It’s coming and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. It’s the scariest day of the year for anyone with Social Anxiety Disorder, and even worse for Agoraphobics. This is the day where the streets are filled with people – complete strangers everywhere – and try as you might to hide, you can’t because they come right up to your house looking for you. They knock upon your door, over and over again. They are relentless. They never stop until you open the door. And then they shout at you, their scary faces rushing toward you, arms extended. They are after you!
There’s nothing you can do!
It’s Halloween and they are coming! So you better stock up on candy and try not to panic because you have something they want, and if you don’t give it to them, you are in big trouble.
In celebration of “Sugar Night,” I would like to offer my list of “Thirteen of the Greatest Candies of All-Time.” (Of course there are lots more. I could have easily doubled the size of the list, but for the sake of brevity I will stick to thirteen.) Here’s my list. See what you think.
Marshmallowy-good with a delicate hint of food coloring and a dot for the eyes, these tasty treats got even better as they aged and became stale. Over the years, people have fallen in love with them, dressing them up and creating clever dioramas to display them just for fun. And what could be better than dressing up and playing with your food before you eat it?
12. Chunky Bar
Though liberally-labeled a “candy bar,” Chunky is a huge piece of chocolate filled with raisins and nuts, and definitely intended for the serious candy glutton, as it is too big to fit in your mouth. Since biting into one is a difficult task, especially for the young and those with small mouths, injury is often known to occur. Savvy moms have been known to use it to loosen stubborn baby teeth. Savvy toddlers have been known to chase away bullies by tossing it at them, since the brick-like consistency makes for a handy projectile.
11. Turkish Taffy
One of my favorites growing up, I don’t know if this is still on the market or had anything to do with the country Turkey or the holiday of Thanksgiving. It came in 4 flavors, though my favorites were chocolate and vanilla. The TV ads urged young people to smack it down hard onto a table or equally-hard surface in order to fragment it into sharp, mouth-piercing shards before ingesting. when eaten, the resulting droplets of blood served to soften the candy nicely, making it easier to swallow.
10. Jelly Beans
A favorite of both The Beatles and Ronald Reagan, these sweet treats are more prevalent around Easter time, even though they taste just as good year round. The harder sugary shell is designed to keep the gummy inside fresh and easy to transport anywhere. Flavors can range from assorted fruits (my favorite) to spicy to the downright demented vegetable flavors (though they contain virtually no nutritive values, a definite plus in the candy world.)
What could be better than a candy shaped like a tiny brick? Perhaps one that came inside your favorite cartoon character, whose mouth hinged backwards, making it look like they were regurgitating as they feed you your daily dose of sweetness, over and over again. Once empty, you could play with the dispensers, creating your own scenarios until the next time they were filled and ready to feed you. This candy is of European origin and has several museums dedicated to it.
8. Tootsie Roll Pops
A genius blend of hard candy and even harder chocolate filling, the question posed to us was “how many licks does it take to get to the center?” because the human tendency is to bite through before you get there. I have to admit that I actually calculated this as a kid, but forgot to write down the number. Maybe if I get one for Halloween, I will try the experiment again and forward you the results – if I don’t chip a tooth in the process.
7. Candy Corn
This sugary blend was designed to look like corn nibblets, though I cannot recall any kind of corn that actually looked like that. Only available around Halloween, these addictive nuggets of syrupy sweetness are usually found in bowels placed around the house – but beware – once you toss one in your mouth, you will be back for more. Most people either love them or hate them. I like to use them as fake teeth, but can’t go too long with them in my mouth because they come loose and I wind up eating them.
What could be better than a candy named after love? Don’t answer that. These heavenly bits of chocolate are shaped like teardrops flattened at the bottom and were originally wrapped in silver foil, adding to the visual appeal. Recent editions have altered the wrapping to fit the holidays and some have nuts inserted into them, but for me, the original is the way to go for old school chocolaty-goodness.
5. M & M’s
Speaking of old school, what could be better than this – a candy that was created so that you could take it anywhere without worrying about making a mess? Did you know that M & M’s were created for soldiers, so that they could have chocolate with them on the battlefield? It’s true. Who says nothing good ever came out out war? Well, not that I am advocating war – just chocolate! It has been rumored that certain of the M & M colors have special, medicinal qualities, but I am not one to spread rumors, so you will just have to guess what I mean. What’s your favorite color?
4. Good & Plenty
Another candy-coated treat, but this time the coating is over licorice pellets. Some people swear that the pink ones taste different from the white ones, but I am skeptical of that. Others think that the “good” refers to the pink ones and the “plenty” is the white – or is it the other way around. I am skeptical of that as well. One interesting game you can play is to try and guess what color will be last eaten, then close your eyes every time you select one. (Note: this game can also be played with M & M’s but the odds are against you.) TV ads claim that the box makes a good “whistle” that sound like a train when you blow into it. I tested that out, and it turns out that all candy boxes do the same thing. (Aren’t you glad I thoroughly test out all my information?)
(Readers will please note that I am referring to the malted milk balls, and NOT to the hamburgers)
I absolutely love these things! Even though they can be a tad messy, Whoppers are well worth the effort. Not covered with a candy shell as is a lot of bite-sized candy, Whoppers have a softer, chocolate outer coating that melts easily, so do not transport these babies around in your pants pockets, unless you want a nasty nickname given to you from the kids at school. (Trust me on this one.) Once inside your mouth, the chocolate slowly melts away to deliver a payload of malted ecstasy. There’s nothing better, unless you count the next two treats. (Readers will also notice an abundance of chocolate at the top.)
(My mouth is starting to water.) I could nibble on these delicacies all day – they are the Fritos of the candy world.
Though given a French-sounding name that is hard to pronounce, I have always called them “non- paralleled” because they have no equal. These wafers of dark chocolate are dipped into a white, angelic batch of dots that coat it with a unique texture that coaxes even more flavor from the chocolate by giving it something with which to contrast tastes. Once only sold as “penny candy” or in bulk at candy shops, proficient nonpareil hunters have been known to spot them in boxes on occasion. Some can be quite pricy, but well worth the experience.
And the winner is…
1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
If you have any in your house, please don’t let me know or else I will be over right away with a hungry look on my face. This candy is a double whammy for those who love peanut butter and also chocolate (guilty on both counts.) I often receive these as presents simply because people know I love them so much. (I am also easy to please.) there is no way for me to describe them but IRRESISTABLE!
There you have it, a not-so-accurate “Top Thirteen.” Believe me, it was not easy narrowing down this list. I had my top 50, and to be accurate, I had to sample them over and over and over again. But it’s worth the pain just to get it right.
Hang on…I think I may have some of them out of order. I better go back and taste them again – just to be sure.