The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The DI ranks Halloween candy — and you can’t argue with it

Matt Stepp
A basket full of popular Halloween candies spills onto the ground.

The date is Oct. 31, 2011. You spend all day at school shivering in your chair with excitement about the evening’s sugar-laden festivities, nervously chattering to your friends about trick-or-treating plans. As you prepare to leave the house for a night of seemingly limitless candy, you are devastated to find that your mother is holding out a thick winter coat.

“But, mom,” you screech. “How are they going to tell I’m Iron Man?”

Soon, you are entirely too distracted by whimsy and joy to mourn your weather-censored costume. Why, there’s candy to collect!

Like many modern holidays, Halloween is marked by fervent brand loyalties and rabid consumerism. In fact, boring grown-ups in the United States are projected to funnel $12.2 billion into spooky festivities in 2023, according to estimates by the National Retail Federation.

A considerable chunk of this change is allocated to the procurement of sugary treats for distribution to excited polyester-clad children on All Hallow’s Eve. 

Here at The Daily Illini, we sat down as a team to reflect upon the candy we always looked forward to receiving — or immediately pawned off to our friends — as children. While we didn’t find consensus on some of the treats, we ultimately produced a tier list that adequately summarizes our collective opinions on Halloween fare.

Halloween Candy Rankings
S Tier

The “S” in S tier stands for “superior” or “supreme.” This tier exemplifies the candies we have deemed to surpass even the traditional letter grading scale.


The natural choice. To those with a peanut allergy: Our hearts go out to you. You are missing out on one of the few wonders of the 21st century. Although the prevalence of peanuts may quite possibly be less than its sugar content, the peanut butter within a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is something of wonder which brings forth a light of decadent goodness to any trick-or-treater. We all know it’s the star of the show. Chocolate, move over and let your sister shine in this number. Extra points if it’s a pumpkin shaped cup. As far as we’re concerned, the more peanut butter the better.

Kit Kat

Critics may say the bottom shelf chocolate enrobing Kit Kat wafers is too sweet. They even may say that cacao is entirely too low on Kit Kat’s ingredients list to even call the treat a chocolate bar. We propose that these people are posturing themselves as having a superior palate. Truthfully, how could one not enjoy this crispy treat? If you’re incapable of comprehending the childlike wonder coursing through the veins of Kit Kat enjoyers, that is alright. We all have those days — just don’t rain on our parade.

King size candy bar of any variety

The wealthy neighborhoods. The houses with the extreme animatronics and the hosts who are fully dressed in costumes. These are the houses that know exactly what children want on Halloween because this is what they wanted as kids. It doesn’t matter which candy bar it is, it’s just bigger than the rest of them. In this case, size does matter.   


Few experiences are quite as satisfying as sinking your teeth into a soft, fresh Airhead straight out of the foil. As a child, these were some of the most coveted candies in the ritual post-trick-or-treat swap, particularly the cherry, blue raspberry and mystery varieties.

A Tier

A tier is for overachievers. Candies in this tier are fantastic. No qualms.


With the Crunch bar, mouthfeel and texture is everything. The crisped rice in the candy elevates what would otherwise be a standard milk chocolate bar to the gold standard of texture in halloween candies.


The delight of unwrapping its yellow packaging and biting into a soft milk chocolate shell to be greeted with a hard peanut butter interior is one of the few feelings only money — and Halloween — can buy. 

Sour Patch Kids

When it comes to sour candies, Sour Patch Kids are simply unrivaled. Although it was often a rare find on halloween night, it would always be one of the first candies to vanish from the bag. The variety of flavors is fantastic, with the blue Sour Patch Kid is a generational player in the fruit-flavored candy game.


If you can find a reason to hate on this gift from above, please send us your evidence. Combining milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel and nougat — the holy quaternity of all that is sugary — is a no-brainer to land Snickers in the A tier of our list. Mars outdid themselves with this one, and it’s no wonder that it tops the list of best-selling candy bars in the U.S., according to Statista.


As you walk down the cold streets of your neighborhood on Halloween, you get hungry for a quick snack during trick or treating. You unwrap red packaging, close your eyes and take a leap into another world. Images of personified fruits dance in your subconscious. Suddenly, you’re floating, being carried by greater forces nose-first until you reach the next house to receive yet another bag of Skittles. This experience is typical of Skittles fans.

Swedish Fish

These are delightful. Texturally, they’re the platonic ideal of gummies. Taste-wise, these are inexplicably addictive. Envisioned as a lingonberry-flavored sweet, Swedish Fish have no direct competitors among candies in the United States. For some, these are underwhelming, but one man’s trash is another’s treasure. These scandinavian critters, however controversial, are iconic. 


The perfect ratio of soft and crunchy, with a nice hard biscuit at the bottom and chewy caramel on top. All covered with a decadent of delicious milk chocolate, this is the candy your mother usually tries to steal from you.

B Tier


While Skittles and Airheads are Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Starburst plays a Dennis Rodman role in the squad of fruit flavored candies. Starburst is far above the average candy, but it’s never going to have a career night and go out and drop 60 points.

Fun Dip

The process of repeatedly plunging a spit-covered Lik-a-Stix into a small bag of sugar is a sensory experience that simply cannot be matched by any other candy. As an adult, the saccharine tartness of the brightly colored powder is unimpressive and rudimentary, but as a kid, this was an elite acquisition on Halloween night.

Jolly Rancher

Hard candy is almost universally synonymous with the bottom of an older woman’s purse. Butterscotch, Starlight Mints, cinnamon bonbons and Werther’s Originals are all emblematic of a geriatric palate. Jolly Ranchers, however, scream adolescence through a bullhorn. These candies smell like the girls’ locker room at your local middle school and taste like the most primitive notes of your favorite fruits. A crowd favorite, Jolly Ranchers are deliciously nostalgic, but they aren’t nearly as quick to inhale as most treats on this list.

Ring Pop

As one of the candies with a unique exterior, it always stands out among the rest of the confections. Its ring-shaped base and diamond sculpted hard candy topping allows the minds of the young generations to run wild. Accessorizing has never been so delicious. Still, there is nothing extraordinary about the flavor — it’s perfectly simple and sometimes hard to fully remove from the base.

Tootsie Fruit Chew

WOW! What a way to deviate from the normality of a standard Tootsie Roll. If chocolate is not your favorite flavor, the fruity sensations of this candy will transport you into a world of peace, equality and better days — except for the vanilla flavor. Still, these are a refreshing alternative to the chocolate Halloween classic. 

Tootsie Roll

Slightly less memorable than its sister, the Tootsie Fruit Chew, the original Tootsie Roll is still too much of a Halloween staple to forget. A brilliant homage to the candy was made by 69 Boyz in their song, “Tootsee Roll,” which clearly displays the Tootsie Roll’s cultural significance. 

Laffy Taffy

Beautifully recognized as the fruity, chewy candy people enjoy worldwide and the hit club classic “Laffy Taffy” by D4L, Laffy Taffy never disappoints. Much like the song, the candy will make you want to “shake your Laffy Taffy.” There’s a reason why this candy is celebrated in grimy bars throughout the great nation known as the United States.


Many love Twizzlers. They will buy them in full size form and have them as a snack. The problem with the ones given out at Halloween is that they are unsatisfying. The package holds two small pieces of Twizzler that end up being harder to bite into than the regular sized packages. Flavor-wise, very appealing, but let’s give us a bit more to chew on. 

100 Grand

Not often given out, and usually not missed, but when you find it in your little bag a bit of happiness runs through you. A crunchy outer shell with a soft caramel filling, there isn’t anything wrong with this chocolate bar, but once more, it’s not something you’re necessarily seeking out.

C Tier

Tootsie Pop

Imagine all the chocolate sensory goodness hidden beneath a diamond rough of hard candy. A Tootsie Pop makes you work for your sweet craving, but boy, is it worth it.


On paper, M&M’s are unimpressive — low quality chocolate encased in crunchy sugar. Even so, there is a mystic quality that surrounds these little pebbles of goodness. Much like the bars of popular American rap artist Eminem, these are really hard. Are you going to savor the original M&M’s? No. You will eat them, though — and you’ll like it.


If you’ve been shoving sugary sweets down your gullet all night like your life depends on it, you might need a break. Pretzels are great, but are you meticulously choosing a costume, vibrating with excitement and walking around your neighborhood in the hopes of crunching down on these little guys? Absolutely not.

Milky Way

It’s not a Snickers or a Twix … so what even is it? A Milky Way satisfies the chocolate sweet desire, but texturally, it’s too soft and it gets all over your fingers. 


Some may argue Nerds are an essential part of the candy experience, while others yearn for a more complex taste journey. Whether you dump the box into your mouth in one quick motion or you trade Nerds for a more desirable treat, there’s not much to complain or gloat about.

D Tier

Blow Pops

Womp womp. The consumption process leaves much to be desired. After sucking and gnawing at severely sweetened hard candy for dozens of minutes, you’re left with the world’s smallest quantity of the world’s most flavorless gum surrounded in a thin layer of sugar. A few crunchy bites later: Surprise! You get an amount of chewing gum no larger than a pea filled with rock-esque chunks that will last a maximum of 15 seconds before you spit it out and move onto something more satiating.

Hershey’s bars and Kisses

So so so mid. Will you eat it? Probably.


How to safely eat chalk: Close your eyes, unwrap a package of Smarties and eat them. You’ve accomplished all your dreams of biting into a nice stick of sidewalk chalk! Although the sour flavors of Smarties are occasionally palate-cleansing from the chaos of the world, it generally cannot compare to the other tastes of the fall season. 

3 Musketeers

3 Musketeers is like the random relative that shows up to your family reunion that you have small talk with every two years. Itʼs okay. But it certainly is not invited to your birthday party, while its brothers Snickers and Skittles are.

Pop Rocks

*TV static*


The only people that buy Lemonheads are over the age of 65. Worry about your 401k while you let your kids buy Halloween candy this year.


Dots looks as if it should be delicious, but it is nothing short of a disappointment. The candy is weirdly dense with unoriginal flavors. Although the box is fun to pick up and shake around, the inside brings you three unsatisfying gifts. It will appear in your lunchbox two weeks after Halloween when your first-pick candy has run out.

Milk Duds

Hey, if you like these, more power to you! Truly! I don’t understand this affinity, but whatever makes you happy, man. These linger between my silly little teeth, overstaying their welcome and becoming progressively less tolerable with time, much like the vast majority of our elected officials.

F Tier


What even is this? Garbage. Now.


There is no word for the pure bitterness and evil that must fuel a person’s decision to repeatedly look innocent children in the face and crush their dreams of toting home a bag full of candy. What’s worse, Halloween pencils always have dense, cheap erasers that smudge graphite writing and gnaw holes in paper. If that wasn’t enough, they’re wrapped in ugly plastic sporting heinous stock images that will inevitably be peeled onto the floor of classrooms across the country. These pencils are annoying for children, educators and parents everywhere. Don’t be that guy.

Dental floss

This just in: utilitarian gifts are generally unpopular amongst children. Shocker, I know. Inform the masses. While you’re at it, stop giving me string as a treat. Weirdo. 

Granola bar

Hey, nobody here is a granola bar hater. The toasty satisfaction of consuming a hearty prism of grains and nuts is not lost on The Daily Illini! No, sir! Respectfully, though, if you are a homeowner in my general vicinity and I arrive uninvited to your door demanding a little treat, you better not hit me with that pulverized Nature Valley dust baloney. Shame on you. Sacreligious.


This candy is not only bland and gross, but a guaranteed trip to the dentist’s office for a broken tooth. Full offense.

Dubble Bubble

This bubble gum has to hold the world record for shortest flavor life expectancy. Seconds after you take the first bite of Dubble Bubble, it begins to taste like Elmer’s glue. The longer you chew on it, the harder Dubble Bubble gets. Getting one of these in your candy bag is inevitable. Some get thrown out, a few get chewed and some end up somewhere in your room — which you’ll probably end up chewing while you’re distracting yourself from cleaning one day.

"Get it away from me" Tier


Everyone knew which house on the block was the “organic” house. These were the people that gave out the tiny boxes of raisins. Before we get into the fact that these people should not be allowed to participate in Halloween, where were they buying these bags filled with inch tall boxes of hard, tasteless raisins. The worst part about receiving these little boxes was that your parents never let you throw them away and would include it as a “dessert” in your lunchbox weeks following the holiday. Raisins didn’t just ruin Halloween, but your lunch on a random day when you’re expecting a chocolate bar. 


The bright red apple that feels a little too small and reminds you of the ones they would hand out in the cafeteria in grade school. As soon as you bite into it, it’s mushy, the juice is bitter and you have a dry feeling in your mouth. 

Halloween is about candy. Let’s keep it that way for just one night a year! We’ll check back in with those apples when the school lunch looks like mush from the bottom of a shoe.

Candy Corn Tier

The candy corn tier is a storied space shrouded in controversy. If we had the gall to assert that candy corn is “good” or “bad,” we would need to gear up for a riot of some kind. 

For those who love candy corn, the sugary wax fulfills a deep, guttural desire. Have you ever experienced an urge to sink your teeth into household staples like soap and candles? Candy corn is a safe alternative to these mouthwatering forbidden snacks.

For those who don’t like candy corn, it is nothing short of an affront to god and an abomination.

Does anyone have a neutral opinion? It has been foretold in the prophecy, but we haven’t seen it yet.





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About the Contributors
Lisa Chasanov, Managing Editor for Reporting
Howdy! My name is Lisa, my game is delivering quality news to your phone screen, coffee table and recycling bin. Since fall 2022, I have had the honor of writing, editing and often-unsuccessfully pitching content for The Daily Illini. During my time at the 152-year-old news source, I have served as a reporter at our news desk, summer editor and assistant news editor. Most recently, after a rewarding year of bringing you hard-hitting stories such as “Uncut: Dissecting Circumcision” and “‘Surf’s Up’ could be the film of the summer,” I have taken over as managing editor for reporting. In my free time, you can find me performing open heart surgery in dark alleys, communicating telepathically with small woodland creatures and engaging in otherwise dubious activities. If you would like to summon me for any reason, you can find me at [email protected]. Good Yard. Stay tuned for more.
Lillie Salas
Lillie Salas, Managing Editor
Hello! My name is Lillie Salas, and I am a sophomore majoring in journalism. I have been working at The Daily Illini since my freshman year. I began as a staff writer in features and then had the opportunity to be promoted to features editor during my second semester. I am so honored to work with such an amazing staff and I look forward to working with the Champaign-Urbana community to share our stories. For any inquiries, contact me at my email below.
Lika Lezhava
Lika Lezhava, Editor-in-Chief
My name is Lika Lezhava and I am a senior in advertising with a minor in journalism. This is my second year with The Daily Illini, and I am excited to continue the legacy of our beloved 154-year-old news source. I began working for The DI in my sophomore year as a news reporter and became an assistant news editor soon thereafter. Within the next couple of weeks, I became the news editor and spent two rewarding months in that role. Finally, I rose to the position of editor-in-chief. Although I’ve worked my way up rather quickly, I have been able to see and experience every moving part that goes into a successful news source.   If you have any general questions, please call our office at (217) 337-8300. For personal inquiries, feel free to reach out to me through email at [email protected], or over the phone (217) 337-8365.
Jacob Slabosz
Jacob Slabosz, Editor-in-Chief
Hey, I’m Jacob! I am currently a sophomore in computer engineering with a minor in German. I started at The Daily Illini in Fall 2022 as a news reporter and staff photographer, and by Spring 2023, I had worked my way to photo editor. Between March 2023 and March 2024, I was the Managing Editor for Visuals, and I have since taken over as Editor-in-Chief. When I’m not taking pictures for The DI or for fun, I enjoy cooking, water sports and tending to my numerous houseplants. I’m excited to use my background in coding to further automate out workspace processes and to see the content that our team produces!
Jack Larson
Jack Larson, Audience Director
Matt Stepp
Matt Stepp, Visual Director
Hey there! I’m Matt, I’m currently a first-year majoring in Graphic Design, with a minor in media. I started here at the Daily Illini in the fall of 2023 as a staff photographer, and now serve as the Visual Director for the Daily Illini. I have always loved photography, you will probably see me around campus shooting sports and other events. I’m also an artist and love watercolor painting and illustration. If you’re a swimmer or enjoy the pool, you may see me at the ARC or CRCE working as a lifeguard as well, I’m never away from a pool for too long!
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