If you have taken children trick-or-treating, or bought candy to hand out for the occasion in the last couple of years, you might have noticed something unfortunate: the only Halloween candy out there is the same old stuff over and over again. You buy the giant bag at CVS for $16 and you hand out it, and so do all of your neighbors. You’ll find Snickers, Milky Way, Butterfinger, 100 Grand, KitKat, M&Ms and Twix. That’s basically it. Last year when I took my 3-year-old trick-or-treating, it occurred to me how absurd it was because he was getting the exact same candy that we had at home in our bowl to hand out. What’s the point?
Remember trick-or-treating when you actually didn’t know what you were going to get from one house to another? Remember what it was like to get a full-size candy bar and totally flip out? Remember reporting to friends about which houses were giving special goody bags, and which houses were giving apples?
There was a time when the candy itself is what made Halloween fun, and sadly, much of it is nowhere to be found now. Below is a list of some the candy that we grew up finding in our trick-or-treat bags. If you want to stand out in your neighborhood this year, consider finding one of these excellent options on Amazon, buying a couple of pounds of it, and handing it out to the ghosts and superheroes that show up at your door.
(A closer look at this list makes it blatantly clear that most of the candy of our youth could break your teeth in a second, but maybe that was part of the charm?)
7. Tootsie Rolls
I’ve heard people refer to Tootsie Rolls as waxy, and it made my heart sink. No, you shouldn’t expect them to be like a typical “chocolate” candy, because they’re simply not trying to be that. They’re chewy (when they’re not stale) and they have their own unique flavor that you can smell through the wrapper. They’re just a delight. (And when they are stale, better get your dentist on speed-dial.)
Oh, the little sugar candies that look like medicine. What better way to play doctor? Ok, so maybe they’re not the best way to dissuade children from exploring pills, but Smarties bring with them a sense of nostalgia like no other.
Most of the time, Bazooka (which is nearly impossible to find nowadays) is rock hard — not just when you first bite into it, but well into the chewing experience. But that never seemed to bother any of us. We didn’t get it exclusively for the comics — those were a bonus — but rather for the flavors and the extremely low price tag.
4. Dubble Bubble
This was another rock-hard piece of gum that only came in one flavor, didn’t have a comic, and lost its taste within seconds. But part of the fun was spitting it out after a couple of minutes and replacing it with a fresh piece. Oh but the pain that your jaw felt after just a few of these!
3. Sugar Daddy
This was basically sticky, hard, chewy caramel on a stick, and it was awesome. Your teeth were in peril every time you ate one, but it was well worth the risk. The best Sugar Daddies were, of course, the jumbo-sized ones that lasted for a whole hour or two. Sugar Babies, the offshoot of the real thing, were definitely inferior.
2. Tootsie Pops
Tootsie Rolls in the center of a hard candy shell? Yes, please! How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? That old commercial with the owl told us that it was only three, but any of us who experimented with that quickly learned that only three licks were sure to land us in a dentist’s chair. It is far more enjoyable to suck on the candy until you get really close to the gem in the middle.
1. Blow Pops
I’m not sure what happened to Blow Pops, but kids aren’t really aware of the incredible treats that they are. There is nothing better than sucking on the candy shell until it gets just soft enough to take that first crunchy bite into the gum center. Those first few moments of chewing the gum are enhanced by the bits of candy that are still floating around. And basically all of the flavors are great, so you really can’t lose. (Ok, strawberry maybe takes a back seat to the rest, but it’s still not bad.)