Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hierarchy of Halloween Candy

In honor of Katie's favorite holiday, Halloween, we're gonna bring back the always popular hierarchy posts. This time, we're gonna tackle Halloween candies.

Now, legal has told me that we need to put a couple disclaimers out there before we start. First, this list is comprised of Halloween-specific candies, not just general candies that you can buy year-round in "normal" sized portions (though most are available in normal sized portions). I love Whatchamacallit's, but they're not available in bite-size portions to hand out to the trick-o-treaters so they're gone. Oh and along those lines, this list includes only the GOOD stuff; toothbrushes, popcorn balls, apples and stuff the cutesy parents would hand out that would subsequently end up in their shrubs is not included on this list. Second, the list could go on for days but I'm going to focus my efforts on candies that were popular when I/we were kids. I don't care about what new stuff they've come out with these days and I doubt you do, either, unless there happens to be a strong reader-base in the 4-15 demographic.

OK, here we go in ascending order leading up to the mother of all Halloween candies.

10. Sixlets

Suck it, M&M's!

I don't know what it is about these weird little M&M knock-off's, but they work. They're just like M&M's...but round...and the different colors taste different. Yeah, I know; it's pretty trippy, man. The best part about Sixlets was the portability and instant gratification they afforded you. Grab that little package with the Sixlets stacked up like different colored chocolate beads, place your teeth between the first and second bead, then pull. The first Sixlet was now in your mouth and squeezing the wrapper from the bottom deposited the rest of the Sixlets in your waiting mouth and you were on to the next candy. No tearing off the corner of the wrapper, no greasy cup to remove before you could enjoy your hard earned candy (c'mon: it was hard work walking a mile and hauling around 5lbs of high fructose corn syrup presented in myriad ways). In that respect, due to the deliciousness and ease of transport and consumption, I think you have call sixlets the crack of the candy world.

9. Tootsie _______

All the Tootsie you could ever ask for...

Where would Tootsie _______ be without Halloween? How many times do you go to the store to buy this stuff when it's not October? Anyway...I can't just limit this to a single Tootsie product. Pops, Midgees, the flavored rolls and every single size log they can make a Tootsie Roll in is included here. I guess Pops are the most desired but for a quick fix, the smallest or 2nd smallest Tootsie Roll is perfect. I'd like to propose an idea to the Tootsie folks. The "inside out" thing is really popular now, like the Reese's where the peanut butter is on the, why not come up with an inside-out Tootsie Pop where it's a sucker on the inside, wrapped in a Tootsie Roll? Brilliant! Oh and a quick rant. Who the hell came up with the chocolate Tootsie Pop? That's like having a caramel with a delicious caramel filling and trying to sneak it in a box of other delicious caramels with various creamy fillings. It just doesn't work and if you think that we're OK with it because the chocolate lollipop on the outside is a different taste and consistency than the Tootsie Roll on the inside, you underestimated our intelligence and discerning tastes. Ditch the chocolate in favor of more orange or try some new about a refreshing mint? Another great idea. You're welcome, Tootsie Roll company.

8. Lemonheads/Cherry-Clan

Not PC | The real lemon juice explains a lot...

These are a killer. Let them get soft so you can sort of peel that ultra-sour shell off and feel your saliva glands pucker up and your face wince in brief pain as the cherry or lemon (pick your poison) smacks you, then quickly disappears and it's time for another one. I loved getting these as a kid and they were pretty rare; I'd maybe come back with 4 or 5 of these in the entire pillowcase. Their scarcity and over-powering pucker power ensures a place on this list and makes me want to go punish my saliva glads ASAP with a Cherry Clan bomb.

7. Starburst

This would take me an hour to open...

I'm more of a chocolate/savory kid of candy dude, but there's something about Starburst that gets me every time. Do I care which flavor I eat? Nope, though I think the strawberry and orange flavors are king; lemon is easily traded. The biggest gripe with Starbust is the packaging. You gotta have the dexterity of a surgeon to open that wrapper and when you've just dumped a pillowcase full of candy on the floor, who has time to undo candy origami?

6. Kit Kat

Don't gimme a break, just gimme the whole damn thing...

This always seemed like the Rolls Royce of candy. It's impeccably clean, crisp, the wrapper seems like a tailored suit made for the 2 sticks of deliciousness inside; perfect. This was typically one of my most saught after candy commodities. I would be positioning my portfolio to offload copious quantities of Smarties, Dum Dum's and candy corn (the junk bonds) for just as many Kit Kat's as I could get. Here's a tip for y'all: let these sit out for a bit so the chocolate gets a little melty, leaving the tips of your fingers covered in delicious Hershey's chocolate. Or, try them in ice's a winning combination.

5. Dots

"A Fat Free Candy"

I don't know what it is with Dots that to this day makes me crave them so. Is it their super soft consistency? The yummy and varied flavors of those little humps of fruity goodness? I don't know. All I know is that when the door opened and the big bowl of candy appeared, if that little yellow box was in there, I was all over it. It was a nice amount of candy, too I wish Crows--the licorice flavored version of Dots--were made in Halloween-sized individual portions, but alas. It's probably a good thing; wouldn't want the world to know how much I love the universally loathed black licorice. It's not like this admission is being posted somewhere where everyone in the world (OK, maybe not China) can read it, right? Glad that didn't leak out...

4. 100 Grand

Wouldn't the snack size be 50 Grand?

Let's talk candy economics. If you were to buy a 100 Grand at the store it would be 2 pieces of caramelly, crispy goodness dipped in chocolate. At Halloween, if you're digging through the candy bowl of some housewife dressed up in her sorta-slutty witch costume--her breath reeking of vodka martini as you hear the other adults laughing hysterically at another guest's costume--and you come across 100 Grands, if you grab 2 of the snack-sized bars (accepted Halloween protocol) you now have an entire 100 Grand candy bar. Other kids will tell you that you need to get moving, and FAST, to the Littleton's place 3 blocks down because they're handing out whole Snickers bars but those kids are idiots. Why try and get an entire Snickers bar--which will undoubtedly run out before the Great Pumpkin rises at the end of the Charlie Brown DVD they started as the sun started to set--when the neighborhood is ripe for the picking with 100 Grands, Mounds, Almond Joy and other candies that are bascailly the full-sized counterpart split in two? People get tunnel vision when you tell them about the possibility of grabbing the big prize and they fail to realize the economics behind being able to grab 2 of the smaller prize and net the same result. These are the same kids that grow up and want to throw Hail Mary TD passes instead of the far more effective and efficient 7-yard passing routes. The point of all this is...100 Grands rule.

3. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

I'll take the one on the left...

Man, these are unbelievable. The economics discussion from 100 Grand applies here, too, but never-mind that: did I mention these are F'n good!? Remember the commercials where they'd show all the different ways to eat a Reese's PBC and the one around Halloween showed a vampire had poked perfect little holes in the cup and sucked out the peanut butter? How clever. If they showed how I eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, it'd show me opening it, peeling off that greasy brown cup/wrapper and stuffing the whole thing in my mouth and then rummaging through my candy stash looking for another one.

2. Snickers

Pairs well with Merlot...

Snickers are like wine of the candy world. Their complexity, depth of flavor, variety of textures could make anyone ponder a Snickers bar, bite by bite as the airy nougat gives way to the ribbony, sickly sweet caramel on the tongue with warm notes of roasted nuts lingering over a strong milk chocolate finish. As kids, all you know is that Snickers taste awesome and their stock is very valuable. Next to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, these are the blue chips of the candy stock market; bellwethers that constantly beat earnings, impress all who covet their strength as the king of candies. It's tough not to choose these as the top of the heap...

1. Nerds

If I were Uncle Scrooge, I'd swim in Nerds...

You have to respect Nerds' bravado. With so many other candies, their composition leads you to believe that this candy is maybe in some way sort of healthy (Snickers, Baby Ruth, etc, with their peanuts and "nougat" which in no way sounds like processed sugar) or their appearance masks the fact that they are nothing but straight sugar (Skittles are perfectly shaped little drops of goodness...Jujyfruits look like corn, bundt-pans and a Battleship destroyer). But not sir. Nerds don't hide the fact in any way that they are just giant sugar crystals dipped in some unnatural color that's been flavored so strongly that you'll down them with extreme speed and in copious quantities. If they made a NERD that was, say, a 2" orb you'd never give it a chance; only fatties would eat a giant piece of candy like that. But, make them the size of BB's and you're likely to eat the equivalent of a 3" orb and still want more. It's for all these reasons that Nerds stand atop our hierarchy of Halloween candy.

Honorable Mention

Pixie Stix

Dangerous...very dangerous...

These weren't seen all that often during Halloween and I think we can all agree that was a travesty. These are quite possibly the candy that defined my generation. Intensely effective, portable, small enough to get your fix without looking like an addict, flavorful...I could go on forever. If you didn't tilt your head back and shotgun one of these bad boys, you were a total wuss.

No comments: