Ranking Popular Halloween Candy From Worst To First

Halloween is a holiday that is loved by all. From the young to the not-so-young, there's just something so fun about a day that revolves around creative costumes, scary movies, and yummy candy. Of all the elements that make Halloween a memorable event from an early age, it's the candy that returns year after year. Eat your favorite Halloween candy and you will reminisce about your fondest Halloweens of yesteryear.

Each year, 600 million pounds of Halloween candy is purchased by Americans. While some of the candy you shouldn't eat, there is literally tons of amazing candy being handed out to trick-or-treaters on this spooky night. Whether you're doing the handing out or partaking in the trick-or-treating yourself, there's some sugary sweetness involved.

Once Halloween is over and the candy bags are being inspected, it quickly becomes obvious that not all candy is created equal. Some of it is divine, while others belong in the nearest trash can. In this list, the most popular Halloween candy has been reviewed and successfully ordered from trash-worthy to the very best.

40. Candy Corn

The fact that Candy Corn hits the mainstream every year when Halloween rolls around is so very confusing. It seems like nobody really likes this candy. The few who claim to like it are likely just clinging onto fond Halloween memories from their childhood.

Everything about Candy Corn is terrible. It has a gross waxy texture that causes you to gag unless you're prepared. If you power through the putrid texture, the flavor does you no favors. There's nothing fancy about it. It basically resembles a combination of candle wax and corn syrup. To make matters worse, they're loose in trick-or-treat bags.

If Candy Corn is so disgusting, how come more than 9 billion kernels of this candy are produced every year? The only explanation is that it's just a collective bad habit at this point. Perhaps the orange, yellow, and white on the Candy Corn convinces people that this is the quintessential candy of autumn and, specifically, Halloween. However, this Halloween, do humanity a favor and refuse any and all pieces of what is essentially sweetened tricolored earwax. If Candy Corn is the only treat available, demand a trick instead.

39. Twizzlers/Red Vines

While some actually have a strong preference between Red Vines and Twizzlers, we're conflating them here as they are one and the same to us — both brands have a taste and a texture not dissimilar to chewing on a pencil eraser. They're not welcome in our candy bowl at Halloween or any other occasion, although we might try using either kind in a pinch to remove stray grease marks from the wall behind the stove. They've got to be good for something, after all, but we'd hardly classify them as edible.

38. Smarties

In England and Canada, Smarties are Nestle's answer to M&Ms, and they're pretty good. Unless you're trick-or-treating along the northern border or at the British Embassy, the Smarties you'll get in your bag will be an entirely different kind and a thorough disappointment. American Smarties, unrelated to the Nestle product, come in the form of a cylinder of chalky pastel discs that taste vaguely of sugar and ennui and are SweeTarts minus the tart. All in all, they are barely worth the trouble of unwrapping.

37. Runts

Runts are a retro candy that we do not miss at all. How can we if they refuse to go away? We acknowledge that Runts may have tasted (slightly) better back in their heyday (if they could be said to have had such a thing) since rumor has it their fruit flavor was more distinct in years gone by, but these days they taste like corn syrup and dust and their supposed fruit shapes are indistinct blobs. Even the boxed Runts you get for Halloween feel like they've come out of a dirt-encrusted gumball machine tucked away in the corner of a dingy garage.

36. Lemonheads

Lemonheads, the flagship candy of the Ferrara Candy Company, aren't terrible. Instead, like most hard candies, they are just sort of boring. Also, as with most citrus fruit-flavored things, they don't taste like real lemons. They're not nearly sour enough to torture your tongue, but they're not quite sweet enough to satisfy a sugar craving, either. Plus, the fact that they were named after a baby's odd-shaped skull is kind of off-putting and makes the smiling lemon face on the box now seem slightly disturbing.

35. Life Savers

Life Savers are another snoozer of a candy. The one thing they have over Lemonheads is that the kind you typically see in trick-or-treat bags is the five-flavor assortment mini roll, so at least you get a little variety. Of course, that's a mixed blessing in that while you do get cherry, grape, and pineapple, you're also stuck with orange and lime (meh). Lamest of all, however, is when you find that you've hit up some cheapskate's house and they give you individually wrapped single Life Savers instead.

34. Dubble Bubble

Dubble Bubble is such a bad Halloween candy that it's legitimately neck-and-neck with Candy Corn for this ranking's bottom spot. First of all, the flavor of this bubble gum is so slight that it's completely forgettable. You can taste it for a few chews but then it's gone. Compare it to other gums on the market and its boring flavor is laughable. Secondly, it's a relatively dangerous candy. Ask anyone who has struggled to get bubble gum out of carpeting or, worse yet, human hair, and ask them how much trouble the gum can cause. Plus, some experts believe that Dubble Bubble contains a carcinogen. Do you really want to take a risk on such a sub-par candy?

Thirdly, Dubble Bubble is simply a colossal waste of time. After a couple of chews, you basically have a piece of pale rubber in your mouth. Spit out this bubble gum and just say no from now on.

33. Nerds

Nerds are a candy that seems so pointless. They're little sugar rocks that you pour into your mouth, but instead of jumping around on your tongue like the far superior Pop Rocks, they sit there and do nothing. It's like drinking flavored still water instead of seltzer — why go for the downgrade when you don't have to? In Nerds' favor, though, is that if you still have a stash of them left from several Halloweens ago, and you finally get desperate enough to eat them, they'll taste the same as the day they came out of the candy factory.

32. Swedish Fish

Meh. That's the one word that perfectly describes Swedish Fish. The texture isn't great, but it also isn't horrible. The flavor isn't very notable but it's just barely good enough for you to think about reaching for the next fish. Compared to Candy Corn, Swedish Fish taste amazing — but that's a low bar to use as a comparison.

If you've never tasted Swedish Fish, the first time they go swimming around your tongue you won't be able to put your finger on exactly what it is you're tasting. Is it dark cherry? Is it wild strawberry? Is it some type of fruit juice punch? Considering that nobody really knows the answer, you won't be alone in your state of confusion. The most likely answer is that Swedish Fish taste like lingonberry, a type of berry that is popular in Sweden, but that has never been confirmed. The answer that surprisingly makes the most sense is that Swedish Fish just taste like the color red

31. Haribo Gummy Bears

To be sure, the development of gummies must have been a boon to the vitamin industry since they beat the heck out of chalky chewables. As an actual candy option, however, they're not our first pick or even in our top 20. Even Haribo's supposedly top-shelf gummy bears are not too satisfying to eat, and the flavor is pure corn syrup with a vague suggestion of generic fruitiness. The one thing we'll give Haribo bears over their fellow European import, the aforementioned Swedish Fish, is that you get a variety of colors, plus you can always use them for science projects (via KiwiCo).

30. Skittles

We'll admit that Skittles has its fans, and those fans are welcome to come up with their own candy rankings. For our part, though, there are very few fruit candies that are ever going to going to find favor with us. Sure, suppose it's 1892, and you're living in a little house on a big prairie, and chocolate is an exotic delicacy you've never seen. In that case, anything sugary will probably pass muster, but Skittles have only been around since the 1970s, and for the past half-century, we've had far better candy choices.

Oh yes, and there's also the fun fact that Skittles may all share the same flavor, no matter their color, which seems like a ripoff. While some insist that they can taste the different flavors in Skittles' rainbow even when blindfolded, they protest too much to be entirely plausible, particularly when science (in the form of Brandeis University neuropsychologist Don Katz) suggests it's all in their imagination (via NPR).

29. Starburst

Starburst is another meh candy we always think of as Skittles' older sibling. Starburst candies are the kind of thing your teacher would give you if you got the correct answer to a particularly tricky math problem. They're actually an excellent choice for that purpose because eating a single one isn't too likely to trigger a craving for more (which is not the case with mini Hershey bars or Reese's cups). While we're still a bit skeptical that the numerous Starburst flavors are as distinct as they claim to be, they are, at least, easier to tell apart than the nearly indistinguishable Skittles.

28. Salt water taffy

Despite the name, salt water taffy has a lot of sugar in it and hardly any salt. That should be a clear hint that reality isn't always what it seems when it comes to this popular Halloween candy. While salt water taffy can sometimes look like it will be delicious when it's in the wrapper, eating one is always a perilous proposition.

When you unwrap the candy and pop it into your mouth, you never know quite what to expect when it comes to the texture. Sometimes salt water taffy is as hard as a rock. Sometimes it's hard on the outside and soft in the middle. Sometimes it's soft on the outside and crunchy in the middle. Sometimes it's grossly soft all the way through.

By the time you swallow the piece of salt water taffy, you'll realize that the reward wasn't worth the gamble. Even at its best, this candy is mediocre. Considering that it's inedible at its worst, just don't bother.

27. Laffy Taffy

Laffy Taffy is one of those candies you pretty much only see at Halloween unless you are a habitue of the dollar store candy aisle. Laffy Taffy isn't quite as retro as you might think, though, since it's only been in existence since the '70s, it's still reasonably young in candy years. Still, whenever you bite into one of these supposedly chewy candies, it's usually as hard and dry as if it's been sitting on a store shelf for decades. If you're willing to put in the work, though, eventually, Laffy Taffy does soften up, and the taste isn't half-bad. What's more, you can definitely tell the banana from the grape as they don't skimp on the flavoring.

26. Pieces

Reese's Pieces may have been a big hit with E.T., but to us, they've always been impostor M&Ms. They disappoint on two different levels, really, since not only do they fail to deliver on their M&M-ish appearance, but the name Reese's has us expecting a peanut butter-chocolate combo. Really, how hard would that have been to add a layer of chocolate over the peanut butter and underneath the candy shell? Sure, in that case, you'd have peanut butter M&M's, but those are a big step up from boring old Reese's Pieces.

25. Hot Tamales

Hot Tamales are hyperbole in candy form. While they present themselves like they're super-spicy, it's not like they're flavored with ghost peppers or anything. (How cool would that be?) Instead, like the equally not-as-advertised Red Hots, they're just another cinnamon-flavored candy. There's a little bit of bite to Hot Tamales, true, but it's just a blast of cinnamon oil that you're tasting. Still, they are a much better lozenge-shaped chewy candy than the incredibly lame Mike and Ikes and the gross Good & Plenty.

24. Airheads

Airheads, on the other hand, are a candy tailor-made for people who don't want to have to do an extensive amount of teeth grinding. They're kind of like a solidified form of cotton candy, a little grainy from the sugar but very light and easy to chew and not something that's going to stick to your teeth. The flavors are kind of sweet and tart at the same time, which we quite like. While Airheads aren't the best candy out there, they're far from being the worst.

23. Jolly Ranchers

Of all the different types of hard candies we know, Jolly Ranchers are one of the most fun to eat, but they can be a little challenging. With most hard candies, when you bite down on them, they shatter. Jolly Ranchers, on the other hand, will glue your teeth together instead. (Warning: If you belong to a generation that still makes or takes phone calls, do not eat Jolly Ranchers while expecting a call since until you manage to unstick, you're likely to answer the phone with a muffled "ummpphh.") In addition to the challenge posed by these stickiest candies, we also like their in-your-face flavors — not so sour that they hurt, but tart enough to get your attention.

22. Whoppers

While Whoppers are chocolate and thus rate fairly highly with us on account of this factor alone, they have one significant drawback: their dominant flavor is that of malted milk, a beverage that fell out of fashion in the '50s (and deservedly so). While it's quite likely that hipsters will re-discover it any day now and artisanal malted beverages of the non-alcoholic variety will become the latest, greatest fad, as it stands, malted milk balls have a flavor that seems a bit odd to 21st-century taste buds.

21. Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie rolls are no one's idea of the all-time best Halloween candy, but we stand by our decision to rank them solidly in the middle of the pack. They're a decent safety pick, meaning that they won't be the first candies in the bag to get eaten, but as long as you still have a few in the bag, you won't have to resort to the dreaded prospect of cracking open a roll of Smarties to get a sugar fix. Tootsie Rolls are, at the very least, marginally chocolaty-tasting unless you get the fruit-flavored kind that seems only to exist at Halloween. We will admit to a sneaking fondness for the vanilla ones — artificial as the flavor may be, these creamy Tootsie Rolls are just too cute!

20. Baby Ruth

Baby Ruth is the first actual candy bar on the list, and as a candy bar, there's nothing inherently wrong with them: milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts — all good there. The reason why they rank fairly low despite all this is partly due to their off-puttingly lumpy appearance, but primarily because of that notorious "Caddyshack" scene where a floating Baby Ruth was mistaken for poop. While product placement in movies typically leads to increased desire for the item in question, this is one case where it seriously backfired on Baby Ruth.

19. Butterfinger

Bart Simpson may get all worked up over Butterfinger bars, but those of us living in three dimensions have many better candy options from which to choose. Unless it's a few days after Halloween, of course, and we've already eaten all the top-tier candies in our (or our kids') treat bags. Butterfinger is ... adequate and has no unpleasant associations a la Baby Ruth. That dry-as-a-bone filling is still a bit weird, though; we have never figured out what flavor it's trying to be. The package says it's peanut butter, but we're not really buying it. Nor are we buying any Butterfingers, but we're okay with scarfing down a few Halloween freebies.

18. Nestle Crunch

Nestle Crunch is the second-best puffed rice cereal candy bar readily available in supermarkets, but it's just not as good as Hershey's Krackel. While the two bars have nearly identical ingredients, somehow Hershey's bar manages to taste a lot more chocolatey, and even the cereal bits seem crispier, too. Nestle's chocolate, in contrast, has a slightly waxy feel to it and is excessively sweet, even for milk chocolate, while the puffed rice isn't as crunchy as advertised. Still, as long as you're not doing a head-to-head comparison between the two bars, Nestle Crunch isn't too disappointing a Halloween haul.

17. Hershey's Kisses

While Hershey's Kisses now come in about a bazillion different flavors, the ones you usually find in your plastic pumpkin bucket tend to be the plain kind all dolled up in black and orange wrappers or perhaps just in standard-issue silver foil. Nothing wrong with that, as these morsels are practically the platonic ideal of a miniature milk chocolate treat. The only reason we're not rating them higher is that Halloween is all about instant gratification. With Kisses, you do have to do a certain amount of unwrapping to get a mouth of chocolate, plus you're left with a mess of foil scraps and discarded tags. Still, if you're trying to rein in your urge to overindulge, Kisses are the perfect candy for portion control.

16. Tootsie Pop

Tootsie Pops are another mediocre Halloween candy. Once you've finished eating one of these lollipops, you will realize it may not be worth all the effort.

Invented all the way back in 1931, Tootsie Pops really became famous after their iconic commercial was released in 1970. In the commercial, a kid goes around to different animals to see if any animal knows how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll in the middle of the lollipop. None of the animals know the answer or have the patience to find out. Fast-forward 50 years and the sentiment remains the same. While a Tootsie Pop has a decent taste and the Tootsie Roll in the middle also tastes okay, nothing about this treat makes it worth wasting time on. Just like Mr. Owl, we all eventually just bite into the lollipop just to get it over with and get on to better tasting candy.

15. Blow Pop

While it's rare that we'll rate a non-chocolate version of anything more highly than one involving our favorite candy flavor, we do find Blow Pops to be slightly superior to Tootsie Pops. The reason for this is twofold. First off, the hard candy shells of the former tend to be far more flavorful than those of the latter, and as these candies are essentially lollipops, what's on the outside matters. The second reason involves their respective interiors: once you crunch through to the center of your Tootsie Pop, there's nothing left to do but eat it. With a Blow Pop, however, you get to prolong your pleasure a bit longer by chewing the gum that is now flavored with little bits of shattered candy.

14. Milk Duds

For all that Milk Duds have the word "duds" in their name, thus practically begging for death by 1,000 puns, they're really quite an enjoyable little candy. The story behind the name is, in fact, kind of a cute one: the candies were meant to be perfectly spherical, but the soft caramel inside the milk chocolate coating lends itself to a squashier shape. The word "dud" simply refers to the candy creator's disappointment at their lack of symmetry, but that just makes Milk Duds even more endearing. The only problem with them as a Halloween candy comes when you're trick-or-treating in a warmer climate, as they do tend to melt a bit and stick to the inside of those tiny cardboard boxes.

13. 3 Musketeers

3 Musketeers isn't the most exciting chocolate bar out there, but it's so darn easy to scarf down. That poofy, fluffy, whipped nougat filling requires hardly any chewing, so you're practically inhaling these candies. Now that truly is instant gratification! The way the hard chocolate shell contrasts with the super-soft filling makes for a tasty bite, while the air in the filling makes them seem somewhat substantial even when "fun"-sized. We also love the swashbuckling name as it makes us envision D'Artagnan and company facing off with candy bars in hand — en garde!

12. Milky Way

Whether you'll be satisfied by a Milky Way candy bar on Halloween depends on one thing: the size of the bar. If it's a mini Milky Way, you're doomed to be left unsatisfied. When a Milky Way is miniaturized, the chocolate, nougat, and caramel will essentially evaporate in your mouth after a bite or two. Before your taste buds can even attempt to enjoy it, the candy bar will already have disappeared. Conversely, if you get a Milky Way that is the original size, that thing will have enough heft to it that you can fully enjoy it as you savor each bite. Sadly, on Halloween, you're more likely to get the mini version than the original.

If you are obsessed with dark chocolate candy bars, a Milky Way Midnight Dark is something you will love. It has a really bold dark chocolate flavor that is perfectly offset by a sweet splash of caramel.

11. Kit Kat

The main problem with Kit Kats is that while they have an incredible variety of exciting flavors (over 200!), they choose to market most of them only in Japan. In the U.S., we're stuck with a minimal assortment, and the mini Kit Kats usually found around Halloween are generally of the standard milk chocolate + cookie wafer variety. That being said, they're still a pretty good candy bar, and the fact that all but the tiniest ones can be split in half gives you the illusion of getting 2 bars in one. For more generous souls, Kit Kat's dual nature allows you to share even when you're down to the dregs of the good candy in your bag.

10. Twix

Twix are similar to standard KitKats in that they, too, are milk-chocolate-covered cookie bars, and, with the larger-sized ones, you also get two pieces in a package (although Twix is already separate, so there's no breaking apart involved). They are different, however, in that the cookie layer is more substantial and contains caramel. Twix also likes to stay in its lane — Twix is what it is, and the company doesn't spend all its time coming up with crazy flavors they refuse to sell to us. For that, we salute you, Twix, left/right silliness notwithstanding.

9. York Peppermint Patty

Long before dark chocolate became trendy due to its alleged health benefits, York Peppermint Patties were one of the few mainstream dark chocolate candies. Fortunately, they are nothing like those super-bitter high cacao bars that seem to be eaten more for medicinal purposes than pure enjoyment. Instead, with a York Peppermint Patty, what you're getting is a thin coating of semisweet chocolate surrounding a soft yet very minty filling. Sure, this chocolate/peppermint combo may not be the most kid-friendly of candies, but then, we doubt there are too many six-year-olds reading this, and we're talking about what we like here, not what candies will make you the most popular house on the block.

8. Cry Baby

Trick-or-treaters in days of yore (meaning, the 1980s and earlier) didn't really have much to choose from in the way of sour candies: Pixy Stix, Sweet Tarts, and Lemonheads were about as good as it got, but none of these really brought the sour in any kind of satisfying way. Come the '90s, though, and the sour candy boom was underway. While the initial burst of super-sour flavor only lasts for the first few seconds of chewing, after it's done, you still have a satisfyingly large and chewy gumball to work with.

7. Sour Patch Kids

Like Hot Tamales, Sour Patch Kids offer some needed flavor diversity on Halloween. First introduced in 1985, instead of being spicy like Hot Tamales, Sour Patch Kids hit your taste buds head-on with a blast of sourness that will make you pucker with delight. After the sourness dissipates, you're then confronted with a spurt of sweetness. All in all, it's an enjoyable roller coaster ride for your senses.

Not only do Sour Patch Kids have an entertaining taste, but the texture of this candy is also immaculate. Of all the soft, chewy candies on the market, these sour and sweet goodies feel the best when they're inhabiting your mouth. They're always pillowy soft and their chewiness allows you to thoroughly enjoy the candy without it becoming a chore.

If you can't get enough of the sourness, considering upgrading the sour factor with Sour Patch Kids Extreme. These bad boys will cause an extra amount of puckering — but they still have the same soothing sweet aftertaste.

6. Snickers

Snickers are a Halloween mainstay that never gets old. If you loved these candy bars when you were growing up, you'll still love them today. Unlike the aforementioned Butterfinger disaster, it doesn't taste as if Snickers has ever messed with their recipe.

Like Kit Kats, Snickers still taste good even if you only have a fun-size version or the even smaller mini version at your disposal. But the great thing about a full-size Snickers bar is that it's so hearty that it can legitimately take the place of a meal. The caramel, peanuts, nougat, and milk chocolate combine to be a filling foursome that will leave you completely satiated.

Snickers are so popular with trick-or-treaters that production for Halloween begins in the spring. In fact, around 400 million Snickers bars are sold per year. If you want to be a Halloween hero, hand out full-size Snickers to every man, woman, or child who comes to your door. Your neighborhood will love you forever.

5. M&M's

The classic goodness you feel when you're eating M&M's is palpable. There's just something so comforting and so right about eating these button-shaped candies. Even on Halloween, when you're met with a wide array of candy options, M&M's are a trustworthy choice to bring you happiness. Plus, when you're busy juggling a whole lot of different candies on Halloween, it's helpful that M&M's don't melt in your hand.

If your Halloween candy gets jumbled up and you can't tell which candies are which, M&M's will stand out due to the "m" stamped on each piece of candy. That was originally done to thwart counterfeits but it becomes especially useful on Halloween.

For those of you who try to hoard the green M&M's due to their aphrodisiacal properties, it must be reported that the rumor is (sadly) not true. What is true is that all colors and all types of M&M's — from milk chocolate to peanut to pretzel — taste very good.

4. Almond Joy

The thing about lists of this nature, as we may have mentioned, is that they are entirely subjective. Not everyone loves coconut, but this particular list was compiled by those who do. Almond Joy, in our opinion, is one of the best candy bars out there since you get that sweet, coconutty filling, a tasty milk chocolate exterior, and also a whole almond in every bite! Almond Joys are fantastic, and if you don't like them, we'll gladly trade you for our Starbursts and Skittles (we'll even throw in all of our candy corn for free).

3. Hershey's Minis

Hershey's Minis are one of the best all-around Halloween candies precisely because they offer something for everyone — everyone who loves chocolate, that is. If you're lucky, you'll get a whole handful in your treat bag, so you can trade for the ones you like best or just enjoy all the different varieties with a little chocolate smorgasbord. Which is your pick: plain, Krackel, Mr. Goodbar, or Special Dark? We'll take one of each, please. (Or, better yet, two!)

2. Heath Bar

Should you be lucky enough to find a few mini Heath Bars in your Halloween haul, you'll have a prize, indeed. Heath Bars don't tend to be as commonly seen as many other types of Halloween candy, which is a real shame since they're one of the best candy bars out there. And yes, we'd even put them up against the fancy-schmancy bars that cost big bucks and are something you'll never, ever find in your bag even if you're trick-or-treating at chez Kardashian. What makes Heath Bars so special? Rather than being filled with soft, sticky, too-sweet caramel, their centers are made of crunchy, slightly salty toffee. Toffee is caramel evolved to the next level, and that makes Heath Bars (even itsy-bitsy ones) a cut above most other candies.

1. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Whenever the topic of the best candy is discussed, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are almost always crowned the winner. According to a 2019 poll, 36% of Americans have deemed Reese's Peanut Butter cups the ultimate Halloween candy — and for good reason. The chocolatey taste and the peanut-buttery taste join forces to create a scrumptious flavor that is unrivaled in the candy universe.

When trick-or-treaters are going door to door, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are the treasures they are after. Offer up these goodies on Halloween and the happy recipients will act as if they are being handed the holy grail. If this is the only candy you eat on the spookiest day of the year, you will still believe you had a very fine and rewarding day.

Around Halloween, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are available in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and flavors. From white chocolate ghosts to milk chocolate pumpkins, all of these treats are outstanding and will make for a joyful addition to any person's Halloween candy bag.