Subscribe to this Blog
Today's Blogs
    The Checkup:

The Best Halloween Loot

You might recall that I'm not a huge fan of Halloween excess. My boss still thinks of me as the Cruella who brings the bulk of the Halloween loot into the office rather than letting the kids nosh on it for weeks and weeks. But now that the kids are used to choosing their favorite pieces to keep and giving the rest away, there's no going back.

Every year, it's fun to see what makes the cut as the best Halloween loot. Babble's Brett Singer took a stab at this earlier this week, with his Top 25 Halloween candies ever. My must-have Hershey's miniature Krackels rank only 19th. His favorite? Brachs Autumn Mix candy corns. Blech! I'm just too much of a chocoholic to agree.

And so, here's another perspective on the best Halloween candy loot, based on several years of dumping and sorting with the boys:

5. Tattoos/Stickers: Given the sugar high of the night, it's always nice to have a few non-candy items in the pumpkin. And what kid doesn't like a scary spider crawling up his or her arm or a cute little pumpkin?

4. Lollipops: Want to make sure you don't eat the candy stash before Halloween night? Or are you worried about having leftovers? Then, this is the treat to hand out. Kids like them and most adults won't touch them -- at least if my office is any indication. One year, those suckers sat for a month or more in the candy jar while everything else got devoured within a week.

3. Hershey's miniatures: So long as chocolate's a main ingredient, that candy's worth it. And it's a sure bet with all the different types that every member of the Halloween house-hopping crew will find one to suit his taste buds.

2. Reese's Peanut Butter of any kind: Chocolate, peanut butter, addictive ... need I say more?

1. Eyeballs: Some are marshmallows, some ooze, some are chocolate. Whatever the stuff on the inside, the coolness factor of eating an eyeball puts these in the kids' "keep" pile every year.

What are your family's favorite Halloween treats?

In the News: Government Wants Kids to Buckle Up on Small School Buses ... The Anti-Schooler ... "Work-life balance" and 9 Other Outmoded Buzzwords

By Stacey Garfinkle |  October 17, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Previous: The Candidates Take on Families | Next: Connected -- And Happy About It


I really like Smarties. They're a once-a-year kind of candy, but I look forward to them every Halloween.

Other than that, I'm a chocolate die-hard. Almost any kind is good with me.

Can you really get away with handing out non-candy items without getting egged? There are a ton of toddlers on my block, and I'm toying with handing out those little Halloweeen packs of goldfish crackers to the little kids. Or is that too spoil-sporty of me?

Posted by: newsahm | October 17, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: WhackyWeasel | October 17, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

newsahm - US Smarties, or Canadian Smarties? The Canadian ones ARE chocolate.


Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | October 17, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Newsahm: One of our neighbors hands out little packs of goldfish, pretzels or crackers every year. She's a mom of young ones and we've always appreciated it. As toddlers, the kids enjoyed getting it because it was food they knew and they'd eat it right away while they walked to other houses.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | October 17, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

there is only one: snickers. It is the reason to raid their loot (though we call this raid 'taxes')

Posted by: dotted | October 17, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

American Smarties. Mmm, chalky sugar tablets.

Posted by: newsahm | October 17, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

we also give out goldfish & nutra-grain bars but remember, i'm the mom that also doesn't give out goody bags filled with cheap plastic crapola. most parents i know appriciate the non candy items. the kids? well, i really don't care if a bunch of 14 year olds decide i'm not *cool*. i never was & i'm too old to start trying now.

Posted by: quark2 | October 17, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I had no idea that Smarties were anything other than chocolate. In fact, I think that over time... I have actually confused Smarties (from back home) with the M&Ms found here and forgot they were two different products.

I definitely remember that catchy little tune and most people really did eat some colour last.

Posted by: Billie_R | October 17, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Candy corn???? What the heck? That stuff's just kind of nasty.

Anyway, as any decent candy person should know, chocolate rules over everything else. Other candies are just plain sweet -- too sweet.

So, Snickers, Reese's peanut butter cups, butterfingers, etc., are all good choices.

Posted by: rlalumiere | October 17, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I love Halloween so I give out both Hershey's miniatures AND small toys like eyeball rubber balls, skull tatoos and plastic bugs! The plastic bugs are a neighborhood favorite.

Posted by: ishgebibble | October 17, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I also love Smarties (US), sweet-tarts, and Willy Wonka bottlecaps--root beer and cola flavors, yum!

Not that I'd turn down chocolate, though.

Posted by: MPAmom | October 17, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The kids aren't into candy that much. Every year, after the first few days of nibbling, the loot just sits ignored until one of the adults throws it out.

Younger son loves all the creepy plastic bugs, skulls, and such. Older son didn't care about any of it, just the costume. He still dresses up even after hitting high school and not being allowed to trick-or-treat. Of course, I dress up too, so I guess it's hereditary.

DH *loves* chocolate in all forms - probably a contributing factor to his diabetes. He buys the goodies we give out, and it's always chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. I love smarties (US - didn't know there was another kind) and sweettarts.

Posted by: SueMc | October 17, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Best are Reese's PB cups and the halloween gum. Period.

As for pretzels/goldfish . . . while I can appreciate the sentiment, it is not what the parents want. Halloween is for the KIDS! Give candy for crying out loud. The parents can ration it out over the next few months. You spoiled sports.

Posted by: liledjen4901 | October 17, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

newsahm, I'm with you...although Smarties are year round for me! I must admit that I am one of the parents that gives stickers and the like in goodie bags at parties. We've stopped participating in Halloween at home b/c I can't bring myself to give other people's kids candy when I won't give it to my own (mind you, though, that as I type this I am remembering that I have Starburst in my purse and a couple of Tootsie Frooties -- good thing they don't play with my current purse). A teacher at their school said last week that she was floored when my youngest said no thanks to candy b/c "my mommy will be disappointed." YES!

vist my blog at

Posted by: 1herndon | October 19, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

All through my childhood, the people in our neighborhood kept "good stuff" for the kids that they knew from the neighborhood, and ordinary candy for the rest of the world. The "good stuff" would be things like a whole normal candy bar, homemade popcorn balls, homemade caramel apples, large rice crispy treats -- things like that. Those things were the primo from our bags that we guarded most jealously.

I have to admit - I love sweetarts. No one else seems to agree with me, because my kids all pass these off to me without a fuss when they divide their loot. They love the lollipops, anything chocolate, skittles, starbursts, and gum. I just buy my husband a bag of fun size snickers to keep him out of the kids candy. We're all happier that way.

Posted by: badmommy | October 20, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I give out little toys from the party store or several companies I've found on line. My first year in my townhouse I witnessed carloads of kids being driven in to the neighborhood to do their trick or treating. I was wiped out of candy within the first hour. I can get three times as much in the small toys as I can get in candy, and I pick the good stuff, spider rings, bat spinner tops, spiderweb pencils, and these little gadgets called "popping eyeballs." They are little rubbery bowls that you push inside out and place on a flat surface. After a few minutes they pop back into shape, popping off the flat surface. I also throw into the mix gold pirate coins (really plastic). The kids always Ooh! and Aah! when I open the box.

Posted by: JennyA1 | October 21, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company