As promised, here’s the short list:
First, there are Circus Peanuts. Thankfully, Circus Peanuts are hard to find. If you’re not familiar, they are basically marshmallows molded into the shape of a large peanut. Most people never experience the horrible taste because the color is enough to keep it from being consumed. Much like many insects have bright coloring to warn predators that they are poisonous, the unhealthy, fleshy color of the circus peanut provides a similar defense. They look like the benign polyp of a Florida retiree that rubbed off and fell into a puddle of spray-on tan.
Second, we have the Good and Plenty. For kids anyway, the reason that there are Plenty is because they aren’t very Good. Sure we adults might appreciate the many subtle flavors that comprise black licorice or, as the Italians call it, Anisette, but to kids, it tastes like tree bark coated in WD-40.
In a similar vein is Number Three, the Mounds bar, not to be confused with Almond Joy. Almond Joy’s got nuts, Mounds don’t. As kids, we laughed ourselves silly at the fact that Almond Joy was clearly the boy candy and Mounds was the girl candy, and I know I run the risk of sounding sexist, but the Mounds bar is a far inferior candy…although I do think it deserves equal pay for equal work. The problem with the Mounds bar is the shredded coconut. Watch a child eat a Mounds bar for the first time and you’ll see what I mean. They dive in with the appropriate youthful gusto, but then they experience the texture of the shredded coconut. At first, they’re confused, but then the confusion gives way to disgust, and, finally, that look of utter devastation. As if, twenty years from now, they’ll be discussing the Mounds bar incident with their therapist. Even as an adult, I have trouble with coconut. The only time I truly don’t mind it is when it’s mixed in with batter, wrapped around a shrimp and deep fried, but it’s not recommended that you pass out coconut shrimp for Halloween.
Fourth is candy corn. At first, I didn’t understand this. Personally, I like candy corn, but the more I thought about it, I discovered that I liked candy corn more as a decoration than a confection. It’s like that dark green leaf that occasionally appears on your plate at a restaurant. Not lettuce, but that other thing. Sometimes it’s got some red in it. It’s never included in the description of the thing you’re ordering, so you probably shouldn’t eat it. For instance, the menu description never says: “Baked, honey-glazed chicken, a twice baked potato, green beans almandine…and a dark green leaf of some sort.” Anyway, that’s like candy corn.
The fifth and final candy on my incomplete list of horrible Halloween candies are the heinous things in the black and orange wrappers: The Peanut Butter Kiss. Not since Judas Iscariot has a “kiss” been associated with so much betrayal. The only redeeming quality of the Peanut Butter Kiss is that if your child accidentally eats one, you can give him a second Peanut Butter Kiss to induce vomiting. If you’re considering handing out Peanut Butter Kisses for Halloween, save yourself the money and just clean up after your dog with black and orange baggies and hand those out. At least it’s more sincere.