As homes are besieged Halloween night by adorable candy-seeking freeloaders, one thing is sure.
You will be judged.
Since time immemorial — or at least dating back to “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” when the round-headed kid reveals he got a rock — children have paused at the end of each driveway to compare confectionery notes.
Now that social media has turned Halloween into trick or tweet, don’t be the family that’s tagged #candyfail.
If you hand out quality goods, you might even earn a post on the Instagram feed of your neighborhood’s most influential tastemaker (that 10-year-old with the podcast).
Here is our list of candies trending up and down and what each one says about the person handing it out.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: You embrace the way generosity can mask your tendency to overachieve, setting a high bar for your neighbors. But it’s not about you, it’s about the kids and what they’ll say about your candy style.
Milky Way: You’re a little bit country (nougat) and a little bit rock and roll (caramel). You like to be creative but in a way that doesn’t attract attention. You probably also have a nice ceramic pumpkin lighting the way to your door.
Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups: You have faith in the underdog, backing an unproven rookie against the undisputed champ, Reese’s. That flawed but admirable faith has you planning a trip to Cleveland in June to see the Phoenix Suns take on the Cavaliers in the NBA finals.
Snickers: You are old-school, going back to times when candy wasn’t the occasional splurge but a solid snack that could get you to dinner without once thinking of the nutritional ramifications. The true Snickers believers know that only full-size bars will do.
Sour Smurfs: You’re unafraid to chew blue as these diminutive pop-culture icons of the 1980s continue their resurgence in candy form. Who knew Smurfs would ever be cool again (assuming they ever were)? Your vintage life will be even better when someone makes cinnamon Care Bears.
Hershey’s Miniatures: You love the freedom of choice as long as variety is convenient. But your selfish part skims the dark-chocolate miniatures off the top while making sure the Mr. Goodbars are first to go. Your priorities are acceptable.
Plain or Peanut M&Ms: You’re drawn by the simplicity of a chocolate candy that melts in your mouth, not in your hand. But those other M&M flavors, like caramel and peanut butter, merely have you thinking, “What, you too good for plain or peanut?” If you could, you’d tell pretzel M&Ms to get off your damn lawn.
Twix: You enjoy the balance of caramel, chocolate and cookie as well as how it holds the promise of dietary willpower. You can have one bar now and save the other one for later. “Later” is, of course, subjective.
Snack-size Skor bars: You are accustomed to disappointment because, despite the fact Skor (toffee covered in chocolate) is one of the finest candy bars ever made, there are no snack-size Skors. And when you go on change.org, you see your “Make snack-size Skors” petition has just 16 signatures. Where’s the outrage?
Candy corn: You are clueless yet politically correct, remembering the days you wouldn’t pass out this plain, one-note candy when it was called Indian corn. You believe everyone gets what they pay for, including trick-or-treaters (especially trick-or-treaters). When met with the inevitable looks of disappointment, you’ve said, “Dial 1-800-NO-ONE-CARES,” as if anyone younger than 20 knows the significance of a toll-free number.
Runts, Nerds and Gobstoppers: You know nothing about the candy other than the box includes the name of a confectionery company with a literary connection (Willy Wonka, from Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”) So it must be good. You take a sample and think, “Too late now.”
Dum Dum Pops: You are cruel, vindictive and conniving. You suffered some confectionery trauma when you were young, and this is your revenge. Your sadistic streak causes you to hand out only the watermelon- and peach-flavored pops.
Now & Laters: You are a down-on-your-luck dentist who has seen the dental devastation wrought by this extremely chewy candy. Its ability to remove fillings and cause decay means that if you give them out now, you’ll see these trick-or-treaters later.
Trail mix: Your staunch support of healthy snacks does not waver, even on Halloween. Never mind that you will wake to find nuts and dried fruits scattered about your front yard. The birds will feast.
Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Roll Pops and Dots: You are a dedicated Costco shopper who buys everything in bulk. That 12-pound sack of Tootsie-related candy is from 2008, and it seems in good shape.
Pixie Stix: You live in a past filled with gum cigars and candy cigarettes. You remember the thrill of sucking down this flavored sugar while watching TV shows that came in the only way possible — by cable. You’re still trying to wrap your head around this clamshell phone your kids gave you. It’s not attached to anything, not even a cable.
Smarties: You’ve been navigating rough financial waters lately, so handing out these inexpensive rolls of flavored chalk allows you to participate in the annual candy giveaway. Still, a little bit of you dies with each Smarties that drops into the bag of an innocent child.
Popcorn balls: You are 87-year-old Jeanne Lungren of La Junta, Colo., the neighborhood grandmother who hires local children for chores and pays them in baked goods. You are wise, beloved and the last of your kind. If you are not Jeanne Lungren, any attempt to distribute homemade popcorn balls at Halloween likely will result in costly citations issued by the county health department.