• The 2019 Halloween Candy Hierarchy

     

    The Candy Hierarchy (2019)

    Any full-sized candy bar
    Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
    Kit Kat
    Twix
    Snickers
    Cash, or other forms of legal tender
    Peanut M&M's
    Regular M&Ms
    Nestle Crunch
    Tolberone something or other
    Milky Way
    Lindt Truffle
    Rolos
    Three Musketeers
    Hershey's Dark Chocolate
    York Peppermint Patties
    100 Grand Bar
    Skittles
    Starburst
    Hershey's Milk Chocolate
    Heath Bar
    Junior Mints
    Caramellos
    Nerds
    Milk Duds
    Hershey's Kisses
    Jolly Ranchers (good flavor)
    Cadbury Creme Eggs
    Swedish Fish
    Gummy Bears straight up
    Smarties (American)
    LemonHeads
    Glow sticks
    Mint Juleps
    Vicodin
    Pixy Stix
    Licorice (not black)
    LaffyTaffy
    Lollipops
    Mint Kisses
    Minibags of chips
    Bottle Caps
    Smarties (Commonwealth)

    Candy Corn

    Now'n'Laters
    Dots
    Kinder Happy Hippo
    Goo Goo Clusters
    Fuzzy Peaches
    Hard Candy
    Good N' Plenty
    Licorice (yes black)
    Reggie Jackson Bar
    Chiclets
    Trail Mix
    Hugs (actual physical hugs)
    Bonkers (the candy)
    Maynards
    Sweetums (a friend to diabetes)
    Healthy Fruit
    Black Jacks
    Pencils
    Those odd marshmallow circus peanut things
    Jolly Rancher (bad flavor)
    Spotted Dick
    Generic Brand Acetaminophen
    Box'o'Raisins
    Whole Wheat anything
    Anonymous brown globs that come in black & orange wrappers (Mary Janes)
    Creepy Religious comics/Chick Tracts
    Kale smoothie
    White Bread
    Dental paraphenalia
    Gum from baseball cards
    Candy that is clearly just the stuff given out for free at restaurants
    Broken glow stick

     

  • The 2017 Halloween Candy Hierarchy: Definitely Not Fake News

    Click to view the below full-size; or download as a a high-quality digital poster (4MB) for detailed scrutiny; or proceed for the plain text, abstract and analysis…



    Note that data for this 2017 survey, like all good science, is transparent, open, and available for further analysis. This includes access data from previous candy hierarchies (for, you know, longitudinal studies). Here’s the link, and we invite you to tag public remarks with #statscandy so we can find your awesome analyses.

    The Candy Hierarchy (2017)

    Any full-sized candy bar
    Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
    Kit Kat
    Cash, or other forms of legal tender
    Twix
    Snickers
    Tolberone something or other
    Lindt Truffle
    Peanut M&M's
    Nestle Crunch
    Milky Way
    Dove Bars
    Regular M&Ms
    Butterfinger
    Rolos
    Reese's Pieces
    Hershey's Dark Chocolate
    Mars
    Three Musketeers
    York Peppermint Patties
    Heath Bar
    Caramellos
    100 Grand Bar
    Junior Mints
    Chardonnay
    Hershey's Milk Chocolate
    Mr. Goodbar
    Milk Duds
    Hershey's Kisses
    Starburst
    Whatchamacallit Bars
    Skittles
    Mint Juleps
    Cadbury Creme Eggs
    Sweet Tarts
    Nerds
    Jolly Ranchers (good flavor)
    Gummy Bears straight up
    Swedish Fish
    Smarties (American)
    LemonHeads
    Sourpatch Kids (i.e. abominations of nature)
    Take 5
    Mint Kisses
    Glow sticks
    Smarties (Commonwealth)
    Minibags of chips
    Licorice (not black)
    Pixy Stix
    Mike and Ike
    Vicodin
    Goo Goo Clusters
    Coffee Crisp
    Kinder Happy Hippo
    Bottle Caps
    LaffyTaffy
    Lollipops
    Now'n'Laters
    Reggie Jackson Bar
    Dots

    Candy Corn

    Fuzzy Peaches
    Hard Candy
    Good N' Plenty
    Chick-o-Sticks (we don't know what that is)
    Bonkers (the board game)
    Licorice (yes black)
    Bonkers (the candy)
    Maynards
    Necco Wafers
    Hugs (actual physical hugs)
    Tic Tacs
    Chiclets
    Trail Mix
    Sweetums (a friend to diabetes)
    Healthy Fruit
    Black Jacks
    Senior Mints
    Peeps
    JoyJoy (Mit Iodine!)
    Pencils
    Anonymous brown globs that come in black and orange wrappers
    Vials of pure high fructose corn syrup, for main-lining into your vein
    Sandwich-sized bags filled with BooBerry Crunch
    Jolly Rancher (bad flavor)
    Spotted Dick
    Generic Brand Acetaminophen
    Box'o'Raisins
    Those odd marshmallow circus peanut things
    Creepy Religious comics/Chick Tracts
    Whole Wheat anything
    Candy that is clearly just the stuff given out for free at restaurants
    Kale smoothie
    Dental paraphenalia
    Real Housewives of Orange County Season 9 Blue-Ray
    White Bread
    Gum from baseball cards
    Broken glow stick

     

    TRANSCRIPTION OF THIS MORNING’S CONFERENCE PROCEEDING DISCUSSION, WITH COHEN AND NG.

    BC: Someone was going on about horehounds and salmiak, Dave.

    DN: What?

    BC: Horehounds and salmiak.

    DN: No, I heard you, but I don’t know why I care.

    BC: I guess they’re obscure and terrible candies, we didn’t have them in the survey. Like Andes Candies, we forgot to put them in. Again.

    DN: Yeah, no, I know, I know, but we’re recording, couldn’t you have brought that up before?

    BC: I know, but people were talking about this stuff in the comments.

    DN: ffs Cohen, you’re reading the comment thread?

    BC: I thought you wanted me to.

    DN: How do you not know not to read comment threads.

    BC: I know in general, I mean, I know that. But candy, Dave. By the way, I won’t let you ignore my passing reference to Andies Candies which are, Dave, a chocolate + mint combo.

    DN: (pause) This again.

    BC: And chocolate + mint remains at the apex of modern candy success.

    DN: Except that it doesn’t Ben. It just doesn’t. This isn’t fake news, Ben. I mean, we don’t even know how to use Facebook. This is real science! Just look at the rankings – mint isn’t even in the top ten.

    BC:

    DN: Every year. Beschizza and I have a month’s long text chain about just this thing.

    BC:

    DN:

    BC: So let’s talk candy data then.

    DN: No shit, dude. That’s what it’s for. And science.

    BC: Yeah, and science.

    DN: We can finally make longitudinal comments.

    BC: You keep saying that, by the way. You use that term way too easily.

    DN: Longitudinal?

    BC: Longitudinal. Explain yourself.

    DN: Year over year. That’s all. We have year-over-year data. We can say something about patterns over time.

    BC: Did our current moment, you know, with the debasement of western Democracy and all that, did that change anything since last year, is that what you mean?

    DN: I’m Canadian.

    BC: Meaning what? You haven’t heard what’s going on down here in the USA?

    DN: Meaning I’ve long watched bemused at whatever’s going on down there.

    BC: Well, so give me the rundown. Has “whatever’s going on down here” trickled into the hierarchy?

    DN: I don’t think so, actually.

    BC: You’re shitting me, then why all this “longitudinal” junk?

    DN: I mean I think the data, at first glance, looks relatively consistent. At least the stuff at the top, and the stuff at the bottom.

    BC: What’s that mean for hierarchies?

    DN: It means that maybe our love/hate relationship for certain candies is just, you know, stable and universal. It means you’re going to have to give up your chocolate-mint thing.

    BC: It means my commitment to the chocolate-mint combo is now stronger than ever because now it’s a memory.

    DN:

    BC:

    DN: Are you happy with Peanut Butter Cups move to the second slot, after full-sized bars?

    BC: Honestly? Couldn’t care less.

    DN: Are you happy that Candy Corn’s approval has once again dropped, to below 20%?

    BC: Is it mint-based?

    DN: Nope.

    BC: Then there’s your answer. No, I am not happy about that. I’m not even listening by now. I just got caught in a daydream about losing funding.

    DN: For scientific research?

    BC: Well yeah, in the larger sense, you know. But also for our own contrived “scientific” candy pretensions.

    DN: You know I’m an actual scientist right?

    BC: And we love you for it, Dave, really, we do. But I’m worried we’ll lose funding, or we’ll be banned from saying “science” or dredging up that whole David S. Pumpkins thing.

    DN: I move we get on with it.

    BC: Seconded.

    DN: Late.

    TYPICAL SURVEY RESPONDENT

    “The structural inequalities inherent in candy stratification would make Marx's cold, dead body shake with sweet undead diabetic joy. The fall of capitalism is ever closer and soon he will rise again. Oh yes. He will rise.”

     

    FOOTNOTES

    1. As always (and now practically validated), in which NF= |JC– DC| denotes the difference between the empirical measurement of joy versus despair.Hence the term: Net Feelies.

    2. Beschizza Bars, they call them (Beschizza, 2010)

    3. Oh snap! Peanut Butter Cups beat out Kit Kats this year. This is epic. The Kit-Kat v. Peanut Butter Cup battle is the Yale v Harvard of candy.Or Kanye v. Taylor.

    4. Three years in a row, we remembered to include Butterfinger (2015)

    5. As always, these may be rolled to a friend.

    6. Not to be confused with the planet.

    7. Yes, God's Candy

    8. Like Peeps (lower on the tier), CCE’s are this weird seasonal dissonance as an Easter not Halloween candy.Appropriate ranking may depend entirely on date of purchase versus date of opening.Experts in this field often refer to this dichotomy as "fresh CCE" versus "stale CCE," or FCCE versus SCCE (Beschizza, 2011).Note that its interior has also been described as "pustulent."(Petersen, 2010)

    9. So, this is kind of interesting… Big differences between “good” (ranked 38th) and “bad” (ranked 86th) flavors for Jolly Ranchers (as in Inauguration crowd size differences). The discordance is well above the licorice thing. Worth following up on – maybe it’s a proxy for something important?

    10. We now accept that these and chalk are one and the same (Gadgetgirl, 2010). Also known as Rockets in Canada and the UK.Though rockets are known as bookmarks in the US. And bookmarks are known as Drop Love licorice in The Netherlands, a popular sugar-free laxative.

    11. In 2014, Joy and Despair mostly cancelled each other out.Hence the great “Licorice Root Beer Debate of 2014.”This year and the last two, however, we split it between black and non-black licorice.You all can fight this out, but for the third year running, there is a general distain for black licorice. Note the NSFE, or Not Suitable for Europeans label (jhbadger, popobawa4u, chgoliz, SpunkyTWS, Donald_Petersen, Ambiguity, bobsyeruncle666, SuprWittySmitty, SteampunkBanana, SARSaparilla, SmashMartian, daneel 2014)

    12. This year, Vicodin drops several spots in the rankings. Maybe when we are so very numb to it all, a painkiller is moot?

    13. This is from EU pressure, known in diplomatic circles as the “Hornby Concession" (see his many footnotes from the 2012 version).Also cf.Mister44, 2016 [https://bbs.boingboing.net/t/tell-us-about-your-halloween-candy-preferences-and-other-things-besides/88024/5]. Also preliminary observations suggest that Hippo haters find joy in black licorice (Maegan, 2017).

    14. Actually made the top 10 for survey takers 14 years or younger. If we had more funding, we would like to test the hypothesis that lollipop joy is marker for puberty.

    15. FFS, again with this candy corn thing. Remember that one weird poll from Influenster that claimed candy corn was the top choice in all U.S. states.As dutiful readers know, Candy Corn remained unclassified in 2006, was tentatively placed in the Upper Chewy/Upper Devonian in 2007, fell away in 2008, regained its footing in 2009, found a spot somewhere in the middle in 2010, and has wavered just below the Petersen Influx ever since in the Marcellus Wallace Cusp. Thing is: it’s consistent folks – always a controversial one. Much love, much hate, BUT never ever ever at the top. We submit that the Influenster poll was clearly a Russian hack.

    16. But not erasers (N.Johnson, 1977).

    17. Also known as Mary Janes.

    18. Placed solely to acknowledge, make fun of, and possibly undermine British opinions.Google it, but be careful (2012).

    19. These things keep coming up. Stop it.

    20. You’re welcome, America.

    21. This actually ranked last place for the 14 and under set. This also did much worse than last year’s video selection (Person of Interest Season 3).

    22. Whoppers still blow. QED.

  • Vote for the best Halloween candies, for science

    Remember last year? Remember the above figure (direct link), where all was laid out? This is how SCIENCE ranks your Halloween haul. Kit Kat and actual cash at the top, dental floss and anything whole wheat near the bottom.

    Well, now it's time for the 2017 Candy Ranking Games. Go and fill out this 10 minute survey into the best and worst Halloween candies. Do it for science. Do it to fight #fakenews. Go forth, go go!

    Note that data will be collected for analysis until noon, PST, Oct 25th.  This year’s Candy Hierarchy will be published on October 27th.

    THINGS TO CONSIDER

    You probably thought all we’d talk about this year is David S. Pumpkins and candy corn. Ask David S. Pumpkins to guest co-author, they said. He’s got a Wikipedia page and you don’t, they said. Just because that’s a year-old and only half-interesting reference, still, it’ll never get old and it’ll never die, they said, and by then they’ll forget you said something about candy corn in the first sentence. Because what the hell is going on with candy corn debates this year? How did 2017, of all years, become the one where candy corn blew up? It’s not a bell curve, it’s bi-modal, you know. People love it or hate it and never the twain shall meet. No twain meeting. You do know that don’t you? This comes up every year, obviously, given its importance, but wow, it’s all over the place this time. And then some dude told us they’re making Hershey bars with candy corn in them? What the dip-shit is that?

    We don’t care, that’s what the dip-shit it is. We leave it up to you. That’s where we were headed with this. It’s up to you. Because David Ng and B.R. Cohen (that’s us) are again re-presenting the official universal survey about your candy favorites for The 2017 Candy Hierarchy.

    If you want to spend your BoingBoing time reading about our vaunted methodology and sharp insights about survey logistics, if you feel like you need more debriefing on our statistical acumen and scientific ambitions, if you like talking about longitudinal studies and you’re not thinking of maps, go on ahead, read the back catalog. You’ll find that in just the past two years, we’ve tabulated 6000+ individual responses with over 600,000 preferences. But maybe you don’t care for numbers. Maybe you care only for the enormous skill the industry has for congealing sugar into bar, disc, dot, glob, cluster, dud, chip, wafer, cup, jack, cap, egg, or Donald Petersen. If you’re just here to define a candy hierarchy, that is, then have it. We give you the Fourth Annual Candy Hierarchy Survey. Go forth. Rank. We’ll be back next week to present this year’s hierarchy in full.

  • The Candy Hierarchy for 2016: Halloween's best and worst treats

    Click to view the below full-size; or download as a a high-quality digital poster (4MB) for detailed scrutiny; or proceed for the plain text, abstract and analysis…

    candyhierarchy2016

    The Candy Hierarchy (2016)

    TOP LAYER

    Any full-sized candy bar

    Cash, or other forms of legal tender

    Kit Kat

    Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

    Twix

    Snickers

    Tolberone something or other

    Lindt Truffle

    Peanut M&M's

    Milky Way

    Nestle Crunch

    POST TERTIARY LAYER

    Butterfinger

    Rolos

    Dove Bars

    Regular M&Ms

    Mars

    Hershey's Dark Chocolate

    Reese's Pieces

    Chardonnay

    York Peppermint Patties

    Three Musketeers

    Heath Bar

    100 Grand Bar

    Junior Mints

    Caramellos

    Skittles

    Mr. Goodbar

    Hershey's Milk Chocolate

    Hershey's Kisses

    Mint Juleps

    Starburst

    Milk Duds

    Nerds

    Whatchamacallit Bars

    Sweet Tarts

    Jolly Ranchers (good flavor)

    Cadbury Creme Eggs

    Smarties (American)

    Glow sticks

    Swedish Fish

    Gummy Bears straight up

    LemonHeads

    Sourpatch Kids (i.e. abominations of nature)

    Smarties (Commonwealth)

    Mint Kisses

    Vicodin

    Licorice (not black)

    Pixy Stix

    Minibags of chips

    LOWER TIER

    Mike and Ike

    Bottle Caps

    Coffee Crisp

    Lollipops

    LaffyTaffy

    Kinder Happy Hippo

    Goo Goo Clusters

    Candy Corn

    Now'n'Laters

    Reggie Jackson Bar

    Licorice (yes black)

    Good N' Plenty

    Fuzzy Peaches

    Mary Janes

    Bonkers (the board game)

    Hard Candy

    Dots

    Bonkers (the candy)

    Chick-o-Sticks (we don't know what that is)

    Necco Wafers

    LOWEST TIER

    Hugs (actual physical hugs)

    Trail Mix

    Tic Tacs

    Healthy Fruit

    Maynards

    Chiclets

    Sweetums (a friend to diabetes)

    Black Jacks

    Senior Mints

    Person of Interest Season 3 DVD Box Set (not including Disc 4 with hilarious outtakes)

    TIER SO LOW IT DOES NOT REGISTER ON OUR EQUIPMENT

    Pencils

    Peeps

    JoyJoy (Mit Iodine!)

    Generic Acetaminophen

    Spotted Dick

    Vials of pure high fructose corn syrup, for main-lining into your vein

    Jolly Rancher (bad flavor)

    Box'o'Raisins

    Creepy Religious comics/Chick Tracts

    Those odd marshmallow circus peanut things

    Anonymous brown globs that come in black and orange wrappers

    Whole Wheat anything

    Dental paraphenalia

    Candy that is clearly just the stuff given out for free at restaurants

    Kale smoothie

    Gum from baseball cards

    White Bread

    Broken glow stick

    "What’s going on with Kit Kats Dave?"

    TRANSCRIPTION OF THIS MORNING'S CONFERENCE PROCEEDING DISCUSSION, WITH COHEN AND NG.

    BC: What’s going on with Kit Kats Dave?

    DN: I was about to ask you the same.

    BC: Something’s going on with Kit-Kats.

    DN: But what?

    BC: That’s what I asked you.

    DN: Something weird, that’s all I know.

    BC: Because we have to start accepting a consensus result. Not counting the full-sized candy bars or hard cash—which are gimmes, we don’t even need to ask that—the year-after-year consensus has a pretty stable top 4.

    DN: Kit Kat, Peanut Butter Cups, Twix, Snickers.

    BC: Huge news there—Kit Kats put Peanut Butter cups in their place, kicking them down a notch.

    DN: I’m sure that pleases you. So we can talk your peanut butter thing now.

    BC: My Big Peanut Butter thing. I see two problems with Big PB, neither of them acceptable to me.

    DN: You haven’t shut up about this for about five years. You’re about to go into your Mint ra—

    BC: CHOCOLATE-MINT COMBOS ARE SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHER CHOCOLATE COMBOS, PB included.

    DN: Thank you for screaming. And notice there is not one choc-mint combo in the top 20.

    BC: I wasn’t listening, what?

    DN:

    BC: Doesn’t matter. I have other concerns. Like allergies.

    DN: Medical science. You’ re trying to get us legitimacy?

    BC: Yeah. We’ve come up to speed in most public eating forums on peanut allergies. But not Halloween. What gives?

    DN: I have no reply to that.

    BC: What’s the other big news this year?

    DN: Yeah, let’s pivot.

    BC: We have some good health news. People prefer “whole wheat anything” to “white bread.”

    DN: Maybe. But people would also prefer Person of Interest Season 3 Box Set to a Box of Raisins.

    BC: It’s not even their best season.

    DN: You’re preaching to the choir.

    BC: Bonkers the Board Game is preferable to Bonkers the candy.

    DN: Most Just Born brand candies are mid-tier—

    BC: Your Mike and Ikes, your Hot Tamales, your Peeps, right.

    DN: Actually, Peeps didn’t fare well, and we forgot Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (though someone wrote it in).

    BC: And I just realized we didn’t put Hot Tamales on there.

    DN: Political results were interesting.

    BC: Do tell.

    DN: I don’t think we’re telling tales out of school to announce that people prefer Blue M&Ms to Red M&Ms by a 2-to-1 margin. Although to be fair, most folks didn’t seem to care one way or another.

    BC: I don’t think we’re telling tales out of school to say that Red folks preferred Skittles more than Blue did.

    DN: You're really extrapolating beyond statistical validity, I fear.

    BC: I like how now you act like that's a concern.

    DN: Speaking more scientifically, people who chose the "Yahoo! Finance" headlines at the bottom preferred cash too. That makes sense.

    BC: Plus, BoingBoing readers are overwhelmingly scientifically curious (choice of "Science" in the last question, n=983 out of 1232). That's hopeful.

    DN: Yeah, you don't get that scientific anchoring in those off-brand polls, like the Influenster one I saw last week. Besides, I think they invalidate their own survey since Candy Corn was highest rated with their metrics.

    BC: Speaking of scientific legitimacy, I can't believe we haven't talked about the results that are already shocking the world.

    DN: You're talking about the Friday/Sunday question, I assume.

    BC: Of course, Dave, yes, I'm talking about the Friday/Sunday question. Last year we had a near perfect 67:33 ratio of a Friday-to-Sunday preference.

    DN: But something happened, because this year we had a sea change, to 65:35 Fri:Sun.

    BC: I don't even know what's real anymore. We've continued that survey at Various Breads and Butters for a year now, with lock-tight 2:1 results.

    The Platinum Ratio, as people call it now.

    DN: It could be bad data. Or campaign fatigue.

    BC: Would explain why people are definitely poll-weary, that's something.

    DN: Good point. We only had about a fourth the respondents as last year, at close to 1300. It's the political season. People are done with it.

    BC: They're done with apple questions too.

    DN: Yeah, I'm still struggling to figure out what that East-West apple-eating question is.

    BC: Most people are. It just shows that you eat apples from side to side, not bottom to top (core and all).

    DN: Why is that even a question?

    BC: There's some freak in my hometown that does it that freak way, and then some guy in Northern Virginia. Outliers.

    DN: Tell them to eat apples 10,000 times, they'll learn.

    BC: Donny P said "I hope they print my manifesto about the correct way to eat an apple," but nimelennar knew the sticking point "I doubt they will. The apple lobby is dominated by in-ciders." This entire line of reasoning has been redacted.

    BC: Any other insights to offer.

    DN: Not really, but how about lots of graphs.

    BC: And more footnotes?

    DN: Yes, footnotes galore.

    BC: I can't go on like this.

    DN: Well? Shall we go?

    BC: What?

    DN: Shall we go?

    BC: Yes, let's go.

    They do not move. Cos of the candy? Sugar crash.

    FOOTNOTES

    1. As before, in which NF = |JC – DC| denotes the difference between the empirical measurement of joy versus despair. Hence the term: Net Feelies.

    2. Beschizza Bars, they call them (Beschizza, 2010)

    3. Look: Kit Kats. They’re up a spot. The Kit-Kat v. Peanut Butter Cup battle is the Yale v Harvard of candy. Or Kanye v. Taylor. Or Bojack Horseman v Mr. Peanutbutter.

    4. Two years in a row, we remembered to include Butterfinger (2015)

    5. People keep forgetting, but these may be rolled to a friend.

    6. Not to be confused with soap.

    7. Yes, God's Candy

    8. Like Peeps (lower on the tier), CCE’s are this weird seasonal dissonance as an Easter not Halloween candy. Appropriate ranking may depend entirely on date of purchase versus date of opening. Experts in this field often refer to this dichotomy as "fresh CCE" versus "stale CCE," or FCCE versus SCCE (Beschizza, 2011). Note that its interior has also been described as "pustulent." (Petersen, 2010)

    9. We now accept that these and chalk are one and the same (Gadgetgirl, 2010). Also known as Rockets in Canada and the UK. Though rockets are known as bookmarks in the US. And bookmarks are known as Drop Love licorice in The Netherlands, a popular sugar-free laxative.

    10. This does not refer to herring.

    11. So this is interesting. Folks who like reading ESPN seem to have a problem with mint kisses (Nf of -16, compared to Nf of +83 for Science readers). This trend doesn’t seem to happen with any other mint related candies, and so we are left to assume that folks that enjoy ESPN have a problem with kisses.

    12. Given the political season, it kind makes sense that Vicodin moved up a few spots in the rankings,

    13. In 2014, Joy and Despair mostly cancelled each other out. Hence the great “Licorice Root Beer Debate of 2014.” This year and last, however, we split it between black and non-black licorice. You all can fight this out. Note the NSFE, or Not Suitable for Europeans label (jhbadger, popobawa4u, chgoliz, SpunkyTWS, Donald_Petersen, Ambiguity, bobsyeruncle666, SuprWittySmitty, SteampunkBanana, SARSaparilla, SmashMartian, daneel 2014)

    14. Or did we mean bags of minichips? This may be a typo. We had copyediting outsourced.

    15. This is from EU pressure, known in diplomatic circles as the “Hornby Concession" (see his many footnotes from the 2012 version). Also cf. Mister44, 2016 [https://bbs.boingboing.net/t/tell-us-about-your-halloween-candy-preferences-and-other-things-besides/88024/5].

    16. Yeah, this candy corn thing. There was that one weird poll from Influenster that claimed candy corn was the top choice in all U.S. states. As dutiful readers know, Candy Corn remained unclassified in 2006, was tentatively placed in the Upper Chewy/Upper Devonian in 2007, fell away in 2008, regained its footing in 2009, found a spot somewhere in the middle in 2010, and has wavered just below the Petersen Influx ever since in the Marcellus Wallace Cusp. We’re waiting for D. Petersen to tell us how it sits near the Petersen Influx. We’re waiting. Tick tock.

    17. Thanks, Obama.

    18. No comment. Not even to Access Hollywood.

    19. But not erasers (N. Johnson, 1977).

    20. Placed solely to acknowledge, make fun of, and possibly undermine British opinions. Google it, but be careful (2012).

    21. These things keep coming up. Stop it.

    22. You’re welcome, America.

    23. Whoppers still blow. QED.

    24. Look at you, Helvetica, holding strong against Times New Roman as a top-tier font. We’ll hand those out next year with the Kit Kats.

  • Tell us about your Halloween candy preferences, and other things besides

    There's the stuff about science, and ranking, and surveys, and strata, we say that every year. There's the extra layer about experimental proof, rigorous data analysis, metrics of repeatability. Got it, we got it.

    So we're here are again.

    Last year was a kind of game changer in the candy ranking industry. We split the survey results between those who were actually planning to trick-or-treat and those basing their answers on memories of childhoods long lost to time. We added this whole other layer of survey questions to gauge the character of survey takers. We promised we would find a legit reason for doing so, but we'd figure it out post facto. Which we did. We contrived a reason post facto. Like, did you know people who like black licorice prefer Sundays over Fridays? No wonder they suck (Sundays and black licorice).

    Also, did you know that people who ranked peanut butter and chocolate combo candies higher than mint and chocolate combos are wrong to do so?
    Why? Because it's just wrong. Because Mint + Chocolate always goes first. Then Caramel + Chocolate. Then, if you must, Peanut Butter + Chocolate. Stuff like that, that's what we got. No bias or rigging here.

    Also, what about that 5000+ people voted with over 500,000 individual preferences? God, imagine if we could harness that energy for something that actually made things better on this crazy blue dot of ours.

    Now we return in trying times. We were tempted to focus this survey on Tic Tac and Skittles-heavy asides and sly references. You'd all be like, Oh damn, they just did that. But Halloween is still some time away, and we know by now that campaign references only have a shelf life of about ten days, two weeks tops, so that even today, we bet half of you don't know what we're referencing with deplorable Tic Tacs and Skittles. (Unlike Mint + Chocolate candies, which can keep in the pantry for months and still best Peanut Butter + Chocolate in a straight up two-way race.)

    With sophisticated survey tools at our disposal and genuine statistical analysis to follow, here is our third annual Candy Hierarchy survey (that makes this a longitudinal study folks!) and, overall, the preparation for our tenth annual Candy Hierarchy. Please fill it out to the best of your ability, and we'll report back, as always, on Halloween.

    The Third Annual Candy Hierarchy Survey

  • The Candy Hierarchy 2015: your essential guide to Halloween treats

    candyhierarchy2015

    (View this graphic as a huge PDF)

    ABSTRACT

    It's always about the candy. The Candy Hierarchy is full up with this "joy induction" measurement, this thing that the co-principle investigators (PIs) Cohen and Ng go on about each year. From 2006 to 2013, the PIs conducted a longitudinal study, more or less guided by PI expertise and whim (or whimsical expertise) and possible corporation sponsorship. Research by others in the field sought to refute the findings, obviously unsuccessfully. Yet the PIs were so moved by the yearly outpouring of commentary that they opened up the study to additional data sources, namely people. People who the PIs surveyed. Or is it whom? Anyway, nobody cares – this is about sugar. The 2014 Candy Hierarchy was thus defined by data analysis of 43,767 votes obtained from 1286 individuals. Good for them. But not good enough for science. Because the 2015 Candy Hierarchy doubled down and reworked the whole thing with all kinds of more stuff. This hierarchy therefore presents the newly calculated 2015 rankings, based on a total of 518,605 data points obtained from 5459 individuals in a randomized fashion. It also provides the raw data from a secondary study that sought to understand the character of the survey takers, or rather how character affects joy induction. It's all in there, just go check out the figures.

    TRANSCRIPTION OF THIS MORNING'S CONFERENCE PROCEEDING DISCUSSION, WITH DR. COHEN AND DR. NG.

    BC: Don't you love how they call us Dr.?

    DN: I don't mind.

    BC: Well, sure. But you don't struggle with the medical doctor/PhD doctor thing?

    DN: Nope. I'm cool with it.

    BC:

    DN: You're not?

    BC: No, no I'm not.

    DN:

    BC:

    DN: Something more you wanted to say?

    BC: Listen, I'm squeamish, so even the possibility that someone might ask me for medical help, help that could involve blood, it makes me light headed.

    DN: It happens.

    BC:

    DN: Are we gonna talk candy or do this all morning?

    BC: We're gonna talk candy.

    BC: Go.

    DN: I'm going.

    BC:

    DN: The hierarchy kind of went through the roof this year.

    BC: Way more votes than we knew what to do with, like an order of magnitude more.

    DN: Yeah. And the data is open for others to dig into.

    BC: Right. More so because there's so much that we didn't have time for.

    DN:

    BC: Did you see anything surprising?

    DN: Meh. I'm not surprised by how the bigger data set (see Figure 1) finally showed dominance of full-sized candy bars over everything else. Proving once again that more is better for trick-or-treaters, gluttons all.

    BC: I'm not surprised Dots secured their position in the lower tier.

    DN: Right, a lot of chatter on the boards about that too. Dots bring out the kind of anger we used to see with Candy Corn.

    BC:

    DN:

    BC: But you know what was weird?

    DN: Do tell.

    BC: People prefer Vicodin to Dots.

    DN: Not weird at all, Ben, totally unweird. You know what I did think was weird?

    BC: The floor is yours.

    DN: You still can't accept peanut butter's ascendancy in the past few years.

    BC: It's a matter of principle. The public's duped by Big Peanut. Big Mint and
    Big Caramel need to lobby more.

    DN: What?

    BC: Mint > Caramel > Peanut Butter. It goes in that order. All are chocolate combinations, but it's the right combo that matters.

    DN: Twix and Snickers were pretty high up. Both caramel-laden.

    BC: But Peppermint Patties? Junior Mints? Give them their due. Somehow Nerds were higher than Junior Mints, Dave. Nerds.

    DN: So you're disagreeing with 518,605 votes?

    BC: It would seem so, Doctor.

    DN:

    BC:

    DN: Let me reset things, this is taking too long. I've got two points: one is the change in the Petersen Inflex (where votes for Joy and Despair cancel each out), which hits right about, ahem, at Vicodin. What does that mean? The other is the ranking pulled from the extra character data.

    BC: Did we find anything interesting there?

    DN: Maybe? Take a look yourself (Table 1A). You can totally see that the data pulled from kids actually trick or treating provide some interesting insight.

    table1a

    BC: As in the kids really hate kale smoothies. That ranked last.

    DN: And also the prominence of fruity chewy things. My God, Skittles is near the top!

    BC: It looks like adults hate broken glow sticks the most.

    DN: They want ones that work.

    BC: That's the only viable conclusion we can reach.

    DN: Check out Table 1B too. It kind of looks like joy induction is similar regardless of whether a person chose Betty or Veronica.

    table1b

    BC: Or Friday or Sunday. I'm especially interested in that one. It's a big topic in my circles.

    DN: Or even those that listed comic sans as their favourite font, despite prior evidence from this report.

    BC:

    DN: It's as if Candy Joy Induction is this universal or primal thing.

    BC:

    DN:

    BC: I have no response to that.

    DN:

    BC:

    DN: Can we go now?

    BC: I didn't know I was keeping you.

    (more…)

  • The Candy Hierarchy, 2014

    candyhierarchy2014.001

    ABSTRACT

    The world renowned "Candy Hierarchy" now enters a new phase of systematics to scientifically measure and classify Halloween Candy by assessing "joy induction." From 2006 to 2013, Cohen and Ng were the PIs ranking candies as an ongoing longitudinal study — one that reassessed itself through the use of the traditional technologies (teeth, jaws, moxy) and robust scientific peer review (folks bitching via comments). This year, however, with the help of multiple undergraduate and graduate assistants, including one heartbroken cousin from Duluth (really, Kaitlyn was wrong for him from the start), the research team was able to collect pre-survey JC (candy joy) and DC (candy despair) data (see Cohen and Ng, 2014). This included the use of "multivariate quantitative techniques" for a more scientifically rigorous analysis (which must be fancy because of the eleven-freakin'-syllables thing). This hierarchy therefore presents the newly calculated 2014 rankings, based on a total of 43767 data points obtained from 1286 individuals collected in a randomized fashion. Mostly. Specific notes of interest are five fold: (1) underpinning the whole study is the proposal of a new physical law of the universe, loosely defined as the "Net Feelies Axiom," as measured by a JOY minus DESPAIR mathematical expression; (2) the more rigorous 2014 data set obviously agrees with trends seen with previous rankings, with only the most minor of differences (i.e. we were right all along); (3) both candy corn and licorice exhibit high JC and DC numbers reflecting their significance in previous and present oral history data (people arguing); (4) that Mary Janes, having data that exhibits equivalent JC and DC values and therefore inhabiting the newly described "Petersen Inflex," is likely a sign of some sort, if not spooky overall; and (5) Whoppers still blow.

    DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

    This here is real data folks. Suck it.

    TRANSCRIPTION OF THIS MORNING'S CONFERENCE PROCEEDING DISCUSSION, WITH DR. COHEN AND DR. NG

    BC: The data came in sooner than we thought. It shows some interesting stuff.

    DN: You know data is plural, right? You used it as singular?

    BC:

    DN: Because we already went over this. It's plural. The data show. Not the data shows.

    BC: I said "stuff" too. Are you grammar-checking word by word here?

    DN: Just singular/plural disagreements.

    BC: So. Yes. What the fuck do the data show, then?

    DN: Weren't you supposed to start this off?

    BC:

    DN: Because I thought we had that planned too. It's just, I'm feeling like we pre-gamed this and you're ignoring the plan.

    BC:

    DN:

    BC: The data show that we've been right every year since 2006. Mostly anyway.

    DN: Did somebody doubt that?

    (more…)

  • What are the best Halloween candies?

    Ranking candy hierarchy is properly and obviously the subject of natural science research. It is based on experimental proof, rigorous data analysis, and the metric of repeatability. This is so obvious that we're not sure why we're even mentioning it. Even so, even so. We're open-minded guys.

    So this past year we added in some social science methodology. Gave us something to do on Tuesdays. We had research assistants, undergrads mostly, but also our cousin from Duluth and then his neighbor's son, he's a good kid, he just needs time to get back on his feet, these things happen. The economy. The Mideast. Maybe he shouldn't have been with Kaitlyn from the start. Whatever.

    The point is, our research cohort did some oral history work. We did more qualitative research too. We conducted semi-structured interviews, archival investigations, some survey instruments, participant observation, lots of Netflix. More importantly, we did this to vet a new approach this year, where we'll probe the minds of the public and conduct top of the line "multivariate quantitative techniques." That's the type of research goodness that is not only powerful, but on the syllable count, it actually goes to eleven.

    So to summarize: As in what's happening then, is that we're culling proper survey data. Then we'll do that goes-to-eleven-syllable-level analysis. It's tremendous this. Seriously, even Kaitlyn would've approved.

    (more…)

  • The Candy Hierarchy (2012)

    The Candy Hierarchy (2012)

    By David Ng and Ben Cohen for BOING BOING

    Candy culture plays a particularly prominent role during Halloween, especially in terms of providing what we describe as "joy induction." Consequently, the "Candy Hierarchy" is a concerted effort to provide systematics that define a candy taxonomy in order of desirability and with the expressed idea of maximizing such joy. Each year, through the tireless efforts by teams of researchers, the ranking receives peer review in the form of comments left. This brings new data that are then tabulated and incorporated into each revised edition.
     

    The Candy Hierarchy has been a work in progress since 2006 when initiated by B.R. Cohen, an environmental historian over at Lafayette College, and has since been published in a variety of venues.  In 2010, with collaboration from David Ng, a geneticist based at the University of British Columbia, the hierarchy established an exclusive relationship with the highly reputable journal Boing Boing. This then allowed a significant increase in feedback from the peer review community due to the journal's high citation index.  

    We, the authors, have greatly profited from this peer community feedback. That is to say, we almost got rich — the Hierarchy was optioned by a few Hollywood types and months were spent in writers' rooms hammering out a pilot for NBC, before having the whole thing axed once it became clear NBC was not a thing anymore. But we got to keep the money.  And we bought candy with it. And now here we are.  So on with it already.
     

    Discussion: There comes a time, when we heed a certain call. When the world. Must come, together as one.  That time is now. We can't go on, pretending day by day, that someone, somehow will make a change. Therefore, presented within is the newly reformulated Ng and Cohen Candy Hierarchy. This taxonomy updates the 2011 edition, which culled massive peer review in the form of several hundred comments, and by including the latest research findings.
     

    As with prior iterations, we placed a high value on this process, since past attempts (see previous versions 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2010) produced noteworthy revelations, including establishment of reference samples, now understood as index candies, as well as the discovery of the importance of caramel in defining the upper tiers.  
     

    Along with minor adjustments, two new broadly defined features stand out this year.  One is the discovery through spectral analysis of a mint-based layer (you can almost taste it just by reading it, right?); two is the demotion of American chocolate products from their prior (and erroneous) exalted placement near the top.  Clearly, that earlier placement was a remnant of North Ameri-centric cultural commitments that somehow (damn you post-modernism!) snuck in to the lab. We'd prefer to blame the children for this flaw, those doing the grunt work of tricking and treating, though we shouldn't — colleagues in biology recently confirmed that they are our future — but come on, it had to be their fault.

    So chocolate is all in a tizzy and the tectonic shift this year comes from a groundswell of new research coming from our international contributors, the basic thrust of which is that European chocolates embarrass Hershey's. (This does open things up to a probable adjustment next year to account for a global account, not just Western.) Hershey's Dark Chocolate stands a chance, but all in all, the Cadbury's, the Lindt's, the Nestle's, the Ferroroses of the world are the aristocrats to Hershey's proletarians, the hoities to American toities, the Prince Williams and Harrys to our Prince Fielders and Bonnie Prince Billys. Having said that, it sort of doesn't matter that much anyway.  Kids still won't snag a Lindt Truffle before a Hershey's Kiss, so what can you do.
     

    Interestingly, this particular discourse led to heated discussions on the overall reliability of our peer review process.  If we could so easily miss the contrasting nature of North American and European perspectives, then might there be larger biases at play?    And then, literally at the very moment when our voices had reached an ugly and angry crescendo and fingers were pointing with blame, LIKE AN OMEN FROM THE HEAVENS (or at least somewhere approximating a breathtaking view of the Milky Way from Mars), we received word of a most relevant piece of research.
     

    Yes, it was research with real data, collected from real children.

    And not only that, it clearly laid out, in a sort of pencilly scientific table kind of way, that only a paltry third of the participants queried even bothered to single out chocolate as a preference!
     

    Of course, we should note that these were Canadian children, so one could argue that the data is hardly what you might call trustworthy.  Nevertheless, if taken at face value, it would suggest that this Candy Hierarchy is a potentially invalid piece of work.  Or put another way, might we be witnessing a paradigm shift, perhaps?
     

    And so, let us also apply some caution to this current Candy Hierarchy, as well as offer a plea for more children-centric candy data.   This will be good for candy, good for science, good (dare I say) for the world, and certainly good for our continued search for a TV pilot since Disney or Nickelodeon might now take note.
     

    And please, please remember that we do this because this here is relevant stuff.  It affects the mindset of our planet, truly.  Indeed, it was only recently, that we learned that our Hierarchy has been applied to broader research programs.  Although we were not cited in this report, recent studies by Franz H. Messerli, M.D., show that those countries receiving more Nobel Prizes also eat more chocolate.  [from Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates (October 10, 2012DOI: 10.1056/NEJMon1211064), New England Journal of Medicine.]  But now in light of our new observations (albeit observations recorded with shaky handwriting and some minor spelling mistakes), we are forced to ask whether this research was performed under a chocolate bias paradigm and subsequent flawed methodology.
     

    In conclusion, then, and as we present this year's hierarchy, we can honestly say, without hyperbole, that this is the biggest, most significant categorization that has ever been created. Big and significant because there is so, so much at stake.  So remember, it's not your father's candy hierarchy.  It's your kids. Sort of.

     

    THE CANDY HIERARCHY (2012)

    TOP TIER


    (caramel, chewy, elegant)


    Any full-sized candy bar[1] — Caramellos[2] — Milky Way — Snickers — Rolos[3] — Twix — Reese's Peanut Butter Cups — Cash, or other forms of legal tender[4] — Cadbury Creme Eggs[5] — Goo Goo Clusters[6]

    QUASI-SILURIAN

    (a minor disruption in the stratigraphic sequence, this recently identified vein of mint is)

    Mint M&Ms — Junior Mints — York Peppermint Patties — Senior Mints — Mint Kisses — Mint Leaves — Mint Juleps — Anything from the Franklin Mint

    POST-TERTIARY

    (not surprisingly, it's predominantly chocolate-based)

    Hershey's Kissables — Lindt Truffle — Nestle Crunch — Peanut M&M's — Regular M&Ms[7] — Three Musketeers[8] — Kit Kat — Dark Chocolate Hershey — Tolberone something or other [9]

    SECOND TIER

    (oh look, mostly chocolate, just not as good)

    Mounds — Tootsie Rolls — Whoppers[10] — Fair Trade Chocolate[11] — Butterfinger — Pay Day — Baby Ruth — Swedish Fish[12] — Almond Joy — Cadbury's Creme Eggs[5] — Ferrero Rocher[13]

    THIRD TIER

    (the chewy range or, in some circles, the Upper Chewy or Upper Devonian)

    Milk Duds — Benzedrine — Jolly Ranchers (if a good flavor) — [14] — Starburst — Skittles — Stale Tootsie Rolls — Licorice (not black) — Reggie Jackson Bar — Bonkers[15] — 100 Grand Bar — Heath Bar — a DVD copy of Candy, starring Heath Ledger — Minibags of chips [16] — Glow sticks — Hershey's Milk Chocolate

    BOTTOM TIER

    (the Lower Chewy or Middle Crunchy Tart Layer)

    Dots — Lollipops — Nerds — Runts — Trail Mix — Mary Janes — Gummy Bears straight up — White Bread — Spree — Black Licorice — Anything from Brach's[17] — Hard Candy — Bubble Gum — Including the Chiclets (but not the erasers) — Black Jacks — LemonHeads — LaffyTaffy — Good N' Plenty — Jolly Ranchers (if a bad flavor) — Bottle Caps — American Smarties [18] — Chalk [18] — "those odd marshmallow circus peanut things" — gum from baseball cards — candy that is clearly just the stuff given out for free at restaurants — ribbon candy — Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction, by Luke Davies.

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

    Healthy Fruit[20] — Pencils [21]— Hugs (actual physical hugs)[21] — Lapel Pins — Extra Strength Tylenol — Pebbles — "anonymous brown globs that come in black and orange wrappers" — Now'n'Laters[22] — Whole Wheat anything — "good tidings", or "helpful advice" or renewed calls to "get the F- off my porch or I'll call social services on your Mom again, Jason!" — broken glow stick — kale smoothie

    Benjamin R. Cohen & David Ng

    The hierarchy is also available in PDF format for easy printing







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

    2. a.k.a. God's Candy

    3. These may be rolled to a friend.

    4. Not sure if this should be included. Systematics are still on going – denomination appears to be key.

    5. Appropriate ranking may depend entirely on date of purchase versus date of opening. Experts in this field often refer to this dichotomy as "fresh CCE" versus "stale CCE," or FCCE versus SCCE (Beschizza, 2011). Note that its interior has also been described as "pustulent." (Petersen, 2010)

    6. Sometimes spousal influence forces these placements as with, ahem, this primarily southern delicacy.

    7. Includes comparable Commonwealth version of "Smarties." (Devo, Legionabstract, gadgetgirl  et al, 2011) 

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

    9. This and the Lindt one are higher quality, which makes it strange that trick-or-treaters just don't want them.

    10. Whoppers blow.

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

    12. Admittedly an outlier – like that fish you've seen on television. You know – the one which looks like it can breathe air and stuff.

    13. Whose value comes as payoff to parents, as children do not rank this highly.

    14. Still a contentious subject with a rich history of controversy. Briefly: Candy Corn, as of 2006, remained unclassified, but as of 2007 had been tentatively placed in the Upper Chewy/Upper Devonian. 2008: no sighting. In recent years, we have elected to leave in the same tier as consensus has yet to be determined.

    15. The discontinued candy, not the equally rankable discontinued board game.

    16. Oh smack, can you even imagine if you got Fritos?

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

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

    19. 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. Doorstep offers of lectures in civics, too. You're making a social statement–"I hate you and everything you represent"– when you give these out.

    20. Yes, we really meant fruit that is healthy, clean-cut upstanding fruit that takes time from its gym membership and all the demands that come with it to contribute a positive message of citizenship and camaraderie to the community.  This isn't a typo of healthy for healthful. (see U.M.H. 2011)

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

    22. 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!"

    B.R. Cohen is a professor, a writer, and a guy who used to blog with Dave Ng.  He teaches at Lafayette College in Easton, PA.

    Dave Ng is a guy who used to blog with B.R. Cohen. He runs a science literacy lab at the University of British Columbia, and you can also find him on twitter.

    Read this next: The best cheap, all-purpose juicer is the Omega 8003

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