‘Tis the season for treats, tricks, and takes: As Halloween hits and sugar crashes abound, six of The New Edu’s writers shared their Halloween hot takes in the form of mini opinion pieces. From an exploration of the rural working-class origins of candy corn, to a dive into straddling the line of societal expectations for proper trick-or-treating age, to passionate arguments about the dominance of Reese’s...forgive us, but these pieces are pretty sweet.
Shedding Light on Dark Chocolate
By: Anna Selter, 12th grade, Henderson County
Many chocolate-y candies dominate the Halloween market, but there isn’t much flavor variety. It seems like pretty much the only options are plain milk chocolate, milk chocolate with caramel, and milk chocolate with peanuts/peanut butter. While this makes sense–children generally like sweet things– what about rising numbers of parents and older siblings of trick-and-treaters who enjoy more complex flavors? What about the same teens and adults who purchase discounted Halloween candy the first week of November?
This is why I suggest providing dark chocolate alternatives in variety bags of all chocolate candies typically handed out on Halloween. Though milk chocolate can often be a delightful treat, after one or two pieces of candy, it often becomes sickly sweet. All things in life need to be balanced to be good: light and dark, work and life. Sweets need the same balance found elsewhere, and what are the two most popular matches for sweet flavors? Salty or bitter. We see sweet and salty combinations everywhere–they appear in trail mix, in Reese’s, in salted caramel, and many more. But bitter and sweet is much less explored. Of course, there is always sweetened coffee and dark chocolate, but how often is dark chocolate paired with something–not just left in sad, boring bars–and also easily accessible?
In fact, just last night, I went into a convenience store and was looking for dark chocolate candy and the only options available to me were a Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Bar, a Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar, and a Mounds Bar. There should be more options than this for the average dark chocolate lover. In addition to this, the number of people who enjoy dark chocolate is slowly increasing and overtaking milk chocolate according to Mintel. There is no reason to not provide nearly as much dark chocolate as milk chocolate when people are beginning to appreciate them at similar rates. However, more people still prefer milk chocolate, so the amounts shouldn’t be equal. This being said, it is still important that more varieties of dark chocolate are provided not only during Halloween season, but all the time. Both milk chocolate and dark chocolate deserve their time in the spotlight and it has been far too long since that has happened.
Think You Knew Candy Corn? The Trick Is On You.
By: Michael L. Muncy, 11th grade, Johnson County
If you were to have asked Mary Shelley about a certain specific Halloween candy, she might've said: Many will rejoice to hear that there is not a disaster accompanying the creation for that which shades reflected fall color and is regarded with wicked apprehensions. She would, of course, be referring to the iconic treat, candy corn.
Candy corn was initially named “chicken feed,” a name referring to its appeal to rural areas, and more specifically, to farmers. It came out at a time when, as the History Channel states, “about half of Americans worked on farms.” Some histories credit George Renninger, who was employed at Wunderle Candy Company all the way back in the 1890’s, with the invention of this Halloween treat. Additionally, the candy company had a mascot of a rooster and a motto, “King of the Candy Fields.” Candy corn is more than just something eaten during autumn–it has history. It was created to celebrate everyday people, especially farmers and their families, and their strength.
Today, candy corn is used more for decorating, or as an addition to a pumpkin-patterned tablecloth, placed strategically next to “mummy dogs” and deviled eggs. It acts as an “empty space filler” where nothing else could be placed. Maybe a few get eaten by wandering toddlers who will, at any sight of food, pounce.
Those who truly enjoy this “empty space filler” tend to disagree with each other on what is the correct way to eat the tri-colored, triangular sweet. The National Confectioners Association, or NCA, says that the discussion tends to be pretty evenly opinionated: “A recent NCA survey found that 33% of candy corn loyalists nibble the narrow white end, just 16% start with the wider yellow end – and more than half of all consumers just go for it and eat the entire piece at once.”
No matter if you hate or love this corn field candy, there is history and there is connection through its iconic shape and colors that bring you closer to the spirit of Halloween, and even All Saints’ Day. I wish for you to evade all that desires to trick you and for your night to be filled with treats. Have a happy Halloween!
What Is the Best Candy, Anyway?
By: Liz Ortiz, 12th grade, Warren County
Halloween season is upon us! Bring on the costumes, chilly weather (or should I say warm weather here in Warren County), spooky movies, and treats. All of these things are essential for the beloved "Spooky Season" but with the joyous aspect of this holiday comes controversy. When people go to the store and buy candy, a question lingers in their mind: "What's the best candy for everyone?"
Although a small thing like candy may seem unimportant, it's more just a sweet treat. Candy is a part of our pop culture and memories that stretch back to our youth. It was once the most exciting part of the holiday, and that should live on with our future generations. According to Spectrum News, it has been reported that the most popular candy in Kentucky is Reese's Cups. I can agree that Reese's Cups have a nice chocolate-to-peanut butter ratio but I beg to differ that they deserve their status as most popular. There's a broad spectrum of candies that are equal to or even better than Reese's. For example, a Twix does the same as a Reese's Cup–provides a good ratio between two or more ingredients–while not excluding individuals who have allergies. However, chocolate candy in general gives individuals from all age groups the opportunity to remove the trick and add the treat!
Reese’s Has a Grip On Us
By: Carlie Hall, 11th grade, Fayette County
It all starts with the first bite: creamy peanut butter and rich milk chocolate curated into a morsel of sweet perfection. By the second bite, it's gone. Reese's has a grip on us like no other candy. Don't like milk chocolate? Try a white chocolate Reese’s. Wish there was something crunchy to munch on? Try Reese's crunchy peanut butter cups. You want it, Reese’s has it. There's something for everyone, which is why the iconic chocolate candy dominates Halloween festivities year after year.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are unquestionably the best Halloween candy because of the flavor combinations, the ever-increasing selection of Reese's candies, and the trick-or-treating nostalgia of Reeses. For these reasons, it's always the candy that everyone is vying to get. Unwrapping a Reese's candy releases pure excitement. The saltiness of the nut-butter paired with the sweet milk chocolate offers the perfect balance. Compared to other candies, which have enough sugar to cause a headache, Reese’s have just the right amount of sweetness and nuttyness that makes you crave more. Besides those who have peanut allergies or those who have a very strong disliking for peanut butter, it's difficult to stumble upon a person who doesn't enjoy receiving a Reese's.
The marketing team of Reese’s is truly something. Not only have they managed to plaster Reese's as The Halloween Candy of the Century, but every few months, there seems to be some new Reese's flavor combinations being released. This allows for a wider variety of flavors that cater to everyone's preferences. This aids in their popularity while also producing a new wave of excitement for Halloween time.
When you think of Halloween, it's hard to imagine a trick-or-treating night without Reese's. It's become a staple in every pre-packaged candy pack, which only increases the familiarity of the candy. Receiving that bright orange wrapper at one house only propels you further onto the next house. It becomes a kind of currency among kids, even adults. "It's hard to imagine a Halloween without Reese’s ", said one of my fellow classmates, Emily, from Tates Creek High School. "I don't know, there's just something about them that fits right into the whole spooky season," she continued. Although these are the most important reasons why Reese’s are the best Halloween candy, everyone has their own special reasons as to why the candy is their favorite. As a peanut- butter fanatic myself, I can certainly vouch for the flavor of the candy. But it's important to remember that this candy has stood the test of time, as it remains the most popular candy even with new chocolates being released every year at Halloween.
Is there an age limit to go trick-or-treating?
By: Anvika Vangala, 10th grade, Jefferson County
As someone who is 15 years old, I still enjoy trick-or-treating during Halloween–dressing up, roaming the neighborhood for candy with my friends, and the feeling of just having fun. (It's about the candy too of course). However, I acknowledge that the question of how old is "too old" for this Halloween tradition can be a subject of debate. To me, setting the age limit at around 20 seems quite reasonable. By that age, most young adults have entered college or are involved in various social activities. Halloween parties are common among college students, and even high school students who don't want to trick-or-treat. Halloween parties offer an alternative and perhaps more mature way to celebrate. These parties provide an opportunity to wear creative costumes, enjoy the company of friends, and eat a lot of treats. At 20, individuals are perfectly capable of buying their own candy or chocolate, making door-to-door trick-or-treating less necessary. Seeing a 20 year old trick-or-treating could pose a scare with their costumes and be really awkward for people who may be giving candy to someone a few years younger than them.
Joy Saha's perspective from Salon is interesting and true: Trick-or-treating as a teenager, only a few years away from legal adulthood, can sometimes feel awkward. It's as if you're straddling the line between childhood and adulthood, possibly diminishing the pure Halloween joy of younger children. In my opinion, teenagers like me still find delight in participating, but the age of 20 seems like a suitable point to consider alternative ways of celebrating Halloween. The age limit for trick-or-treating remains a matter of personal judgment. It involves striking a balance between preserving the excitement of Halloween for children and finding alternative means of enjoyment as we grow older. Halloween is a holiday celebrated in diverse ways, reflecting local customs and individual preferences. Whether you're 15 or 20, the key is to respect the unique approaches to Halloween in your community, ensuring that everyone can experience the magic of the holiday in their own way.
In Defense of Candy Corn
By: Ellen Mueller, 11th grade, Scott County
Since I was a little girl, candy corn has been a staple of my Halloween experiences. My siblings and I would always beg our mom to get it when it was fall, and it would always be gone by the next day. The small size and sweetness of the kernels make it addicting to eat by the handful, and its bright colors make it stand out from all the other Halloween candies. I hold such a strong nostalgia for it, and as I have continued eating it throughout the years, my love for it has held up.
However, I understand this is not the experience for all Halloween candy consumers. Candy corn is very polarizing and sees a lot of strong opposition from those repulsed by its intense sweetness and waxy texture. While this is understandable, the significance of candy corn should still be recognized. Candy corn has stood the test of time, and still brings joy and comfort to many people, so we should appreciate it despite its controversiality.
Candy corn originated in the 1880s and was popularized by the Goelitz Candy Company and marketed as “chicken feed.” Before World War I, corn was not considered food for humans until “war-time wheat shortages” in 1917, according to The History Channel. At the time, America was a largely agrarian society, and candy corn was marketed year-round. It only began having a stronger association with Halloween in the 1950s after a spike in advertising.
This candy has stood the test of time and has seen our country transform. Today, around 35 million pounds are produced each year. Candy corn has endured for over 100 years and is a testament to our long-standing love of sugar and appreciation for the small joys in life. There are still many avid fans of the candy, like Jaiden Lowry, a junior at Scott County High School.“It is DELICIOUS,” Jaiden told The New Edu. I could scarf up a whole pound in one sitting!” Despite how strongly she may feel about the treat, there are still others who have a different opinion. Mr. Tackett of Elkhorn Crossing School said “yuck,” adding “I hate candy corn.” Regardless of our personal feelings for the candy one way or another, candy corn’s long history and continued success solidifies it as one of the top-tier Halloween candies, one we can all appreciate the significance of.