Food & Drink

Be Afraid—Be Very, Very Afraid

We Tasted All the New Halloween Candy So That You Don't Have To

Be Afraid—Be Very, Very Afraid

Kelly O

SNACKRIFICE We had to have our foot amputated. You’re welcome.

Halt! Do not step foot in Bartell's, Walgreens, Rite Aid, or any other Halloween candy epicenter without reading on. You're going to see a lot of new candy as you peruse those aisles—Caramel Apple Milky Ways, Cadbury Screme Eggs, and White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms—and as the sweet sugar particles drift through the air, up your nose, and into your brain, some of these exotic options might start to tempt you.

For example: 2012 is the year of the candy corn. The controversial waxy little tricolored triangles have been exhumed from the bottom of the candy bowl and thrust upon classic goodies like Oreos, M&Ms, and jelly beans. Also: Pumpkin spice has made its way into Hershey's Kisses. Caramel apples have infiltrated Milky Ways. But is any of it worth buying, let alone eating? The Stranger Candy Control Board braved orange-food-coloring overdose and type 2 diabetes to find out. We walked away with raw tongues, crying tummies, and reduced self-worth—it was, as Emily Nokes said, our snackrifice to you.

Here's the good, the mouth-damaging, and the stomach-churning in this year's Halloween candy aisles.

Important scientific note: I couldn't find the Candy Corn Oreos anywhere within the city limits of Seattle, but I will trust the opinion of former Stranger writer, current Jezebel writer, and genius quote-spewer Lindy West, who bravely tried them and referred to the orange-and-yellow-cream filling—which could be peeled from the cookie in one plasticky piece, by the way—as "clown jerky." Gross.

White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms

What they are: Oversized M&Ms (approx. 5/8 inch in diameter) filled with candy corn–flavored white chocolate, covered in either white, yellow, or orange candy coating. They're pretty! And they smell like vanilla frosting.

How they taste: Not at all like candy corn and almost nauseatingly sweet. Eating more than a small handful (I hadn't had lunch—I was hungry!) made my mouth scream, and I couldn't taste anything else for more than an hour after consumption. The Stranger Candy Control Board was divided—Emily Nokes and I found that the M&Ms were somewhat enjoyable in small quantities, while Goldy tried a few and immediately made a sour face. "Ugh! It's the worst of both worlds!" he said. Proceed only if you like white chocolate. Even then, still use caution.

Worth buying: Yes, when they're 50 percent off on November 1.

Pumpkin Spice Hershey's Kisses

What they are: Peculiar orange–colored Hershey's Kisses flavored with "pumpkin spice" and featuring an inexplicable creamy white center. They contain no actual chocolate—sugar, vegetable oil, nonfat milk, and corn syrup are the first four ingredients listed on the package. They smell wonderful!

How they taste: Like biting into a pumpkin pie–scented candle on the clearance rack at Bed Bath & Beyond. They're horrible. The texture is waxy; there's too much "spice" (mainly fake clove) and not enough pumpkin; and the soft center causes the Kiss to melt into a grainy, toothpaste-textured glob. Not a single soul on the Candy Control Board enjoyed them. Anthony Hecht took a small bite from one, gagged, and spit it out into the garbage can. Music intern Hallie Santo cried, "I can't tell what I'm eating!" before running off to find water.

Worth buying: Only if you want to stick a wick in one and use it as a candle.

Caramel Apple Milky Ways

What they are: Mini Milky Ways with a subtle artificial apple flavor.

How they taste: Like mini Milky Ways with a subtle artificial apple flavor. I liked them okay but would prefer to eat a standard Milky Way. Paul Constant, who doesn't like Milky Ways at all (HEATHEN!) says that they're "an improvement," while Dominic Holden ate one and declared, "The Mars corporation are assholes!"

Worth buying: Yeah, sure. Whatever.

Cadbury Screme Eggs

What they are: A Cadbury Crème Egg with a green "yolk" instead of the traditional yellow.

How they taste: Like a candy company's desperate attempt to improve sales in the off-season.

Worth buying: Yes, if you like Cadbury Crème Eggs and don't want to wait until March to get one.

Jelly Belly Candy Corn Jelly Beans

What they are: "Classic candy corn flavor in a bean!"

How they taste: Depending on who you ask, they either taste a lot like candy corn or not at all like candy corn. To me, the flavor was like sweet vanilla, but Candy Control Board member Erin Resso claimed to detect candy corn, so maybe my tongue was just still fried by the M&Ms. Regardless, Jelly Belly has the best chewy texture of any jelly bean anywhere, so there's that.

Worth buying: It was $3.99 for a 7.5-ounce bag at QFC, which is too much to pay for a just-okay jelly bean. Wait until they're on sale.

Peeps Crispy Rice Marshmallow Treat (with Candy)

What they are: A fluorescent orange, pumpkin-shaped rice crispy treat supposedly made with Peeps and supposedly covered with candy. The package boasts: "New!" "0g Trans Fat" and "No cholesterol." The "candy" is really just some haphazardly scattered, pumpkin-shaped orange, black, and white sprinkles.

How they taste: Resident Peeps expert Emily Nokes (who heretofore loved ALL things Peeps) was not impressed. "This tastes nothing like Peeps," she said, sadly, after her first bite. The texture was also disappointing—despite marshmallow being the first listed ingredient, there was no gooey, soft factor. The so-called treat appeared to be barely held together with orange corn syrup.

Worth buying: No. Instead, make your own. Buy six packages of Peeps (or a bag of marshmallows, if you aren't a Peeps person). Melt a generous pat of butter in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat, rolling it around to coat the bottom and the sides of the pan. Toss the Peeps in there, and stir until melted. Pour in some crispy rice cereal until you get your desired marshmallow-to-cereal ratio, and then spread the mixture into a casserole dish (greased up with cooking spray or butter). Let cool before cutting into squares. Cheap, easy, and 1,000 times more delicious.

Conclusion: These limited fall flavors are just bad versions of good candy—a money-hungry candyman's attempt to take even more of your dollars by insinuating that a traditional Milky Way or a lovingly homemade Rice Krispies Treat is no longer good enough. Do not be fooled! recommended


Comments (23) RSS

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Stick to the mini chocolate bars, then if you're stuck with them then it's a bonus!
Posted by cdngrrl on October 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
Fnarf 2
I'll stick to whisky, thanks.
Posted by Fnarf on October 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM · Report this
zachd 3
I too came up blank on local Candy Corn Oreos. I ended up special ordering them. I'm part hummingbird on my mom's side, but even I couldn't stand their extreme sugariness.

Is the Stranger Candy Control Board aware of Japanese Kit Kats?
Posted by zachd on October 24, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
Posted by CANDY CORNGASM on October 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM · Report this
Fnarf 5
I will do everything in my power to make sure that 2013 is the Year of the Circus Peanut.
Posted by Fnarf on October 24, 2012 at 3:36 PM · Report this
The pumpkin spice Kisses were around last year. I bought them on clearance, and no, I didn't finish them either.
Posted by jzimbert on October 24, 2012 at 5:18 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 7
I don't think I've ever had a good Rice Krispy treat that wasn't homemade, not even the ones you can buy at a coffee shop. They never use enough marshmallow.
Posted by keshmeshi on October 24, 2012 at 5:22 PM · Report this
balderdash 8
I used to like candy corn before they started cornholing it into all kinds of other things where it does not belong.

I am actually really confused as to how anyone thought there was any chance whatsoever that any of these things would be good.
Posted by balderdash on October 24, 2012 at 6:20 PM · Report this
raku 9
When you buy crap like this it technically counts as 8 republican votes each time.

Walk 3 blocks to Central Co-op or a million little shops anywhere for good chocolates and candy that isn't made out of literal poison harvested by slaves, and doesn't taste like diabetes medication.
Posted by raku on October 24, 2012 at 8:24 PM · Report this
What is this candy corn taste that all the marketing keeps referring to? Candy corn tastes like corn syrup and food coloring. That's all. It's not flavored...
(not trying to disparage candy corn -- I love it, I'm eating it right now -- but really, guys)
Posted by Nitidiuscula on October 24, 2012 at 11:32 PM · Report this
@10 beat me to it. What is the flavor of candy corn? It's purely sugar (or, more specifically, corn syrup).
Posted by crone on October 25, 2012 at 2:02 AM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 12
Shitty mass produced candy sucks but that is a lot of hyperbole.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on October 25, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Report this
freesandbags 13
Thanks candy control board and Megan. This article made my teeth hurt. Don't forget to brush and floss. Brush and floss. Brush and floss.
Posted by freesandbags on October 25, 2012 at 8:27 PM · Report this
@13 freesandbags: Ditto!

Carmel apple Milky Ways?!?--YUCK!!
I'll stick to my usual sweets and wait for the November sales.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 25, 2012 at 10:47 PM · Report this
I always give out dirty tooth brushes and empty beer cans.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on October 26, 2012 at 9:48 AM · Report this
funnylittlemunki 16
To hell with it all… Theo bars or NUTHIN'
Posted by funnylittlemunki on October 26, 2012 at 5:42 PM · Report this
@15: What---no malt liquor and cocaine....?
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 26, 2012 at 7:23 PM · Report this
sonic_reducer 18
Thank you for your snackrifice.
Posted by sonic_reducer on October 29, 2012 at 6:43 AM · Report this
sonic_reducer 19
Posted by sonic_reducer on October 29, 2012 at 6:45 AM · Report this
sonic_reducer 20
If I had the $, the GIANT POKKI stick boxes you can get at Uwajimaya would pretty much be rad to give out to kids. And are super tasty.
Posted by sonic_reducer on October 29, 2012 at 6:52 AM · Report this
I passed on the candy corn Oreos and went for the Trader Joe's Halloween sandwich cookies with orange colored filling.
Posted by Tangwystl on October 29, 2012 at 7:24 PM · Report this
I'm very, very afraid of weird combinations like chipotle chocolates!! There's something really Rick Santorum / Todd Akin / Mitt Romney and his teabag puppet, Paul Ryan WRONG about that. The candy industry is slipping us Mickies!! BOOOO!!!
And bring back my fucking Mars Bars!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 29, 2012 at 10:26 PM · Report this
just wanted to let you know that i hate you. when it comes to music taste, there are two radical ends of the spectrum. On one end, we have the uneducated, fanatic preteens who will unknowingly fall prey to the music industry's secret plan to destroy the world (aka Justin Bieber). But they are too young to know better. You, on the other hand, are part of the opposite end of the spectrum. after becoming disillusioned with commercialized pop, you took it upon yourself to hate all bands on a major record label. i'm 19, and I used to love Seattle. well... i still do. but recently, i've become more aware of your type. you guys make me sick. i can't even listen to my music without getting bashed on. I can't even play the guitar without getting bashed on. do you know why bands like RCHP sold millions of records, while the hordes of indie bands based around Seattle won't. it's because they had talent. they cared about the music and not what others thought of them. they had soul, unlike the crappy, pseudo-folk bands who bum around Seattle playing three chords on an acoustic guitar. but really, i don't actually hate you. i don't even know you, and i can respect that musical taste is personal. so maybe you really do find something special in whatever bands you listen to. i just encourage you not to spread the hate. realize that you are a journalist for a semi-popular magazine. your opinions matter. Also, i saw that you have a certain amount of respect for Weezer. You should know that Rivers Cuomo completely adored Kiss. So i beg of you. just try to listen to all kinds of music. if rivers could give Kiss a chance, then i'm sure you could too. and i realize this is not relevant to the article above. peace and love :^O
Posted by some dumb guy on November 7, 2012 at 10:55 PM · Report this

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