From Milk Duds to toothbrushes, here’s what you don’t want in your bag.
It’s been many, many, many, many (pause, take a breath), many, many, many years since I trick-or-treated. And yet, like so many seemingly innocent childhood events, I still bear the scars of Halloweens gone wrong.
Call this list cathartic, call it timely and informational, call it seasonal web traffic baiting, call it filler… to paraphrase Culture Beat in Mr. Vain, call it what you like, as long as you call me. Or something.
Here are the 11 crappiest, most terrible, most disappointing and flat-out worst things you can get while you’re trick-or-treating on Halloween. (Ten of the 11 come from personal experience.)
1 | Milk Duds
This is quite simple: Milk Duds are universally acknowledged as the worst candy in the history of mankind. To quote Bart Simpson, describing a girl: “She’s like a Milk Dud: Sweet on the outside, poison on the inside.”
Every year, my elementary school would do a day after Halloween candy drive, where you were supposed to bring in your excess candy, to be donated to less fortunate kids. Everyone would just bring in the worst of their candy, though. And by the end of November 1st, the mountains of candy in the front hallway of Belvoir Elementary School in University Heights, Ohio, looked like a Milk Dud salt mine.
This was a full two decades ago. And I’m willing to bet that nothing has changed.
2 | Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses
What are these? They’re those candies that come in plain, generic orange or black paper wrappers. That should ring a bell.
The taste shouldn’t, though… because most people have tried exactly one of these, around age six or seven… then spit it out instantly because it was bootleg nasty… and never ventured down the road again.
According to the Internet, they’re molasses-flavored taffies with a “dollop of concentrated peanut butter” on the inside.
Yikes. People haven’t relied on molasses for dessert since the days when you had to get all dressed up to go on an airplane.
3 | An apple
Twenty years ago we were already at the point where kids were taught not to ever eat anything they received on Halloween that was unwrapped. The world has gone even further to shit since then, so I really can’t imagine that today’s parents are going to let you eat the apple from your candy sack.
And that’s not even venturing into the debate of whether there’s any place for healthy fruits on Halloween. Unless apples are being bobbed for or dipped in caramel, the answer is “no, there’s no place.”
4 | Double Bubble
Bubble gum is a placeholder on Halloween… and Double Bubble is the foremost example of plain, boring bubble gum. It fills up your bag, but draws zero excitement, holds zero trading value, and generally just keeps sitting there and sitting there while you eat all the better candy. Eventually, circa Thanksgiving, your mom finally just makes you throw it away.
It’s the equivalent of the whole grain pieces in Lucky Charms… you know it’s going to be there, but you’re going to do your best to eat around it to get the instant gratification of the better, sweeter stuff.
5 | Pennies
There’s nothing lamer than someone (who, let’s be honest, is probably your neighbor who’s a widow age 74+) dropping between one and four pennies in your Halloween sack. It’s almost insulting. Even in today’s economic climate.
6 | A little box of raisins
Raisins are a terrible giveaway. They have all the sugar of candy… but they’re not candy. That’s lose-lose.
7 | Werther’s Originals
It’s OK for old folks to give these away when you’re under duress and need something sweet. Less than a year ago I was home in Cleveland and I visited my great aunts… and found myself completely satiated by an emergency butterscotch candy.
But in the face of real candy, these simply can’t hold up.
8 | Wax fangs
I can’t guarantee these still exist. There used to be these wax fangs that also doubled as chewing gum.
Two major fundamental flaws with passing these out on Halloween. One: They tasted SO waxy that no one really liked them. Two: It’s just a little bit late in the game to give out a prop for a Halloween costume at 8 P.M. on Halloween itself.
9 | Religious pamphlets
Is there ANYTHING more obnoxious than using Halloween to bait-and-switch kids into reading about your anti-witchcraft views? Today’s kids are narcissistic, greedy sociopaths. You give one a religious pamphlet instead of a mini Kit Kat and they’re liable to set your cat on fire.
10 | A toothbrush
Don’t push your anti-cavity, pro-oral hygiene agenda on Halloween. Everyone gets it. There was a dentist who lived in my neighborhood who thought this was cute or something. Every year he’d give you some kind of low-sugar candy… and a toothbrush.
So naturally, we used the toothbrushes for a makeshift baseball game… we’d swing them at Double Bubble and peanut butter kisses, trying to swat both as far from our lives as possible.
11 | Razor blades
It’s just so cliche.