Twix vs. Jolly Rancher: Halloween's Best & Worst
The worst, by far, are the Mary Janes--that miniature brick of paving material that tastes like it's from the original batch made during World War I. The Necco company insists that Mary Janes are made from peanut butter and molasses, but I would happily agree to these rock-hard nasties being used to shore up the leak in my basement wall.
The inevitable flood of feature stories about trick or treating inform us that 93 percent of American children will be out on the streets tonight, scamming grown-ups for free candy. But the range of products that end up in the loot bag has suffered considerably in recent years, the result mainly of the overwhelming success of those huge supermarket and wholesale warehouse bags of Halloween minis, most of which tend to be Snickers, Smarties, and various Mars or Hershey bars. It's the rare family that still goes out of their way to locate and obtain a mess of Goldenberg's Peanut Chews or, for that matter, circus peanuts.
Peanut Chews understandably make many an East Coast Halloween worst-candies list, as do circus peanuts, for which I must admit a strange fondness, even if they are the only edible product featuring a careful blend of Styrofoam and polyester. (The guy in the link above subjected circus peanuts to a microwaving test. Please do try this at home.)
In my house, the annual ritual of checking out the winnings generally results in each child designating a hefty pile of rejects, some of which then get traded to friends with inferior taste. Inevitably, somebody in the house actually likes Tootsie Rolls and 3 Musketeers. The father gets the Twizzlers (oh man, the things we admit to here in blogdom.) And then, when all the negotiations and swapping are done with, the kiddies are left with a small stack of Mary Janes, Jolly Ranchers and Skittles--this is the stuff that goes immediately, on Wednesday morning, to the giveaway table at mom and dad's offices, where, as we know, nothing is ever left uneaten.
The evergreen Halloween hits tend to be fairly stable over the decades, your basic chocolate bars, plus the coconut ones for those who go in for that sort of thing. Twix was the only candy that managed to poke its way into the trick or treat pantheon in the 80s and 90s; the only newer bar that seems poised to make such an impact is Hershey's Take 5.
There does, sadly, seem to be something of a consensus that candy corn ought to be banned by law. I break with my usual purist tendencies here and admire not only the orange, white and yellow originals but also the faux-chocolate kernels with a brown layer. I recognize that some of you will not be able to return to the big blog after having read this fact, and I thank you for your past patronage and wish you well.
For what it's worth, here's the result of our household poll on Halloween's best: (Loathing processed coconut, I take no responsibility for the tastes of those who share my abode.) Mounds. Almond Joy. York Peppermint Patties. Twix. Take 5. Heath. Baby Ruth.
It's important to remember that as awful as some Halloween candies are, there are some things that end up in loot bags that are worse even than Mary Janes or those little bags of microwave popcorn: Raisins. Apples. Pennies.
The non-food items tend to come from people who believe the hype about all those Halloween killers and poisoners who are out there somewhere, knocking off innocent little ones. Except of course that, while I hate to spoil the fun for those who enjoy scaring the kiddies with lovely stories about poisoned children, that particular brand of killers doesn't actually exist. Of course --and this is one of the things I love most about this country-- there's a college professor out there who has made it his life's work to blow up this particular myth.
Come ahead with your bests and worsts, and while we're at it, where do you stand on the morality and efficacy of parents confiscating the whole stash of Halloween candies after a pre-announced period of days?
I'd advise you to be careful out there tonight, but really, I'd rather you weren't. As for me, I'll be encouraging the kids to bang on the door of the darkened house of the old krone who never has any candy. Vote the story, as they say in this biz.
One last thing: If you do confiscate, or if you have extra candy after the last trick or treaters are gone, you can donate it to Treats for the Troops, a project that will send the candy in Christmas stockings to U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. This project is coordinated by Mover Moms of Montgomery County.
Collections will take place at Walt Whitman High School on Whittier Boulevard in Bethesda:
Thursday Nov 1 --- 4 PM to 6 PM
Friday Nov 2 --- 4 PM to 6 PM
Sat Nov 3 --- 10 AM to 2 PM
By Marc Fisher |
October 31, 2007; 6:46 AM ET
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