We’ve seen enough maps of “favorite Halloween candy by state” to make our eyes bleed, and we’ve seen enough charts of “favorite Halloween candy by age group” to last a lifetime. We’ve even seen data on the ideal way to consume the candy. But last week, The L.A. Times published an important piece of statistical analysis, offering a fresh angle to the discussion of which treats are most worthy: Halloween candy power rankings.
“First, I’m judging by taste as well as what I’m calling Spirit of Halloween (SOH) — how much does the candy capture the je ne sais quoi of the season?” writes Lucas Kwan Peterson for the L.A. Times, immediately establishing himself as an important voice in the field of October confections. “Second, I’m judging by Halloween Trade Value (HTV): Everyone knows that a big part of trick-or-treating is swapping candy with your friends and siblings when the evening is over. Certain pieces are worth more than others.” PREACH.
With these devastatingly important metrics in mind, Peterson’s power rankings—just like the FiveThirtyEight rankings before them—put Reese’s at the top of the candy pile. Interestingly, this was an aesthetic decision as much as anything, as the orange wrapper is cited as a harbinger of the Halloween season, a fact that affords it high SOH.
Near the very bottom of the rankings sits the lowly candy corn, and even fans of the Satanic stuff must admit this makes sense. The Halloween season is saturated with candy corn; entire bags of it are ubiquitous and inescapable. This naturally brings its HTV down to near zero.
If I take umbrage with any part of these rankings, it’s the placement of both AirHeads and Laffy Taffy, which Peterson has situated just on the positive side of SOH and on the lower half of HTV. This feels uncharitable to the intense fruitiness of these candies, which is hard to find elsewhere; I’d gladly part with a Snickers, any type of M&M’s, and a whole bouquet of Tootsie Pops just to get my hands on one single White Mystery AirHead.
We thank the L.A. Times for this important entry in the candy canon, and we invite you to partake in the discourse. Are you, like me, scandalized that Peanut M&M’s rank higher than Baby Ruth? Or that Whoppers are considered to have low trade value?! Please discuss.