By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Halloween is this weekend.
In fact the holiday is on the perfect day — Saturday. No school or church interference for the youth of America and adults can plan a festive party. But remember, Sunday morning some people might be heading to service and to be responsible with your parties.
If you are making the holiday all about the kids, you should have plenty of great candy near the front door. Make your interactions quick to help with social distancing. Children must wear mask… but this time they can be Spider Man, Barbie, Jim Carey’s Mask or a former U.S. President.
If the children meet the mandate of sporting a cool mask, reward them with sanitized treats. Last week I gave you guys a few fruit-based treats to toss in the candy bags. In the past I broke down the best chocolate bars of all time.
This week I’m going to rank the best variety candy on the market. The qualifications for this Best Sellers’ List are treats that come in a high quantity package. They can be individually wrapped within the bag or box. For example these honorable mentions: Ferrero Rocher, Caramel Squares, Chewing Gum, Andes Chocolate Mints, Mentos, Dum Dum Pops, Smarties, Sour Punch Straws, Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream Drops, Sugar Daddy and Sugar Babies and Bit-O-Honey.
- Reese’s Pieces
This confectionery item was introduced to the world in 1978. Just a few years later it got a boost in sales with the help of an extraterrestrial being. Reese’s Pieces became one of my favorites around 1986. Not a big fan of peanut-based snacks, Reese’s Pieces are a good reason for me to phone home and ask my mom to buy a bag. The candy is a peanut butter candy manufactured by The Hershey Company. I gave them a try because they look like one of my all-time favorite candies, Skittles. Reese’s Pieces have a similar oblate spheroid shape and are covered in candy shells. But the main differences from Skittles are Reese’s Pieces are colored yellow, orange or brown. The interior is a sweet, smooth peanut butter pace. Love this candy by the hand-full.
- Werther’s Original Caramel Apple
Growing up watching a commercial for Werther’s Original candy, I thought it was melodramatic. It couldn’t be true a piece of this candy brings such pleasure to a child or adult.
Once I tried an original piece of hard candy, I fell in love with Werther’s. Then the chewy version was addictive. But in the new millennium, I put Werther’s on the back burner gravitating away from candy overall. Until one day I cam across Werther’s Original Caramel Apple. It was a long overdue marriage of familiar flavors wrapped in the signature caramel of Werther’s.
Invented in a small European village of Werther, candy-maker Gustav Nebel gave the world that wonderful caramel. I plan one day to pass a piece of the original and caramel apple versions to my grandchild to relive those commercials.
- Charms Blow Pops
Charms Blow Pops are lollipops with bubble gum in the center. I get three treats in one candy? Sign me up yesterday. I arrive to a lollipop. Then I get a great tasting hard-candy shell. Finally after enjoying the candy, I’m rewarded with bubble gum to blow bubbles.
Who is responsible for this greatness? The candy was popularized by The Charms Candy Company in 1969. Invention of the candy is attributed to Ross Cameron, Walter Reid, and Vince Ciccone. Blow Pops became the Charms Candy Company’s best-selling product of all time. Now another great fact about the Blow Pop, it’s produced right up the road in Covington.
The Charms Candy Company moved its manufacturing plant from Bloomfield, N.J. to Freehold, N.J. in 1973. The company eventually purchased and built a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Tipton County, which is currently still being used to produce Charms candies.
A virgo just like me, M&M’s were born September 10, 1941. Lord’s will when I turn 40, the legendary candy will hit the big 8-0 three days later. I’ll make sure to grab a bag of peanut, brownie, peanut butter, pretzel… anything but plain. M&M’s are the king of variety on the candy market. For years it has melted in our mouths and hearts with delicious various like white chocolate, hazelnut and dark chocolate.
The candy originated in the United States in 1941 and M&M’s have been sold in more than 100 countries since 2003. Legend has it that the candy-coated chocolate concept was inspired by a method used to allow soldiers in the Spanish Civil War from 1936–1939. In the warm weather, the soldiers could still carry their treats.
Since then armies of children and over-grown children march with a bag in one hand and pour into the free hand. That common pose of twisting your wrist to release an M&M a time is a worldwide tradition.
- Hershey Kiss and Hershey Hug Almonds
Hershey is the champion of the chocolate world. With a smooth taste and variety of options, Hershey’s will be welcomed in any bag Saturday night. But for us adults that need a quick boost of chocolate, the Kisses and Hugs serve us very well.
Most people see this treat around Christmas in green, red and silver foil. You don’t have to wait until November with versions on the market like Special Dark, Caramel and Cookies ‘n’ Cream.
Hershey Kisses or Hugs are the type of candy that will keep you going back and forth to the office break table all day.
- SweeTarts Chewies
This candy could be fruit-based but it’s just a sweet tangy treat. SweetTarts come in sweet and sour candies and were invented by Menlo F. Smith, CEO of Sunline Inc., in 1962. SweeTarts are a combination of Pixy Stix and Lik-M-Aid.
For years the candy was sold to the public in a semi-hard version with flavors of cherry, grape, lemon, lime, and orange. Now SweeTarts have a couple of new flavors and a chewy version. It’s a dream come true. I can get to the burst of flavor quicker and eat more bags or rolls of the candy.
I thought America was the land of candy-creative genius. But my research over the past few weeks, I have to give a shout out to those creators decades ago across the pond that provided us with sweet happiness for a lifetime.
When my dad introduced me to Rolo 30 years ago, I thought it would be a simple chocolate candy. But that perfect texture of toffee inside made me fall in love at first bite. The Rolo product was developed in England by Mackintosh’s. The simple combination of Mackintosh’s Toffee and a chocolate coating was first sold in 1937. Rolo was first sold in 1937.
Of course Hershey became the U.S. manufacturer in 1969 and has pushed Rolo to the masses through yoghurts, ice cream, Easter eggs and McDonald’s McFlurry.
That night my dad gave me some Rolos, he told me, ‘They’re good? I bet not catch you stealing mine.’ Of course he would buy me my own roll.
Three years prior to the invention of Rolo, another classic chocolate treat was created in Riesen. And it was during my pre-teens my dad came to me with another bag of candy. ‘Hey son try this.’
I opened the dark brown bag and gave it a weird look. But I learned to trust my dad’s candy selections. So I opened the Riesen and unwrapped a piece. At first it was a tough chew but I kept going. Then a delicious flavor emerged from the candy.
‘This is good dad.’
Unlike the Rolo, ‘You can have the whole bag. Enjoy son.’ He wasn’t a big fan but he made sure I would have them on a regular basis. Riesen is German for giant. And this chocolate and chocolate-flavored caramel product is one of the best candies to ever grace my tongue.
- Milk Duds
Let’s come back to the States for this iconic candy. Your teeth might hate you, but the rest of your mouth will thank you for eating Milk Duds.
Milk Duds are a caramel ball covered in chocolate. Once you open that yellowish-orange box, the candy appears to be shy and close-knit.
Once you pull them a part, you can enjoy Milk Duds piece by piece. Back in 1928 this candy hit the market and according to the manufacturer, the word “Milk” in the candy’s name refers to the large amount of milk in the product. Then the use of “Dud” came about because the original aim of having a perfectly spherical piece was found to be impossible.
Since 2008, the product has used milk chocolate and it has enhanced the flavor. One of the best candies in the world is a fresh box of Milk Duds. But like real, they do have an expiration date and can go noticeably bad.
All over the world people enjoy chocolate-covered raisins. Simple recipe with a powerful, delicious impression. In America we love Raisinets since 1927. It depends on where you are in the world, its a different brand. But I’ll put our smooth milk chocolate-covered plump and juicy raisins up against Paynes Poppets any day.
There are a few imitations on the market that will get you through a picnic, but for that perfect late-night snack you have to grab the best in Raisinets.
For your information, if you catch me wearing a yellow sweater this fall or Saturday, I’m expecting mild conditions with a chance of rain… raining Raisinets.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to email@example.com.