Welcome to the annual celebration of low impulse control known as Halloween.
Children can anticipate the sheer volume and variety of candy tha
t is bound their way. For adults, Halloween presents a more complex decision-making task. That is, which candy to purchase for the Halloween night giveaway.
For some, buying candy is merely a utilitarian task. What candy will serve the greatest number of children for the lowest investment? Others choose their favourite, while the most health conscious choose the candy they’re least likely to eat themselves. The most freewheeling will buy as many types as they can and still be considered ethical.
In a straw poll conducted among my social circle and the kids at my bus stop, there was no clear victor in the candy competition, though some front runners did emerge.
Top three: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Coffee Crisp, and surprise underdog, Rockets, the closest thing to pure sugar without being an actual baking ingredient.
I originally conducted this poll to test a hypothesis that has been percolating in my mind since first observing my daughter’s reaction to her candy bag. My theory is this: children and adults are fundamentally divided along the chocolate line, hereafter known as the Great Chocolate Schism.
Adults buy chocolate bars because they think children like chocolate. The truth is that adults themselves like it. Children conversely prefer the sweetest and stickiest candy available—suckers, gummies, and the sugar jackpot: pixie sticks.
A likely explanation is that mini chocolate bars were rather scarce when many parents of trick or treaters were children themselves, so they consider them to be the most valuable Halloween bag commodity.
On the contrary, children receive a bounty of chocolate bars and a relative scarcity of pure candy. The result? They now consider such banal candy as suckers, Starburst, and even Halloween kisses to be the more desirable. Supply and demand, baby.
My hypothesis remains unproven due to the small sample size, but in the course of my research, a different pattern emerged. Halloween candy preference may not be merely a matter of taste, but of one’s overall personality type. Results follow.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: You are creative-minded and detail-oriented. You like M.C. Escher, 3-D jigsaw puzzles, and vertical food.
Twizzlers: You like structure and predictability. You appreciate the subtle nuances between stirring and shaking, not that you yourself would ever drink a cocktail.
Mars bars: You are flexible and fun-loving. You don’t mind if your caramel, nougat, and almonds are indistinguishable, just as you do not mind if your mashed potatoes touch your salad.
Rockets: You like the simple life and you are a purist. You would like it if everyone dressed as their own hidden emotion for Halloween.
M & Ms: You have trouble making decisions. You may buy one bag of plain and one bag of peanut. You may have commitment issues.
Gum: You’re persistent and a hard worker. You would push a stone uphill for the rest of eternity if you had to.
Popcorn balls: You are a back-to-the-lander who believes in sustainable candy practices. You would never make a small child sing a song at your door in order to obtain a treat.
Kit-Kat: You are generous and egalitarian. You would never actually give yourself a Kit-Kat or give yourself a break because that would be presumptuous. You may be Norwegian.