So this one time, Matty Tucker and Sarah Brumble went to brunch like good 20-somethings** and naturally the conversation turned to vices of yore. With Halloween breathing down our necks like the horse of the headless horseman’s horse-breath, we started bitching about all the candy we hated as kids …then ate anyway. Considering we are both over-educated service industry professionals, it became necessary to quantify our bitching in a tangible manner.
Thus was born the Sick-or-Treat tournament bracket, brought to you by Brachs™.
This evening we introduce all the players. Tomorrow we’ll take you through the bracket’s proceedings until we’ve reached the final four, and on the eve of All Hallow’s Eve we’ll reveal the sickest treat of them all! So, without further ado…
Group 1: “Crimes or errors in flavor science”
- Banana Runts
We all had that one hanger-on in our friend group who we’d give all the banana runts. They tasted like butthole but he thought he was coming out on top. Little did he know that he was being paid in banana runts to compensate for the merciless fun we had at his expense the rest of the time—at no cost to us! As grown-ups we ditched the friend and either throw them away (because we can do that now) or stomach them with as straight a face as possible, much like we do when taking shots of Wild Turkey.
- Black Jelly Beans
These are for you, Dad.
- Root Beer Barrels
We’d happily accept a two-litre of actual root beer and drink it in one sitting. Clearly something so good was too much to ask, and the cheapness of your wallet corresponds directly the to the thin flavor of the mini versions.
- Peanut Butter Taffy
There seem to be eight million different varieties of the same peanut butter taffy, whether they come wrapped in wax paper, black and orange plastic, or are actually Mary Janes. The uniting factor among them all, however, is the decidedly unpeanutbuttery taste of… nothingness, a tendency to rip out all the fillings I’d received after last Halloween’s sugar orgy, and a huge pain in the ass to get the wrappers off.
Group 2: “The worst of modernity”
- Flavored Tootsie Rolls
Like frosting, but chewier. PS: “Blue” is a color, not a flavor.
- those wax bottles with juice crap (TWBJC)
Yeah, bite off the end, but don’t swallow it. Squeeze the juice in your mouth, just like that. Taste it? Was it good for you? Nope, me neither.
- Good & Plentys
Does licorice have some positive nutritional value that requires its specific benefit to be delivered in pill form? The name is pure irony: while the “good”ness is questionable at best, the halloween-sized serving looks meager, but is assuredly beyond “plenty”.
- Caramel Creams
What’s the white center supposed to be? Seriously. I have no idea what this white shit is supposed to taste like, but I hope no one intended for it to taste like it does. That would be cruel. And the caramel part is not exactly caramel. It’s caramel-flavored goopy stuff. And what’s the point? Next year just hand out caramels.
Group 3: “This shit ain’t even candy”
Not only are apples not sweet enough to make us happy on Halloween, but they also may have razor blades in them. Our moms throw them away without a second thought. Way to waste precious fruit and my Trick-or-Treating time, all in one go.
Everyone knows things in boxes come with dust and worms, and that’s because they’re the last thing anyone wants to eat. While your attempt to keep kids healthy ‘round Halloween time has not gone unnoticed, it will go uneaten.
- Popcorn Balls
This one time, the lady who sings the loudest at church gave out her really tasty homemade popcorn balls, but after one bite, my mom was all like, “You can’t eat those! There may be needles in them!” Thanks for letting me know what I will forevermore miss, church lady.
- Wax Lips
Made of cherry flavored wax, these aren’t even edible! Wax lips stain your face just like real candy, but leave behind a stomach ache worse than dysentery when actually consumed. This is a cruel, cruel trick when I clearly said “treat.”
Group 4: “But they were great during The Depression”
- Candy Corn
Certainly not corn, and at best questionably candy, these confusingly tri-colored confections taste of what, exactly? The only answer is “candy corn,” its own unique flavor that reminds you of nothing but itself. Luckily, like herpes, they only flare up once a year.
By the time you’ve gnashed the hard slab of bubblegum into a chewable wad, it’s lost its flavor. As children, our parents raised us to strive for better than they had. While such a mentality may have backfired in the academic, economic, and political spheres, we now expect—and get!—more from our gum.
- Circus Peanuts
I don’t know what these are supposed to taste like, but it ain’t peanuts. What is it? Marshmallow? In a crust that I didn’t put there while sitting around a campfire? This is apparently a circus trick that anyone who looks at is not falling for. When I ask for peanuts, I want peanuts, damnit. Big ones.
- Necco Wafers
When asked what to do with all of this excess chalk, Mr. Necco instructed his wage slaves to fashion them into bite-sized discs, roll them up in wax paper and sell them as candy. While the packaging is sizeable, this is clearly a case where bigger does not mean better.
** MT: “Wait, I’m 30… but you can put me down as a 20-something.” SB: “It’s okay, I’m turning 29 in a month. I don’t know what else to call us.”