Halloween candy is the best candy, mostly because it’s candy you don’t absolutely have to pay for. People just give it away.
Of course, you might have to buy some candy. Sometimes, that’s a better option than getting your house toilet papered or dealing with a bad Yelp review.
Most adults get their Halloween candy from their kids, pilfering Halloween treat bags 10 minutes after the little goblins go to bed. This sets a bad example as a parent — particularly, if you get caught.
Generally, it’s better when some other parent goes through the holiday haul under the guise of it being for their child’s own good, confiscating some portion and bringing it into the office. They’ll set it up in a popcorn bowl, next to the company coffee pot, like some last-minute offering to whatever spirits are left loitering after the Day of the Dead.
Generally speaking, the name-brand treats are the first to go — anything Hershey’s, M&Ms, Snickers or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
But not the Baby Ruth bars. Those are strictly ornamental.
A few people will take the Twizzlers; there are always a couple of chocolate haters in every crowd.
This is all fine with me, because the best Halloween candy is the stuff you can’t get in the candy aisle of your average grocery store. I’m talking about R.M. Palmer candies.
Headquartered in West Reading, Pennsylvania, R.M. Palmer Company began making seasonal chocolate novelties in 1948 and gradually expanded from the major holidays to some of the minor ones.
Among other things, they make hollow Easter bunnies and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Snack Mix, but they really shine at Halloween with proper spooky treats wrapped up to look like skulls, pumpkins or bulging eyeballs.
This is the candy for a good old-fashioned Halloween sugar buzz.
The best of the best are the caramel- or peanut-butter filled treats (though I do like the Double Crisp Monster Munny coins). And Palmer’s peanut butter eyeballs (Creepy Peepers) are tastier than a Reese’s pumpkin — the Palmer peanut butter is sweeter, creamier and a little less gritty than the Reese’s variety.
This is not a complaint about Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins/cups, just a noticeable difference.
I will acknowledge the “chocolaty” Palmer eyeballs have a milder chocolate flavor than their more recognizable counterparts. And while the double crisp candies might look like chocolate, they may not actually meet the Food and Drug Administration’s definition of real chocolate.
According to a 2015 news story, Palmer’s double crisp candies are supposedly made with chocolate compound, a chocolate-like substance made with cocoa but not cocoa butter.
Instead, they use some sort of vegetable oil replacement and the candies are sort of dressed up to look better than they’re supposed to be, which for Halloween makes me love them that much more.