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They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To: Back When Halloween Candy Was Scary Good

Halloween candy

All Halloween candy is not created equal

When I was a kid, there was no such thing as peanut allergies. Everyone consumed gluten (particularly since no one knew what it was) and “vegan” wasn’t in any dictionary. Eating meat was something all people did (unless you were a relic from the ’60s, in which case we didn’t know you existed anyway because you lived far away on some kind of a commune, or in Oregon).

Which is why Halloween was that much better back then. No one had to tiptoe around special dietary needs. Sugar wasn’t the enemy. In fact, it was every kid’s best friend. Particularly when it was served in straws (hello, Pixy Stix!).

Take a stroll down memory lane and revisit the candy that made Halloweens of yore so much better than it is today (and also be reminded of some of the “treats” that kids dreaded having dropped into their plastic jack-o’-lanterns):

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  • Red-Free M&M’s 1 of 10
    Red-Free M&M's
    Yes, it has been years since the M&M's folks removed the alleged harmful dye from the red ones. But admit it — you still think about it nearly every time you pop one of the devil-colored ones into your mouth. They just don't taste as good. When I was a kid, there were no red M&M's in the bag. Or blue ones. It was just classic brown, orange, yellow and green. The way it was meant to be.
  • Regular Size Candy Bars 2 of 10
    Regular Size Candy Bars
    Forget the mini-candy bars. In my elementary school days, some people gave out whole candy bars on Halloween. Those people were my heroes. In fact, they still are.
  • Charleston Chew 3 of 10
    Charleston Chew
    Again, is there a better candy bar than a big candy bar? Particularly one that's, like, a foot-long in size? Mmmmmmm.
  • Big League Chew 4 of 10
    Big League Chew
    All hail Wrigley's, the company missing just enough tact and sensitivity to create a product allowing kids to imitate the highly disgusting tobacco-chewing habit of old school baseball players. (By now, most Major Leaguers have switched to chewing gum during televised games, although it seems as though they haven't managed to kick their crotch-grabbing habits. One day at a time, fellas.)
  • Candy Cigarettes 5 of 10
    Candy Cigarettes
    The cylinder-shaped gum rolled in white paper and boxed in rectangular-shaped packs looked exactly like the real emphysema-causing things. If you blew out on the end, a tiny plume of sugar even flew out of the tip, just like actual smoke. Wasn't the world a nicer (albeit smokier) place before the PC police were born?
  • Candy Buttons 6 of 10
    Candy Buttons
    Was there ever a candy that tasted more bland than the paper to which it was attached? I suppose it's a nice idea. Although on second thought, not really. What, exactly, is the point? Particularly since you always ended up eating more paper than candy.
  • Necco Wafers 7 of 10
    Necco Wafers
    Ewwwww. Just ewwwww.
  • Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF 8 of 10
    Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF
    This is SO nothing against UNICEF, which is a fabulous cause. But those people who gave pennies for UNICEF and not also candy on Halloween? Not my favorite houses to visit on Oct. 31st when I was growing up.
  • Apples 9 of 10
    Apples
    What kid wants an apple for Halloween? Add the whiff of razor blades hidden inside the apples (one of those Halloween urban myths) and you'll be lucky if anyone who grew up when I did can ever take a bite of one without wondering what might be lurking inside. PS — Who were those people who thought they were doing some kind of public service by handing out fruit to kids on the most fun day of the year anyway? Were they the same people who literally gave bad kids coal in their stockings for Christmas?
  • Raisins 10 of 10
    Raisins
    Sure, one little box has more sugar than most candy bars. But whether the fruit was fresh or dried, it's a sight no kid ever wanted to see on Halloween.

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