out the “best and worst” rated candies from the experts at CandyStore.com.

The following is a summary of the website’s surprisingly dedicated research into this very important matter, which was gathered from 12 published lists, based on sales and consumer feedback, and more than 37,000 surveys taken by candy lovers.

The results? A trusty and updated list of the best and worst ranked candies for 2021.


The 10 worst Halloween candies

1. Candy corn The best of the worst. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, this butter cream confection makes the list as one of the most hated Halloween candies today. While they can be perfect for decorating food or fun seasonal dishes, you may want to keep it out of the little one’s bags.

2. Circus Peanuts Feels like there should be no surprises here. Interesting fact: According to sources from Spangler, one of the only companies left still making this candy, Circus Peanuts is one of the most difficult to make, requiring very specific moisture conditions to reach its famous consistency.

3. Peanut Butter Kisses Not everyone may know what this means, so think those molasses taffy-type round candy pieces inside the orange and black wax paper wrappers.

4. Smarties Turns out kids don’t really enjoy chalky pieces of ambiguously flavored sugar tablets.

5. Necco wafers See Smarties above.

6. Wax coke bottles It’s the candy that has it all — bite open the wax top and knock it back, drinking the brightly colored syrup within, and when you’re done, you can chew on the wax bottles like gum. Fun as it may seem to pretend to be drinking out of a tiny soda bottle, for some reason, these guys are quickly growing unpopular, dropping down two spots since last year.

7. Mary Janes Your New England mom may still love them, but much like the Peanut Butter Kisses, these peanut butter and molasses treats with the little girl on their famous yellow and red wrappers are just not cutting it with kids today.

8. Tootsie Rolls Mind you, it said “Tootsie Rolls,” not “Tootsie Roll Pops.” Big difference. These brown logs of chewy chocolate dropped down one spot from last year.

9. Good & Plenty It should perhaps come as little surprise that, holding its position since last year, the second-to-worst candy on the list is licorice-based. If you think you don’t know what Good & Plenty is, this may refresh your memory: You’re in a movie theatre purchasing tickets, you look down at the glass display case, and right next to the red box of Skittles and the yellow box of Raisinets is a purple box of Good & Plenty, depicting the licorice candy pieces that look like pink and white pills.

10. Black licorice And the very worst candy is… Oh, it’s just licorice again. In the same position as last year, black licorice is dead last on the list, making it the most hated out of all the Halloween candy. While some think this is a polarizing subject, they might be in the minority. According to the National Confectioners Association, only 3% of people claim licorice as their childhood favorite. According to the FDA, black licorice can decrease potassium in the body and has put some people in the hospital for high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, further earning its place as the ultimate worst Halloween candy of 2021.


The 10 best Halloween candies

1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups The undisputed winner of all-time, according to CandyStore.com. These pieces placed No. 1 year after year in six out of seven lists and No. 3 on the remaining one. When it comes to beloved Halloween treats, it’s no contest—this is what you want to grab at the store if you’re looking to make trick-or-treaters happy this year.

2. M&Ms Something about this old classic has it holding steady at the second best spot. Could be the colorful candy shell, maybe the satisfying sound the pieces make when they clack together or the dependable milk chocolate on the inside? Whatever the case, can we please stop saying they don’t melt in your hands? Because if you’ve ever been able to hold and not eat one long enough, then you know they absolutely do.

3. Skittles People are tasting the rainbow, and they are liking it. Whether it be from their aggressive ad-campaign approach or from tying themselves to the LGBTQ+ movement, just two years ago Skittles sat at No. 9, and now it’s becoming a favorite. Moving up one spot since last year, this clackity fruity chewy classic is proving trick-or-treaters will eat more than just chocolate.

4. Snickers Perhaps the most perfect blend of salty and sweet, crunchy and soft, junky yet sustaining, Snickers bars have been a solid favorite candy bar for generations. With peanuts, caramel, nougat and chocolate, not very many candies satisfy so many cravings at once like this one does. That’s probably why it rated among the top five on many lists. But watch it. They’re “Hungry? Why wait,” slogan exists for a reason. With a whopping 29 grams of sugar and 280 calories per full size bar, eating one of these could easily replace a meal.

5. Sour Patch Kids These guys replaced gummi bears in almost every way and held steady in their No. 5 spot. And they’re not only a favorite, they’re trendy right now. From fun drink ideas to desserts, you can’t turn a social media page without being reminded these guys did not die in the 90s.

6. Kit Kat Up one spot since last year, people are taking breaks off Kit Kats and loving it. The wafer and chocolate candy bar siblings come in a (regrettably) shareable design that makes breaking them as fun as eating. Well, maybe not as fun.

7. Twix The caramel shortbread chocolate bar has earned its place among favorites. Their consistency has been advertised to go well with a coffee, due to the biscuit feel. At about 290 calories per serving, and not much to offer nutrition-wise, though, it may be best to get the fun-sized bars for the kids.

8. Hershey Bar Whether Cookies ‘n’ Cream or the classic milk chocolate bar, this candy is holding on, climbing up two spots since last year. With the weather growing chilly for the season, sales for the classic chocolate bar also go up to enjoy by the fire as s’mores or to melt like fondue.

9. Butterfinger Cowabunga, dudes. Butterfingers barely made the list of candies’ kids want to see in their bags this Halloween. The thing with these was always the crunchy peanut butter layers in the middle. A mess, but a joy, to eat.

10. Nerds It’s nice to see it’s not all chocolate with kids these days. Some still enjoy some good ol’ pure sugar and food dye seeping into their teeth. According to CandyStore.com, these guys dropped down one spot from their previous No. 9 spot last year.


About the Author:

Lillian M. Hernández Caraballo joined News 6 in September.