50 Classic Halloween Candies Ranked From Worst To Best

Even though our role as a trick-or-treater might look more like a chaperone these days, we'll no doubt be sampling some of the bite-size candies collected by the kiddos in our lives while poaching a few of the sweet treats from the bag of candy we'll be wielding behind our door for the spooky holiday. After all, who doesn't love to savor the spoils of a good Halloween haul?

Last year, American households spent nearly $3 billion on bags of alluringly wrapped fructose, according to Statista. And with Covid-19 restrictions easing across the U.S. (and the recent availability of vaccines for children as young as six months old), this year's Halloween could signal the mother of all sugar rushes for kids across the country.

But as we all know, not every Halloween offering plays like a Billboard hit on our palates. So, we decided to rank 50 of the most recognizable Halloween candies to help you avoid the duds haunting candy pails everywhere.

50. Hershey's Kiss

Bland and downright grainy, the Hershey's Kiss is the "have a great summer!" of Halloween candy. It's intentionally wishy-washy and wrapped in a chipper little foil package to try to distract from its less-than-impressive size in a Halloween candy haul. These little guys are always the last to hang around in whatever vessel we use as a treat stash until we ultimately cave to eating one in a moment of sweet-toothed desperation only to find that their milk chocolate exterior has aged to a gray, gauzy-looking crust.

49. Candy Corn

We would place this tri-colored candy dead last, but we wanted to allow some grace considering that, unlike most treats on this list, candy corn has become a creation that's specifically associated with the Halloween holiday. Although, if you look into the strange history of candy corn, it wasn't originally intended for purely autumnal enjoyment. Despite whatever nostalgia we could muster for these triangular trick-or-treat terrorists, it's ultimately an awful little concoction whose waxy texture corrupts any caramel, marshmallow, or vanilla flavor it's designed to taste like.

48. Smarties

As a kid, we were fooled by Smarties — this pale-complexioned little candy comes in a roll of multiple bites as opposed to one large bar, leading one to think that they're getting more bang for their sugar bucks. But, now grown, we appreciate and acknowledge the rule of "quality over quantity" and realize that Smarties are nothing more than sugary chalk whose flavors are even less perceptible than their wan coloring. This is the only candy we can think of that would likely be better ground up into dust a la Fun Dip or Pixie Stix rather than cramped into this pill-like formation that does taste like much.

47. Dubble Bubble

Typically, we'd welcome the inclusion of gum in our potpourri of Halloween candy; however, the gum most common in a trick-or-treat haul is always this powder-pink-colored, hard-as-a-rock disaster. Dubble Bubble basically love bombs you with an intoxicatingly sweet burst of admittedly good bubblegum flavor. It then retracts into a stiff ball the moment you give in to its charms. It's perhaps the only candy we resent on this list because of its two-faced nature — we bet it's a Gemini. 

46. Dum-Dums

Dum-Dums, the dime-sized lollipop we associate most with visits to the bank and old-school doctors' offices, is so ubiquitous it hardly even feels like a proper treat. Plus, it's a lollipop whose flavors seem to wish it was any other kind of sweet (see: root beer, bubble gum, cotton candy, cream soda, and even birthday cake). But no matter the option, Dum-Dums remain a middling lollipop lacking any appeal for reasonable human beings past age 10.

45. SweeTarts

SweeTarts remind us of us Smarties with a Manic Panic dye job — it's every bit as chalky, but the sly addition of citric acid perks up these pastel pucks for a couple of chews before it plummets back into a dull, mouth-drying gulp of unsatisfying powder. Blue punch, cherry, grape, lemon, and green apple comprise the flavors encased in a single roll of SweetTarts, but their individual tastes are practically negligible as the overall texture overrides any slight distinctions in flavor.

44. Pez

No matter how you eat them, Pez breaks apart in an unsatisfying way — suck on one and it crumbles into gummy little chunks, or take a bite and suffer through the sharp shards it breaks into. Either route feels punitive considering Pez remains the only candy that asks you to own (or buy) an accessory in order to enjoy them. Sure you could rip open the spool of candy and eat them directly from the pack, but everyone knows that the sole thrill of Pez is yanking the individual candies from the dispenser.

43. Tootsie Pops

These double-duty lollipops (is it a hard candy or a chocolate chew?) belong in an elementary teacher's emergency stash for when they have to resort to bribing kids into good behavior. Otherwise, Tootsie Pops are a little abomination that dies in the bottom of our tote bag amongst bobby pins and cookie crumbs because the prospect of suffering through a mediocre hard candy that will ultimately resolve in a soggy, sucked-on Tootsie Roll is unappealing even if we have the good fortune of encountering an orange Tootsie Pop — their best flavor.

42. Caramel Apple Pops

Despite the fanfare around the Caramel Apple Pop, we have always found this sticky confection a confounding mess of clashing flavors. Unlike actual caramel apples, these disappointing, disk-like lollies are rock hard through and through with no textural interplay between the haphazardly poured caramel layer and the cloying green apple center under its syrupy coat. Invented in 1995, Caramel Apple Pops reminds us that not all relics from the "Saved by the Bell" era are worth a nostalgic revisit.

41. Spree

Despite having possibly the best name in the candy aisle, Spree can't decide if it's a hard or soft candy — instead, it picks no side and pleases no one. The little frisbee-shaped treats sport a varnish just a little too thick to easily bite through but once sucked on for a couple of seconds, it quickly gives way to a coarse, chewy center whose flavors are indecipherable from one another (that's because the specific fruit flavors exist only in the hard veneer). At best, Sprees remind us of why we love a tube of fruity Mentos, and at worst (their grape flavor) recall a bottle of cough syrup.

40. Whoppers

Though possessing a layered origin story with plenty of untold truths, Whoppers feel like the first draft of a great novel, lacking some essential elements that could elevate the malt balls to the realm of coveted candies like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Butterfingers. While nothing about a Whopper strikes us as particularly offensive, no aspect of the chocolate orbs draws us to them, and it ends up feeling more like a worthy addition to a cup of fro-yo or an ice cream sundae rather than a stand-alone candy.

39. Nerds

Nerds might be the biggest coup in candy history. These shards of sugar-coated, well, sugar, seem like candy leftovers that've been repurposed and repackaged into meaningless little scraps. But since its 1983 introduction to the market, it's sustained a following large enough to grow its mini-empire and introduce new items like Nerd Ropes (what?), Nerds Big Chews (we can't even), and Nerd Gummy Clusters (ew), even though their flagship candy reminds us of the dregs of a box of cereal.

38. Baby Ruth

Discounting its nude cousin, the Payday, Baby Ruth marks a low point in the field of candy bars. Though all the elements are all there (chocolate, peanuts, caramel, nougat), there's something mismeasured and misplaced in their alignment holding the Baby Ruth bar back from a homerun. Maybe it's the overreliance on nougat as its centerfold or the placement of the caramel in a ring around the center of the bar, either way, Baby Ruth strikes out.

37. Twizzlers

The abundance of Twizzlers around Halloween time just reminds us of how scarce mini-sizes of their far superior competitor — Red Vines — are to come by, and we can't help but resent these waxy tubes. Twizzler's glossy sheen hints at their plastic-y texture and taste. For a second, it's as if you've bitten into a child's toy rather than an edible snack. We don't understand the Twizzlers vs Red Vines debate — between these two crimson, pipe-shaped snacks, we remain firmly on team Red Vine.

36. Tootsie Rolls

We think of Tootsie Rolls as something of an invisible line in the sand when it comes to the pantheon of Halloween candy — if there's an item we like less than this little log of chewy chocolate, we know that we're in possession of a subpar sweet. This baseline addition to the candy cannon skates by — like a lazy student — by simply doing the bare minimum without attempting to impress. Furthermore, the range of size and shape of the Tootsie Roll (small log, long skinny log, and thick, segmented log) feels arbitrary and unnecessary for such a nondescript treat.

35. Runts

Like many candies with an assortment of flavors within their package, Runts suffers some extreme highs and equally extreme lows seeing as how not every fruity member of its pack is created equal. Admittedly cute, Runts roll onto your palm in miniature shapes representing their assigned flavor — green apple (previously lime), orange, grape, strawberry, and the somewhat infamous, banana. And while we don't want to get dragged into the online fracas surrounding the yellow addition to the Runts pack, we will say its artificial flavoring weighs down the average of its fellow box mates and forces us to sort (and toss) any bananas we come across.

34. M&M's

Maybe because M&M's are basically everywhere — from the grocery store check-out and movie theater concession stand to the topping bar of a frozen yogurt stand — their novelty has waned and so has our reflex to reach for their brown bag. Though we have no real problem with the candy-coated, chocolate cylinders, we're also not moved to vouch for or against them. However obnoxious M&M's anthropomorphized mascots are, the brand is one of the only candies that dependably put out successful side hustles like coconut, crunch, and mint variations of the original.

33. Junior Mints

A candy that improves immensely with a couple of hours in the freezer, we have to tip our hats to the gooey caps of arresting minty flavor. Sure, you can't hold Junior Mints in your bare hand for longer than three seconds without having it succumb to your body temperature, but it's also one of the few candies you can toss in your mouth during a date at the movies and feel better about your breath afterward.

32. York Peppermint Pattie

In a candy aisle of increasingly bombastic flavors, packaging, and gimmicks, we have to hand it to the York Peppermint Pattie for whispering to us over cacophonous concoctions like Reese's Cups with Pretzel, smoothie-flavored Skittles, and the ever-growing compendium of KitKat spinoffs. York Peppermint Pattie knows its lane, and the thinly coated puck of hardened peppermint cream isn't for those seeking a narcotic hit of fructose but rather a refreshing respite from the gaudy droll of the candy aisle.

31. Pixie Stix

Growing more and more irrelevant with each passing year, Pixie Stix always struck us as only a severe candy addict's vice. Encased in a flimsy, paper tube that threatens to decompose at even the slightest dampening, Pixie Sticks forgo the pretense of savoring or even pausing to enjoy a sweet snack and instead nearly forces you to mainline its sugary dust the moment you tear through one of their pipes. We like it only because it makes us feel a little bad — like Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions. Otherwise, it's a waste of space that risks snapping in half and forever lining the bottom of your bag in its powder.

30. Blow Pops

One of the few candies that start as one genre of treat (lollipop) and finish as another (gum), Blow Pops succeed in both of its missions and make one of the best-tasting lollies on the market. If you bite them at just the right moment, you can infuse the chewable center with sharp bits of their candy-coated essence. We're partial to Blow Pop's strawberry and sour apple flavors, but even their harder-to-pull-off tastes like watermelon and grape manage to satisfy.

29. Hot Tamales

Hot Tamales boast a spicy cinnamon flavor in soft, candy-coated tablets. Like the superior (but hard to come by) cinnamon bear, Hot Tamales aren't for the faint of heart and exist for old souls who don't solely look to the candy aisle for chocolate or fruity confections. Though cinnamon candy may be on the decline, Hot Tamales have weathered the storm better than Red Hots, the rare cinnamon Jolly Rancher, and Fireballs.

28. Ring Pops

Ring Pops and candy necklaces understand that, to a child's mind, the most flashy bling imaginable is an eye-popping rock of wearable candy. But unlike candy necklaces, Ring Pops offer vivid flavors (strawberry, blue raspberry, watermelon, sour cherry, and berry blast) cut into gems worthy of J. Lo's digits. Though conceding that the functionality of wearing one's dessert as bling might not be the most convenient method of indulging, we respect the 1980-invented lollipop more than most.

27. Jolly Ranchers

Jolly Ranchers, named to evoke a "friendly, western company" (via Hersheyland.com), is a Colorado-born treat that still dominates the hard candy corner of the market. While most fruit-centric confections on shelves today fall firmly in the chewy camp, Jolly Rancher's easy-to-choke-on fragments harken back to an earlier time (they were first brought to market in 1949) when penny candies were all the rage. While we will never understand watermelon's status as the most popular Jolly Rancher flavor, we stand by the remaining fruity varieties.

26. Mr. Goodbar

It doesn't matter if you taste the peanuts or the chocolate first, Mr. Goodbar is an understated classic Coco Chanel would approve of. In a candy landscape overcrowded with chocolate bars (see: Nutrageous), Mr. Goodbar keeps a slow and steady pace, never overestimating the number of ingredients its audience expects to bite into. Even their golden-yellow packaging has undergone modest tweaks in rebranding since the bar's 1925 release, reflecting the candy's laid-back approach.

25. Milk Duds

Invented back in 1928, Milk Duds are now most associated with movie-theater concession stands. But the nearly centennial-aged candy has always placated the urge to reach for a sweet snack without having to commit to an entire brick of a candy bar. Milk Duds are non-uniform, oblong caramels enrobed in creamy milk chocolate. Yes, they give our jaw a little bit of a workout, but its charms are worth the challenge.

24. Airheads

Though they market themselves as a "taffy," the flat belts of flavored sugar known as Airheads deliver a little jolt of fruit to the tongue with a pleasing, easy-to-chew mouthfeel. The 1985 hit candy with a red balloon mascot has ascended to a new class of candy royalty and should stud every bag of Halloween loot. While we were shocked to hear about the origins of their beloved mystery flavor, we have even more appreciation for the candy knowing the resourceful way they repurpose scraps.

23. Swedish Fish

Truly hailing from Sweden, Swedish Fish appeals to both kid and adult tastebuds alike — they're tasteful in both shape and texture but still packed with plenty of sweetness. A bag of Swedish Fish is a crowd-pleaser that's rare to find in the category of fruity candies. Perhaps because Swedish Fish apes fruit that's exotic for American candy audiences (lingonberry), the classic crimson treat tastes like no other berry-infused sweet on the shelves.

22. Dots

These old-timey gumdrops may not be the most popular sweet, but their bell-shaped gobs of cherry, lime, lemon, orange, and strawberry still please sophisticated candy consumers unconcerned with the whims of fads and fake flavors (like "birthday cake"). Smartly named and tastefully packaged, Dots transcend time (they were invented in 1945), remaining a tried-and-true classic amidst today's dayglow-colored marketplace. As a side note, Dots might be the only candy whose sounds within their box excite us.

21. Pop Rocks

The absolute edgelord of the candy world, Pop Rocks were a happy mistake invented in 1956 after a failed attempt to conceive an instant soft drink backfired and instead created these pebbles of snapping, carbon dioxide-laden candies (via Science World). Though briefly discontinued in the 1980s due to the public's erroneous belief that the confection was potentially dangerous, Pop Rock's hiatus proved brief as these satchels of sweets still grace the candy aisle today.

20. Milky Way Bar

Essentially a Snickers bar sans peanuts, the Milky Way Bar dates all the way back to 1923 but remains celebrated to this day due to its undeniable appeal. Simply a band of nougat drizzled in caramel and sheathed in milk chocolate, Milky Way is as dependable as an all-black outfit or a pair of Converse sneakers but hover just below a handful of bars we hold a more sentimental fondness for.

19. Reese's Pieces

Though Reese's Pieces rose to fame thanks to a little help from an infamous scene in Steven Spielberg's 1982 release of his family classic "E.T.," the tri-color candy proved to be more than a movie tie-in fad and remains a favorite amongst trick-or-treaters and home cooks alike. Whether you're looking to amplify an ice cream sundae or simply want to keep a packet in your stash of sweets, Reese's Pieces — like the similarly shaped M&M's — are a versatile treat for many occasions.

18. Charleston Chew

Charleston Chews remind us of wearing socks with sandals — they really shouldn't work, but somehow do. The clashing tides of milk chocolate and tough, flavored taffy come together in harmony despite the flavor odds. We're partial to the powder-pink strawberry bar by a landslide (also available in chocolate and vanilla) but respect the polarizing taffy-centered chocolate bar for taking risks with some controversial textural combos.

17. 3 Musketeers

Borrowing its name from the 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas, 3 Musketeers originally came in three segments with differing flavors back in 1932 — vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry — not the single slab of nougat produced today (via Old Timey Candy). However, during WWII, the tri-flavored candy became too expensive to produce, and Mars Inc. was forced to cut costs by slicing the flavors in thirds. Today, this understated, whipped, vanilla nougat bar is still shielded in a fine layer of milk chocolate and wrapped in an eye-catching silver casing as regal as its namesake.

16. Mounds

Though we love a Mounds, we understand why some folks find coconut overly saccharine and reminiscent of sunscreen. However, we've always been believers in shredded coconut candy. Not only does the tropical fruit contribute a crunchy consistency, it also adds a subdued fruity, fibrous note to a category of candy dominated by caramel, peanuts, nougat, and peanut butter. Technically Almond Joy's predecessor (it was created 26 years earlier), Mounds has come into its own and surprisingly boasts darker chocolate than Almond Joy.

15. Almond Joy

Some of our favorite snacks come with the inclusion of coconut shreds — Girl Scout's Samoas, macaroon cookies, and even coconut shrimp — and Almond Joy is no exception. These slightly tropical little confections include a studded row of whole almonds along their coconut belly before being doused in milk chocolate which helps them edge out their predecessor, Mounds, by just a hair (or should we say coconut shred) thanks to its crunchier texture.

14. Jujyfruits

We agree with Elaine from "Seinfeld" and believe Jujyfruits are worth upending a hospital emergency room visit. These candies date back all the way to 1920 and are the "fruits" of a German confectioner's labor (via Candy Favorites). Though we will never forgive or forget the removal of the black licorice flavor or the swap for lime in place of mint back in 1999 (via Universal Dork), we remain faithful to this throwback though thick and thin, no matter how much we miss their non-fruity inclusions.

13. Crunch

Crunch, though it first appeared in 1938, still feels incredibly current. Its longevity might be attributed to several fruitful offshoots such as Crunch Bar ice cream (and ice cream bites) and Buncha Crunch, but their continued prevalence could also be due to the indisputable greatness of marrying hardened chocolate with popped rice. Even the silver foil Crunch uses to cloak the chocolate bar, since it's extra thin and audibly rustles as you unwrap the bar, anticipates this onomatopoeia-ic inspiration.

12. Skittles

Even though their esoteric television ads resonate as a little try-hard for us, we still firmly enjoy tasting the rainbow with a bag of Skittles any chance we get. One of the only candies that allow you to toss a random handful of flavors into your mouth and still have a dependably gratifying experience, Skittles represents a sort of cultural turning point between decidedly "old-timey" candies and the contemporary classics. First appearing in 1974, Skittles serves as Generation X's optimistic appeal to the candy market, and we're here for every single flavor. (Though we're endlessly curious about the UK's black currant deviation from the bag's purple pieces.

11. Bit-O-Honey

A nearly erased inclusion to the candy canon, the Bit-O-Honey teeters on the cusp of soft-taffy but the tenacious consistency of the honey-laden chew (complemented by fine bits of almond) makes the 1924 confection distinctive from the long catalog of softer sweets found in Halloween pails. But what we love most about the nearly forgotten Bit-O-Honey is its ardent devotion to exploring an ingredient as simple and stupifying as honey as the headliner for a mass-produced candy.

10. Snickers

If there's a candy bar that can stand as a representative for all other candy bars, it would be Snickers. This little brick of chocolate surrounds impeccably measured quantities of caramel, salty peanuts, and nougat. Allegedly named after a racehorse, the candy first came onto the scene in 1930 and it remains relevant today thanks both to strong marketing campaigns and the bar's indisputable greatness. While other candy bars might have a section of our hearts by a slight margin, we're never disappointed to see a brown Snickers wrapper in our Halloween haul.

9. Starburst

Starburst is like currency for anyone under the age of 12, but their sustained popularity among adults proves there's something besides just a pure sugar high in this chewy pack of fruity baubles. Like most, we prefer the pink strawberry-inspired Starburst to the rest, but the remaining red cherry, orange, and lemon Starburst cadre always get unwrapped as well. But even the newer additions to their lineup — tropical, sour, very berry, and FaveReds — are all worth a whirl, leaving us to send our heartfelt condolences to the Starburst-loving population in Australia.

8. Twix

We love a candy that truly believes we might have the self-restraint to only eat half of the contents of its package. Twix's thin twin candy bars are notably built on a platform on shortbread cookies before being finished with extra-gooey caramel and, of course, a coating of chocolate. Launched in the midst of the swinging '60s (1967 specifically), Twix was in the UK but didn't land on American soil until nearly the close of the '70s. The Twix bar is still a relatively young addition to the candy aisle and every grocery and convenience store is stronger with its inclusion.

7. Now and Later

Even though we see the Japanese candy Hi-Chews on more shelves than the Now and Laters of our youth, we view the two chewy treats as equals and even sometimes prefer the slight bite of sour flavor a classic Now and Later hides behind its colorful tiles. The genius behind these taffy squares lies in their innovation of a "delayed flavor release," according to Snack History, a tactic that surprises the consumer with an extra burst of intense tang seconds after they've begun to chew.

6. Sour Patch Kids

The papillae of our tongue are goners whenever we spot the sunshine yellow sheen of a bag of Sour Patch Kids. We just can't resist sucking the citric acid off each one of these people-shaped candies. Originally marketed as multi-colored little Martians in an effort to appeal to the cultural fascination with UFOs, the candy rebranded in the 1980s in an attempt to capitalize on the Cabbage Patch Doll mania, according to Candy Favorites. No matter their form, the lemon, lime, berry, orange, and more recent blue raspberry flavors satisfy every criterion for our candy cravings.

5. Good & Plenty

We know how polarizing black licorice is today, but we think of the Good & Plenty as more of a classic black-and-white movie than a rotary phone — a timeless but oft-overlooked candy rather than an outdated one. Good n' Plenty, introduced all the way back in 1893, is one of the most historied candies in America. These white-and-flamingo pink oblong trifles are like sugar-encrusted pills of stiff, black licorice and are the medication we need to get us through the day.

4. KitKat

The iconic KitKat bar has graced shelves since 1935, but its fame continues to grow as the confection morphs into wild, even initially off-putting flavors in other countries such as Baked Sweet Potato, Rum Raisin, and Wasabi (as seen on Mental Floss). But it's the original wafer cookie, layered with cocoa liquor, leftover KitKats bits, and covered in a paper-thin layer of milk chocolate, that lives rent-free in the cravings department of our brain.

3. Butterfinger

Word to the wise: Avoid a Butterfinger while driving or while wearing white. But on all other occasions, Bart Simpson's favorite candy bar deserves a revisit. The candy encases a brittle peanut butter mixture that's swaddled in milk chocolate and remains unparalleled as far as mouthfeel. Not only does the candy make the absolute best Blizzard you can buy at Dairy Queen, but the bars (in any size) improve after an overnight visit to the freezer. But no matter the canvas or application, we're devoted to the messy charm of the 1923 classic.

2. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Reese's knows how strong Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are — it produces these classic ridged, flat cups in a variety of permutations: mini-cups, big cups, Halloween pumpkins (that sport no ridges at all), and other shapes correlating with seasonal holidays (Christmas trees, hearts, Easter eggs, etc.). That's because it's aware of how thirsty we all remain for that ingenious balance of sweet and salt the peanut butter cup flawlessly delivers. As far as chocolate goodies go, Reese's cups (in any form) get sorted to the top of our hierarchy and will forever remain a candy worth trading for.

1. Haribo Goldbears

The champion of any Halloween haul or candy aisle will always be Haribo Gold Bears. These supremely toothsome tiny bears dominate the gummy market, leaving both Black Forest and Trolli gummy creations in their dust. While we know and love nearly the entirety of the Haribo catalog, a special place in our hearts has been carved out for our first exposure to the Goldbear (widely referred to as gummy bears). The pineapple (white), strawberry (green), lemon (lemon), orange, and raspberry (red) bears are pleasurably tough. If you can manage to get your hands on a mini bag of Goldenbears, you're in luck — their slightness seems to increase the density of the individual bears. But no matter which bag you snag, just know you landed the king of Halloween candy.