The Worst Halloween Treats, Ever

As an adult, I just can’t get behind Halloween. Sure, I go to costume parties almost every year, but the holiday just doesn’t have the same allure for me that it has for many others who start getting excited about it when September rolls around (my husband is included in this bunch). As a kid, it’s a time to play dress-up and beg for the candy you’ve been deprived of all year — and then eat it with reckless abandon until you either fall into a diabetic coma or your parents come to their senses and take it away.

But some of the “candy” — well, it was absolutely useless. Mere filler in our trick-or-treat bags (yes, we used bags. I believe they glowed in the dark, too). Here’s the worst of the worst, from what my poor memory allows me to remember.

The Crappiest Halloween “Treats” of the 1980s

Necco Wafers. If I wanted a chalky, near-tasteless wafer, I’d go to church and receive communion! C’mon, now.

100 Grand. In my entire life, I’ve never seen anyone go out to the store and pick up a 100 Grand bar of their own volition. This nasty candy only comes out of the woodwork at Halloween — probably because it’s on sale and people are trying to buy the cheapest candy they can find.

Mary Janes. What were these? I don’t think I ever ate one — I knew they weren’t chocolate! Wikipedia tells me it’s a taffy-like “candy” made of molasses and peanut butter. And… wait for it… they’re made by NECCO. Well, that explains it.

Chunky. A hunk of chocolate (so far, so good) with peanuts AND raisins. #candyfail

A stack of pennies — wrapped in tape. We had a neighbor up the street who was nice enough, but when it came to trick-or-treaters, she decided handing out pennies was the way to go. But we had to give her props for taking the time to put them in nice little stacks kept together with Scotch tape.

Circus peanuts. I’m pretty certain I received some of these, loose, on one or two Halloweens. Ew.

Apples. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Just plain ol’ apples — not even the candied kind. If we wanted healthy snacks, would we be out begging for candy? Luckily for us, all those myths (and some actual instances here in New Jersey) of sickos putting razorblades and pins in apples saved us from this Halloween indignity.

Boxes of raisins. Same thing as the apples. I put raisins on my cereal as a kid, so they had a healthy connotation. These were also left in the trick-or-treat bag to rot.

Treats I loved

Rollerball pens. Back in the 80s, I thought this was a super-cool alternative to candy. I didn’t know this neighbor well, so I don’t know what he did for a living. Maybe he was a dentist and abhorred the idea of giving out sweets. No matter his reasoning, I applaud his ingenuity, and love this type of pen to this day.

Bags of chips. Further up the street, about 2 blocks away, was the house where they gave out the snack-size bags of chips. Naturally, by nature of their larger size (but not weight, of course), we thought we hit the jackpot. To this day, this family owns a popular grease truck from which they sell hot dogs and these blessed bags of potato chip goodness.

Full-size candy bars. Perhaps these neighbors were just trying to outdo the rest of the block, but as kids, we thought they were the bee’s knees.

I’m sure some of you can scare up some horror stories about your Halloween trick-or-treat booty. Let’s hear ’em!

44 comments to The Worst Halloween Treats, Ever

  • I’m not so much a fan of the Sugar Daddies. Big hunk of hard caramel that sticks in your teeth…no thanks.

    Circus peanuts, scary. Or there’s the Boston Baked Beans. I know they’re not really beans, but I don’t want to eat a candy that’s dressed up as a legume.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jan Hayes, Nicole. Nicole said: The Worst Halloween Treats, Ever – There's some gross candy-givers out there! […]

  • I love Necco wafers!

    I definitely am not a fan of the raisins, raisinettes, or mike & ike’s. And as a kid I hated candy corn, that was terrible.

  • Bring the Mary Janes over here! I’ll trade my Reese’s pb cups (yes, I can’t stand them, I know I’m a weirdo).

  • michele

    * Anything loose or homemade: Don’t give me a lovingly handwrapped brownie; you know damn well it won’t pass parental muster.
    * Ferrara Pan stuff. Boston Baked Beans, Lemonheads… I like some of them now, but the packaging always looked old, even back then.
    * One anything. If you’re giving out minis, don’t dare just give me one!
    * Apples. I always hoped to be the kid who would find the razor blade, figuring it would force my parents to buy me tons and tons of any candy I’d like to make up for the trauma. Every untampered-with apple was a fail.
    * Antique candy: I don’t care if it’s Reese’s Easter eggs; I do NOT want it from a stranger when it’s been aging for 6 months. And please, if it’s been sitting in a candy dish, at least make sure that it hasn’t melted through the wrapper before you give it out.

  • Liz

    I hate all those loose hard candies, like peppermints, strawberry wrapped things and butterscotch. They throw those in there with Smarties and Bottlecaps. You can STILL buy a giant bag for $5.

  • I was never a huge candy lover, though I loved going trick-or-treating as a kid; it was the costumes that always got me! I can’t say I had any one particular favorite, candy in general was a treat since my parents NEVER had any sweets in the house. I’ve always been a chocolate lover, so if I had to pick one favorite, I’d say the mini-Hersey chocolate bars!

    • Penny

      @Little House: I loved the mini Hershey’s dark chocolate bars, and the Mounds bars. I love sweets — the baked kind (cookies, cupcakes) more than the candies.

  • Necco wafers are disgusting – I wonder if they still sell them! You aren’t missing anything by avoiding Mary Janes!

    I’ve received apples before. But my parents always threw them out for fear of razor blades and pins as well (we live in Jersey as well)!

    I never got raisins, but we did get (wrapped) circus peanuts and my dad loved them!

    • Penny

      @Khaleef: Sounds like we had similar Halloween experiences here in NJ! Did your parents make you cut up all the candy before you ate it, too? I think I was 16 the first time I had a whole Reese’s cup. 😉

  • LeadingZero

    “Chalk-like” Neeco wafers – they’re not just LIKE chalk but are an acceptable substitute. I remember drawing pictures on the sidewalk using Neeco wafers because I didn’t have any chalk at the time. I’d crunch on one and draw with another.

  • Peter

    I was never disappointed to receive a 100 Grand candy bar, which to me is one the the best candy bars. Mary Janes are good too. The other ones I would probably not like if still a kid.

  • LOL Mine was one of the houses that gave out rolled up pennies. My Grandmother was allergic to tree nuts and coconut so Halloween was never fun. She always felt that the kid could buy what they wanted, if every family gave out 5 pennies. I even helped her put them together. Gran passed away in April, I think I’ll be retiring the penny treats but got some halloween pencils last year that I’ll be giving out. So if you’re in Queens, and looking for chocolate, you may want to steer clear of the Cook Household. 🙂

    • Penny

      @CntrySigns: In retrospect, pennies were a great idea. But for a kid expecting candy? No way! Plus, you had to get all that tape off first…

  • Ymina

    I’m Jewish so I never got to celebrate Halloween, but the kids at school the next day would share their candy with me as a sign of “we feel sorry for you because your father is a Rabbi and you don’t get to go trick or treating.” I discovered what candies I hated, (Kosher or not I would eat it! I rarely got candy!) and the ones I loved during those days in grade school. (I love Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Snicker Bars, and Mars, Smarties-the Canadian equivalent to M&M’s and Kinder Surprise-the best candy of them all, its a chocolate egg with a toy inside, sadly they are banned in the US because of over zealous parent groups. The Candy I hated where Rockets, Fizzle Wizzles- this nasty concoction of licorace with fizz candy inside of it. Ewww, actually licorace in general I avoided, and last but not least, Almond Joys and Mounds- I’m allergic to tree nuts.)

  • SomeWhiteGuy

    The pennies were from a by-gone era where a stack of pennies would get you whatever candy you wanted at the local store. Peppermints, indv. wrapped hard candies, rock candy, etc. all just cost a penny. So giving a kid a stack of 5 pennies would be like giving a kid nowadays a $5 bill. Gotta love inflation.

    • Penny

      @SomeWhiteGuy: Good point. We did have a corner store up the street that was still selling penny candies at the time (1980s). So we got a lot of Tootsie Rolls and Bazooka gum with those pennies. And some baseball cards, if we had enough change!

  • VoiletStereo

    I hand out full size candy bars so that once a year I can feel like Oprah does when she hands out cars. Lol

    Taped pennies were the worst, next to religious comic books and tracts explaining how, as a Halloween heathen, I would rot in hell. Yeah, thanks for that.

    I used to live in an area where lots of teenagers, clearly old enough to buy their own candy, would show up sack in hand, but sans costume. I used to palm dog biscuits and drop them in the bag.

  • I always loved circus peanuts but I wasn’t a fan of raisins or 100 Grand or Chunky. A hunk of chocolate with raisins in it? Just don’t get it.

    I loved BitOHoney and Sugar Daddies too.

  • I hated the pieces of Double Bubble gum (that you bought in a giant tub at Sam’s), Dum Dum suckers (you get those at the bank all year round, people) and jaw breakers. Give me some real candy…chocolate!

  • OK…… Candy is candy and we all have our favs, BUT…… what about expired candy???? NEVER, I REPEAT, NEVER eat a chunky. In the summer, they have larvae that hatch and writhe around and when you bite into them , you will see them. HONEST TO G_D I almost vomited from this. It has happened to a friend of mine too so it is a TREND, not a fluke. BEWARE OF THE CHUNKY!!!!!

  • 80scheerleader

    I always hated those non-descript who-knows-what candies (I think they were supposed to be peanut butter taffy or something?) in the orange or black wrappers. I have kids now and they STILL make those so I tried one to see if they were as disgusting as I remembered….they were! It works out nicely now in my house because each of us has our favorites so we pour all the kids’ candy in a big pile and separate it by person… the nasty stuff goes in a separate pile to go straight in the garbage!

    • Jenn C

      LOL… I’m pretty sure that the orange and black wrapper candies are the dreaded Mary Janes that everyone thinks so “highly” of. I hated those too. They’re called peanut butter kisses, but they’re no kind of kiss that I’d ever want. I’m a die-hard chocolate fan, all the way…

  • Jesse

    100 Grand is delicious,

    I’ll also trade my crappy Reese’s Peanut Butter cups for 100 Grands, Kit Kat’s, Twix, etc.

    You’re spot on about the rest of the junk though!

  • SerialPsychosis

    I just left NJ permanently, but I still recall my days of trick or treating there.

    1. Apples: We were warned in school that people giving out apples were likely trying to hurt us. Apples never made it past parent checks.

    2. Charleston Chews: these things always seemed kinda gross to me.

    3. Mini tootsie rolls: Is it just me or did these things never seem to be wrapped properly?

    4. Coins in General: As a kid I was out for candy, so when someone drops a single dime in my bag, it wasn’t a cause for celebration.

    5. The Lollipops I could just as easily get at the bank any other day…

    6. Mystery Candy: Ah mystery candy. Candy that didnt have a name, or any identifiable markings, colors, or shapes. Wrapped in a clear plastic wrapper- with absolutely no way to tell what it was supposed to be.

    7. Homemade goods: Just as bad as apples in the eyes of the public school system. (though, in NJ I do remember reading some articles somewhere about poisoned cookies, razored apples, and drugs being put in some bags…)

    8. Toothbrush. seriously? a toothbrush?

    9. Coupons for local pizza places: Nothing says happy Halloween like telling a kid to come spend money at a later date.

  • Aimee

    My vomit-worthy list:

    1. Those nasty peanut butter things wrapped in black or orange paper (what 80scheerleader mentioned).
    2. How about the “Peanut Butter Bars”? They were about an inch long and had that small stripe of who knows what down the center. Those went straight to the trash.
    3. Circus Peanuts
    4. Good & Plenty (or any other incarnation of licorice)
    5. Tootsie Rolls or Pops

  • Andy

    Those orange and black candies wrapped in wax paper (which Aimee mentioned). I could never understand how to eat them. Most of the candy stayed on the paper.

    I still did eat them though: I always ate every bit of Halloween candy I got, except the bubble gum. My parents made me give them that, and they’d get rid of it. And they weren’t even dentists!

    Thus, the Bazooka and Double Bubble bubble gums were my favorite things to get, and I’d make sure to hide it before I got home.

  • SerialPsychosis

    oh man… good and plenty… ok I hated those too.

    also, andy, I did the same with my gum

  • Jun

    I love 100 Grand!?!?!? I have definitely bought one at a store, of my own volition, and have seen others do the same! Otherwise they wouldn’t still be around; they arent any cheaper than other candy bars. 100 Grand beat milky way, three musketeers, and milkduds hands down every time. I’d even go so far as to say they beat twizzlers and a host of other things.

    I also always enjoyed getting apples. I lived in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, and my parents werent over protective crazies, so we ate apples and individually wrapped brownies and whatevers we got. I actually looked forward to the brownies. And the people who gave out money! they were awesome, though, i believe our person gave out more than just pennies, maybe 50 cents in quarters? dont remember.

    Also, Boxes of raisins! awesome. They were a welcomed change from all the chocolate. you eat the raisins in between chocolates, as a palate cleanser, COME ON!?

  • Rekrul

    I’ve always loved Necco Wafers. I used to look forward to getting those in my bag. I also liked Mary Janes and 100 Grand Bars. Kit-Kats were another favorite. Sadly, my doctor now wants me to avoid sugar…

    I never liked raisins in anything but cereal, so any candy that included raisins, or even a box of raisins by themselves would get left to rot. I was also never that fond of Hersey candy bars. I always preferred the sweeter taste of Nestle products.

  • momalisa

    We seem to always give out somewhere around $100 of candy each year, but frequently run out before everyine has come and gone. When I had 3 at a time trick-or-treating (down to 1 now) we would have them all go through their candy when they got home. Whatever they didn’t want or we wouldn’t let them have (like hard candy) would go back in the pot to pass out to late trick-or-treaters! 😀

  • Dave

    I love 100 grand, but by FAR the worst are hard candies – mint, grape, butterscotch, Dum-dums, etc.

  • David L. Packham

    I just happen to love 100 grand bars, and many times in the past have bot them on my own volition. I like Necco wafers as well, but I can see your point with them

  • TIPS FOR PARENTS: Set a time limit for your your sons and daughters to be out on Halloween night. Best Regards Shawnee

  • ScytheNoire

    100 Grands are awesome. I have no idea what you are talking about, but chocolate, carmel, and rice crips taste great together. I guess you have no taste for good sweets.

  • Halloween Fan

    COMPLETE AGREEMENT: Necco Wafers. The wrapper tasted better than the contents.

    COMPLETE DISAGREEMENT: 100 Grand Bars. Let’s see, chocolate = good, caramel = good, rice crispies = good (unless you also hate them in, for instance, the Nestle Crunch Bar, one of the best-selling bars of all time). Put them all together and the sume is greater than the whole.

    Tell you what, I’ll trade you your 100 Grand Bars for some of my gazillion Tootsie Rolls?

  • Richie

    I love 100 grand bars lol.. but yeah Mary Janes suck! I remember as a kid in the mid 80’s getting those and the necco wafers.. bleargh!

  • I grew up where everyone knew everyone on the whole block and around it too. I loved the thrill of seeing what kind of candy each house was giving out this year. However what I didn’t like put in my trick or treat bag was “loose popcorn”-you said Trick or Treat and the guy came to the door and with his hand and threw in a handful of it! Really!? Around the corner we could always count on the lady who offered cold pink lemonade every year-you were so thirsty by the time you got near her house. It was great! And when I was younger I loved the house that had this big huge bowl of pennies and said I could take a whole handful of em! It was such a rich feeling. No horror stories but did get tired of all the hundreds of stupid suckers and ugly candy like Good n Plenty! But they were part of the memory too. FYI I always give out mini candy bars now.

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