The Candy Hierarchy (2011)

Once again with Halloween upon us, it’s time to revisit candy culture, or more specifically, a system that aims to rank it. Like before, the mechanism to do this would be according to, well, let’s just call it "joy induction."

This hierarchy actually began in 2006 as the work of a friend and colleague, Ben Cohen. Ben is an environmental historian over at Lafayette College, but in a previous life, he and I use to blog together. This partnership happened because of our backgrounds publishing science humor, and so in some respects, this "Candy Hierarchy" is just another creative juncture. However, since publishing the 2010 version at Boing Boing, we received such amazing feedback from the community, I thought it would be great to continue this tradition and allow even more kickass "peer review" into guide the rankings.

As always, I’m aware that: (1) some people will still be deeply offended by the rankings; (2) because the new rankings tried very hard to incorporate the feedback, you now know that we were serious about the potential for readers to shift the hierarchy year to year; and (3) above it all, we can all hopefully agree that the process of peer review is just kickass anyway. Anyway, do play in the comments, but without further ado, read on...

Discussion: Presented within is the newly reformulated Ng and Cohen Candy Hierarchy, which aims to rank Halloween candy recieved during trick or treating. This version is seen as an improvement of the 2010 edition, which culled massive peer review in the form of several hundred comments (pdf version of peer review available here).

Like before, we placed a high value on this process, as past attempts (see previous versions 2006 | 2007 | 2008) had produced noteworthy relevations, including establishment of reference samples, hereafter termed index candies, as well as the discovery of the importance of caramel in defining the upper tiers.

In its previous form, we were hopeful that some of the new potential advances in the hierarchy would be due to evaluating context setting. In our last report, we had suggested that "rarely in practice do eaters eat just one piece of candy. Anecdotal evidence indicates that, in general, eaters throw multiple pieces of Halloween candy down their gullets. (When so much is being eaten, research shows the Pelican-gullet-eating-fish imagery is apt.) It thus matters which are eaten earlier and which later. Some tests, for example, indicate that you can only consume so many premier grade chocolate based candies before you need the zip or zing of a Spree or a Smarty to 'cleanse the pallet'."

Indeed, from our data, we found that context was key. Perhaps most significant were frameworks that revolved around the geography of palates. Specifically, it was noted that there was a strong North American bias, which often led to heated disagreement. In light of this, we strongly suggest a parallel attempt at defining a Sweets Hierarchy to further explore global preferences.

Other noteworthy findings include:

(1) That despite various lobbying efforts, clear consensus within the peer review process was wholly absent. No agreement on any specific candy was represented higher than 5% of the total comments (although status of fresh versus stale versus fruit flavored Tootsie Rolls was especially hotly debated). Indeed, consensus was only noted in the following: that last year’s hierarchy, in a word, sucked. In fact, the word “travesty” and similar synonyms were uttered more than a few times (Koerth-Baker, 2010).

(2) That with current data, Candy Corn is impossible to rank. It is liken to the “String Theory” of candy: largely theoretical nature and difficult to pin down. In the hopes of moving forward on this strange phenomenon, we are currently exploring a grant proposal that would give us time on the LHC.

(3) That this study was a great portal to science culture in general. This was demonstrated by an example of scientific plagiarism (link), as well as the prevalence of scientist bias, because despite repeated commentary on the contrary, we stubbornly stand by our evaluation of Whoppers.

We also would like to suggest that a paradigm shift in this hierarchy is looming. Buoyed by an incident involving a Ouija board and what appeared to be the spirit of Thomas Kuhn (the board spelled, “S N I C K E R S F T W B U T P E E R R E V I E W N O T T E C H N I C A L L Y E X P E R T”), we were led to consider what exactly should pass as reasonable “peer review.” Here, it is our opinion that this may, in fact, be the views and opinions of children.

Consequently, we look forward to continued assessment of this 2011 Candy Hierarchy, fully aware and deeply respectful of the fact that this exciting field is still in its infancy.



(caramel, chewy, oh my classy)

Any full sized candy bar[1] — Caramellos — Milky Way — Snickers — Rolos[2] — Twix — Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups — Cash[3]


(not surprisingly, exclusively chocolate-based) 
Hershey’s Kissables — Peanut M&M’s — Regular M&Ms[4] — Junior Mints — York Peppermint Patties — Three Musketeers[5] — regular old Hershey Bars — Reggie Jackson Bar — Kit Kat — Dark Chocolate Hershey


(also exclusively chocolate, after fending off a few intruders) 
Nestle Crunch — Mounds — Tootsie Rolls — Whoppers[6] — Fair Trade Chocolate[7] — Butterfinger — Pay Day — Baby Ruth  — 100 Grand Bar — Almond Joy — Cadbury’s Creme Eggs[8]


(the chewy range or, in some circles, the Upper Chewy or Upper Devonian) 
Milk Duds — Benzedrine -- Jolly Ranchers (if a good flavor) — Candy Corn?[9] — Starburst — Skittles — Stale Tootsie Rolls — Licorice (not black)


(the Lower Chewy and Gummy-Based, also the Middle Crunchy Tart Layer) 
Dots — Lollipops — Nerds — Runts — Trail Mix —Swedish Fish — Mary Janes — Gummy Bears straight up — White Bread — Black Licorice -- Anything from Brach's[10] — Hard Candy — Spree — Bubble Gum — Including the Chiclets (but not the erasers) — Black Jacks — LemonHeads — LaffyTaffy — Good N' Plenty — Jolly Ranchers (if a bad flavor)[11] — Bottle Caps — American Smarties [12] — Chalk [12] — "those odd marshmallow circus peanut things" -- gum from baseball cards 

Tier so low it does not register on our equipment [13]

Healthy Fruit — Pencils [14]— Hugs (actual physical hugs)[14] — Lapel Pins — Extra Strength Tylenol — "anonymous brown globs that come in black and orange wrappers" — Now'n'Laters[15] — Whole Wheat anything — Those little Christian notebooks — Pebbles

Benjamin R. Cohen & David Ng

The hierarchy is also available in PDF format

1. Because like, score! (Bcsizemo, 2010)

2. These may be rolled to a friend.

3. Not sure if this should be included. Systematics are on this as we speak.

4. Includes comparable Commonwealth version of “Smarties.” (Devo, Legionabstract, gadgetgirl  et al, 2011) 

5. Although has also been classified as packing material (Cunning, 2010)

6. Whoppers blow.

7. The authors are curious as to which neighborhoods you belong to.

8. Could potentially rank higher if not for the possibility of them sitting on the shelf for seven months. Also doesn’t help that its interior could be described as “pustulent.” (Petersen, 2010)

9. Still no unanimous decision on the placement of Candy Corn, which as of 2006 remained unclassified, but as of 2007 had been tentatively placed in the Upper Chewy/Upper Devonian. 2008: no sighting. For now, we have elected to leave in the same tier as last year.

10. Unless it's something caramel, pronounced "caramel."

11. Remains an outlier, since it is in no way "chewy." Further studies have not resolved this inconsistency.

12. By some accounts, these two are actually one and the same (Gadgetgirl, 2010)

13. Yet some would be just as well to be left off. Bit-o-Honey, for example, might be called a lower tier member, but why bother? It says to your trick-or-treaters, "Here, I don't care, just take this." The lesson of Bit-o-Honey is: you lose. Goo Goo clusters, too. You're making a social statement--"I hate you and everything you represent"--when you give these out.

14. Additional research has further defined this relationship. Currently, it has been suggested that Blackwing Pencils > Hugs > Creepy Hugs > Pencils. (Lobster, Prufrock451, and Warreno, 2010)

15. Unless you eat them properly. To quote Anonymous, 2010: “The trick to realizing how brilliant and delicious Now 'n Laters are is a two step process. The first step is to carefully read the name of the candy. "Now 'n Later." What does it mean, you ask? Well, it implies that the candy will be different "now" (when you put it in your mouth) and at some point "later" in time. A small leap of logic takes us to the second step: be patient. You need to suck on it for a while until it softens. If you skip this step, the Now 'n Later will be an inedible, rock-like colorful brick quite worthy of the low end of the hierarchy. But if you are patient in your candy-eating process, oh the rewards you will reap!”


  1. As any non-American will be able to tell you any Hersheys product resides in the lowest tier, in fact I would rather eat pencils. 

    1. What’s wrong with it? Any non-American country I’ve been to has Hersey’s in the import candy shop for the same price as Godiva.

      1. Yeah, but I’ve also seen Wonder Bread with high prices in the import areas. Doesn’t make it good.

  2. I think my tastes are a bit off, my hierarchy is a inverse of yours.  Part of the difference is probably that I like anise, which is a pretty divisive pick (few people consider it neutral).

    1. I love black licorice, but I suspect using the proper term for the herb adds complication to the argument.  At least I really don’t see myself loudly proclaiming “I love anise” in a crowded room all that often.

      I also love good candy corn, missing from the list.  A Halloween without candy corn risks angering the spirit world.

      edit – missing from top tier I should say

        1. Ah.  Thanks, I thought they were the same plant.  They certainly taste the same to me, and that is like nothing else.  So which is used in Ouzo?  Absinthe?

  3. The chart is a work of genius. Personally I would move the swedish fish and black licorice from the bottom tier to a higher tier. I would also move fair trade chocolate to the top tier.

    Please keep doing this important work.

      1. Licorice is quite obviously a Communist candy, therefore I can derive from your statement that you are from North Korea.  Please stop exporting black licorice.  It sucks as a candy and must only be used as the horrible weapon for which it was designed. 

  4. KitKat properly belongs in the uppermost tier. That is a classy chocolate.   In its place in the penultimate tier, I would nominate those little bags of potato chips. Not chocolate themselves of course, but undeniably one of the first things you’d eat.

    1. KitKat bars are not all created equal. The “chocolatey coating” and even the stuff inside are slightly different from country to country. Makes the list a litter harder to quantify.

    2.  There is a distinction that needs to be clearly made.  “American” KitKats taste like wax.  The dark chocolate version is almost edible.  Canadian KitKats have a far superior chocolaty taste.

      1. not tried American or Canadian KitKats, but Indian and Japanese KitKats are inferior to English KitKats – although Japan wins overall due the huge selection of crazy-flavoured (and coloured) KitKats

  5. If anyone wants to trade me their Bottom Tier candy for my Post-Tertiary, Second Tier or Third Tier candy, I’m amenable to that.

  6. Any taxonomy that places Good N’ Plenty below Peanut M&Ms (let alone Almond Joy and Mounds) is ludicrous on the face of it. Absolutely ridiculous. I am writing to the Board of Regents forthwith to have your funding revoked. Good day, sir.

    (Also? The “anonymous brown globs that come in black and orange wrappers” are just unbranded Mary Janes. I SAID GOOD DAY!)

  7. Consideration should be given to two types of Whoppers; the full-bodied, puffy, delightful milk balls, and the misshapen, dense, crunchy globs that show up in every box.

    1. YES!YES!YES!  OMG!!!!!!!!!  I have tried to “grow” the latter.  The closest I’ve come is to poking them with a pin and wait, like days.  AND, you are far more likely to find them in “fun size” boxes rather than movie or quart box shaped like a big public school lunch paper milk container.

    1. Kids these days… they must all be Augustus Gloops hand-ladeling gluttony from a river of chocolate.

      Top tier contains no smarties, no red-hots, no good-n-plenties, no starburst, no milk duds, no whoppers, nothing gummi-based at all!

  8. Is the author seriously suggesting that a Twix or a Reese’s is preferable to a Blackwing pencil? (see footnote 14) Have I actually read such a thing on BoingBoing of all places? Ng opens up his methodology to serious questions when he includes high-end art supplies in the bottom tier of his flawed heirarchy, in the company of such undesirables as hugs and healthy fruit. Would Mr. Ng also scorn a Field Notes pencil or—one shudders to think of a mind so perverse—notebook? Would he cast aside his Blackwing pencils along with his (hopefully not Jack Chick—oh what a coup that would be!) religious tracts? Not I, sir. Not I.

  9. Am I the only person on the planet who does not discriminate against any candy? They all bleed sugar equally!

  10. NECCO Wafers == American Smarties == chalk and all 3 should be in Tier So Low. [self, pers. comm.]
    Mounds/Almond Joy are top tier – any lower is a travishamockery.

    1. NECCO Wafers and Bottle Caps are nasty.   They are chalky and acidic, but without any real flavor (except for rootbeer bottle caps, but those still gross).   I can eat American Smarties — which are more like compressed and soured powdered sugar instead of chalk.

  11. 1) Pennies wrapped in wax paper tied with twine must not be classified as “money.”  Payback is instant and brutally effective against car paint with this treat.

    2) Toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, gum stimulators, tongue scrapers, et al – these are poor choices and should be labeled as “dangerously provocative” treats.

    3) Candies clearly stolen from a shabby French restaurant – I’m looking at you, Creme de Menthe – should be placed in the bottom tier. Along with any “candy” that needs a spoon to dish into the treat bag.

  12.  “Tier so low it does not register on our equipment ” should include toothbrushes as well. I was going through my neice’s haul (picking out the good stuff that kids agreeably hate like black liquorice and street drugs) when I found a toothbrush.

    “What kind of asshole gives out toothbrushes?” Of course I said this out loud and no one in the house was really impressed.

    1. “What kind of asshole gives out toothbrushes?”

      If they’re good toothbrushes, those things are expensive.

      1. I think that I’m one of the few people that likes getting socks, underwear and shower gel at Christmas time.  One less thing I need to buy myself!

        If I wanted a watch I’d buy a bloody watch.

    1. As an American who briefly lived in England the placement of ANYTHING made by Hershey above ANYTHING made by Cadbury renders me speechless. Honestly, I felt like I’d never known what chocolate really was until I’d tried my first Cadbury bar.

      1. Agreed. Because the problem with Hershey’s chocolate is that “noticeable quantities of wax” is not a proper chocolate ingredient.

      2. I agree, however I was distressed to realise when I spoke to my friends from Belgium that they considered Cadbury to be ‘not too bad’ and hence there are chocolate tiers above us. 

        Also I was distressed that Mars bars weren’t in the top tier, and had to consult wikipedia to realise that’s a Milky Way, and Milky Ways are Three Musketeers apparently. 

    2. I think the point being is not that Hershey’s is on a higher tier than the Cadbury’s Creme Egg generally speaking—an assertation that no sane individual could entertain—but that a Cadbury Egg on *Halloween* is suspect, as it has been lying around for  half a year at least.

    3. To rectify this argument, the Creme Egg would need to be split into two variables: Fresh Creme Egg (FCCE), purchased for Halloween, and Stale Creme Egg (SCCE) purchased for Easter or previous periods in history  (they are statistically the same, see the pamphlet on Creme Egg aging experiments, to be published 3Q 2012)

  13. How does ‘post-tertiary’ fit between ‘top tier’ and ‘second tier’? Isn’t tertiary third? So post-tertiary would be after that? Is there some usage I’m not familiar with?

  14. I’d like to formally thank you for putting this list out and stimulating the flamewardiscussion.  Having done so, I must YET AGAIN register my displeasure at your insistence on not only mislabeling peanut butter taffy as “anonymous brown globs that come in black and orange wrappers” but also insist on ranking them below circus peanuts, which I believe were put on earth by mischievous adolescent extraterrestrials who were conducting an experiment to determine whether there were, in fact, humans who would put literally anything, no matter how disgusting, in their mouths if it were placed in front of them. Once again–and, believe me, I say this out of sorrow rather than anger–you have incorporated in your list rankings of such staggering dubiousness that I would request independent confirmation if you told me that water was wet. 

    So… same time next year, then?  

  15. Anyone notice Mounds, which used to be merely almondless (and therefore slightly inferior) Almond Joys, are now dark chocolate covered, and therefore have an increased deliciousness count? One can only speculate about a dark chocolate coated Almond Joy. Likely the combination has been banned for exceeding some sort of comprehensive candy test ban treaty.

    Also, I’m pretty sure  Candy Corn is a deadly poison and should rank below pencils and razor blades.

    1. I have wanted a dark choc Almond Joy from the moment I encountered dark Mounds. Joy induction, indeed.

    2. Yes… Candy Corn is practically as lethal as (ack!) horehound drops.  However… were exterminators to tent a building and merely threw in a bucket of candy corn to do the dirty deed to the resident cockroaches, I’d bet on the roaches surviving.  If it were horehound though, I’d place the odds at 50/50.

  16. Whither Take 5?  That unholy alchemy of pretty much everything good from all the items in the top three tiers (except, sadly, the cash) probably merits a tier all its own.  We’ve had to make it a point not to give them out because we end up eating too many of them ourselves.

  17. I propose an anti-social tier, A tier in that the ‘treat’ dispensers have such an obvious hate for the rules and customs of society that such an action must and shall be repaid in only the most heinous of childhood capable vandalism (with such actions such as ‘flaming dog poo bag’ and crude remarks written into a lawn with bleach).

    My proposal of the tier: toothbrushes and other oral hygienic supplies, coupons and vouchers, boxes of ready rice, very un-entertaining christian tracts and paraphernalia, dog treats, and most of all Mary Janes.

  18. While I might quibble with the under-rating of Mounds and the dangerously extravagant classification of Twix, footnote 13’s elegant dismissal of the Confection That May Not Be Named redeems the entire endeavor.  Bravo, David!!

  19. I was wondering myself about the inclusion of chips on this list. Do they count? Should it be a separate list? I presume that different brands and flavours would have to be ranked differently.

    And what about homemade stuff? Impossible to rank systematically, I guess, but some people out there are still keeping the faith.

  20. Bottle Caps and Smarties always get eaten before Tootsie Rolls, which sit at the bottom of the bag until there is nothing else to gnaw on.

  21. RE xkot: I’m with you; I’d much rather have a bag full of SweeTarts, Bottle Caps, Lemon Heads, Smarties and the like than a bunch of chocolate!

    1. With zero Likes on my comment, I was afraid I was a minority of one! Thanks nexusheli, and I will gladly stand shoulder to shoulder with you at an Occupy Big Chocolate rally.

  22. I’m willing to ignore my own preferences about candy, but I do have one beef with the list.  Cash should not be rated that highly.  Getting a penny from a house is really disappointing, and you’d have to hit the same house up multiple times to be able to buy a piece of Bazooka.  And yet, getting a nickle or dime is also similarly disappointing.

    1. I was confused by the talk of smarties and their description as ‘chalky’.

      In the UK smarties are chocolate, and they’re tasty.  I’m not sure if google image searches are regional like the normal searches, but here’s the search and I only see british smarties:

  23. Hmmm…no mention of the all-time worst treat – poorly wrapped popcorn balls that open in your pillow case and contanimate the rest of your candy with the sticky stuff that holds the ball together but which has never been identified…

    And…I would put Chunky in the top tier. It’s good candy that one generally never thinks to purchase on its own.  And…I would put dark chocolate M&Ms in the top tier.  They are a higher class incarnation of a classic without being an ostentatious show of high brow tastes.  You can discreetely munch them without making your friends feel inferior.

  24. I live in a small, isolated neighborhood and so will only dispense candy to 50-65 kids per Halloween.  Thus, I can afford to splurge.  I give out the full-size Hershey bars, 4.4oz. size.  (Note to folks who don’t like Hershey’s chocolate – at least the kids who come to my door get something they can easily trade.) 

    The great thing about that size bar is that it’s just large enough for me to slip a brand new $2 bill inside.  (Note to folks outside the U.S. – $2 bills are widely considered harbingers of good luck, except at racetracks where superstitious wagerers consider them the ultimate bad-luck token.)  When it’s June and I’m out watering my front lawn and I see some 4 or 5 year old kid jump up and down and pull on Moms clothes to get her attention, all while pointing at me, I know I’ve made a nice memory for that kid.  That’s worth a heck of a lot more than the $3.50 I spent the previous Halloween.

    Sound extravagant?  Don’t get me started on the time, immediately prior to Halloween, when my sister bought an entire toy section from a going-out-of-business supermarket by making the liquidation manager a flat, one-price offer.  She lived in a *big* neighborhood, so on that Halloween her house was a total mob scene.

    1. “I live in a small, isolated neighborhood and so will only dispense candy to 50-65 kids per Halloween.”

      Bloody hell.  In the UK I hardly ever get a trick-or-treater (and if I did I’d tell them to go buy their own bloody sweets), I think in my whole life I’ve experienced a handful of trick-or-treaters.  And I’ve lived in a medium sized town, a densely populated city and London.

      I sometimes say that halloween here is becoming ‘more American’; but by those numbers we haven’t even left the starting line (thank the spaghetti monster).

      EDIT: I wanted to mention that although I’d hate for Halloween here to become ‘Americanised’ (or maybe in the spirit of the phrase it should be ‘Americanized’?), I appreciate that if it’s a part of your culture it’s probably as much loved as Christmas and if you’ve grown up with it it’s probably a jolly good time.

    2. I live in a small, isolated neighborhood and so will only dispense candy to 50-65 kids per Halloween.

      Since I moved to California in 1977, I think I’ve gotten ten trick-or-treaters, total.

      1. Since I moved to California in 1977, I think I’ve gotten ten trick-or-treaters, total.

        Lest readers misinterpret the data, it’s not the fault of the state.  Don’t know if you’ve spent all of your California years in Palm Springs, but with a median age of 51.6 years, the Springs won’t show too many trick-or-treaters.

        1. Most of it was in San Francisco, where the average household has 0.00000000000000001 children.

          1. I had 82 kids come by tonite.  Fully a half dozen of them insisted on hugging me in return for the 4.4oz. Hershey bar.  Apparently some kids like them.

            I think the high total for my little neighborhood this evening was due to two cars that drove down our street, parked in front of my house, disgorged an army of children who descended upon me, and then drove out of the neighborhood.  I’m not sure how the word spread that I was giving out large sizes but it clearly did.

    1. On the other side of the year, where they belong. If you’re really pining for one, lick a marshmallow and roll it in granulated sugar, it’s the same thing. 

  25. Anything with coconut should be categorized in the ‘hazardous waste’ tier.  There’s a reason the stuff comes locked inside an impenetrable sphere covered in thick shredded wooden hair and grows at the very top of trees without any branches to aid in climbing.  It’s nature’s way to telling us that it shouldn’t be considered a foodstuff.

    Also, Heath bars need to be added to the top tier.

  26. Of course, you all realize that any responsible parent will go through their child’s trick-or-treat bag and remove anything that might be dangerous to the child; meaning anything containing chocolate. It’s the least we can do for our families.

  27. 1) I feel that the hierarchy is missing some qualifications for mass–someone giving out, for example, the “sub-fun-sized” Kit Kats that now exist in quantities of less than four should be identified as a cheapskate and a scoundrel. In fact “fun-sized” is an insulting term to begin with. No one receiving the candy in question would find it to impart fun to a greater degree than a full-sized item of the same type.

    2) I am surprised that Necco Wafers are not included here, as their current purpose on Earth seems to be as an Halloween-specific indicator of some sort. Indicating specifically when looking into a candy receptacle containing only Necco Wafers, that Halloween is well and truly gone for the year, and it’s time to go back to raiding the cupboards for fruit and cereal. If the “Chalk” category is meant to include Necco wafers, it should be downgraded.

  28. As anyone whos grown up eating real chocolate (aka Cadburys) will agree, Hershy bars taste suspiciously like the dodgy cheap chocolate your slightly senile great aunt always buys you for christmas from market stalls that’s at least 6 years out of date and doesn’t actually contain any chocolate, and may in fact be rabbit droppings

  29. I think this issue would be a lot less divisive by presenting it not as a tier list, but as a table of exchange rates.
    Thus the market value of, say,  a milky way in skittles depends on the popular opinion, giving those precious few who do have taste and enjoy their dark liquorice the opportunity to rake in piles of their underappreciated favourites  in exchange for a few more popular bars.

    On a different note, being mainland eurotrash I’ve had the opportunity to sample both M&M’s and smarties and I can tell you they are most definitely not the same thing and do not belong in the same tier, M&M’s are by far the superior product.

  30. Of course there is great room for argument among the various parochial interest groups in the candy-eating community, but I fear that this sort of punditry masquerading as science does a disservice to the serious candy rating going on at various locations throughout the globe.
    It would seem that if the authors would like to contribute to the literature, that they might best use their time setting up a web-based candy exchange system whereby the various players in halloween candy acquisitions (otherwise known as our kids) could make markets in the various forms of confectionery and from these transactions we might begin to form a unified hierarchy that we could be proud of.

  31. This list is sadly lacking without the inclusion of Wine Gums.
    “Wine gums were originally created in 1905 by mixing fermented wine with a gelling agent.”
    They are no longer made with wine, but I think I may be up to the challenge of making some.  Quick, to the kitchen blog!

  32. Good quality old fashioned soft black licorice should be much higher than the hard modern crap and not lumped together. Also, licorice is a flavour. If it ain’t black and/or tastes like licorice, it ain’t licorice! That red stuff is some strawberry or cherry flavoured chewy crap.

  33. I believe that “pallets” are cleansed in warehouses, using hoses.
    But I would welcome this method if I’d mistakenly placed Hershey’s chocolate in my mouth.

  34. What heathens cannot include all the technicolor beauty of the discarded Roses or Quality Street in their own bottom this list? Is Halloween ec no longer supported by a base rate of pale green triangular ones that even the cockroaches refuse and that constantly rotate at the bottom of the candy pots decade on interminable decade???

    Or the sheer joy of finding the elusive golden cigarillo of toffee that will rob you of speech in return for cavities after a single bite??? I demand fair representation of the UK and Europe’s confectionery (which rivals the US for QUALITY rather than quantity or variety though I will always miss Candy Corn smelling wee the next day) in this Heirachy. Now.

  35. I’m ok with the fact that most people despise NECCO Wafers, but I would promote them simply because then more people would give them out and everyone would give them to me. Come on though, how often do you see candy that comes in clove (my favorite) flavor?

    Oddly, I can’t stand those little hearts that NECCO makes during valentines day even though they are the same candy in a different shape (missing several key flavors though!). Shape is everything!

    Also, I’m also sad to see the lack of wine gums, but they don’t really exist in the US (they should, they’re awesome!)

  36. I agree in the conceptual framework of this hierarchy, and the rankings seem reasonable despite my personal preferences (Mounds/Almond Joy/Whoppers).  Based on the preferences of my children, their friends and my friends (apparently most people don’t like the coconut filling) the general rankings seem correct.

    BottyGuy approved for Halloween 2011.

  37. I fail to see how mellowcreme pumpkins can be omitted from special mention.  They are, to me, the absolute essence of Halloween candy — sugar, fat, and salt with a starchy transport binder base, packaged as a large dosage for extra punch.  Mmm-mmm-deadly.

  38. I am most happy that KitKat did not make the top tier. 
    I find their TV commercials most annoying for the close up mike sounds of people chewing and crunching.


    1. I am most happy that KitKat did not make the top tier. I find their TV commercials most annoying for the close up mike sounds of people chewing and crunching.

      Yeah, but does any other candy have a commercial featuring a contrabass balalaika?

  39. Those anonymous chewy things in the black and orange wrappers are called Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses (otherwise known simply as “Mary Jane” in their non-Halloween wrappers). All they are is peanut butter and molasses. Personally, I’ve always loved Mary Janes, even when I was a little kid. My sister hated them, so I’d trade her all her Mary Janes for whatever stuff I had that she wanted. I never cared much for most chocolate candies, so those post-Halloween candy trades were one of the few moments she and I could trade belongings and both be happy with the results.

    Man, now I have to go get a bag of Mary Janes. I haven’t eaten one of those in years.

    1. Oh, those Mary Jane things are terrible and awful at the same time. I always thought “Well, if there’s a razor blade in my candy this year it’s probably this one, but… oh, well. “

  40. Glad to see the Hershey’s hate.  Seriously, making chocolate isn’t that hard.  You do need some cocoa though.  Replacing it with brown colouring, slightly-caramelised sugar and vannilin doesn’t work.
    Cadbury’s has recently been taken over by Kraft foods, so I hope they don’t ruin it.

    I never realised that Americans had different Smarties.  A bullet dodged, methinks.

    I did have some really nice chilli-chocolate in the house last year  (a proper dark chocolate with 60-70% coca solids). I decided that despite it being a premium product, it might be somewhat cruel to a child’s unaclimatised capsacin receptors.

  41. Where are full-sized cans of soda pop?  Although not technically candy, the sugar content places it in the same ball park.  Also where are mini bags of potato chips?

  42. What I always hated was whole walnuts.  Every Halloween when I would check my candy bag for goodies there would always be two or three whole walnuts.   Of course, the grand prize was always a full sized candy bar.  Also disliked was loose, unwrapped candy such as candy corn which was discarded for sanitary reasons.

  43. Tootsie rolls, Nestle Crunch, and Whoppers can’t be grouped in with gems like milk duds, 100 grands, and butterfinger. They’re of an entirely different caliber! They’re globs of chocolate with other chocolate stuff shoved inside them like a lazy attempt at a flavorful treat. milk duds, 100 grands, and butterfingers all combine different textures, flavors in the same candy. Tootsie rolls = Butterfingers? I THINK NOT, SIRS. 

  44. A couple of things come to mind: A) Licorice is a flavor not a product. B) Packaged Rice Krispie Treats should be added to the list. C) Was this chart paid for my the High Fructose Corn Syrup Lobby? D) I am reminded of this cartoon from The Perry Bible Fellowship

  45. I see “healthy fruit” on here, but where is “unhealthy fruit?” If such a magical product exists, where would it fall on this scale where can I get some?

  46. > “The placement of Hersheys chocolate above Cadbury’s Creme Eggs renders me speechless.”

    The placement of “Hersheys” and “chocolate” in the same sentence renders me speechless.

    I’m no great fan of Creme Eggs, but at least lets do the decent thing and put Hersheys where it belongs – i.e. below chalk.

  47. Shame it’s an American list; most of those options would be considered swill in the majority of the world.

    Still not sure why you guys can’t make chocolate properly.

    Also why would fair-trade chocolate be rated any lower? Are cocoa beans pried from the hands of slaves tastier? Very odd.

  48. What about non-American candy? I was raised in a predominantly Mexican community in Chicago and classic Mexican candy is as widely used as American candy. Most of if is spice based, and I’m sure other cultures have similar treats that are just as sought after. 

  49. I would like to add kudos for those houses who gave away home-made fudge, popcorn balls and rice krispie treats, complete with address labels on the cling-wrap. You were angels in human guise.

  50. I would say most of the candies in the top tier are vastly overrated. They should be second tier, with the exception of a few. Hershey’s Kissables are utter garbage, and shouldn’t even be on this list seeing as they’re no longer made. Same applies to the Reggie Jackson Bar, and seasonal candies like Cadbury Eggs, which you do no get on Halloween. I also don’t think non-candies have any right on this list – chalk, benzedrine, etc. Mary Janes, Swedish Fish, and Now’n’Laters get a bad rep, all of those are pretty good to me.  I agree with an earlier comment, Chunky bars should be top tier. Here, I have too many problems with this chart to write them all down, so I’ll just change the list to my liking:
    Oh, and I forgot about Bit-O’-Honey, I kinda like those…

  51. I realised that amongst all of my complaining I haven’t listed what I would consider top-teir.

    Terry’s Chocolate Orange (it’s a love hate thing I think)
    Green & Blacks (any)
    Lion Bars
    Toffee Crunches
    Dime Bars (they are NOT called Daim Bars, I wish the people that make them would accept this).
    {EDIT} And if you really want to please me then some fresh, still warm seaside doughnuts – but that’s probably asking a lot.

    Bottom teir:

    Any chocolate with actual fruit in it. I like fruit, but not in my chocolate – apart from Coconut… is Coconut a fruit? Is it a nut? A seed I guess? – don’t worry, the internet will know.

    It’s important to note that I only refer to the British versions of these products, as I haven’t experienced foreign alternatives – but I have tasted most Hersey’s products, and they all suck. I get drawn into peanut butter based treats a lot, as I love peanut butter, but I’m always left feeling dirty and used afterwards.

  52. Please note suggestion in regard to lowest tier item-  ‘healthy fruit’ should be labeled as ‘healthFUL fruit’, meaning that ingestion of said foodstuff imparts benefits of health to the participant of the masticating process . Healthy fruit would be fruit exhibiting commonly accepted signs of good health and/or horrifying anthropomorphic tendencies. 

    1. I’m interested by this post.

      Does that also mean stating that “fruit is healthy’ is also wrong?  I suppose it would.  You’ve just turned my world upside down.

  53. The treatment of Goo Goo Clusters is both unscientific and unfair. First, Goo Goo clusters are not at all dissimilar to many of the chocolate-nut-caramel candies listed in the upper tiers. While some differences based on simple taste are to be expected (see, for instance, every expression of outrage in the comments), the rankings reflect an otherwise relatively consistent approach rooted in a preference for chocolate-chewy-nutty compositions, which would suggest a high ranking for goo goo clusters barring some demonstrable and widely accepted shortcoming (an example of which, based on my experience as a Goo Goo Cluster consumer, I cannot think).  Second, they do not come in miniature sizes (and are expensive to boot), suggesting that they actually go in the first tier as a “full size candy bar.” In fact, a goo goo’s composition and size suggests its snubbing is a non-methodological product of regional bias. In fact, given the difficulty of procuring goo goo clusters outside Middle Tennessee, one might suspect that it was not actually subjected to testing, but is included in the footnote merely as a haphazardly chosen bogeyman.

  54. Okay all you licorice lovers, I say we take a stand.  If it doesn’t taste of ‘Glycyrrhiza glabra’ or some such lab-created synthetic equivalent resembling anise, it should not be called ‘licorice’.  The devil may take a pleasing shape, but anything other than black licorice is a poseur.  In your face, Red Vine eaters!

    The old gray mare and Hersheys ‘ain’t what they used to be’.  It has become a waxy inferior so-called chocolate and has no business in the post-tertiary catagory.  No extra points for sentimentality.  I know it’s harsh, but someone has to make the tough decisions and Hersheys has malingered long enough.  If Hersheys is just below Top Tier, then you have to add ‘wax lips’ to post-tertiary, and no one wants that.

    OTOH, the gooey yellow centers of Cadbury eggs make me nauseous.  I can’t eat them, or be in the same room while someone else does.  If Cadbury is the only viable alternative to Hersheys as a broad chocolate producer, I think we must think outside the box and promote some of the smaller producers up the heirarchial ladder.

    The blobs of peanut buttery taffy are Mary Janes?  Odd that it tastes better to me when wrapped and labeled ‘Mary Jane’.

    Okay, help me out Kit Kat Klub.  I don’t get what’s the big deal about this candy bar.  Everytime I eat one of these (and it was recently too), my response was the same – meh.  Ain’t no Heath Bar…and what the hell happened to ‘toffee’ as a catagory?!!!!

    Agree with the above assessment of the ‘fun-sized’ candies.  Are they kidding?  I need to eat at least three before ‘fun’ starts to register on my tongue.

    How can candy corn be a third tier candy, while ‘anything by Brachs’ is in the bottom tier.  The last bag of candy corn I bought (not for myself, gawd no!, but for some candy muncher of low repute we all know and love here, that I like to indulge occasionally – kinda like taking your post-holiday pumpkins to the hippos at the zoo, it’s entertaining to watch them eat the stuff) was from Brachs.  So, there are exceptions to the Brachs placement? Or any candy corn is acceptable, except Brachs?

    That said, Whoppers do not blow, they are delicious.  Clove-flavored Necco wafers blow.  And peeps.

    1. See here, you: “red licorice” may be a misnomer, but at least it can’t be mistaken for roofing pitch.  Nor does it have laxative qualities, nor is it liable to aggravate one’s hypertension.  American Licorice started selling Black Vines before the nation’s entry into World War I, when chewing asphalt probably sounded like a good time, and when pennies and pencils and religious tracts would be profusely appreciated additions to one’s threadbare pillowcase treat sack.  The nation has grown, matured, blossomed (and eventually stagnated, wilted, and collapsed) since then, and with it candy technology has matured with the taste buds of the populace.  American Licorice started selling Raspberry Vines in 1920, renamed them Red Vines in 1952, and in recent years even the Black Vines of my youth have been unsubtly renamed Red Vines Black Licorice Twists.  Red has conquered Black, and in the candy realm, that is as it should be.

      I don’t mean to imply that America’s march toward candy modernity has always been a universal progress toward deliciousness.  See, for example, the Millenials’ love of all candies Xtreme and Sour.  Many of us Gen Xers agree with the Boomers that such candies as Sour Patch Kids taste more bilious than anything called “candy” rightly should upon initial ingestion, rather than, say, regurgitation.  And I’ve said before how certain discontinued confections of my youth are profoundly missed, and have yet to be duplicated, such as the ol’ Marathon bar, and the nostalgia-dusted Pal bubblegum, which used to be a Halloween staple than was strongly reminiscent of “A.B.C.” Topps trading-card gum but much less crumbly.

      But still, the judgment of history offers no appeal: while black licorice was good enough to get Alexander the Great’s soldiers through their lengthiest marches without complaint (though accounts differ as to whether the licorice was used as incentive or punishment, and since I’ve heard the licorice itself was harvested from beneath the elephants’ toenails at the end of every day’s march, I certainly have my own opinion), we don’t have to live that way anymore.  We have electricity to illuminate us, airplanes to fly us to the remotest corners of the globe in hours, and we can now enjoy candies and confections that actually do taste good, and don’t make us wonder if what we’re chewing spent the last several months bubbling away in a vat at the B.F. Goodrich plant.

      You’re right about Whoppers and their blowishness; they have none.  Perfectly acceptable malted milk ball.  And Necco wafers are simply shims for the short leg on the couch.  Not meant to be eaten.  Peeps have no business showing their beaks past May Day, nor do Cadbury Creme Eggs.  I humbly point out my contribution to the published record: “pustulent.”  That doesn’t mean I, myself, won’t eat them, but as I said last year, it’s a leap of faith.

      I won’t enter into the Hershey vs Cadbury vs Any Other Brand of Chocolate debate here.  I like them all: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, free-range non-genetically-modified artisanal heirloom fair-trade chocolate, whatever.  To my palate, the only chocolatesque thing that definitely fails to pass the threshold of edibility is that brown pretend-healthful fecal matter that our least-favorite great aunts baked into cookies in the 1970s under the delusion that it’d be better for us: carob.  Anyone who knowingly gave out carob for Halloween is a knave and a bastard who might as well be dipping mouseturds in Hershey syrup and passing them off as Raisinets.  And really, coconut ruins everything it touches.  Almond Joys and Mounds might as well be called Cyanide Despair and Wounds for all the happiness they stole out of my trick-or-treat bag over the years, stealing space away from actual joys such as those peanut-butter taffy Mary Jane things, or even Tootsie Rolls, which, while not actually good, were at least usually edible and tasted better than, say, Brussels sprouts.

      As has been said before, Halloween ain’t Halloween without candy corn.  Get it from the correct manufacturer, and get it fresh.  Bad candy corn (and there’s plenty of it out there) has unfairly ruined the reputation of the good stuff.  When made correctly and served in a timely fashion (within six months of falling off the conveyor belt at most), it’s a holiday icon on the level of the pumpkin pie.  Americana unparalleled.  Circus peanuts are good shit, too, but I won’t spend too much time on them here, since they almost never show up in your average trick-or-treat haul.  The children’s loss is my gain, since most chain drugstores seem to still carry them in “2 for $1.50” bags.

      You’re right about the Kit Kats, though: meh.  Not great, not bad, just a moderately efficient chocolate-delivery vehicle.  Edible in a pinch.  Woefully short of the ingredients that make okay chocolate into really yummy chocolate: peanut butter and/or caramel.  Hell, Kit Kats don’t even enjoy the benefit of nougat.

      Man, I should be working a bit harder today.

      1. Sir your confectionery diatribe is all the candy I need today. sweet to the ears though probably healthier in smaller doses doled out between now and christmas. What say we petition for a continuance of this discussion come christmas stocking time (And in the interests of equality, I do wish to know what candies might be distributed during Hanukkah as well.)

      2. Oh man, that was funny!  I particularly liked’ I’ve heard the licorice itself was harvested from beneath the elephants’ toenails at the end of every day’s march’ and ‘Anyone who knowingly gave out carob for Halloween is a knave and a bastard who might as well be be dipping mouseturds in Hershey syrup and passing them off as Raisinets’. 

        Red has not conquered black, however.  I’ve read that those for who (whom?) black licorice tastes like a petroleum product are victims of their own genetics, poor things.  I maintain that while red and black share a name and shape, they are entirely different experiences, neither one superior to the other. You find the flavor of black licorice gross (and you’re not alone); I find Red Vines boring, but okay in a pinch.  (I usually have one red vine from the box of a team mate while we’re bowling.) 

  55. I generally concur with the hierarchy (specifically the ranking of the Top and Post-Tertiary Tiers, excepting a few in the bottom-but-still-edible tier like Nerds and especially Swedish Fish), but nonetheless I posit that a strict ranking is impossible, even for a single person.  Sometimes a palate cleanser is necessary; for such a purpose any of the near-flavorless sugar/chalk-based candies like NECCO wafers, Bottlecaps, and (American) Smarties excel.  And, sometimes, one just gets sick of nonstop chocolate, or nonstop sugar, and needs to switch to something different.

    Perhaps, then, one single hierarchy is not enough, and a multidimensional matrix or tree would better fit the data.  It would be a radical departure from current theory, I know, but wide disagreement during peer review seems to suggest that some large but heretofore missed element is necessary.

    I do, however, agree with the commenters who have said that all coconut-based “candies” are an abomination and those who give them out should be shunned.

  56. I’m not going to read through 103 comments to see if this question has been raised, and I don’t have much argument with the rankings.  my beef is etymological.

    why is the second ranking labeled “post tertiary”?  post=after, tertiary=third.  The grouping and it’s place on the list seems to be “pre-secondary” or “post primary” to my mind, assuming the intention is to be a group mostly similar to the top tier, but different enough to have its own category.  Otherwise, the whole naming of the tiers is off.

    what am i missing?

  57. Candy corn can be eaten in miniscule horizontal bites, one for each color of each tiny piece of candy, whereas it is more difficult, although possible, to eat half an M & M.

  58. American Liquorice is of course rather horrid (weak taste, plasticky texture), but europe has different kinds of liqourice which don’t taste and feel like plastic. You can test British liquorice (such as Bassett’s), nordic liqourice (which often contains more salmiak and salt), or Icelandic liquorice (which is sweet, yet salty). All of these have more of a liquorice (the root) and aniseed taste than any type I’ve tasted in the U.S.

    Also, Hershey’s hardly classifies as chocolate. That sickly sweet taste/smell (often compared to baby vomit, and supposedly because of Hershey’s using soured milk for their recipe) is almost enough to wean me off chocolate entirely, but then I think of the delicious Belgian stuff (and, well, great chocolate from almost all of Europe).
    Just adding my coals to the flamewar…

    1. There is no chocolate in Whoppers.  They are carob and malt.  Zero chocolate.

      Baseless calumny!  If they used carob, nobody’d ever eat Whoppers.  I’m not saying they’re great.  I’m saying they’re edible.  

  59. Oh look, another hierarchy written by a choco-centrist. Why not just say “1. Chocolate; 2. Traditional H-Candy; 3. Everything else.”?

  60. Pphht.  Dots are godhead.  They were a treasured item to get during the glory Halloweens of my youth, because there was never any risk of the dreaded “bloom” that you’d sometimes find on chocolate.

  61. PayDays have no chocolate, but have caramelly goodness. I must be weird, because I love the brown globs in black and orange labels.

  62. You should add Mardi Gras beads to the bottom tier. The reaction to the beads being dropped into bags & buckets is pure hate. (They are being given to the non-costumed kids)

  63. This may be regional. I get several “Oh good, smarties!” responses every year. (I admit that I do give them paired with some form of chocolate, and slightly larger than average total quantities.)

    Of course my reason for smarties is partly self defense: If there are leftovers, these are something I like  but can ration myself on. I don’t have to dump them in the office or otherwise dispose of the overflow.

  64. With this thread freshly in mind, I witnessed my 4-year old niece euphorically spread her haul out in front of her, neatly sorted into an arc of different candies.  Seeing the Rolos and a twix next to each other, I assumed that she was TOTALLY on the same page as this article.

    I asked her what her favorite candy was, and she immediately reached out for the Pixie Sticks.  (Which I don’t believe were represented.)  Caught off guard, I asked her to run through her next few favorites, which included Smarties (American) and a few hard candies.  

    The whole “unprocessed food” movement may be taking on strongly with the kids.  They want their sugar raw and uncut.

  65. “Hershey’s”, as defined in my OED is thus:  “a confection with the consistency of chalk made from salt, sand, and treacle.  Often misrepresented as chocolate.”    …of course I penciled that in myself – but there it stands.

  66. Anything  that combines peanut butter and chocolate should be top tier, which is why the absence of Reese’s Pieces on this chart is so disconcerting. E.T. does not approve of this chart at all.

    Personally I’m not a huge fan of caramel and I’d put whatever it is inside of a Three Muskateers above it.

    Also Charms Blow Pops deserve a special exception from lolipops. The combination of lollipop and gum somehow makes it more than the sum of its parts.

    Top 3 for me are the Reese’s PB Cups, York Peppermint Patties, and Three Muskateers. I don’t hate caramel, but it’s not my favorite.

  67. I’ve always felt terribly sorry for Americans. You poor shmoes have such crummy chocolate bars and seem to have no experience with the good stuff, that you a re reduced to creating candy (sweets) hierarchies out of this pathetic dross. 

    I was shocked to my core the first time I went to the US and discovered that none of you had ever even heard of Smarties, Coffee Crisp, Flake and Almond Crunch. And as for other kinds of snack foods… why you didn’t even get dill pickle and ketchup chips until the 90s. It’s no wonder poor America is in the trouble it’s in. 

    1. hey, f. you.  yes, the confections from europe are demonstrably better than anything from the US of A.  also, we don’t care.  but thanks for pointing out how much of a snob you are.  Hilary White: is that a metaphor?

    2. I live in Atlanta, GA, and one of our supermarket chains, Publix, has had an “English imports” section for a couple of years now. Along with tins of spotted dick and Lyle’s Golden Syrup, Irn Bru, digestive biscuits, etc. , we now have access to Cadbury Flakes (and other Cadbury bars), wine gums,  fruit pastilles (though not the superior Rowntree version), Lion bars, Bassett’s All-Sorts, Maltesers, Bounty bars and a few others I can’t recall right now. No Smarties, though. We have to make do with the overrated M&M. Do they still make Bovril crisps in Blighty? Those are harsh.

  68. Heath Bars register very well. C.Howards anything is top tier. Some like the “sour milk” flavor of Hershey’s, others would rather suck rocks. Pastilles, sugar toys, violets….those are *Christmas* candy.

  69. I’m American, but have lived in England for 4.5 years and travelled some in Europe. My “easily available” chocolate (pure chocolate, without nuts, crispies, toffee, caramel, etc.) rating is thus:

    1 – Lindt – smooth and delicious
    2 – Dove (by M&M Mars) – best of the American domestics, by FAR
    3 – Cadbury – a little bit too milky, but very good, and with a pleasant, but distinctive, flavor

    Then way, WAY further down the list:

    4 – Hershey – terrible, really. Acrid and waxy
    5 – Nestle – milder than Hershey, but with less chocolate flavor. Bland and waxy.
    6 – Palmer – like eating a mildly cocoa-scented candle

    Godiva is horrible chocolate, BTW. A triumph of marketing. Don’t fall for it, people!

    Premium chocolate that will make you cry with happiness is found in Leonidas shops, sprinkled throughout Europe and a few choice U.S. cities. Worth seeking out.

    1. Oh, yeah,  In fact, the Lindt chocolate bar with ‘a hint of sea salt’ is my current favorite.  Nomnomnom.

  70. I’m a bad, and greedy, and avaricious person.  I am a chocolate insatiate, destitute and lonesome in a world packed with awful sweets.

    The entire catalogue in the post  is on my “no, no, no” list.  In that Russian Cat kind of way.

    I eat chocolate rarely, as once I start, like with wine, or cigarettes, or other noxious substances, I cannot stop until it runs out.  So when I have it, it must matter, it must be significant, it must change my insides to sparkling and warm tides of melting gold.  I must Remember those moments.

    So:  my choccie choices are limited to:

    Prestat.  Neuhaus.  F&M.  Wonka (not the candy bars, but the British Genius Who Probably Changed His Name by Deed Poll).

    Yes, Leonidas.

    But I do agree with the Hershey’s school – it is not bad chocolate always, and reminds me of my youth.  Kisses, no, but bars, yes.

    Just one at a time.

  71. First, I say gum is not candy.  It, in fact, prohibits you from eating any more candy once you start chewing gum.  Second, tootsie rolls are the bastard child of chewy and chocolate- so so gross and they turn your saliva brown.  Third, I used to get starlight mints in my candy haul every year as a child (I think they might be in the assorted hard candy bags) Not candy!  All three should be in the bottom tier.

  72. Because of the subjective nature of the candy hierarchy, we try to give out stuff that EVERY kid wants.  And judging from the number of kids who try to sneak back, a tell tail glow in their bag or from under their costume, are fairly successful.   We give out glow sticks that can be bent into bracelets. 

  73. Now n’ Later is pronounced “NIHILATOR.” They’re delicious and they turn your tongue green. Instant costume!

  74. Warheads! If they could just make ’em a little more sour.  The pain wears off in less than 10 seconds. :(

    I second the black licorice vote.  The more Australian, the better. :)

  75. I must also register a complaint about the chart’s chococentrism.  Nobody likes chocolate more than I do, but to demote all flavors of non-chocolate to the Bottom Tier or below (with the exception of the admittedly delicious Skittles, red licorice, candy corn, and Starburst, as well as the filling-extraction system known to the consumer as the Jolly Rancher, all of which still register no higher than third tier) just shows that the authors aren’t actually candy-lovers, and have no business pretending to study this field in the first place.  I guess I must expect them to be shills for Hershey and M&M/Mars, or perhaps the cacao bean growers’ lobby, even if they do honor me with a citation in this year’s chart.

    My sister would have protested quite loudly, as she was allergic to chocolate into her late twenties, and to imply that her Halloween diet of Abba-Zabas, Sugar Daddies, Lik-M-Aid Fun Dips, Pixie Stix, Bazooka, Charms, Dum-Dums, SweeTarts, Bottlecaps, Nerds, and Jolly Ranchers somehow conferred upon her a third-class childhood, well… tellya what, O brave Messrs. Cohen & Ng, why don’tcha go tell her yourself?  And gird your loins for the furious diatribe you thereby instigate!

    Chocolate is good (nay, great!), and it’s been my tongue’s best friend since 1971 when it supplanted mom’s teat.  But it is neither the be-all nor the end-all, so you really gotta start bumping the Red Vines and the strawberry Starbursts and the Skittles and the Abba-Zabas and the Bottlecaps up closer to the top if you want to retain a fingernail’s grip on credibility!  Not necessarily top tier, for I would not upend the throne of God thereby, but certainly at or above second tier!

    Nature herself demands it be so!

    1. It seems to me, Petersen, that if you can use a photo to lend credibility to your argument that chocolate-covered cherries are superior to Almond Roca; I can do the same ‘gathering of evidence’, while browsing the seasonal candy aisle at the grocery store… today, for example. 

      There was very little chocolate anything left on the shelves.  There were, however, boxes and bags of the very candies you’re proposing be given higher status.  There was a bounty of Nerds, Jolly Ranchers, and Smarties, bubble gum galore, Dum-Dums out the wazoo, and big variety packs shoppers wisely passed on, to be discounted later and snapped up by bargain hunters buying for next year (and let us now bow our heads in prayers for the teeth of those poor young souls…)

      True, it was just one store in one city, among many within a corporation, and that corp. may have over ordered, so I hunted up the grocery manager for a chat — his name is Robert.  He said that’s what he sees more or less every year the day after Halloween.  The lower tier candies are passed over for the preferred chocolate, caramel and nougat.

      Nature herself demands it be so?  Well, I can’t speak for Nature, she’d kick my ass… again.  But I do have faith in the candy preferences of the middle class folks who do most of their grocery shopping at my neighborhood store.  They have correctly assessed what is popular with all those little ghouls and witches that show up on their doorstep on All Hallows Eve, knowing perfectly well that Mom and Dad too will be raiding those treats.   Their methodology is not scientific, yet their palates are unerringly in line with the consensus represented by ‘The Candy Hierarchy.  I respectfully nod  to the majority.

      1. Mom and Dad do the shopping.  Mom and Dad like to raid the chocolate.  Actually, Mom raids the chocolate.  Dad raids whatever he can pry out of everyone else’s sticky fists.

        If the kids had the purchasing power, chocolate would not dominate so.  I guarangoddamntee it.  Seriously, when you see TV commercials for candy, all the Snickers/3 Musketeers/Milky Way ads are obviously aimed at adults looking for a snack to get them through until lunchtime.  (Or, in the case of Twix, something to get you through the next awkward moment.)  Kids like chocolate just fine, but they’re really into all the brightly-colored Wonka stuff, the bubblegum, the extremely sour stuff that no grownup dares to ingest, the pixie stix that grown-ups would rather snort than swallow, the everlasting gobstoppers that look like great fun to gradeschoolers but just look like impending periodontal trauma to a grownup.

        And kids, yes kids, do the trick-or-treating.

  76. Look, I can’t read through all 150+ comments, but you have failed here to take into account the deliciousness of “local” candy. i.e. in my neighborhood the local candy store carries chocolate-caramel-espresso balls. Yes, it’s chocolate on the outside, caramel on the inside, and all flavored with espresso.They are about 1 inch across. And they are clearly too dangerous for children to eat. I mean they are a choking hazard after all. That’s why when the children receive them for Purim (we don’t celebrate Halloween, we’re Jews), I swiftly remove them from their haul lest they choke.

  77. You accused the authors earlier of not being candy lovers for being so ‘chococentric’, now you say the authors are too ‘adult’ in their tastes.  Only children should be putting in their two cents worth here, or it should be limited to adults with child-like palates.  Well, ya got me there, Donald.  I recuse myself from further judgement or comment on ‘The Candy Hierarchy’; I’m clearly not qualified and my memories of childhood are very old indeed. 

    You win again.  Bon appetit.

    1. Aw, don’t be such a Sour Skittle.  The list is quite clearly chococentric and clearly undervalues treats that have a broad appeal among the trickortreatiati.  Certainly the wee ones appreciate the full-size candy bar over nearly anything else that gets dropped into their plastic pumpkin or stripey pillowcase, but your and my childhoods aren’t so far back in the dim haze of antediluvian history that we can’t remember eyeing a few non-chocolate treats with possessive glee once they were spread out upon the bedspread as we surveyed our haul.  For me it was the Abba-Zabas and the Lik-M-Aid, which I’d have to hide so my sister didn’t try to swap an abhorred Almond Joy for it.

      I certainly do appreciate your quizzing Robert the Store Manager for his insight, as it does provide some data as to what actually sells at the retail level. And yes, that’s certainly important!  My only point, clumsily and I guess rudely made, was that what the children covet upon the Dumping of the Bag may not quite equate to what is purchased by the Parental Powers That Be.

      For the benefit of future candy hierarchies, I attempted to employ my own offspring, new as they are to the whole trick-or-treating custom (this is Milo’s freshman year, Annabel’s third), and solicit their own opinions as to what’s most sublime and what’s most apt to stay hardening in the candy bowl for the next eleven months, unwanted and untouched.  I tried to ask them, but their mouths were too full of… well, yes, chocolate.

      For what it’s worth, though, Milo’s second favorite appears to be lollipops.

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