Is it really Halloween if candy isn’t involved? Candy companies always seem to be looking for a new way to dust the cobwebs off their classic confections in an attempt to bolster sales. Those pesky marketers may be trying to sell the consumer some tricks, so I tasted the latest seasonal candies to let you know which ones are truly treats.
Marshmallow Monsters Peeps (1/5)
A seasonal twist on the classic Easter candy, Peeps has created a Frankenstein-themed marshmallow. Fluorescent green sugar encases a rectangular marshmallow with an off-centered face of Frankenstein’s monster. Like the original iteration, these marshmallow monsters will overwhelm your taste buds with sugar. Despite its flamboyant look, the Frankenstein peep lacks any real flavor. But at $1 for a pack of three, it is still a pretty good bargain.
White Pumpkin Pie M&M’s (2/5)
The package promises pumpkin pie flavor, but all it delivers is bland white chocolate and a barely-detectable hint of pumpkin with dull candy shells. Doubting my taste buds, I inspected the package ingredients only to discover no pumpkin pie flavoring. While original M&Ms combine a crisp shell with creamy milk chocolate, these M&Ms use a much-too-rich white chocolate. Still, for a $3 eight-ounce package, the limited release M&Ms are pleasantly crunchy.
Maple Creme Oreos (3/5)
This monochromatic tan cookie lacks the crisp fall colors that other tested candies deliver. Despite the dull appearance, this cookie is rich with creamy maple flavor. Although somewhat sickly with the amount of sugar, the sugary maple creme presents a pleasing contrast with the slightly sweet wafers. Although this limited edition flavor is only available for the fall season, a box of 24 cookies is the regular price of $2.99, and it proved worth the money.
Archer Farms Pumpkin Spice Pretzels (3/5)
Coated in a muted-orange outer layer of white fudge, these pretzels are a harmonious blend of sweet and salty. Although claiming to be pumpkin spice-flavored, I tasted only a slight hint of pumpkin. For the most part, it tastes like a white chocolate-covered pretzel. If you found these sitting in front of you, you would probably eat and enjoy them, but even for $3.69 for an eight-ounce bag, it is not worth rushing to the nearest grocery store to snatch them.
Brach’s Autumn Mix (3.5/5)
Candy corn, arguably the most iconic Halloween treat, brings out strong opinions: people either love it or hate it. I happen to be one of the lovers, and the Autumn Mix delivers just like the original candy corn does. You’ll find the expected taste of pure sugar and corn syrup in a pleasing array of vibrant colors such as “Yellow 6,” “Yellow 5,” “Red 3,” “Blue” and “Red 40.” This wide selection of colors creates the shades, branching off from the pumpkin-shaped candies and traditional orange, yellow and white triangular candy corn. A bag of 20 ounces for $2.79 proves worth the steal..
Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins (4.5/5)
When it comes to flavor, Reese’s Pumpkins stick with the classic formula. Why change an already perfect recipe? Though Reese’s attempted to reshape their iconic cups into pumpkins, the result is less of an autumnal gourd and more of an abstract oval blob that lacks visual appeal. Despite this design flaw, Reese’s delicious flavor profile doesn’t disappoint with its salty-sweet peanut butter filling and thin milk chocolate outer layer. Reese’s also offers a white creme pumpkin version for white chocolate lovers at $3 for 10.2 ounces.
Junior Mints with Black and Orange Centers (5/5)
This limited edition Halloween-themed candy has it all — fun packaging, a novel design and a classic winning flavor. The bright orange box depicts a classic Halloween scene complete with bats and spooky trees anchoring the outer corners of the logo. Only looking at the outside of the oval candies, they appear to be your typical Junior Mints. But a single bite into the chocolate shell reveals oozing orange and black, mint-flavored, smooth and gooey centers. The flavor does not say, “Halloween!” as much as the colors do, for the classic crisp mint flavor did not change for the season. At $1 for a 3.5-ounce box, the Halloween Junior Mints did not disappoint.
Plenty of options fill the shelves of your local grocery store, but not all of them are worth your buck. I recommend the Halloween edition Junior Mints due to their delicious flavor and fun Halloween-themed colors, while the worst pick would be the Monster Peeps due to their bland, sugary flavor profile. If you’re considering picking up some Halloween-themed sweets before Christmas candy begins piling the shelves, don’t be tricked by these less-than-savory treats.