Monday, October 26, 2009

Quest for the Best: Halloween Candy Edition

For the most part, I’m pretty ambivalent about Halloween: On the “Holidays I Don’t Care About” scale, it falls somewhere between President’s Day and Valentine’s Day. It was fun when I was a kid and there were costume parties, cupcakes at school, and seasonal cartoons to watch, but as I grew up I watched it devolve into a day dedicated to annoying public drunkenness and an excuse for normally sane women to dress like whores. (“I’m not a nurse, I’m a slutty nurse!” Fantastic. I’m sure all the real nurses who help save lives daily appreciate that.)

But Halloween’s one redeeming factor is that it’s the one time of year when it’s perfectly acceptable to buy candy by the gross. I can go into any store and buy numerous bags—weighing more than a pound each—of assorted miniature chocolatey and sugary goodness. And no one ever has to know that I never get any trick-or-treaters, because there’s no way for them to get access to my door. So yes, you unsuspecting Target employee, all this delicious candy goodness is all for me, and if any of it survives to the end of the week, I will be amazed.

In the spirit of celebrating the one part of Halloween I still enjoy (viewings of The Nightmare Before Christmas notwithstanding), here are my favorite Halloween treats:

* Twizzlers. Now, Twizzlers are good at any time of the year, and besides popcorn are the perfect movie theater snack, but the mini-sized ones that come out for Halloween are actually better. They’re shaped differently—more tube-like—and have a different taste. I’m not entirely sure what flavor Twizzlers are meant to be in the first place (strawberry?), but the Halloween ones have a more intense flavor. Plus, they’re less chewy than regular Twizzlers, therefore less likely to do any damage to pricey dental work. I’m not sure how or why a different formula is used for Halloween Twizzlers, but they definitely taste differently, and I wish the good people at Twizzlers headquarters would use this recipe all year round.

* PayDay. PayDay is one of those candy bars I like, but I rarely have since I’m not a frequent buyer of candy bars. But once an entire bag full of mini-bars are staring me in the face, I have a moment of, “Ohmigod these things are so good and I haven’t had one in ages! I must have them!” They’re nothing more than wads of caramel rolled in salty peanuts, but they’re delicious salty-sweet goodness that I tend to only devour once a year.

* Laffy Taffy. Much like PayDay, Laffy Taffy is a candy that I tend to forget exists until Halloween rolls around. And again like PayDay, once I see that brightly colored bag that contains roughly a thousand individually wrapped pieces of the sweet, chewy candy, I must have it. Besides being mouth-watering good and far less gross than regular taffy, each pieces comes with jokes on the wrapper! Candy and comedy—does it get any better than that? For example, take this bon mot:

What would you do without your memories?

Answer: Forget!

Haha! It’s funny and it’s true. You even get some clever word play:

Why couldn’t Mozart find his teacher?

Answer: Because Mozart’s teacher was Hayden!

This stuff even appeals to the Carnegie Hall crowd! Capital.

* Reese’s Sticks. You really can’t go wrong with anything from the Reese’s family, but the Reese’s Sticks are my all-time favorite. They’re what you would get if a Kit Kat married a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and they had the world’s most perfect child: Crispy wafers stuck together with layers of Reese’s peanut butter, and the whole thing covered in chocolate. Deceptively simple, and yet I tend to go through an average of three bags of them before the Halloween season is over. And I don’t feel even the slightest bit guilty, because they’re just that good.

Happy Halloween, whores!


  1. I agree, you can't go wrong with the Reese's family of chocolates. However, Peanut Butter Cups and Kit Kats are best eaten separately in my opinion.

  2. I heard that Paul Bogush Jr. enjoys regular Twizzlers.