Halloween rules, even for adults. Something like the parade in New York can be a logistical nightmare, but it’s still fun to dress like an ass and drink too much for almost no discernible reason. That, and you can eat as much candy as you want because your mom can’t tell you stop anymore. Here is the definitive list of the best that [Halloween has to offer from a guy who discovered that he knows way too much about the American candy industry while preparing this list. A note: Each entry covers the entire ground for that given type. So, “M&Ms” stands in for original, peanut, pretzel, et al. Not every candy in the country for sale in Halloween packaging is listed, but I think I came pretty damn close. Let’s do this.
53. Good & Plenty
You gotta be kidding me with this. If you were to offer some of these licorice demons to me in a bowl, I would pour the candy down the toilet because I wouldn’t want to taint the trash.
52. An apple with razor blades inside of it
Good & Plentys are worse than the psycho shit some people give to kids. At least you can eat around the razor blades for some vitamins.
51. Cadbury Screme Egg
I thought we only had to put up with this jizz bomb at Easter. Not cool. Same goes for Halloween Peeps.
Are you seriously trying to put fruit in my candy and not the other way around — like a delicious caramel apple? Better get out of my face with this.
Straight up: I was walking down an alley the other day and Morpheus shows up. In one hand, he had a Dot. In the other, a smoked Newport cigarette with lipstick stains that had been chewed on by sewer rats. He’s all, “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back.” I ate that Newport and bounced.
48. Bottle Caps
Wonka must’ve been high AF for this one. The cola-flavored one tastes like baking soda mixed with Sweet‘N Low, rubber, and dreams unfulfilled.
Gum — any kind of gum, including the best gum: Big League Chew — is not candy and, therefore, is not an acceptable option for Halloween. How gum got to be part of Halloween is more mind-boggling than Crash winning Best Picture.
46. Mike and Ike
45. Charleston Chew
This nougat-centric abomination was named after a popular dance of the 1920s, the Charleston, and ceased edibility in that decade.
When you bite into a Whopper, it’s like all of the ashes of your cremated family members and all of the sand from the Gobi Desert explodes into your mouth.
43. Laffy Taffy
This one is all about which flavor you pull. If you pull banana, you’d be better off just scraping the taste buds off of your tongue with some paint thinner and steel wool.
What fool has the option of hooking up with a candy bar that has almonds and chooses the one that doesn’t?
41. Almond Joy
Coconut in a candy bar is nasty, though. Coconut should be reserved for alcoholic beverages enjoyed on a beach.
40. Clark Bar
Ayo, my great-grandparents sent a Pony Express telegram to each other in 1919 that said the Clark Bar was already played out.
39. Atomic Fireball
Pretty schwag. Add Red Hots and other cinnamon candy to this spot. I have so little time for cinnamon candy, it is painful to even be typing this very sentence.
38. Sour Punch Twists
I mean, c’mon, spring for some Patch Kids. Get serious, people.
Nowadays, Nerds seem to find their way into every gap or dip my teeth have to offer. Each time I bite down, I can feel three cavities being hollowed out by pure sugar and fiberglass — which is what Nerds have to be made of.
36. Milk Duds
I used to be down with Milk Duds when I was eight, but I’m a grownass man now I can’t tell where the chocolate ends and the caramel begins. Duds, indeed.
Rolos are a danker version of Milk Duds.
Super sour, okay: That’s something. If you want to go mad scientist on them, slather them in cinnamon oil before you pop ‘em in your face. It’s a great way to find out whether your tear ducts work.
33. Caramel Apple Pops
Not bad, especially if you don’t have braces.
32. Dum Dums
These pops have some good flavors but are definitely a cheap way out. The Fun Size of a name brand candy bar for trick-or-treaters is the bare minimum for turning your lights on on October 31. For shame.
Kisses, Mr. Goodbar, Crackle … Hershey’s milk chocolate might be better than you think. It’s Budweiser to Orval, American-made and mass-produced vs. Europe’s craft-made fanciness. But sometimes you just want a Bud.
Chewy Sprees are worse than the regular, crunchy Sprees, which are still just okay. I’m going with “just okay” for Spree.
Smarties are underrated. Yes, they crumble into Mad Max-desert dust like whoa, but most of the flavors are on point.
Enjoying a candy that your parents also got down on is nice and nostalgic. I have no quarrel with Lemonheads.
Pretty decent candy for people with patience. I, on the other hand, have zero patience. Also, it’ll never live up to the promise of Wilder’s Wonka.
Better version of Laffy Taffy.
25. 3 Musketeers
A Snickers with its balls and dick cut off.
24. Milky Way
A Snickers with just its balls cut off.
23. Jolly Rancher
Despite their ability to stain your tongue for three days per morsel, Ranchers pack a flavorful punch. Pro tip: Pop one in a 40oz of malt liquor and watch the magic happen. Can’t say that about Tootsie Rolls.
22. Tootsie Rolls
Chocolate Tootsie Rolls don’t really taste like chocolate but I respect the uniqueness. Less than zero time for the fruit flavored ones, though.
Most Runts are gangster. Chewy Runts are not. Banana Runts are one semester shy of becoming chalk.
20. Candy Corn
I, also, am on board with candy corn. There’s something admirable about a food (if you can call it food) that has a consistency all its own. Gotta go Brach’s.
Gotta stick with the original strawberry, here. Cherry Nibs are pretty righteous, too. Major subtractions for the other flavors that are like the 2015 Phillies’ Double-A team trying to beat the ‘98 Yankees.
18. York Peppermint Patty
Junior Mints are better.
17. Junior Mints
Proper mostly because it’s a major plot point for a Seinfeld (same goes for Jujyfruits, which aren’t easily found for Halloween). Also, they’re perfect for Fun Size: I don’t want too much of that mint in my zone.
“Almost totally nuts” is a pretty awful/very accurate marketing ploy. But, the hyper-salty nuts work well with the super-sweet “caramel” roll in the middle. (That’s not caramel, PayDay. We’re onto you.)
15. Kit Kat
Chocolate plus some crispy, unidentified shit. Alright, I’m in.
When I was growing up, my man Bart Simpson told me — time and time again — to enjoy the many blessings that Butterfinger would bestow upon my tongue. I didn’t heed Bart’s advice: I could never figure out what that orange shit in the middle was. Now that I’m marginally wiser, I have learned to bite into the mysterious void and enjoy.
12. Baby Ruth
B.R. is dece. A poor man’s Snickers, extra props for a cameo in Caddyshack.
Being a grown-up and all, you can definitely spring for some dope chocolate and toffee options on the higher-end shelves. No matter what, it’s a winning combo and Heath pulls it off surprisingly well. LOL Skor BTW.
10. Haribo Gold-Bears
While gummy bears are a questionable Halloween treat, Haribo brings the chewy ruckus in the department. Accept no substitute.
9. Swedish Fish
Swedish Fish fuckin’ rule.
The sheer, unbridled deliciousness of a freshly unwrapped Starburst is hard to describe in words. I’ll just say that it’s like Dan Aykroyd’s dream in Ghostbusters. Original is best, Tropical will do in a pinch.
The wide variety of M&Ms deserves its own ranking, but let it be said that almost all of them are delicious. Peanut is the illest.
6. Sour Patch Kids
Oh, so sour and chewy and sweet and awesome. I don’t have any kids, but if I could make these kids my actual children I would.
The man who decided to put peanut butter and chocolate together should be posthumously awarded all of the medals: Olympic, Nobel, Caldecott, all of ‘em. I hope his name is Reese, too. I’m not even going to look it up, I’m just going to keep on hoping. All sizes of Reese’s — from Pieces to Big Cups — bring the noise.
Total genius. Twix is the only candy with the cookie crunch.
3. Sweet Tarts
If you eat an entire roll in one sitting, you will achieve total enlightenment.
I almost had to send Snickers to the top, as it is the greatest American chocolate bar. All of the right pieces are in place and it’s basically a meal in a wrapper. In fact, it should be eaten for breakfast by everyone and we will all have much more enjoyable — albeit shorter — lives.
What other candy makes you want to jump into a pool filled with them and swim around? What other candy superpowers a Super Bowl champion? What other candy is made of rainbows, for sure, 100 percent? Only this one. Changing lime to green apple was also a major coup. Skittles are life, the rest is just details.
Photos via Getty Images, Getty