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Best Halloween candy to stock up on
Photograph: Shutterstock/Leena Robinson

The best Halloween candy to stock up on

From chocolatey treats to artisanal sweets, get this Halloween candy into your pie-hole immediately

Emilee Lindner
Written by
Emilee Lindner
Lauren Rothman

This Halloween, choose your adventure. You can plop a basket full of Halloween candy on your porch and call it a night. Or you can gain neighborhood acclaim by handing out one – or all! – of the following coveted treats. There’s a third option, too: keep all the candy for yourself.

With nostalgic classics bringing back trick-or-treating memories and organic versions tossing out healthy-ish alternatives to chomp on, the best Halloween candy depends on the person. That being said, please don’t kill us for including candy corn on this list.

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Best Halloween candy, ranked

1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin

Regular Reese’s peanut butter cups are already top-shelf material (or at least a guaranteed impulse buy in the check-out aisle). Think about it: a salty, sweet gob of peanut butter – creamy, yet weirdly gritty – covered in a smooth mitten of chocolate. Dare we say… perfection? Now take that iconic PB cup and shape it into a blob somewhat reminiscent of a pumpkin: God-tier. Place these by cash registers all year round, we say.

Photograph: Courtesy Mars Inc.

2. Snickers

One of the most iconic candy bars of all time, Snickers is of course a no-brainer when it comes to Halloween loot. It’s almost a favor to the waistline that these puppies come bite-sized, as we can tear through standard bar (or even the king-sized version) startlingly quickly. Loaded with nougat, caramel, peanuts and milk chocolate, Snickers is an all-in-one Halloween overindulgence.

Photograph: Courtesy Nestlé

3. KitKat

It’s the crispy crunchy wafers, for me. Add a little chocolate to get the saliva flowing, and mmmm… Break me off a piece of that — actually, just give me the whole damn thing.

4. Tootsie Pop

The best kind of candy has more candy inside. How many licks does it take to get to the center? There have been actual scientific experiments conducted to find out. However, the majority of us don’t lick. We cronch. Tootsie Pops provide the most satisfying crack when you jump the gun and bust the candied exterior with your teeth to reveal the gooey, chocolatey core. Choose from Chocolate, Cherry, Grape, Raspberry, and – the best – Orange.

Milky Way
Photograph: Shutterstock/bestv

5. Milky Way

With chewy nougat, creamy caramel and luscious milk chocolate packed into every bite, the Milky Way is a top contender for most-sought after Halloween treat. The dark horse of the holiday, the rare Milky Way Midnight, is a particularly welcome sight when it makes a surprise appearance at the bottom of the plastic jack-o’-lantern. 

Candy Corn
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Rodger

6. Candy Corn

There are two types of people: Those who enjoy the pure saccharine rush of candy corn, and those who hate having nice things. The ever-polarizing candy corn remains a staple of bagged drug-store offerings, and if you don’t score some while treat-or-treating, snag the hardened candies for a discount on Nov. 1. Like Peeps, some things are better stale.

Laffy Taffy
Photograph: Courtesy Nestlé

7. Laffy Taffy

For kids (and adults) whose preferences skew away from chocolate, brightly colored, fruit-flavored Laffy Taffy is where it’s at. The treat boasts quality ingredients such as corn syrup and hydrogenated palm oil (har har), but the fruity flavor isn’t its only appeal. The wrappers feature hilarious jokes like “‘What’s an owl’s favorite subject?’ ‘Owlgebra.’” Okay, Laffy Taffy, we’ll give you that one.

Photograph: Shutterstock/Keith Homan

8. Mounds

Oh, Mounds, the quasi-tropical candy of our fever dreams. This luscious bar of dense, sweetened coconut enrobed in dark chocolate has an unfortunate name but a truly craveable flavor. Its original slogan, coined by Gary, Indiana denizen Leon Weiss in the late 1950s, still rings true today: The candy is most definitely “indescribably delicious.”

Photograph: Shutterstock/Emilio100

9. M&M’s

Now, really, what is there to say about this ultra-classic candy that has endured since 1941 because it’s so damn delicious? (Other than “melts in your mouth, not in your hand,” of course.) We’re looking forward to cramming these sugar-shellacked chocolates come Halloween, in all their wonderful varieties from indulgent Peanut Butter to elusive Pretzel.

Photograph: Courtesy Wrigley's

10. Skittles

The M&M’s of the “fruit” flavor set, Skittles have been around for decades as well—since the 1970s—and are nearly as popular, selling in the hundreds of millions each year. We love ’em, but try to avoid the strange flavors included in the Tropical variety pack (kiwi-lime, banana-berry)—give us ordinary red or orange any day.

Photograph: Courtesy Smarties

11. Smarties

While the same three companies mostly have a hold on the Halloween candy market, somehow, Smarties and their family-owned, pastel-hued discs of sugar have maintained their corner of the industry since 1949. With their nostalgic appeal and the way the little tabs dissolve on your tongue, Smarties remain a classic for all time.

12. Organic Hard Candies

We get it – All Hallows Eve is one of the only occasions you can stuff your face with fruit-flavored chemicals. (As if we need an occasion.) But if you’re the Gwenyth Paltrow/Jessica Alba type, you probably seek out a more natural option. YumEarth’s organic hard candies hold off on the creepy ingredients and somehow make hard candies a little less geriatric. Maybe they’ll persuade your grandpa to ditch his Werther’s Originals.

Photograph: Courtesy The Hershey Company

13. Twizzlers

Licorice that’s so delicious precisely because it’s not licorice at all, these red ropes of surprisingly saliva-producing cherry-flavored candy are a welcome sight for trick-or-treaters. Established in the pre-Civil War era (yes, you read that right), Twizzlers are just as yummy today as they were then, perfect for using as a straw to sip a Coke or simply to cram au naturel.

Photograph: Shutterstock/Keith Homan

14. Starburst

Just thinking about unwrapping one of these sweet, pastel-hued chews has us feeling as soft and squishy as a Starburst itself. Like most other fruit-flavored candies, the taffies come in wacky varieties like Tropical and Very Berry, but, also like most other fruit-flavored candies, these pale in comparison to the original flavors: Pink has our collective mouth watering. Okay, okay, we’ll make an exception for Sour Starbursts. 

Hershey’s Special Dark
Photograph: Courtesy The Hershey Company

15. Hershey’s Special Dark

The word “special” in the name of this dark-chocolate version of the classic Hershey bar always made it seem so alluring. Nothin’ but semisweet chocolate here, and it’s just as desirable as the name implies.

Heath Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Schoko Riegel

16. Heath Bar

Early ads for this incredibly addictive bar of crunchy toffee coated with smooth milk chocolate touted its wholesomeness with the slogan, “Heath for better health!” We doubt anyone ever bought into the claim, though, as what’s most salient about the Heath bar is its richness—the main ingredients are butter, cream and sugar. 

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Schoko Riegel

Reese’s Pieces
Photograph: Shutterstock/dcwcreations

17. Reese’s Pieces

Ah, the stuff that peanut-butter-and-chocolate lovers’ dreams are made of. These candy-coated dots of peanut fudge are irresistible to humans and extraterrestrials alike: We dare you to get through even a mini pack before recalling the famous trail-of-Reese’s scene in 1982’s E.T.

Mr. Goodbar
Photograph: Courtesy The Hershey Company

18. Mr. Goodbar

Filling out the shortlist of Hershey bar favorites is the Mr. Goodbar, simply Hershey’s Milk Chocolate laced with nubby bits of peanuts. A peanut-allergy nightmare, perhaps, but oh-so-tasty before the throat-closing kicks in.


19. Gummy Worms

A candy bar is the ideal handheld food for Type A personalities. Neat, compact, little treasures. For more loosey-goosey candy lovers, there’s something chaotic about an individually wrapped pouch of springy, bouncy worms. Invented in the ‘80s to gross-out parents, gummy worms nail Halloween’s creep factor while delivering chewy, neon-tinted mayhem for us oddballs.

Hershey’s Krackel
Photograph: Courtesy The Hershey Company

20. Hershey’s Krackel

Milk chocolate packed with puffed rice, this bastard child of a Hershey bar and a Rice Krispies Treat is one we try to hoard in our trick-or-treat bag, to comfort us during the cold, depressing weeks of November (and maybe even December).

Photograph: Courtesy Nestlé

21. Butterfinger

Immortalized by Bart Simpson, who warned us not to lay a finger on it throughout a series of ’80s and ’90s TV commercials, this love-it-or-hate-it chocolate bar is an All Hallow’s Eve favorite for many. Filled with neon-orange “crispy peanut butter” that’s similar in style to traditional honeycomb candy, it’s a strange confection, but one that usually doesn’t hang around past early November. 

Photograph: Courtesy Mars Inc.

22. Twix

Combining crisp cookies, smooth caramel and creamy milk chocolate, this is a candy bar that appeals to almost any breed of dessert lover. Normally sold in pairs of decently sized bars, on Halloween a sole, baby-finger-sized Twix comes wrapped in its distinctive shiny gold foil. Sooooo cute, and just as tasty, too!

Photograph: Shutterstock/dcwcreations

23. Whoppers

Who wouldn’t love a giant malted milk ball coated in rich chocolate? Around since the golden era of soda fountains and unlikely to disappear anytime soon, these super-crunchy treats are always a joy, nestled three apiece their little Halloween sleeves and ready to be wolfed down.

Milk Duds
Photograph: Shutterstock/dcwcreations

24. Milk Duds

Far from being duds, these perilous-to-most-orthodontia chocolate-coated caramels are a true hallmark of Halloween. So named because creator Sean le Noble’s original goal of a perfectly round candy was found to be unattainable, the candy is definitely tasty—and it’s oh-so-fun to tear open the tiny, holiday-appropriate cardboard box doled out by suburban parents everywhere.

3 Musketeers
Photograph: Courtesy Mars

25. 3 Musketeers

This lovable candy bar strips away fancy flourishes like toasted nuts and runny caramel and serves up what most of us want the most anyway: soft, pillowy nougat and smooth milk chocolate. Wherefore the bizarre name? In 1932, when the candy hit the market, a single package contained vanilla, strawberry and chocolate nougat; at the dawn of World War II, rising food costs forced manufacturer Mars, Inc. to focus production only on chocolate, the most popular flavor. The name, however, stuck.

Sour Patch Kids
Photograph: Shutterstock/LunaseeStudios

26. Sour Patch Kids

Another indispensable Halloween treat for the chocolate-averse, Sour Patch Kids are hard to beat. The ultra-chewy gummy candies are generously coated in an addictive sweet-and-sour sugar. While the idea of serving small, child-shaped candies to small, actual children is a bit disturbing, we’ll let it slide because they taste so damn good. 

Photograph: Courtesy Nestlé

27. Raisinets

Okay, fine, these are just boring ol’ raisins coated in milk chocolate, but there’s still something about Raisinets that’s irresistible. Maybe it’s the faded memories of those weird ’80s and ’90s California raisin commercials that featured soul music–belting raisins, or maybe it’s just the classic combination of fruit and chocolate, but this is one candy we’re always glad to have on hand on All Hallow’s Eve.

Jolly Rancher
Photograph: Courtesy The Hershey Company

28. Jolly Rancher

While most Halloween candies are soft and chewy, Jolly Rancher keeps it real as a hard candy. Blue raspberry and watermelon are the go-to flavors, obvi, but we’ll accept sour apple and cherry as well.


29. Maple Candy

Leave it to the hippie couple that lives on the overgrown corner lot to pass out Halloween’s wildcard candy. Forget the factory-produced varieties of the masses and envelop your taste buds in that sweet, sweet tree sap solidified into cute, artisanal, bite-sized maple leaves.

Photograph: Courtesy The Hershey Company

30. Rolo

Kind of a classed-up version of Milk Duds, Rolos are the milk-chocolate-covered soft caramels given out by those fancy families across town. They’re great not only for their superior flavor and texture, but also because of their value as bargaining chips when candy trades go down.

Junior Mints
Photograph: Courtesy Tootsie Roll Industries

31. Junior Mints

The soft, chewable, dark-chocolate-enrobed mints that were immortalized in a 1993 Seinfeld episode (when a single candy was accidentally sewn inside a person undergoing surgery), these are one of the ultimate movie theater snacks—but they’re just as welcome on October 31st.


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