It happens every year. You spend October worrying about flu shots and upcoming Thanksgiving traumas, and all of the sudden the guy on NPR reminds you that a bunch of little kids are going to come by tonight demanding candy. Or maybe you’re a parent trying to forget the fact that your precious offspring is about to get a sugar stash so large he’ll spend the next few weeks as high as a script writer for Sean Saves the World.
This year, don’t let trick-or-treat night sneak up on you lest you end up with a Halloween offering so offensive you become a prime target for neighborhood marauders. Here are ten candies to avoid if you also want to avoid toilet paper, silly string, and—worst of all—the dreaded rotten egg.
You should know this by now. Handing out those little red boxes is akin to begging some neighborhood punk to write “hippie” on your windshield with soap. Just don’t do it.
9) Actually, any kind of dried fruit (or vegetables)
I know, I know. Your kids Skyler and Moonshine loooooove wrinkly dates and don’t care where wasps like to lay their eggs. Come down to earth for a second and look around, though—the child in the Scorch Supernova costume does not want banana chips.
8) Anything with hazelnuts in it
Yodeling Swiss children like marzipan, Maypole dancing, and Kinder chocolate bars. Other kids will squish them between your patio bricks in an attempt to make it look like something pooped there.
7) Black licorice
Sometime in your twenties, you realize that black licorice is awesome. It’s a rite of passage not to be rushed. We don’t expect children to do hot Pilates or contemplate Laura Dern’s character on Enlightened, so why would we expect them to handle the so-bad-it’s-good complexity of black licorice?
6) Almond Joy
Bite into a bar of corn-syrup-soaked coconut and feel your salivary glands kick into overdrive. This candy literally burns teeth, and it tastes gross doing it. Seriously, who buys this insanity?
5) Good and Plenty
The Great Depression called. It wants its candy back.
4) Sugar Daddy
I don’t want to hear about how Sugar Daddies are gluten-free. They are gluten-free because they are food-free. Any treat that doubles as a tooth extractor is probably not above board. Think about it.
3) Candy themed around other holidays
2) Pop Rocks
Okay, this one won’t actually make the kids hate you. They’ll love you—the way junkies love their dealers. Pop Rocks are to MDMA what candy cigarettes are to real cigarettes. So unless you want a neighborhood full of bounced-up ravers wearing bunny suits in ten years, leave the fizzy crystals at the store.
At some point between 1954 and now, the world figured out malt balls are the freaking devil. Maybe you’ve been cryogenically frozen for the past six decades, but the kid with the treehouse full of double-ply doesn’t know that. Consider this your intervention: Go get some fun-size Snickers bars before CVS is out of everything except circus peanuts and expired eggs.