Candy is supposed to be an enjoyable treat for both kids and kids at heart. However, some brands manage to miss the mark, and make eating candy a completely repulsive experience. Prepare for disappointment with this list of the Top 10 Worst Candies Ever, RANKED!
10. Tootsie Rolls
Getting enough Tootsie Rolls to feed your entire family on Halloween is an inevitable reality of this spooky holiday. However, the novelty of these chewy candies died off after eating no more than two of them, and the rest of your Tootsie Rolls were always the first to be sacrificed to your parents, who demanded to get their hands on some of your loot. Invented in the late 19th century, Tootsie Rolls are chewy chocolate-flavored candies that are oftentimes sliced into small cylindrical shapes. Though they’re chewy and soft, they don’t tend to melt easily, making them suitable to eat in any weather. However, it doesn’t seem like anyone really seeks out Tootsie Rolls when it’s not Halloween, making them pretty much irrelevant in the other 364 days of the year. Though Tootsie Rolls are pretty underwhelming candies that no one actively tries to get their hands on, their lollipop equivalent deserves some recognition; Tootsie Pops are among the best lollipops out there, with their chewy center being particularly tasty after you’ve been hard at work counting how many licks it takes to get to it. Combining the Tootsie Roll with the hard candy of a lollipop was a genius move on the company’s part, but it still manages to be a mystery just how the OG Tootsie Rolls still manage to come back and plague our Halloween parties every single year.
9. Milk Duds
In theory, these chocolate-coated caramel chunks sound like a dream; however, the execution of Milk Duds are where they fall painfully flat, especially compared to other caramel candies on the market. Created in 1928 and originally intended on being round, chocolate-covered caramel morsels, the oval-shaped “duds” that were considered rejects eventually took precedence as they candy’s signature shape. If you’re a fan of chocolate-coated anything, you’ll be disappointed to know that the chocolatey coating found on every Milk Dud isn’t really chocolate at all; but rather, a combination of cocoa and vegetable oil, used in lots of candies to cut costs. This doesn’t help Milk Duds’ case, which have amassed a pretty negative reputation for being bland-tasting and impossible to chew. When you manage to finally bite into one, the caramel sticks to your teeth for dear life, and could probably rip them right out if you aren’t careful. More often than not, the candies tend to melt together in the box, creating a giant Franken-Dud that you’d have to pry apart in order to eat properly. If you’re hungry for chocolate-covered caramel, you’d probably enjoy a bag of Rolos instead of a box of Milk Duds; you can taste the difference in quality between the two, with the latter of the two tasting more like plastic than candy by comparison. Though no one can deny that the idea behind Milk Duds is a good one, the execution of these chocolate-covered caramels makes them live up to their name.
Though Bit-O-Honey may not have as offensive of a flavor as some of the other entries on this list, it’s safe to say that no kids are going to be happy if you offer them one of these candies when they knock on your door on Halloween. It’s essentially a chewy base (think Tootsie Roll) but with honey and almonds inside, making it taste sweet but lacking much else in terms of flavor profile. Though putting honey into hard candies has proven to be successful (especially among adults), Bit-O-Honey doesn’t offer you the luxury of a lozenge; instead, you have to chew on a saccharinely sweet, nutty brick for several minutes, which is a recipe for disaster if you’re someone who enjoys candy that has more flavor to it than simply being sugary. With that being said, it’s a wonder how the honeybees in Bee Movie didn’t get rid of these underwhelming confections immediately after winning the lawsuit against humans and getting all their honey back — in fact, we’d probably be better off without Bit-O-Honey, considering it can’t really be enjoyed by kids or adults. If you thought you could hand these over for Grandma to enjoy after seeing them in your Halloween loot, think again; Bit-O-Honey is so chewy that this disappointing and uninspired candy would probably make her dentures pop right out if she tried to bite into one. Honey candies can be great if they’re served alongside hot beverages and scones, but the unpleasant and cavity-inducing experience that comes with eating Bit-O-Honey means we won’t be reaching for it during our next tea party.
7. Hot Tamales
Cinnamon has always been a polarizing flavor when it comes to sweets; though it’s delicious in baked goods and in certain savory dishes, it hasn’t exactly gained the best reputation among candy fans. Hot Tamales are cinnamon-flavored jelly candies with an intense, spicy flavor. Their gimmick since being introduced in 1950 was that they were the hottest candy on the market, which has definitely been enough to keep them in business up to the present day, but hasn’t been enough to save their reputation as being a disappointing candy. Most people will only enjoy cinnamon flavoring if it’s in baked goods, so putting it in a jelly-based candy doesn’t seem like the best idea. The cinnamon flavor in itself already means that you’re advertising to a select group of people who don’t mind cinnamon candy, but the added spiciness only narrows down the customer base even further. Only cinnamon fans with spice tolerances will be able to properly enjoy Hot Tamales, with the rest of the general public viewing them as a disappointing candy that’s pretty unpleasant to eat. Hot Tamales can be fun if you want to test your spice tolerance, but you won’t be coming back for more if you’re part of the 99% majority who can’t stand cinnamon-flavored jelly beans. If you want to make trick-or-treaters’ mouths burn on Halloween and be considered a horrible person by the rest of the neighborhood, Hot Tamales will be your best friend.
Love them or hate them, America’s number-one gumdrop brand doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. They’ve amassed a loyal following among frequent moviegoers and lovers of classic candies, but the hate for these gumdrops manages to outweigh even the most outspoken of fans. The controversial reputation that follows Dots has managed to infect the internet, with numerous memes either promoting or denouncing the candy being plastered all over Google. Those who hate them may describe Dots as having an unpleasant, medicinal taste. Not only that, people describe the texture of these candies as being way too hard, making them impossible to bite into properly. Gumdrops are supposed to be soft and easy to bite into, but you may as well be chewing on diamonds if you end up opening a bad box of Dots. Though they are vegetarian and halal, there are far tastier gummy candies to choose from if you’re looking for something that will accommodate any dietary restrictions. Some Haribo candies and Swedish Fish also fit these restrictions, and are also a lot easier to eat than Dots. These gumdrop candies may have some appeal if you’re part of an older demographic, but they definitely don’t have a place in a kid’s Halloween stash.
5. Good and Plenty
It’s almost impossible to find anyone who actually likes black licorice anymore, so it’s a wonder how Good and Plenty still makes its mark in movie theaters across the country. The candy is a cylindrical capsule of black licorice wrapped in a pink-and-white candy coating, and has existed since the late 19th century. If you purchase a box of Good and Plenty without knowing exactly what it is, you’re bound to be disappointed when you bite into one and find it’s full of spicy, unpleasant black licorice. Though Twizzlers and Redvines have managed to keep strawberry licorice afloat in the candy industry, black licorice seems completely outdated, even among an older marketing demographic. However, this doesn’t mean that Good and Plenty will be going anywhere anytime soon; the brand has been bounced around to different companies since the early 1970s, with it finally landing in the hands of candy giant Hershey in 1996. With a profitable company like Hershey in charge of producing Good and Plenty, it’s unlikely that they’ll suffer huge losses if this candy fails commercially, which means they can probably afford to continue selling it to the tiny percentage of consumers who don’t mind black licorice. If you aren’t one of these people, you’re better off picking out a box of Mike and Ikes the next time you’re looking for something sweet to munch on at the movie theater.
4. Candy Buttons
Though they may be cute to look at, candy buttons are a complete waste of your time otherwise. They may have an “Old-Fashioned” appeal, but there are far more appetizing old-fashioned candies to choose from instead of these tiny, disappointing dots of sugar. It already takes some effort to pry them off the paper, but matters only get worse when you bite into one and realize it tastes like absolutely nothing; though candy buttons are supposedly flavored, they don’t taste like much more than crunchy, vibrantly-colored sugar. Not only that, but you’re pretty much out of luck if any of them melt onto the paper; picking the buttons off becomes a nightmare, and you’ll more often than not end up with paper in your mouth. If you’re peeking around in a classic candy shop, you’re much better off picking up some artisan chocolates or saltwater taffy before paying actual money for candy buttons; having only been made in the 1930s, their “Old-Fashioned” label doesn’t quite measure up to some of the other, tastier candies that have been around for longer. Candy buttons are high-effort and little reward, so you’d probably be a lot happier spending your money on a candy that takes less time to eat and tastes far more appetizing.
3. NECCO Wafers
Were you ever excited to see these in your Halloween haul? Necco Wafers have always been associated with disappointment, seeing as no one seems to enjoy eating them. No matter your age or location, it’s safe to say that a vast majority of people actively dislike Necco Wafers, and for good reason. Although it’s worth noting that Necco Wafers have been in distribution since 1847, their impressive lifespan doesn’t justify their chalky, crumbly texture and questionable taste. With flavors like wintergreen, clove, and licorice in their arsenal, it doesn’t seem like Necco Wafers have updated at all in the past two centuries, making them taste completely outdated when pitted against other candies. Although it’s possible to do the chalky, powdery candy well — take Wonka SweeTarts, for example — Necco completely misses the mark in the 21st century. With that being said, their Wafers do seem to have a fascinating history; the New England Confectionery Company was actually ordered to produce more Wafers to distribute to soldiers in World War II, making them a popular sweet once the war ended. Though they were at the top of their game in the mid-20th century, Necco never updated these sweets, making them fade into obscurity once newer and better treats came along. This may have been one of the reasons why the New England Confectionery Company filed for bankruptcy in recent years, serving as a cautionary tale for other would-be candymakers that updating recipes is oftentimes crucial to keeping candies relevant in an ever-changing market.
2. Candy Corn
If you looked in the Hall of Fame for the world’s most hated candies, candy corn would hold a pretty significant spot. Candy corn has become infamous for being hated by a good chunk of the population, likely because it tastes like pure sugar and barely anything else — and they’re right. Candy corn, invented in the 1880s by a man named George Renninger, was originally made with a mixture of sugar and corn syrup, making it little more than sugar in the shape and color of a corn kernel. Nowadays, factories make candy corn with other ingredients like fondant and coloring, but the ingredients otherwise haven’t changed much. You might as well just be inhaling sugar by eating it, and it doesn’t taste interesting enough to justify shoving a handful of it into your mouth. With that being said, it feels like we’re all subjected to try this candy every Halloween, wondering if the taste has grown on us at all in the past 364 days. No matter how you feel about this divisive candy, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be going anywhere in the next few years; despite its negative reputation, candy corn has practically become synonymous with “Halloween spirit,” meaning that we’re pretty much doomed to see it at Halloween parties for years to come. If you find it in your stash, don’t worry; there always seems to be one person who’s obsessed with candy corn at every Halloween party who’d be willing to take it off your hands.
1. Circus Peanuts
Candy corn may get a lot of flack for being one of the most hated candies around, but circus peanuts are an all-around unappealing experience, making it a miracle that they still somehow exist and are sold in most dollar stores and gas stations. Having been in production since the 19th century, there’s no doubt these peculiar peanuts have a rich history, but even an interesting backstory can’t defend the odd and frankly repulsive qualities these candies tend to have. They’re marketed as marshmallow peanuts, which seems innocent enough — until you find out that most circus peanuts use artificial banana flavoring. Unless you’re marketing to a very specific niche, banana flavoring is essentially the kiss of death to most candies, which is why it rarely serves as the primary taste of any candy. It seems completely counterintuitive to market a marshmallow peanut without making it taste like peanuts at all, let alone adding the questionable banana flavoring. The survival of circus peanuts may be tied to how they don’t seem to be associated with one company in particular, unlike most of the other entries on this list. Circus peanuts are usually offered by the generic brands in convenience stores and gas stations, or advertised as penny candy in old-timey candy boutiques. Because they’re not tied to a single brand, circus peanuts have managed to withstand the test of time — even if we’d much rather use them to pack boxes instead of consuming them.