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Opinion: An unsubstantiated yet undisputable ranking of 20 Halloween treats

halloween candy
What's your favourite Halloween candy?

We’re currently living through some of the most polarizing times I can remember. It seems impossible for people to agree on a basic set of facts, let alone the best course of actions to deal with issues like pandemics or climate change.

Given the amount of mudslinging that happens on the internet these days, it can be truly terrifying to put your opinion out there for the world to comment on.

But in the interest of community service, I decided to use this space to take a stance on what’s arguably the most contentious topic out there. 

No, it’s not about whether vaccine cards should be required to access gondolas.

Instead, my offering to Pique readers this October is a definitive, no-holds-barred, completely unsubstantiated ranking of 20 common categories of Halloween treats—what’s worth dressing up and pounding the pavement for, and what’s better left in the bin. 

What qualifies me to compile this ranking, you ask? Honestly, nothing. I’ll admit I’m a solid decade-and-a-half removed from the trick-or-treating game and not entirely confident that all of the following “treats” are still being distributed at doorsteps. But the memories are firmly locked in, and we all know Halloween candy isn’t just for kids. (Parents, don’t even try to pretend you don’t dip into your children’s hauls overnight. Non-parents, may I remind you about the Nov. 1 sale prices.) We’ve made it through more than a year and a half of COVID-19, we all deserve to treat ourselves with a mini chocolate bar or two. 

OK, let’s get into it.

No. 20: Candy Corn. The worst of the worst. I don’t know anyone who likes this.

No. 19: Tootsie Rolls. Almost as bad as candy corn, and one of the few real tricks you’ll find on Halloween. You think you’re getting chocolate? Joke’s on you, you’re not. 

No. 18: Rockets. Or Smarties, as they’re wrongly known in the States. The only way eating a rocket differs from biting into a piece of chalk is that you’re rewarded with an unpleasantly sour aftertaste.

No. 17: Caramels. If you have the patience to wait until these are soft enough, they can be fine, but generally not worth breaking your teeth over. 

No. 16: Cans of pop. OK, not technically candy, I know, but hear me out: growing up, a family on my street would hand out cans of Pepsi or Sprite every year. Unconventional? For sure. Absolutely clutch in keeping your hydration and energy levels up for a long evening of full-tilt sprinting from house to house? You bet.

No. 15: Sour Patch Kids/Cherry Blasters. Candy shouldn’t be ruined with sour-ness. 

No. 14: Skittles. Meh. My best friend and main trick-or-treating colleague growing up loved skittles, but she also hated chocolate, so I don’t exactly trust her taste buds.

No. 13: Cheesies/Cheetos/other cheese-flavoured crunchy snacks. I know this one might be controversial to some, but I’m just not a fan of the texture or fake-cheese flavouring.

No. 12: Plain chips. Boring, barely a treat. 

No. 11: Coffee Crisp and Crispy Crunch bars. (Not to be mistaken with Crunch bars.) Again, the texture is just not it. 

No. 10: Swedish berries/gummy bears/fuzzy peaches. Decent, no complaints, but this seems like a good time to state the obvious: chocolate generally wins over candy every time. 

No. 9: Twizzlers. See above, but marginally better.

No. 8: Nibs. Significantly better than regular Twizzlers. Couldn’t tell you why. 

No. 7: Welch’s Fruit Snacks. Again, I’ll ask you to hear me out with this one. Sweet but not too sweet, the perfect consistency, don’t make you feel like you just gave yourself 10 cavities with a single bite.

No. 6: Chocolate bars with caramel and/or nuts inside. 

No. 5: Flavoured chips, including but not limited to Ketchup and BBQ Lays.

No. 4: All-dressed. The absolute superior chip. (Note: This applies to Ruffles and Ruffles only.) Their only real rivals are the honey-dijon kettle chips.

No. 3: All other mini-chocolate bars not previously mentioned—i.e. Aero, Kit Kat, plain Cadbury or Hershey bars, Cookies ‘n’ Cream, Kinder, Crunch. Perfection, can't go wrong with any of them.

No. 2: M&Ms and Smarties. Candy and chocolate together, offering the ideal crunch-to-chocolate ratio? *Chef’s kiss.* Yes, they taste different, and yes, they tie.

Finally, the best of the best. (Warning: stop reading here if you suffer from a nut allergy.)

No. 1: Reese’s peanut butter cups. If the aforementioned treats are the perfect combo of crunchy candy and chocolate, these bite-sized delights are the perfect combination of sweet and salty. 

The sole exception to this list, it should be noted, is full-size chocolate bars. If you’ve ever handed these out on Oct. 31, thank you for your service on behalf of all current and former trick-or-treaters. 

Well, there you have it: some of my strongest-held, undisputedly-correct opinions. Keep in mind, this list is subject to change by the day.

Disagree? Feel free to tear me apart in the comments.