Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trick-or-Treating for Dummies: Best & Worst Candy Power Rankings

Conventional wisdom says you should stop trick or treating long before you get to the age when most of your peers have children who are old enough to start trick or treating. Then again, conventional wisdom also says you shouldn't wear white socks with dress shoes, so as far as I'm concerned, conventional wisdom can suck an egg. So whether you’re an adult, a child, or stuck in one of those ghastly ages in between, my cap is off to you if you plan on venturing out into night on Halloween to hit up your neighbors – politely – for some free candy.

I won’t be out on the streets with you, comrades. I’ll be indoors as the lure of a night-long pumpkin beer and horror movie binge once again proved too great to resist. I’ll still be dispensing candy, however, because I just so happen to love George Washington and I refuse to allow his sacrifice to be in vain.
If you are planning to trick-or-treat this year, it’s important to have an air tight game plan, which I’m sure you already know and have. But I’m not just talking about picking the right neighborhood, although that is a crucial step. Once you’re out there, you have to make sure you’re getting the right candy as compensation for your efforts. When faced with a giant bowl of assorted goodies, it’s easy to make a panicked decision and next thing you know, you’re coming home with a metric ton of gum and those weird, too-busy Take Five candy bars. Basically, you’ve wasted your evening.
I don’t want anyone of any age to have to experience such a thing and so, as a public service, here’s my official Best and Worst Halloween Candy Power Rankings. Commit this list to memory so when you’re going door-to-door, you’ll know what your primary target should be, what you can safely fall back to, and what you need to avoid like it’s guaranteed to be chock full o’ razor blades.

Best Candy Power Rankings
  1. Mallow Cup. These marshmallow-filled miracles are the unicorns of the trick-or-treating game, except you can’t ride them. They’re super rare and they may not even exist in the wild. If you see one, resist the urge to run up to it screaming about selfies. Approach slowly and you may be able to experience its wonders.
  2. Butterfinger. Even the hours you’ll spend picking whatever is inside it out of your teeth will be delightful.
  3. Three Musketeers. A lighter, more sophisticated-seeming entry.
  4. Reese’s Cup. Bonus points if it’s shaped like something other than a cup. Extra, double bonus points if it’s white chocolate.
  5. Kit Kat. Never had the white chocolate version of these, but the originals are a solid addition to any pillow sack-based candy collection.
  6. Mounds. Get out of here with your Almond Joys. As far as I’m concerned, sticking an almond in there is just robbing me of coconut.
  7. Reese’s Pieces. I like your style, Reese. You can be in my trick-or-treating posse any day.
  8. Nestle Crunch- I’ll also accept a Krackle in this spot since they’re basically the same thing. Not a kraken though, you’re thinking of a giant tentacle-y seas monster. I don’t want to try to fit one of those in my pillow case.  
  9. Skittles- The only non-chocolate-based item on the list. These were the foundation of my lunch for at least two-thirds of sophomore year in high school. When I say foundation, I mean half. The other half was Sprite. I was a gross teenager.
  10. M&Ms- Plain is preferred, then peanut butter if they still make it is second on the list. Lastly comes Crispy which I’m 100% positive they don’t make anymore. Peanut and Pretzel are OK, but if those are your only two M&M options, look around  bit more to see if you can’t snag an item from higher on this list.

Worst Candy Loser Rankings (#1 being the worst)
  1. Non-edibles. Growing up, I had a neighbor who just gave out a sandwich bag with maybe 15 pennies in it. Another neighbor gave out dollar store toys. While I appreciate the effort and the far more substantial financial investment that went into this, just stick with the tradition. I don’t need your pennies and I don’t need a chinsy race car. Just make with the candy.
  2. Snack foods. If I wanted a snack size bag of Doritos, I’d just look in my grade school lunch box every Monday through Friday for eight years. I’m here for candy.  
  3. Gum. While any gum would be bad, I almost always got that strange, big pink chunk of dust-covered gum that tasted like toothpaste. Gum just makes me think of bad breath and I don’t need your judgment on Halloween, I really don’t, neighbor.    
  4. Assorted, brand-less hard candies of indeterminable flavor. These things are the real-life every flavor bean from “Harry Potter.” You might get something good like butterscotch-flavored, or you might get boogers. Since the wrapper was always devoid of any notation, there was no way of knowing.  
  5. Assorted, brand-less chocolates of indeterminable contents. Less of a risk than the hard candies. Usually, you got plain chocolate or the Crunch/Krackle-type rice filling, just a cheaper, knock-off version. Still, I like to know what I’m getting myself in to.
  6. Lollypops- Tootsie pops don’t count. It’s the rest of this wide spectrum of disappointment that I want to focus on. I’m specifically thinking about you, person who would give out one lousy dum-dum per trick or treater and call it a night.  
  7. Candy corn. One batch of this stuff was produced during pilgrim days and we’ve all just been re-gifting it ever since.
  8. Fruit. Worst case scenario, you've put a razor blade in it. Best case scenario, your house gets tepeed by the entire youth population of your neighborhood next mischief night. Now’s not the time for health concerns.
  9. Candied-fruit. What, did you like make this yourself or something? I mean, I’ll consider eating it, but I want a look at your kitchen before I commit to anything. If you bought a couple dozen of these things for all the neighborhood children you are a dumb saint. Next year, just buy the giant bag of candy. Everyone will be happier for it.
  10. Take Five. What isn’t in this thing? The Take Five bar is what happens if you leave your candy-filled pillowcase next to a heater and everything inside just melts into one, big, chocolate-y blob that somehow manages to retain none of the characteristics that made its individual components so great in the first place. 

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