One of the best parts of trick-or-treating as a kid is everything that happens after the costumed walking tour of the neighborhood: You and your crew all converge back at someone’s basement, pillowcases full of candy in tow, to flip on a commercial-stuffed broadcast of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and get down to some serious horse-trading. Who’s got Almond Joys they’d be willing to part with? What is a full-size Reese’s cup worth—two Hershey’s Miniatures or three? Is it possible to split one Fun Size Twix three ways?
As the swaps progress, the pile of unwanted cast-offs grows bigger, filled with all the worst Halloween candies imaginable. Even sugar-crazed children have a list of sweets they’re disappointed to find in their bounty. Even now, as adults, those most dreaded trick-or-treat candies are still fresh in our minds. Below, we share the one candy we each dreaded receiving the most every Halloween. What’s yours?
So...I don’t think people give them out much anymore, but do any of you remember those strange wax lips? The bright red ones? They always smelled like fake strawberry or cherry. You could put them in your mouth and pretend like they were yours, except if you got stung in the face by a bee. For years I didn’t understand what they were for, so I’d play with them for about 30 seconds, put them aside, then eventually throw them away. You’re not supposed to eat a candle, so why would you eat wax lips?
Until one day, I realized you could chew them. And that in fact, you were supposed to. At first, they’d crumble in your mouth into a bunch of little shitty pieces, and after a while, they’d eventually warm up and meld together into a weird gum-like but not-quite-gum texture. The flavor would eke out as you chewed, but it basically felt like chewing on a scented crayon. What the fuck? Did anybody actually enjoy this?
The lips are made of paraffin wax, which is a food-grade substance, thereby safe for at least holding in your mouth and chewing. I would not put it past small children, nor some adults (me), to ingest wax lips in their entirety. The Daily Meal says you can in fact eat them, but Washington state-based Dupont Family Dentistry highly recommends you don’t. I can’t imagine those things wouldn’t mess up your digestive system somehow, either. They were the worst. I’m glad nobody still gives them out. Right? Please tell me people stopped torturing trick-or-treaters with these. —Dennis Lee, staff writer
If you’re going to name a candy after a transactional dating arrangement, you should at least make sure it tastes good. That’s my note for the creators of Sugar Daddies, the caramel lollipops I still associate with the stingiest trick-or-treating destinations. Creepy name aside, these things are the worst. Both sticky and hard as a steel beam, Sugar Daddies are full of strange caramel cracks that’ll slice your tongue open upon first lick.
The lollipops were invented in 1925, and the Tootsie Roll Industries website bills them as “America’s oldest and most popular milk caramel lollipop.” I don’t know about “most popular,” but they’re certainly the oldest lollipops in America—as in, I’m pretty sure every single Sugar Daddy on the market has been sitting around and firming up since 1925. Somewhere, some gnarled old Tootsie Roll Industries employee sits in a basement, prying the century-old lollipops off of a metal slab, wrapping them in sticky wax paper, and shipping them off to candy stores where they’re purchased by people who hate children. Sugar Daddies just aren’t worth the trip to the orthodontist, y’all. —Lillian Stone, staff writer
October through December is generally understood to be a time when society at large, but especially parents, collectively surrender to the siren song of seasonal treats and holiday indulgences. Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the winter holidays, life is one non-stop smorgasbord—we all understand and embrace this. So I will never cease to be amazed by the sheer hubris of the household that thinks it’s going to make some sort of statement by forgoing the customary Halloween candy and handing out peppermints to trick-or-treaters. Mints? Are you kidding me? How badly do you wish to establish yourself as the neighborhood contrarian who would sooner mar a kid’s candy stash than go with the sugar-coated flow?
Now, I know that some people out there might consider peppermints “candy,” as the bulk of its ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, and Red 40, but in fact, these people are wrong. Peppermints are far too functional to be considered candy. They cleanse the palate, freshen the breath, soothe the throat, combat boredom, and provide oral distraction for people quitting smoking. Halloween candy, on the other hand, should be a bucket of cheap thrills, intense flavors, and acidic rainbow packaging. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a cellophane-wrapped Starlight mint trying to fit in among a pile of Reese’s cups and Sour Punch straws and Nestle Crunch bars. It’s never going to happen; peppermints will never be part of the Halloween canon. And shame on the households that try to make it so. —Marnie Shure, editor in chief
If you hand out raisins in any way, shape, or form, fuck you. —Allison Robicelli, staff writer