It's Halloween, which kicks off the annual tradition prized by parents all across the nation: putting the little ones to bed and stealing the candy out of their Halloween bags.

As I rifle through their stockpile, I’d like to review my preference, going roughly from best to worst:

Let’s start with the “Grade A Prime” of the bag.


Snickers. Fun Size of course – personally I don’t think they need to make them any bigger. I slice it on the cutting board like a flank steak. If I’m going all out I’ll put them over a scoop of vanilla ice cream but only if I did something really good that day to make me deserve it.


Twix and Kit Kat

Both Twix and Kit Kat are very good – I like the chocolate and the crunch. Also, works well with ice cream.

Despite Nestle’s effort to trademark KitKat's design, the British High Court ruled that the shape wasn’t distinctive enough to warrant one.


Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars are an obvious classic. So classic, in fact, that there are always plenty of them, which makes them great for stealing.

Milky Way and Three Musketeers

My kids like these and I can do without them, so as long as there are enough Snickers in there, I leave them in the bag.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

I’m pretty sure this is what Butterfinger wish they were. Excellent. I always steal a few of these.



Once again fun size is the perfect size here – no one needs to be eating a whole lot of these, but one tiny bag is a perfect late night snack. I leave the plain, and take the peanut M&M’s – the complex flavor is better suited to the adult palette and I’m pretty sure my kids can’t take them as a snack to school because of peanut allergy rules, so I feel that I’m performing a valuable public health service by pilfering all the little yellow bags from their stash. Thanks Dad!

York Peppermint Patty

This is one of the best candies out there but I don’t eat them. Everyone in my family seems to love them, so to borrow a phrase from their old ad campaign, “when I bite into a York Peppermint Patty I get the sensation that my wife and kids are glaring at me in anger for taking their favorite candy from them.” I leave these alone.


Butterfinger are strange. I’ve always thought the filling seemed like building material, like I’m eating wallboard covered in chocolate. Also the name – I‘m put off by any food with “finger” in the title.

Sweet Tarts

These were my favorite as a kid – I’d buy the hockey-puck-sized ones after school and suck on them all afternoon. Now, I can’t put anything this sweet in my mouth without sending my jaw into a spasm. I leave them.

Twizzlers, Starburst, Skittles, Sour Patch Kids and other gummies

Anything in this family is strictly for kids. I’m frankly suspicious of any adult that is attracted to these kinds of sugary candies – it’s like seeing a businessman on a skateboard – it just doesn’t seem right to me. I understand I’m going to get some pushback on this but such is the life of an iconoclastic and controversial opinion writer.

This Wednesday, June 1, 2016, photo shows Skittles, in New York. The Associated Press takes a look at how candy, cookie and soda makers are shaping nutrition science. Critics say industry-funded research is marketing masquerading as science, but the findings nevertheless become a part of the scientific literature. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)



Little bags of pretzels. What am I on an airplane? These don’t belong at all.


Whoppers fall into my “tastes like building material” category. I think it’s the malt, which some people love, but it’s too powdery for me.

Candy Corn

Which brings me to Candy Corn. The worst candy in the world. I’d call it “polarizing” but it has so few defenders. I think candy corn eaters are the kind of people who eat only the frosting and leave the cake. But my contempt is not really for the eaters, it’s the givers – you know what you are doing. Hardly anyone likes candy corn and you can see their disappointment through their little Halloween masks when you drop it in their bag but you give it anyway. You must be angry at the world.

A bowl of candy corn with other Halloween or Thanksgiving treats

Or maybe you are just trying to give my kids something you know I won’t steal. In that case, you’re on to something. Happy Halloween and don’t get caught with your hand in the bag.