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LAist's Halloween Candy Ranker Is Back (And Chocolate Is Still The Best)

An array of candy is spread out on a table decorated with Halloween decor. Candy includes Crunch, Pocky, Reese's, KitKats and Oreos, as well as pretzels and marshmallows.
Assorted Halloween candy.
(Branden Skeli/Unsplash)
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As connoisseurs of candy and self-appointed social scientists, we're kinda obsessed with Halloween. We get to dress up in outrageous and provocative costumes (sexy Baby Yoda, anyone?). We get to spook ourselves with low-key blood and guts. And we get treats! Along with Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Arbor Day, Groundhog Day and Mardi Gras, Halloween is the best time of year to enjoy the pleasures of cheap, mass-produced candy.

In the past, LAist/KPCC has conducted rigorous, peer-reviewed studies to learn which sweets are gobbled up while others linger in the communal plastic pumpkin. The practical applications are obvious. What Halloween candy should you buy? Now, you have science — or at least the hive mind — on your side. (Do not get Dum Dum Lollipops. They are the worst. Unless you're a 4-year-old. Then maybe.)

Our science-adjacent inquiries are more than mere statistics. They provide a window into Southern California's collective soul. And this year, after Dr. Fauci said it's cool to go trick-or-treating, we're more excited than ever about Halloween candy.

HALLOWEEN CANDY 2019
A typical Halloween candy haul.
(Elina Shatkin/LAist)
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A few years ago, in the Before Times, we asked you to rate 50+ candy varietals in our Ultimate Halloween Candy Ranker. More than 350 people took the quiz, and here's what we learned... that you have some strong opinions.

Many of you despise candy corn. As screamy British TV chef Gordon Ramsay once said, "It's not candy. It's not corn. It's earwax formed in the shape of a rotten tooth." We disagree. We only eat candy corn once a year but when we do, we love it.

But this Halloween candy query isn't just about us. It's about you. What candy do you love? What candy do you hate? Why?

Happy Halloween 2021. Let the debating begin!

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Takeaways

  • Chocolate always wins. Especially when it's combined with peanut butter, caramel, nuts or some sort of wafer. Because obviously. "I pretty much hate anything that isn't chocolate. And you left off Good N Plenty, which are the WORST," commented one participant.
  • Coconut is controversial. Many people rated Mounds and Almond Joy as either a 5 or a 1 — a spread we rarely saw with other candies. "I apparently have really extreme views about candies," one respondent wrote.
  • Candy corn is polarizing. Several people rated it 1 (or "awful") but a die-hard contingent loves the stuff.
  • Not all jelly beans are created equal. Jelly Belly scored reasonably well with a 2.93 approval rating but generic jelly beans were among the least popular candy, scoring only 1.89.
  • There's life beyond chocolate. The highest scoring non-chocolate candies were Haribo gold gummy bears and Starburst, which didn't crack the Top 10 but tied for 15th and 16th place.
  • Some people love the underdogs. Even low-scoring candies have their fans: "Laffy Taffy is the BEST!"
  • There are some things we'll never understand. Before humans knew how to make candy that actually tastes good, there were Jujubes, Dots, Tootsie Rolls and Necco Wafers. Why they still exist is a mystery. Almost no one like them. As one person wrote, "Can't believe NECCO wafers considered actual food." Neither can we.

Be A Candy Hero, Don't Be A Candy Zero

  • Treats! Yay! If you're the person who gives out full-size candy bars, people adore you: "People who give pennies or nickels might as well give out chocolate-dipped Brussels sprouts. And a special shout out to Mrs. Bernard of Huntington Beach, who gives out full-size candy bars."
  • Tricks! Boo! Are you handing out raisins, apples, pencils or miniature bags of salad? Your neighbors hate you.
HALLOWEEN CANDY
A Halloween candy parody. These Dole mini-salad snack bags do not actually exist. But if they did...
(Adam Padilla)
What questions do you have about food in LA?
Elina Shatkin connects connect hungry Angelenos — through food — to the culture, history, people and neighborhoods that make up our city.