Food  |  News & Politics

We Reviewed Washington’s Most Popular Halloween Candies and Reminded Ourselves How Much We Hate Candy Corn

Photograph by leekris via iStock.

The biggest news story of the year has dropped:’s list of the most popular Hallowen candies by state. As far as journalists are concerned, we should all probably just take the rest of 2018 off.

There were definitely some sleeper hits (seriously, Montana??? Double Bubble???), and then some classic winners (candy corn—reaaaaal original, Alabama).

But the DMV showed a wide range. Between DC, Virginia, and Maryland, there was only one repeat in each spot’s Top 3 treats.

What does it all mean? I don’t really know—I’m no candy expert; I just eat it. But let’s take a dive into the breakdown of our region’s sweet tooth. Grab those insulin shots, people! It’s time for a sugar rush.


District of Columbia 

#1: M&Ms

Okay, we’re starting out with a nice, even-keeled pick here. M&Ms are pretty uncontroversial as far as candy goes: No one has like, any real animosity toward M&Ms. They’re not as divisive as say, licorice or something—it’s an easy crowd-pleaser. You only really start to fire people up when you get into what the M&Ms are filled with. Put a couple peanut-butter-stuffed M&Ms people in a room with some pretzel M&Ms lovers? Better get out of there—heads will freaking roll.

#2: Tootsie Pops

I’m okay on Tootsie Pops (but only the cherry flavor; blueberry Tootsie Pops must keep a firm distance at all times). But when I say I’m okay on Tootsie Pops, I’m only okay with about 80 percent of the consuming experience. They’re a little like a Trojan horse as far as I’m concerned. As soon as I hit the Tootsie Roll core, I’m out. I’m done.

Tootsie Rolls live in the seedy underbelly of the candy world; they lure you in with their seemingly enjoyable premise (I’m candy! Eat me!) then hit you with the duplicitous reality of their Iago-like demeanor (I actually have the texture and enjoyment factor of a dead person’s thumb!). Feel free to fact check me on that.

#3: Candy corn

This is devastating, to say the very least. Candy corn is disgusting. Don’t @ me. I’m right. Discussion over.


#1: Milky Way

This is a perfectly acceptable No. 1 selection: a silky nougat core covered in cascading layers of caramel and topped off with a chocolate coat? Yep, done and done. Don’t get me wrong; Milky Ways are by no means the perfect candy (see below), but they’re lightyears above some other Frankenstein excuses for sugar innovation (see above).

#2: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

The heavens have parted, the Hallelujah Chorus is echoing off the clouds, and behold—from above, on a single ray of blessed light comes a halo-like sphere of sanctity: the Reese’s Cup. In a world where Kanye West lunches at the White House and we’re still (still!) talking about Snooki, there’s a small peanut butter-filled chocolate island where everything makes sense.  Reese’s Cups are a doxology of pure deliciousness, a union between man and the divine, like Michelangelo‘s God extending one sticky, peanut butter-and-chocolate coated finger to Adam. Forever and ever, amen.

#3: Hershey’s Kisses

I’m so underwhelmed by Hershey’s Kisses; really the only way I can put my English degree to use is to just say this: Blaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. They don’t inspire anywhere near the level of animosity as some other sugar-coated nemeses, but they hardly invoke a state of rapture.

They’re the kind of candy you grab at your grandma’s house when the cable is broken and you don’t have any cell service and you’re so bored, you just start popping stale chocolate into your mouth so you have something to think about. And then you end up hating yourself, because you’ve realized three hours have gone by and you’ve eaten an entire decorative dish shaped like sleeping cat’s-worth of old chocolate. I’ll say it again: Blaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh.


#1: Hot Tamales

Ooooh, caliente, VA! I’ll be honest—HTs are not my favorite (too chewy; gets stuck in your teeth; find pieces of it there days, weeks after), but I have much more respect for a Hot Tamale than I do a Mike & Ike. The latter nary moves a needle on the Richter scale of originality; its flavors are the same generic ones you’d find in a condolence fruit basket. But the Hot Tamale—now we’re talking! At least it has fire, passion, a joie de vivre. It takes guts to be a spicy candy in a world of cherry-flavored copouts. We salute you, flavor-charged iconoclasts!

#2: Snickers

PSA: Those with nut allergies, feel free to read on. To be fair, I do like Snickers—nougat, peanuts, and caramel all wrapped in a gentle chocolate hug? What’s not to like? But, at the risk of diving into conspiracy theories, I do have my reservations. Snickers is no doubt the kingpin of Big Chocolate™. Switch on any football game and you’ll likely see more Snickers airtime than you will dudes running around on astroturf.

A quick scan through the Mars website also tells you that we will probably all one day be ruled by a giant Snickers bar come to life. Not only is it the fastest-selling bar in the country, it’s growing: you can get it espresso-flavored, in mini form, served frozen, shaped like a football, with a dollop of hazelnut, stuffed with almond butter… I could go on, but I think my point is made. The time is nigh, comrades. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

#3: Candy corn


Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.