Photo: lauraag (iStock)

As the orange-themed display in our local grocery informs us, summer is over and autumn is in full force. After all, it’s never too early to start donning sweaters, sipping apple cider, and stocking up on Halloween candy. We found our staff staunchly divided over one perennial candy mainstay, however: candy corn. Some of us consider it a fall candy staple, others the dregs of Halloween booty that resides at the bottom of your plastic pumpkin. Candy corn evokes a visceral reaction, but we wanted to dive deeper. So we’ve tasked our debaters, as is our wont, to lay our three arguments in defense of their stance. Of course, we’d like to hear from you in the comments section below.


Candy corn is a damn delight

By Kate Bernot

I like candy corn. Yeah, I said it. And I’ll stand by it.

Usually, this preference is either met with relieved support—“Oh man, I do too!”—or snide derision. But few people stop to ask why. Why in fact do I love these little saccharine triangles (and also the pumpkin-shaped ones, an even more rarified treat)? Let me count the ways.

Trade you my lollipops for your candy corn?
  1. I like the texture. I think this is many critics’ biggest knock against candy corn, but I’ve always had a soft spot for not-soft candies. I like Smarties, I like Sweethearts, I don’t even mind crunching a Tums when I have an upset stomach. I relish the way individual pieces of candy corn crumble under light pressure from my teeth, and then slowly dissolve into a sugary ether to rot said teeth. It’s just a visceral, textural preference, I guess.
  2. I like that it’s all sugar. This is another critical knock against candy corn: But it’s pure sugar! Yes, ya knuckleheads, it’s candy. That’s what we like about candy: its easy, instantaneous shot of brain-pleasing sweetness. I don’t eat Skittles on the regular, but I enjoy them for the same reason. When you crave straight-up high-fructose satisfaction, candy corn delivers.
  3. I like that they’re everywhere. CVS Halloween display; grocery-store check-out aisle; neighbors’ coffee tables. The plenty with which candy corn are dispensed at Halloween is truly touching, and because half the country thinks they’re garbage, you hardly ever see the bottom of that candy-corn bowl. Sweet, more for me.

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Candy corn is the devil’s autumnal poison

By Gwen Ihnat

Sure, when I was a trick-or-treating kid stumbling around in my sheet with too many holes in it, I was glad to get candy corn in my plastic pumpkin. I was glad to get any candy, including Smarties and Mary Jane’s peanut butter taffy, which I’m sure helped contribute to my four childhood cavities. I was young; I didn’t know any better. Now that I am a grown person who can choose my own treats from the Halloween fun-pack aisle, why in the world would I choose candy corn?

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My hatred for this waxy substance falls into three arguments:

Gwen Ihnat’s love for the autumnal even extends to her wardrobe,
but she will not eat candy corn
  1. Candy corn is a straight-up liar. Oh, nice three layers you’ve got going there, candy corn. Very attractive. Why, I bet that means that the candy corn offers a variety of different flavors, like other striped candies. But no, all of candy corn hosts the same interminable buttery aftertaste, which means that its three-segmented appeared is a liar and a sham.
  2. Candy corn hosts interminable buttery aftertaste. Candy corn tastes like a stick of butter got lost and wandered into a wax factory. It combines a bland sweetness with a butter aftertaste I can’t shake no matter how many Mounds bars I scarf down afterward. The chalky, waxy, crumbly texture—like a structure made by someone who misread Candlemaking For Dummies—doesn’t help matters.
  3. There are a variety of different substances available other than candy corn. Are you punishing yourself for something? Are you on some sort of candy corn trial or experiment? Otherwise, why would you choose candy corn over any of the other delightful options available to you as a grown-ass adult?

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Take my preferred Mounds fun pack, for example. It is one of those treats that was my favorite as a kid in Halloween stash and is my favorite now (Fortunately, my kids don’t like them, so I am able to steal away with all their coconut loot after trick-or-treating. I will also accept Almond Joys.) Mounds offers my some fiber with the coconut, and the health benefits associated with chocolate, as well as otherworldly deliciousness. All candy corn brings me is the sense that I have been possessed by some childishly surly butter demon.

Yes, I get that these candies are aesthetically pleasing for the season. So are mums. So while I can see adding some cute candy corns to your fall mantlepiece, I see no point in eating one ever again.