Everyone remembers getting ready for Halloween and the sheer joy it brought them as a child. You’d strap in your fiercest vampire teeth, suit up in your intimidating plastic Optimus Prime outfit, and head out into the night for your annual right of childhood: free candy. Unfortunately, these treats could make even the fattest sweet tooth wish they rotted their teeth out with chocolate Easter eggs.
Source: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
By Danny Gallagher
Fruit-flavored candy should taste just what the name implies. The same shouldn’t go for “fruit-flavored chalk.”
This ridiculous stepdaughter of the SweeTart shows up in trick-or-treat bags every year because they are colorful, assumingly sweet, and (most importantly) dirt cheap. Eating them is a whole other story. They taste like bland imitators of hard rock candy with an aftertaste that’s chalkier than a calculus teacher’s eraser. They are also a low in food packaging ergonomics. These small tarts of bland joylessness are packaged in the world’s flimsiest cellophane, so when you open them, they roll and scurry into the nearest crevasse with cockroaches, only much tastier. (Don’t ask me how I know that. Long story short is I need bus fare.)
9. Fun Dip
Source: The Willy Wonka Candy Company
Powdered candies are probably the laziest way of manufacturing a sugary confection on a mass scale. Some companies spend hours and millions crafting perfect gelatin molds to give their candy shape, style, and substance while these guys just take a handful of sugar and throw it in a bag for little kids to consume at will.
Of course, this familiar staple of little league concession stands isn’t just a bag of colored sugar. It’s actually three bags of colored sugar that all taste exactly the same that you eat by dipping a large sugar stick into it that you end up just eating before you’re done because the resulting mess makes you look like you were “antiqued” by a demented clown.
8. Monster Candy
These white sugar sticks might seem like the perfect kind of candy to hand out to the little ones as they go door to door dressed in their scariest outfits. Unfortunately, the only good part of this candy is the colorful and spooky packaging (I’m referring to both design and taste). Inside these vampire- and mummy-themed cardboard boxes of doom are practically inedible sticks of white sugar that couldn’t have less to do with their Halloween-themed packaging if they were only sold during Hanuukah.
7. Atomic Warheads
Source: Impact Confections, Inc.
Sour candies offer their own kind of unique fun, daring your friends to stuff more and more of the saliva stoppers in their mouths until their skulls cave in or their tongue jumps out and flops away like a wet tissue in the wind. These pus puckers, however, seem to only be for people who don’t want teeth or tastebuds for the rest of their life.
Unlike other sour candies that eventually die off and give you a sweet aftertaste or a wad of gum to munch on, this hard candy has a ridiculously unpleasant sour taste that only seeks to harm. And while “manning up” candy can be a good thing, if you’re going to dare a friend to endure this level of torture, making him lick a degreased engine part is not only more effective by also more likely to improve your Facebook page hit counter.
6. Now and Laters
Source: Farley's & Sathers
These presumably fruit treats look like your average chewy candy, until you pop one in your mouth and bite down so hard that it knocks out one of your back molars and handily replaces it like some amazing Technicolor row of shark’s teeth. Not only are Now and Laters unpleasant to chew, but they won’t leave without a huge brouhaha. They actually fight the mastication process (that’s chewing, sickos) by clinging to every available surface on your teeth, making them the bitter ex-girlfriend of the confectionary industry.
5. Mary Janes
If these retro-looking taffy candies look like they've been around since the early 1900s, that's because they have been. I don’t just mean they were created then. I mean some of them have outlasted the aging elements that long.
These ridiculously tough mixtures of peanut butter and molasses require the chewing strength of a car crusher to fully break down and digest and the taste that follows is a stale mixture of old peanut butter and warm syrup. The only reason they've been selling for this long is because millions of munchie-seeking stoners couldn’t stop laughing at them as they were hording the candy store like an extra in The Day After Tomorrow.
4. Pixy Stix
Source: The Willy Wonka Candy Company
While other powder-based candies try to distract kids from the fact that they are basically eating a makeup product with a fun toy or an edible utensil, this straw of sugar just cut out the bloated, diabetic middleman and gave kids the sugar already.
These tubes of colorful powder were nothing but pure sugar in an easy-to-eat-from dispenser that let kids scarf down piles of sugary goodness in its purest form. It not only helped deliver sugar to children’s bloodstreams faster than an insulin shot plunged into the aorta, but it also taught them a fun way to preparing and serving cocaine. When I think back to the times my friends and I rubbed these grape and apple flavored mounds of sugar on our gums, I...well, I really don’t remember much after that, except my pants were gone and my hair smelled like chicken.
3. Peanut Butter Kisses
Here’s another candy brand that attempts to latch itself to Halloween like a face hugger to the esophagus of a human host, only the face hugger’s egg-delivering stamen being shoved down your throat is a more pleasurable experience.
Not to be confused with the Hershey's Kisses chocolate treats, these black and orange-packaged bits of wadded goo might look festive, but the horror inside feels like there’s a Halloween party going on in your mouth that’s being thrown by Harry Potter dorks. They're supposed to taste like peanut butter, but they usually taste more like one and less of the other. In fact, a butter-based candy treat would be more enjoyable, even if it could make your heart stop beating just by smelling it.
2. Circus Peanuts
There are plenty of reasons to stay away from the circus: unavoidable Spandex bulges, the wafting smell of popcorn and elephant ass, and the inevitable nightmares brought on by the sight of clowns.
Here’s another reason to throw on the list. These festive-looking circus treats may seem marshmallowy, but they are actually harder than most quartz crystals. The taste resembles that of a diabetes-infused snowball crossed with the strange muskiness of a Cheeto, which can only mean that someone out there is trying to create a strain of circus peanuts in “extreme jalapeno” and “fiery hot” varieties.
1. Candy Cigarettes
Source: Wendy Idele/Workbook Stock/Getty Images
Say what you will about the political incorrectness of giving anything that resembles a smokeable prodcut to a child (what’s next? candy crack pipes?).
Call them irresponsible attempts to make smoking cool at an impressionable age or just a thoughtless attempt to give kids some fun by letting them pretend they are adults, which means a peppermint-flavored nicotine patch probably isn’t far behind.
Their taste alone is reason enough to pull them from the market. They are just stringy strands of overcooked sugar that feel like you’re gnawing on a shoelace, only not as gamey. You’re better off giving your kid an actual cigarette to eat. It might be the most irresponsible thing a parent can do, but at least they'll be getting their daily allowance of fiber.