The relationship between Trick-or-Treater X and Resident Y is undeniably strange. No other social situation genuinely approaches the dynamic created when a small costumed stranger knocks on a door and receives candy from a larger, likely un-costumed adult.

From the perspective of the candy giver, it may be one of the strangest social obligations in existence. In the eyes of a child, it is one of the most exciting nights of the year. Both of these participants represent two completely different emotional investments in a single bizarre evening.

However, there is a bridge between these gaps that is oft overlooked. It presents itself in the form of that climactic moment when a child, either alone or in company, dumps out their pillowcase, pumpkin shaped bucket, or plastic cauldron, to analyze their haul. The nostalgia of this moment is buried in that pile of sugary concoctions, and slowly builds as the candy is carefully sorted and organized by small sets of hands.

If you’re willing to romanticize the experience a little, it can be viewed as an individual’s first material conquest. The candies that spill out onto that floor are not items directly purchased by the child’s parents. Nor are they gifts unwrapped during a birthday or Christmas. They were obtained by a direct action performed by the child, and therefore the senses of ownership and pride are both heightened.

It is this notion of material pride that is very much an adult concept (I won’t go as far as labeling it mature), and it should be the thread that connects the two generations in their Halloween experience. Children comparing candy is no different than adults flaunting new pieces of technology, or inviting people over to see the new bar they put in their basement.

Therefore, as adults it should be our responsibility to put forth a reasonable amount of effort into our candy selections. Although we may be far removed from the youthful vigor that energized Halloweens past, we should still embrace the influence that comes with being on the other side of this timeless interaction.

With that thought in mind, here are a few short candy inspired lists (subjective of course) to help you contribute to the greater cause and make you the coolest house on the block. Keep in mind that Full-Size is the standard that I’m working with. Although King-Size Candy is aptly named, I understand it can be out of one’s budget.

Greatest Hits

  1. Milky Way
  2. Three Musketeer
  3. Snickers
  4. Twix
  5. M&M’s Plain/Peanut
  6. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  7. Kit Kat
  8. Hershey Chocolate Bar
  9. Nestle Crunch Bar
  10. Junior Mints

Non-Chocolate Classics

  1. Skittles
  2. Starburst
  3. Sour Patch Kids
  4. Gummy Bears (I prefer Black Forest)
  5. Swedish Fish
  6. Nerds
  7. Twizzlers
  8. Sweet Tarts
  9. Mike & Ikes

Some Alternative Choices

  1. Gummy Food Packs (Burgers, Hotdogs, Pizza)
  2. Pretzel M&M’s (Sweet and salty is always a good decision)
  3. Fun Dip (interactive but a parent’s nightmare)
  4. Ring Pop (or anything resembling candy jewelry)

Candy to Avoid

  1. Loose Items/Anything Not Packaged (for the obvious reasons)
  2. Candy Corn
  3. Mound/Almond Joy (coconut seems too hit or miss with kids)
  4. Tootsie Rolls
  5. Gum (step up your game people)
  6. Milk Duds/Sugar Daddys (aka the teeth destroyers)
  7. Whoppers/Malted Milk Balls
  8. Black Licorice
  9. Ju Ju Bees
  10. Good N’ Plenty/Fruity (the evil twin of Mike & Ike’s)

This is just a guideline, based on what I feel younger children prefer on a general basis. I left off some big names and probably overlooked a few more, so please don’t be too critical. Now go and enjoy your Halloween!

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