Prepare yourselves: I am about to tell you a horrible thing.
One of my classmates during my public health studies casually mentioned the day after Halloween that she'd given trick or treaters tuna pouches. The lemon pepper flavor.
Now, this is not a swipe against tuna. I think it's very tasty and I'm almost always in favor of eating it. And it's nothing against my former classmate; she's a wonderful person.
But this? Tuna packets? Desks must be pounded and fistfuls of hair clutched in agony. It's wrong on multiple levels, which I will enumerate here:
1. YOU DO NOT GIVE OUT TUNA ON HALLOWEEN!!! GAAAAHHH!! Thither lies the road to anarchy and I will not be a part of it.
2. Imagine being those mystified children pouring their booty onto the living room floor: Snickers, Snickers, Reese's, Twix, Starkist...?
3. I mean, gross. What's wrong with Snickers?
4. Even on sale, tuna packets are like a dollar each. I am not giving the small, costumed beggars at my front door something for which I paid a dollar each.
5. Seriously, just turn your porch light off and pretend you're not home. You can always watch Netflix on your phone from the comfort of your dark living room.
Again, this is not a rant against tuna or public health object lessons — I was snack shamed plenty during my studies — but it's like some people fundamentally and consistently miss the point. Anyone who ever came home from trick or treating with toothbrushes, pennies, single-serving vitamin packets or religious tracts in their bags can attest to this.
Plus! There's data to support me. A few weeks ago, the candy researchers — this is a job, apparently, and I want it — at candystore.com released their list of the most popular Halloween candies by state, aggregated from sales figures on the approximately $2.6 billion Americans spend on Halloween candy.
I have to say, as a nation things are not looking so hot for us. In Colorado, our top three in order are Twix, Hershey's Kisses and Milky Way. That's pretty OK, I guess, and it definitely could be worse. We could be North Dakota, where the top three are candy corn, Hot Tamales and Jolly Ranchers. It's like they've internalized how the wind never stops blowing and translated that into bleak Halloween performance art.
I never thought I'd say this, but you know who gets it? North Carolina. Their top three are Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, M&Ms and Snickers. I'd feel better if peanut butter M&Ms were specified, but we can't be picky in these challenging times.
Maybe what we need is a list establishing a candy hierarchy, best to worst, which people who don't know any better can take to the store with them. I'm civic-minded like that. To wit:
1. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: Obviously.
But also 1. Take 5: I don't understand why these things aren't more popular. Minstrels should be writing songs and poets writing odes to them. Pretzels, peanut butter, caramel, peanuts and chocolate — THIS IS EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD IN THE WORLD!
2. Snickers: What I've always loved is how they're positioned as the filling snack choice. It's like, "Say, if you don't have an Oatmega bar handy, eat a Snickers! Same thing, pretty much!"
3. Almond Joy: They have the fortitude to commit to that almond, unlike the Mounds bars I won't even dignify with a list placement, and I respect that.
4. Kit Kat: Weird wafer food for which there's a distinct correct (break apart, eat each stick individually) and incorrect (just bite it like a heathen) way to eat it. I dig that.
5. Butterfinger: This bad boy gets so compacted into the crevices of your molars, but in a good way.
6. Peanut butter M&Ms: The apex M&M.
7. Tootsie Pops: These are perfect for throwing in your purse after Halloween, forgetting they're there, rediscovering them months later and feeling disproportionately happy considering the size of the occasion.
8. Twix: I mean, I'm not going to say no to them.
33. Milky Way: We're talking a "If it's between no candy and this Milky Way, I suppose I'll eat this Milky Way" situation.
34. Dum Dums: A waste of 26 calories.
35. Smarties: Sad chalk cylinders without the fortitude to be Necco wafers.
36. Three Musketeers: Why are you so soft?? It's unnerving.
37. Laffy Taffy: Too sweet with an appalling aftertaste. Maybe I should write their ad copy.
38. Hershey's Special Dark: Ennui in bar form.
39. Candy corn: Might you have a religious tract instead? Or a tuna pouch?
Rachel Sauer is at firstname.lastname@example.org and would love to learn your Halloween hierarchy, even though this one is obviously correct.