Outside of how to achieve peace in the Middle East and where you fall on the Yankees/Red Sox spectrum, the most divisive issue of our time is whether or not you like candy corn.
Indeed, few, if any, consumables generate as many visceral reactions — both positive and negative — as when the subject of candy corn comes up.
I, for one, believe candy corn is delicious. And, fortunately, my two stepchildren are also nuts about the traditional Halloween confection. My wife, on the other hand, will eat it if it’s around, but insists that it’s disgusting.
Time was when you only had two, maybe three options with candy corn: traditional, Indian and the pumpkins. Of course, back then, I didn’t know what candy corn was made out of. I assumed it was edible wax (I’ve established in prior articles that I wasn’t very bright. I ate too much lead-based paint and paste).
Welp, like the bastardization of jelly beans, Oreos and Doritos, candy corn now also comes in a multitude of flavors.
Anyhoo, never missing an opportunity to purchase too many sweets in the name of research, I bought $30 worth of candy corn (much to the dismay of the cashier at my local supermarket) and assembled a crack team of experts (my wife, stepdaughter, and stepson), and we rated nine (!) varieties of candy corn.
The ratings are based on the Wong-Baker FACES pain scale, meaning that the lower the score, the better the candy corn. The number assigned to each is an average.
Candy Corn (Brachs) — The classic that keeps on getting better with age. Even my wife will attest to how good these are. True story: When I walked in the house with the bags and bags of candy corn, my wife admonished me for bringing them in the house. Flash forward a half an hour, and she sheepishly hid her hand behind her back when I entered the room. "Honey, do you have candy corn in your hand?" "Mphh chomp no. Chomp." Average score: 1.5.
Candy Corn (Generic) — Everyone’s favorite. The generics have a better texture than the name-brand, my wife said. She then said that she only liked eating the white part of the candy corn, to which I responded, “racist.” Good times. Average score: 1.
Caramel Candy Corn — Very solid. Outside of the traditional flavors, this one tested highest among all the experts. “OMG,” said Hannah (who, incidentally, may be the only person I know who actually says, "O-M-G"). She gave it a zero. It was her favorite, while Daniel gave it a respectable 4. My wife and I both fell in the middle. Average score: 2.
Indian Candy Corn — Not sure if Daniel Snyder owns the rights to this brand of candy corn, but whoever does ought to change the name. Anyhoo, it also was one of the least popular in terms of taste. “That’s all nasty,” my wife said. Hannah was similarly unimpressed, giving it a whopping 10. Daniel, presumably because he either doesn’t have taste buds or he just wanted to disagree with his sister, gave it a 3. My wife and I gave it a 6 and 8, respectively. Average score: 6.8.
Caramel Apple Candy Corn — One of the more controversial of the choices, Daniel loved them, while Hannah couldn’t stand them. “It tastes like a Granny Smith apple,” Daniel said. “You can’t taste much of the caramel,” Hannah complained. Anyway, the average isn’t too surprising — you either love Granny Smith apples or you don’t. Daniel gave it a 2, Hannah gave it an 8. Wifey and I gave it a 4. Average score: 4.5.
Candy Pumpkins — Technically not candy corn, these were tested because they’re in the candy corn realm. Consider them the fat, loud, drunk uncles of the candy corn family. The kids, naturally, love them because they are candy corn in a larger delivery system. “You don’t have to eat as many to get sick,” Hannah said. Parents loathe them because they are candy corn in a larger delivery system. Daniel and Hannah gave these a 1. My wife gave them a 3 and I give them a 4. Average score: 2.25.
Starburst Candy Corn — Candy corn that comes in Starburst flavors. Kids, these things are nuclear. No lie, I gave one to Hannah, whose face lit up like I imagine a heroin addict’s does on his first shot. “This is the way I want to feel for the rest of my life,” her expression said. She insisted later that she didn’t like them, but I’m not so sure. “My eyes were wide with disgust,” she said. Anyway, I opened the bag two weeks ago, and it’s remained untouched for 13 days. They’re just too sweet. Average score:10.
Candy Corn and Nuts — This combination is mentioned in the Book of Leviticus in the Bible as an abomination. Here’s the thing. Shocking as it may be for me to write this, it’s actually pretty good. The salty peanuts turned out to be the perfect complements to the always-way-too-sweet candy corn. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a change of pace. Average score: 3.75.
S’Mores Candy Corn — Friends, I want you all to go out and get yourselves hammers and nails. Take one nail, place it against your tongue, and use the hammer to drive it through. If you did that, congratulations, you just had a more pleasant experience. I spat out the only piece I tried to eat. My wife quit eating hers. Hannah, a girl whom I have never seen turn down sweets, refused a second offering. Daniel, ever the contrarian, insisted that he liked them. “More for me,” he said. Don’t listen to Daniel. How bad are S’mores Candy Corn? I’d rather eat black licorice. And I’d rather eat cigarette butts than black licorice. Average score:8.25.
In the end, we had our share of disagreements during our taste test. But there was one thing in which we were all in accord:
“I feel like I’m going to hurl,” Hannah said when we were done.We all nodded our heads.