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31 October 2014

The best and worst candies for trick and treaters

Definitive Guide to Halloween Sweets

Wondering what sort of Halloween candy to get the little goblins and ghosts in your neighborhood this Halloween? Here's a mini-guide from a North American (where Halloween's almost as big as New Years) about which treats will make the kids love you and which ones will get your front door egged and your shrubbery toilet-papered (tailored for a UK audience of course.)  

Definitive Guide to Halloween Sweets

5th Best Halloween Treat: Maltesers

I never had these before I came to the UK but they taste amazing and the little chocolate balls also make a nice change from a mini-chocolate bar. Kids can throw them in their friends’ mouths from a distance giving them an undeserved sense of accomplishment or just throw them at each other as improvised chocolate and honey comb missiles which leave a brown stain if licked first.    

Definitive Guide to Halloween Candy

5th Worst Halloween Treat: Hard Candy/After Eight Dinner Mints

Unless they are your grandchildren or you are the PA for a cheap company, hard candy is never a good choice and better off in a bowl than a Halloween bag. Peppermint, butterscotch, little strawberries (which I actually quite like), it doesn’t matter – kids want candy, not old person’s sweets.

Similarly, After Eight dinner mints should not be passed off as Halloween candy under any circumstances. Just turn all your lights off and pretend you’re not at home if this is all you have.

4th Best Halloween Treat: Pop Rocks

Magic little candy pebbles exploding in your mouth never gets old. Not as tasty as a chocolate bar and a similar effect can be achieved with Rice Krispies and milk but kids get the fun of standing there with their mouths open listening to them burst. For some of the dimmer children, this is as close as they will ever get to understanding chemistry.

4th Worst Halloween Treat: Gobstoppers

Back home we call them ‘jawbreakers’ and for good reason. Trying to suck one of these ‘candy’ balls/rocks long enough until it’s possible to actually attempt to chew the center never happens. Inevitably kids get bored and try and bite too soon and the small fortune that their parents spent on trying to ensure a nice smile for family photos is all for naught. If you are trying to pull off the ‘trick’ side of trick or treating and are particularly malicious then gobstoppers might belong on your Best list.

3rd Best Halloween Treat: Jellies/Gummy

Jelly babies, gummy bears, wine gums, jelly snakes etc. They may be made out of ground up horse hooves and sugar, but honestly, who can say no to a gummy bear? Children will also inevitably learn about gummy bear procreation by posing them in various obscene positions.

Definitive Guide to Halloween Candy

3rd Worst Halloween Treat: Lollypops and Candy Canes

Lollypops get stuck to everything, especially each other, they get pretty gross after only having one or two and their little square plastic coverings will be littering your lawn or apartment hallway. They are also basically just hard boiled sugar so the more hyper active kids will soon be wrecking havoc around your neighborhood. The lollypop should remain in 1950's pop tunes. 

Whether you saved them up from last Xmas or bought them at a discount because it’s not yet the season for them, candy canes are wrong on so many levels. Save them another month and give them away as stocking stuffers if you are that cheap. And don’t even think about Easter eggs!

Definitive Guide to Halloween Candy

2nd Best Halloween Treat: Mini Chocolates Bars

The staple of any Halloween loot pile. If you buy a mixed Halloween bag there will always be some brands which no one likes (Coffee Crisps and Bounty when I was a youngster) so look forward to the same, unwanted, chocolate treat in your lunch for the next few months.

Definitive Guide to Halloween Candy

2nd Worst Halloween Treat: Raisins

I don’t know if you have the same problem with raisins in the UK as we do at home but selecting a ‘healthy’ alternative to candy is not keeping with the spirit of Halloween. It’s tantamount to forcing your dog onto a vegan diet despite the fact that it has no appreciation for your ‘Meat is Murder’ views. The only redeeming factor is that you can turn a Sun Maid Raisins box into a reasonably cool noise maker. Nevertheless, if you give out raisins expect to get something just as disappointing something in return when the older kids start thinking of tricks rather than treats.  

1st Best Halloween Treat: Reese’s

That's not just peanut butter inside and these things are so addicting they cannot be at all good for you. Opt for Reese's however and you go a long way to making yourself prank proof. The crown jewels of most kids Halloween treasure trove.

Definitive Guide to Halloween Candy

1st Worst Halloween Treat: Tooth brushes, pencils, dental floss

You have to be a sociopath or a dentist to consider any of the ‘non-edible’ options as Halloween gifts. If you are a dentist then give out some candy with the tooth brush/floss and remind them to take care of their teeth. Then at least the kids will just make disparaging remarks about you, rubbish the tooth brush and be on their merry way. Hand out only the floss or tooth brush alone with a patronising "A dab will do ya!" and all but guarantee reprisals later in the evening. Just be glad that fireworks aren’t as readily available in the UK at this time of year although do understand that eggs and toilet paper are. Hopefully pencils are now obsolete enough that no one gives these out anymore. They didn’t make sense two decades ago when they still had some use, they usually ended up being used to stab your friends with, rather than do maths homework or record your 10 year old musings.

Definitive Guide to Halloween Candy


You don't need to win the jackpot to choose good Halloween candies, just some common sense. Remember it's a special Lottoland £78 million EuroMillions Halloween jackpot tonight for you to bet on. If you manage to scoop that you can give out the most expensive sweets in the world!


One of the parts of my job which I enjoy the most is getting the chance to explore the nuances of different international lottery markets. In my articles I try to look not only how lottos and lotto players around the world differ from one another but also uncover the underlying reasons for the contrast.

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