Halloween candy: Controversial opinions from the Reviewed staff
We asked 50 staffers for the opinions
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Folks really start to show their true colors when Halloween candy hits store shelves. Do they go for Reese’s originals or minis? Chocolate or fruity variety packs? And does that much-too-large bag of candy corn get added to the cart or passed over with disgust?
We asked almost 50 Reviewed staffers to share their hottest takes about Halloween candy to determine the most correct opinions. Now, we have definitive direction on the most pressing topics of the season—like the best and worst Halloween candy, the most likely to be traded, and which artificial candy colorings snackers reach for most.
Read on for our ultimate guide to Halloween candy.
The best Halloween candy: Reese’s Cups
Ah, the peanut-butter-chocolate classic. You’d be hard-pressed to find a candy bowl that’s missing a Reese’s cup at any Halloween party or trick-or-treat stop. According to our survey, there’s a reason for that.
Even with almost 40 options to choose from, the Reviewed staff crowned the iconic Reese’s cup as their favorite Halloween candy, garnering 26% of votes.
“It’s literally what people think of when you say ’candy,’” says Managing Editor of Partner Content Kate Ellsworth. “It’s the best candy, that’s why it has about 500 variations.”
Parenting Staff Writer Janelle Randazza adds, “It even takes the edge off of hunger pangs. In a pinch, I can lie to myself and say that since they have peanut butter in them, they aren’t 100% trash for my health.”
Can’t argue with that logic.
Chocolate vs. fruity candy: Chocolate
In an overwhelming majority, chocolate candy showed to be more popular among staffers, with 77% of participants saying they prefer any form of chocolate over fruity alternatives.
The most popular reasoning behind this consensus? Chocolate feels more genuine and less artificial. Plus, it boosts the happy chemicals in our brain.
SEO and Updates Editor Michael Garrett Steele says, “Chocolate is real, it’s natural. Fruity candy, by contrast, is an artificial, chemical imitation of something that you can simply go find in the real world.” In other words, if you want the taste of an orange, you might as well just eat a real one. At least you’ll get some vitamins in your system.
Amber Bouman, Editor of Product Roundups, goes so far as to say that chocolate “has health benefits and produces dopamine” as reasons why she’s pro-chocolate.
Lab Manager Jon Chan delves into the scientific details to explain why chocolate is superior. “With the help of enkephalins, a chemical that reacts with opioid receptors in your brain, chocolate can satisfy that craving better than fruit candies do.”
Or, more simply put by Kitchen & Cooking Editor Danielle DeSiato, “Chocolate tells your brain to be happy in a way that no fruit ever can.”
Candy Corn Consensus: It’s good … for about 10 pieces
Unofficially crowned as the most divisive and controversial candy of the Halloween season, candy corn is something we thought was either universally loved or universally hated. Turns out, it’s somewhere in between.
Almost 50% of respondents chose the third, midway option between love and hate: The idea that candy corn is great for about 10 pieces, then it becomes gross.
Why, you may ask? According to Executive Editor of Home & Labs Meghan Kavanaugh, “it takes approximately 10 pieces for your brain to catch up and wonder why you’re eating wax.”
The initial appeal is purely nostalgia, according to several surveyists. “It brings back childhood memories,“ says Product Roundup Editor Ben Yoder. “But then you remember that it doesn’t taste that great, and there are better candies.”
Senior Multimedia Producer Melissa Rorech explains, “I understand that it tastes like wax and sadness, but it fills a hole in my taste buds I didn’t know I had. And if I have to suffer through it once a year, I’ll gladly do it.”
Best Reese’s Products: Original, Minis, and Eggs
It’s easy to understand why the OG Reese’s cup took the cake when it was put head-to-head against 10 other variations. It’s timeless, classic, and what many of us remember most from our childhoods.
This doesn’t mean everyone was in agreement. Some respondents prefer the seasonal shapes over the traditional, while others disagree entirely.
Home Theater Senior Staff Writer Michael Desjardin says that Reese’s Eggs “feature the ideal chocolate-to-peanut-butter ratio.” And Health & Fitness Writer Esther Bell agrees, arguing that Reese’s should have shapes all year round.
Beauty Editor Jessica Kasparian—and others—have conflicting opinions.
“The original Reese’s have a better balance of chocolate and peanut butter than any of the seasonal options,” she says. “I also like the texture of the perimeter on originals. You can bite that until there’s just the center. Very satisfying.”
Another hot (or, rather, not-so-hot) take that came up multiple times? Eat your Reese’s cold. Home Writer Samantha Mangino even goes so far as to say that “they’re only good straight out of the fridge.”
Best Starburst Flavor: Pink
Given the choice of the four original Starburst flavors—pink, red, orange, and yellow—the Reviewed staff decidedly chose pink, with over half of voters crowning it as their favorite.
There were plenty of hot takes surrounding this chewy candy.
“The yellow ones should be discontinued,” says Ryan Waniata, Managing Editor of Electronics.
“The best thing Starburst ever did was to have the ’FAVEReds’ bag!,” says Anthony Palliparambil, Jr, Style Editor. “The orange and yellow are just filler as far as I’m concerned.”
Production Manager Ryan Martinez says, “Starbursts are tasty for something that doesn’t look like it could (or should) be broken down by the body.” And Jillian Lucas, Executive Editor of Planning & Operations exclaims she'd rather eat a Hi-Chew than Starburst.
Best Overall Candy Color: Red
All the corn-syrup-filled candies we know and love—think lollipops, Skittles, Jolly Ranchers, and the like—are typically offered in the familiar colors of the rainbow. But which artificial flavor is the best: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, or pink?
The most popular answer was red, with a decisive 69% percent of voters choosing it as one of their top three. But opinions beyond that were less decisive.
“If you’re going to have fruit candy, orange is the only acceptable choice. Maybe yellow,” says Kavanaugh, whose favorite colors ranked dead last. “I realize I’m in the minority, but that means my favorite is always available, so it works out.”
Steele, on the other hand, looks to the color wheel when deciding upon candy flavors. “If one insists upon non-chocolate candy, then one needs to look to the cool end of the spectrum,” he explains. “Red, orange, and yellow are reserved for pale imitations of existing flavors—therefore are unpleasantly tart. The blues, purples, and otherworldly pinks are where you’ll find uniqueness, adventuring in a land of pure chemical bliss.”
Others, like Rorech, kept their candy colors opinions simple. “I’d trade in the entire bucket of colorful candy for animal crackers and a milkshake.”
Tootsie Rolls: Great or Gross? Gross.
Nothing divides folks like a piece of unfortunately shaped candy that feels like gum and tastes (debatably) like chocolate. But when it came down to it, 62% of voters chose the “gross“ option for Tootsie Rolls.
There are some strong feelings about this candy.
Reviewed's Chief Scientist Dave Ellerby says, “Somehow it's a way to make chocolate depressing. Quite an achievement.”
“How can I best ensure a cavity? I know, I’ll eat a subpar candy that requires lengthy gnawing on until it’s soft enough to swallow, at which point it’s sticky enough to bind to my teeth!” says Andrew Winson, Data Entry Manager.
“They’re too similar to these calcium supplements I had to take when I was little,” reflects Sara Beth Bolin, Newsletter Writer. We remember those!
“They remind me of animal poop, if animal poop had the texture of a Starburst and the flavor of sadness.” Joanna Nelius, Senior Editor of Electronics, says.
However off-putting it may be to some, Tootsie Rolls did score a couple of points for having its factory located down the street from Reviewed’s Cambridge office. (Hey, neighbors!)
Tootsie Pops or Blow Pops? Blow Pops
To no one’s surprise—after reading the viscerally negative feelings expressed in the previous question—Blow Pops took the crown for most popular lollipop variety with 59%.
Aside from the obvious anti-Tootsie Roll stances, Blow Pop lovers gushed about the bubblegum center that makes the experience so enjoyable. “I like both, but the candy and gum crunch-combination is more satisfying when you get to the middle,” says Health & Fitness Editor Alison Kotch.
Even better than the crunch, a Blow Pop lets you walk away from the lollipop-licking experience with somewhat of a memento.
“The worst part of a Tootsie Pop is the center. The joy is getting there,” says Randazza. “Blow Pops, however, keep the party going. Bliss.“
Pro-Tootsie Pop voters argued the opposite. “The gum in a Blow Pop isn’t very good gum, and gum is an indefinite commitment, so you’re kind of stuck with it,” says Desjardin. “Tootsie Pops, on the other hand... You know what you’re getting into. It’s a bunch of chewy chocolate at the core of a lollipop. You eat it and you’re done. The treat is over. Go on with your day.”
Halloween Candy or Easter Candy? Halloween
Two of the biggest candy holidays of the year bring very different types of sweets to store shelves. While springtime offers Cadbury eggs, marshmallow Peeps, and jelly beans, October has a range of bite-sized candy bars and specialties like candy corn. So which is better?
According to our staff, now is the time to go to town in the candy aisle.
“Halloween offers classics in their original forms—and more variety,” says Product Test Technician Beckett Dubay. “Easter candy makes me think of Peeps (which I hate), Cadbury creme eggs (which I hate) and other egg-shaped candies (which I do like, Robin Eggs and mini Cadbury eggs included).”
Aside from more variety, Halloween candy also has the benefit of more volume, especially during childhood. “My neighbors were always more generous than the Easter bunny!“ as Palliparambil, Jr. says.
And of course, there’s the inherent bias that plays a big role in preference. “Halloween is a better holiday, generally,“ says Madison Durham, Senior Staff Writer of Partner Contact. “So it feels right to celebrate with a little indulgence … or a lot.”
What Halloween candy did you always trade?
We’ve all had some form of this experience after trick-or-treating. You get home, empty your newly obtained candy stash on the floor, and start bargaining your least favorite candies with siblings or friends to make sure you get everything you want (and ditch the gross stuff).
So, what was on the chopping block?
“Unpopular opinion…Skittles,” says Bell.
“For: Malted milk balls. Away: Tootsie anything,” says Jonathan Hilburg, Electronics Editor.
“3 Musketeers! Get that all-nougat outta here,” says Lucas.
“Ring pops. They took too long to consume,” says Chan.
“Almond Joy. It can go die in a fire, as far as I’m concerned,” says John Higgins, Editor of Electronics & Audio/Video.
“Trading Halloween candy is for cowards who cannot accept the hand that life has dealt them,” Steele asserts boldly.
Finally, what’s the worst candy you ever got while trick-or-treating?
“Cow tails.” Melena Gurganus, Senior Editor of SEO & Updates, says.
“An apple” says Aitchison, “Just an apple.”
“Anything made by Brachs,” says Michael Shepard, Senior Logistics Coordinator.
“Oyster crackers,” says Rebecca Viser, Audience Development Director.
“Fruit snacks,” says Ellsworth. “Stop pretending they’re healthier and give me the good stuff.”
And, finally for Desjardin, “A toothbrush.”
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