By Mary Boyle
Candy and Halloween go together like popcorn and salt, but it wasn't always that way. In the 1970's, parents seemed to suddenly come to the conclusion that factory packaged and sealed candy was the safest treat to hand out, instead of the homemade goodies that had been the norm since Trick-or-Treating became a tradition in the United States in the 1930's and 40's. Over time, candy has been linked strongly to other holiday traditions, such as in stockings on St. Nick's, Advent Calendars, and Easter baskets. Each of those holidays has candy that we associate with it; for instance, candy corn belongs to Halloween, while jelly beans and Peeps belong to Easter. Then, in a brilliant stroke of marketing genius, those candy makers created red, white and green candy corn and jelly beans, as well as snowmen-shaped Peeps! Honestly, is nothing sacred?
Halloween is now considered the kick-off to the holiday season, but we could just as easily call it the candy season. Over the years, I have discovered that candy is a topic that people often feel quite strongly about. Being in the position I am in, as a writer, I feel compelled to share my own feelings about candy as a sort of social experiment to see if my views fall in line with local cultural standards. Now, keep in mind that I do not consider chocolates like candy bars or peanut butter cups candy, unless they are in the form of something like an M&M. So, without further ado, I shall reveal my list of the Top Ten Worst Candy Ever Invented, beginning with number 10, which is bad, and counting down to number 1, which is, in my humble opinion, absolutely vile.
10. Milk Duds Normally I like the combination of chocolate and caramel, but these tough little balls of chocolate coated caramel never fail to get stuck in teeth, not to mention that chewing them takes way too much effort. Just thinking about getting through even a little Halloween box of them makes me tired. That being said, if it was the only treat in the house, I would eat them if I was feeling desperate enough, which is why they come in at number 10.
9. Candy Raisins I cannot, for the life of me, understand where they get the raisin in a candy raisin—they're more like a combination of beeswax and rubber. Their ability to stick to teeth is more potent than even the Milk Duds, but they don't even have a great flavor to make it worth the trouble. I wouldn't bother.
8. Candy Buttons Not only are these nothing but blobs of colored sugar on some paper, the paper always gets stuck on the buttons when you tear them off, and then you're eating paper and colored sugar. How could this possibly have stuck around this long?
7. Candy Necklaces If the little candies on these necklaces don't break your teeth while you're trying to bite them off, it's a miracle. When you do manage to bite one off, they don't even taste good! You can't possibly eat it all in one go, so you've got saliva all over the other ones which then creates a sugar/saliva mix that gets on your clothing, not to mention what ends up sticking to the necklace, itself. Absolutely revolting.
6. Smarties Lollipops Okay, Smarties are bad enough—I always felt like I was eating Children's Tylenol—but these lollipops are like eating a chunk of mildly sweetened chalk, people. When I was a child, you could buy one of these for a nickel at the Cedarburg Pool concession stand or you could buy a Now & Later, which is like a stale, hardened Starburst, but I would never, ever spend my nickel on this trash. Never.
5. Necco Wafers Right, so you already know how I feel about Smarties, and Necco Wafers are pretty much just giant, flatter Smarties in the same way that bologna is just a giant hot dog that has been sliced thinly. The texture is just all wrong, here, almost as if the chalk of the Smarties has been combined with cardboard. This is not something that should be consumed.
4. Tootsie Rolls Tootsie Rolls are the ultimate parade candy—do you know why? For one thing, they're insanely cheap, but also because nobody minds that they are likely going to be thrown out after rolling around in the dirt and puddles because most people wouldn't eat them even if they hadn't been on the ground. I mean, are they chocolate? Root beer flavored? I really am not sure, but I do know one thing: they are not worth the calories.
3. Candy Corn Does anyone really eat candy corn? I don't think so. I think we just use it as a Halloween decoration on cupcakes, cakes and crafts that aren't meant to even be edible, just as candy corn isn't meant to be edible. Sure, the pumpkin shaped ones look cute on a dirt cake with Milano cookie gravestones, but nobody actually eats them, do they?
2. Wax Bottles I'll never forget when my Dad brought these home to us kids—I couldn't even stand to bite all the way through the wax! I had to tear it the rest of the way off to get the few drops of colored liquid inside, which still managed to be flavored of wax. Why not just eat a candle with a few drops of sugar syrup? These things are seriously revolting.
1. Circus Peanuts One of my earliest memories is going to the Red Owl in Cedarburg with my mother and spying a bag of Circus Peanuts. I had to have them. I begged. I pleaded. My mother said, "You're not going to like them!" "HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT I LIKE?!!" I wailed. I won...sort of. You see, I'll never forget the smug look on her face when she opened the bag at home and gave me a Circus Peanut. I'll never forget what it felt like to put it into my mouth and begin to take a bite. I never finished biting through the Circus Peanut, people; I just took it out of my mouth and handed it back to my mother in absolute defeat and disgust. I was probably 4 or 5 years old and I have never had a Circus Peanut again. I assure you, I never will.