They’re not the things most of us think of when we’ve got a sweet tooth: blood bags, boogers, smog, toilet innards. But what reads like a cesspool of collective nastiness is actually a list of some of the popular “gross-out” candy sold at local candy store chain Candyality.
“It almost hurts to eat some of this stuff,” says owner Terese Lang, who recently opened a 6,000-square-foot megastore in Water Tower Place. Regardless of that, she says the grosser the concept, the better the candy often sells.
“There’s been lots of speculation about why kids like ‘gross-out’ candy so much,” says Susan Whiteside, a spokesperson for the National Confectioners Association. “Is it because it’s funny and weird, because their parents don’t like it or because of the shock value? If you ask kids, they’ll tell you it’s because it’s funny, but in reality it’s probably a subtle combination of all those reasons above. It is—on a very small scale—a perfect example of what humans do as they grow up and mature: test their limits and boundaries.”
It’s no surprise that the idea of edible zombie skin makes grown-ups gag, but what do kids think? To find out, we asked Candyality’s Candy Council to put these gross goodies to a taste test. The result? Sometimes, gross is good. But other times, it’s just plain gross.
HEY KIDS, WIN THIS SWEET GIG!
Candyality’s Candy Council is a group of kids in grades 2–8 that arguably has the sweetest job in town: meeting a couple of times a year to taste test and confer on marketing strategies.
WANT TO SCORE A SPOT ON THE CANDY COUNCIL? Send a 300-word essay, or a link to a 90-second-or-shorter YouTube video to email@example.com explaining why you’d be great for the job. TOC Kids and Candyality will award one coveted position to the kid who comes up with the most creative answer. All entries must be submitted by May 3. One runner-up will win a basket of Candyality goodies valued at $25.