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The Best & Worst Halloween Candy—Ranked!

Don't be tricked by these naughty treats.
FACT CHECKED BY Meaghan Cameron

It's never too early to start stocking up on Halloween candy and while Halloween may be for kids, the calorie consequences are for you and me. Consider these numbers: Three miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups fill your belly with more sugar than a glazed doughnut; half a pack of Skittles has more sugar than a scoop of Haagen-Dazs Cookies and Cream Ice Cream; nine Twizzlers carry as many calories as a Wendy's Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe.

That's scary! And to find out exactly how scary, Eat This, Not That! took 50 of the country's most popular candies into our Food Lab and analyzed the nutritionals for their snack size or fun size portions. Read on to see which of your childhood favorites are a trick, and which are recommended treats.

First… The Worst

halloween mom

When ranking the Worst Halloween Candies in America, we took a few factors into consideration: calorie count (anything with 70 calories or above scored low); fat count (some of these chocolates have more fat than a burger!); and ingredients (candies got points off for containing more artificial colors than others). Spooky!

Airheads Minibars


Per 1 bar: 47 calories, <0.5 g fat, 7.6 g sugar

Here's the basic formula for an Airhead: Sugar and filler carbohydrates, artificial colors and flavors, and partially hydrogenated oils—the source of trans fats. Just two AirHead mini-bars have more sugar and calories than half a cup of Edy's slow-churned mint chocolate chip ice cream!

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Hot Tamales Snack Size

hot tamales snack size

Per Snack Size bag, 7 pieces: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 9 g sugar

We're pleased to report Hot Tamales are sweetened with all-natural pear juice from concentrate…but sad to say there's less than 0.5% of it. The two main ingredients here are sugar and corn syrup, with modified food starch forming the hard shell. Meanwhile, the red color comes from Red 40, which the Center for Science in the Public Interest  (CSPI) warns has been found to be contaminated with known carcinogens. And don't be seduced by its "fat-free" claim—nearly every candy is! By the way, sometimes, fat isn't bad: click here to discover the essential list of the best full-fat foods for weight loss!

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Now and Later Fun Size

now and later fun size

Per 4 piece Fun Size serving: 53 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 10 g sugar

Made with the same ingredients as most U.S. fruity candies—sugar, vegetable oil, and artificial colors—these childhood favorites should be saved for way, way later despite their low-calorie count. Why? Because it's taffy, one of the worst foods for your teeth.

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Jolly Ranchers

Jolly rancher hard candy pack

Per 3 pieces: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 11 g sugar

"Keep on Sucking." Has there ever been a more appropriate tagline for a candy? These are just corn syrup and sugar, compacted with a bit of malic acid for tang. At least they take a while to suck, which will keep your kids away from the chocolates.

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Milky Way Original Minis

Milky way snack size bars

Per two pieces: 80 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 10 g sugar

When aliens visit this Milky Way, they'll be horrified to see it's made of sugar, corn syrup, and sugar mixed with milk fat, vegetable fat (in the form of hydrogenated palm kernel oil) and artificial flavors. Instead, satisfy your craving with one of best proteins for weight loss!

Almond Joy Snack Size

Almond joy snack size

Per 1 snack size: 80 calories, 4.5 g fat (3 g saturated), 8 g sugar

Like soda, most mainstream candy bars are a combo of the same ingredients: corn syrup, milk chocolate, sugar, vegetable oils, sometimes nuts. Almond Joy and Mounds break the trend by adding coconut, which ups the fat content, big time.

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Mounds Snack Size


Per one Snack Size bar: 75 calories, 4.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 7 g sugar

Like its sister Almond Joy, the Mounds has a high fat count thanks partly to the coconut—but with no almonds, you get more saturated fat, making it even worse.

Werther's Original Chewy Caramels

Werthers original chewy caramels

Per 3 pieces: 85 calories, 3 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 7 g sugar

Made with glucose syrup (derived from wheat or corn), sugar, and milk—as well as a sugary humectant, a molecule to keep them moist—these candies aren't the sweetest on the market. But they score low because you can down about 10 of these in the time it takes you to get through one Werther's Hard Candy.

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Dove Chocolate Mini Squares

Dove milk chocolate squares

Per two pieces: 90 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 9 g sugar

Don't be fooled by the marketing: Despite being touted as the "silky, smooth" alternative to other candies, this is a Mars product, just like M and Ms and Snickers. Filled with milkfat, the result is one of the fattiest candies on this list.

To easily burn off any of these candies—without spending hours in the gym—don't miss this list of the essential best ways to speed up your metabolism.

Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins Snack Size

reeses peanut butter boo pumpkins

Per piece: 85 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 8.5 g sugar

This one should send your gimmick radar into the red zone. If it were flavored with pumpkin puree that would be one thing, but it's not. It's an oversized peanut butter cup shaped in a pumpkin-like mold.

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Swedish Fish Treatsize

swedish fish treatsize

Per treat-size bag: 55 calories, 0 g fat, 11.5 g sugar

The next five entries have fewer calories than those before them, but they're also all made with at least two kinds of sugar. These foul fishies add carnauba wax, which is safe to eat, but it's also used to polish cars.

Blow Pop

blow pop creepy treats

Per one pop: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 13 g sugar

Grind down a bowl and a half of Fruity Pebbles and rub it on your teeth for 10 minutes, then chew a piece of sugar-filled gum until the flavor runs out. That's basically what this candy is. These blow—but at least it takes a while to eat, which means you won't have two. Quick tricks like that are just one of the overlooked ways to lose weight!

Brach's Candy Corn

brachs candy corn treat packs

Per 9 pieces: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 14 g sugar

This seasonal favorite is proudly "made with real honey"—an ingredient that's unfortunately wedged right between four other types of sugar (sugar, corn syrup, confectioner's glaze and dextrose), gelatin (made from horse hooves), sesame oil (fattening) and artificial flavors and colors.

Skittles Fun Size

cauldron skittles fun size

Per Fun Size Pack: 63 calories, 0.6 g fat (0.6 g saturated), 11.3 g sugar

Repeat after us: If it's your waist you want to whittle, keep your fingers off the Skittles. Sugar, corn syrup and food dye—that's all you're getting from a package. If you don't give your kids Fanta, don't give them these. (Speaking of sodas, don't miss our ultimate list of sodas ranked!)

Sour Patch Kids Treat Size Packs

Sour patch kids treat bags

Per Treat Size Pack, about 8 pieces: 55 calories, 0 g fat, 11.5 g sugar

These little guys leave a sour taste in your mouth because of the citric and tartaric acids that coat them. They leave a sour taste in our mouth because the first three ingredients are sugar, sugar, and sugar—more sugar than a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut!

Milk Maid Caramels

milk maid caramels

Per two pieces: 75 calories, 2 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 7.5 g sugar

Doesn't Milk "Maid" sound a lot like Milk "Made"? But rest assured—they're not the same. This candy contains a couple of milk derivatives (whey and "lipolyzed butter fat"), but it hardly constitutes a dairy product. Plus, 90 percent of the fat is saturated. That's bad news for your heart.

Andes Creme De Menthe Thins

Andes creme de menth candy

Per 3 pieces: 75 calories, 4.9 g fat (4.1 g saturated), 8.2 g sugar

This is one of the worst candies in the supermarket. The first two ingredients are sugar and partially hydrogenated oil, and you're getting as much saturated fat as you'll find in a handful of french fries!

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Heath Toffee Bar Snack Size

heath toffee bar

Per Snack Size bar: 76.6 calories, 4.6 g fat (2.3 g saturated), 8.6 g sugar

One of the more natural brands on the market—that richness you taste is pure dairy butter—is also one of the fattiest. In fact, each Snack Size bar has more fat than a McDonald's Chicken Nugget…and zero protein!

Twix Caramel Cookie Fun Size

twix caramel cookie fun size

Per one piece: 80 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 8 g sugar

Switch to Tootsie Rolls and you'll cut your calories by more than half and trim your total fat intake by a whopping 79 percent. (Better yet, treat yourself to some quality dark chocolate.)

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Snickers Fun Size

snickers fun size

Per Fun Size bar: 80 calories, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 8.5 g sugar

Snickers is an American classic in the worst sense: It's made from cheap "chocolate" (artificially flavored), corn syrup,  sugars, and fatty oils, just like so many brands in kids' Halloween bags. Sure, it has heart-healthy peanuts and a hilarious marketing campaign, but the only one left snickering is Mars, for selling them to you.

Baby Ruth Fun Size

baby ruth

Per Fun Size Bar: 83 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 10 g sugar

Together, saturated fat and sugar account for more than half of the calories in this baby.

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Junior Mints Snack Size

junior mints snack size

Per single Snack Size box: 76.5 calories, 1.35 g fat (1.13 g saturated), 14.4 g sugar

Junior Mints are hard to resist because they're poppable. What you're popping, though, is an alarming amount of calories and sugar for such a tiny treat—there's as much sugar as three Chips Ahoy! Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Twizzlers Individually Wrapped Twists


Per 2 single pieces: 75 calories, 0.5 g fat, 9.5 g sugar

These candy straws are an Atkins nightmare: They're made with white flour, sugar, and cornstarch, but they're sold as a "low-fat" food. Twisted.

Starburst Original Fruit Chews Fun Size


Per Fun Size serving, 4 pieces: 80 calories, 1.25 g fat (1.15 g saturated), 11 g sugar

The firmness of the chew owes to the third ingredient (after corn syrup and sugar): Hydrogenated palm kernel oil, a greasy substance that adds to the fat count.

Mike & Ike Snack Packs

mike and ike

Per Snack Pack: 80 calories, 0 g fat, 14 g sugar

Tell Mike and Ike to take a hike. The high-flavor Jelly Belly beans pack a much lower sugar punch, and these have more sugar than half a cup of Turkey Hill light recipe Moose Tracks. To burn that off, you'd need these 33 Ways to Flatten Your Belly—Fast!!

M&Ms Peanut Fun Size

M&Ms Peanut Fun Size

Per one Fun Size package: 90 calories, 5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 9 g sugar

Wait a minute, you might be saying—aren't peanuts good for me? Not when they're wearing a spooky costume of fat and sugar. You can satisfy your desire for chocolately crunch, and save sugar, fat, and calories, with the pretzel version. The salty-sweet combo will also make them more satisfying. (If you're genuinely hungry, turn to one of the best healthy snacks for weight loss rather than filling up on candy.)

Nestle 100 Grand Fun Size

100 Grand Fun Size

Per Fun Size bar: 95 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 11 g sugar

You'd go broke trying to figure out how to eat these and stay slim. Each tiny bar has as much sugar as a bowl of Frosted Flakes.

Milk Chocolate M&Ms

M&Ms fun size

Per one Fun Size package: 95 calories, 3.5 g fat (2.25 saturated fat), 13 g sugar

M&M's pack in a lot of sugar even by candy-bar standards. This little bag packs in more sweetness than a Little Debbie Chocolate Marshmallow Pie!

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Butterfinger Fun Size

butterfinger fun size

Per Fun Size bar: 85 calories, 3.5 g fat (1.75 g saturated), 8.5 g sugar

Many candy bars are high in sugar. Many are high in fat. But Butterfinger has the magical ability to be high in both. Adding even one "fun size" Butterfinger to your food intake every day is enough to add more than 10 pounds to your body in the next year. There's nothing fun about that. Nobody better lay a finger on this Butterfinger.

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Hershey's Take 5 Snack Size

take 5

Per Snack Size bar: 105 calories, 5.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 9 g sugar

Were it made naturally, we'd be fans of this five-layer bar, which combines chocolate, pretzels, peanut butter, caramel, and peanuts. Unfortunately, it's more like a Take 35, with other ingredients including High Fructose Corn Syrup, fattening vegetable oils, artificial flavors, and the binding agent carrageenan, made from seaweed. This is one of the fattiest candy bars in the world.

Reese's Pieces Snack Size


Per pouch: 100 calories, 4.5 g fat (4 g saturated), 10.5 g sugar

E.T. had a pot-belly, and it might be because of these: The Snack Size portion of Reese's Pieces has a high 10.5 grams of sugar, unheard of on planet Earth. (Bad news for Jason Mantzoukas and the crew at @HDTGM.)


And the #1 Worst Halloween Candy Is… Reese's Miniatures

Reeses minis snack size candy

Per 3 pieces: 130 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 14 g sugar

The American Heart Association says an adult woman should have no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day. Reese's manages to pack more than half that much into one serving. Maybe they should be called "maxiatures?" Meet the Worst Halloween Candy out there. For more shocking calorie bombs you're probably eating, click here for the unhealthiest foods on the planet!

And Now… The Best


Or should we say the best of the worst. No candy here is "good for you," because all are made with sugar and oils, but we calculated how much sugar was in each and favored the brands with less. We also considered the ingredients—the more natural, the better.

Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

unreal dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Per 1 cup: 80 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 5 g sugar

Unreal—a company on a mission to recreate junk foods with less sugar and more taste—is Eat This, Not That! approved all the way, and you can order specialty bags and buckets of Halloween candy on their website. We like these cups because they're made with real-deal dark chocolate, an ingredient proven to lead to weight loss. And to blast even more belly fat, pair the cup with a cup of tea. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells). The tea's combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) seems to set fat cells up for defeat. We at Eat This, Not That! love tea so much, we made it part of our bestselling new diet plan, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost 10 pounds in one week!

Justin's Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

justins mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Per 1 piece: 70 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 6 g sugar

The hipsters of Portland and Williamsburg will be handing this out October 31st—and we hope you can afford to, also. Justin's is devoted to sustainable, organic ingredients, and these cups are made with dark chocolate, peanuts, cane sugar, and other ingredients you can easily pronounce. Mini size, big impact.

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Mr. Goodbar Snack Size

mr goodbar

Per 1 piece: 44 calories, 3 g fat (1.2 g saturated), 3.8 g sugar

The nutritionals above are for just one bar. Who knew the classic combo of milk chocolate and peanuts wasn't so deleterious?

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Toblerone Fun Size

Toblerone Fun Size

Per Fun Size bar: 66 calories, 3.6 g fat (1 g saturated), 7.4 g sugar

This October, visit Arizona. There, Toblerone, originally from Switzerland, is the most popular candy given out on Halloween, according to data from product review site Influenster. Who knew the Southwest was so classy—or healthy? The airport staple is made mostly from all-natural ingredients—like sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa butter, and honey.

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Hershey's Kisses

hersheys kisses

Per 3 pieces: 67 calories, 4 g fat (2.4 g saturated), 7.7 g sugar

We love the size of these foiled nuggets but we wouldn't marry them: the fat count's too high. Still, you get the satisfaction of opening three candies for the nutritional cost of just one Snickers.

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Nestle Crunch Fun Size

Crunch bar fun size

Per Fun Size bar: 60 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated), 7 g sugar

Thank the crisped rice for the low calorie and sugar count. But don't thank it too much: even the rice is made with sugar.

Tootsie Pop

Tootsie pops

Per pop: 60 calories, 0 g fat, 10 g sugar

How many licks does it take to get to the center of one of these? A better question might be, how much exercise would you have to do to burn one off. (Answer: Five straight minutes of jumping jacks.)

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Caramel Apple Pop

Caramel apple pop

Per pop: 70 calories, 0.5 g fat, 11 g sugar

Marginally better than a Blow Pop, these seasonal sisters add heavy cream and skim milk to the mix, so there's less sugar, and one of the lowest lollipop calorie counts. Warning: contains no actual apple.

Kit Kat Snack Size

kit kat

Per one two-piece bar: 70 calories, 3.6 g fat (2.3 g saturated), 7 g sugar

Have a break, have a Kit Kat. The wafer core is light and porous, which saves you calories over the denser bars. And if you're pairing them with a six-pack or bottle of wine on Halloween, you'll need this list of best foods for a hangover!

Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie roll midgees

Per three pieces: 72 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 10 g sugar

We're not shocked that these little candies pack a lot of sugar. We're shocked that some people think they taste like chocolate.

Werther's Original Hard Candy

werthers original hard candy

Per three pieces: 70 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated), 11 g sugar

Hard candies make for longer-lasting treats with fewer calories.

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3 Musketeers

3 musketeers

Per single Fun Size bar: 63 calories, 2 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 10 g sugar

Light and airy, the 3 Musketeers benefits from no caramel filling, though it still has a lot of sugar.

York Peppermint Pattie Snack Size

York peppermint patties snack size

Per Snack Size patty: 60 calories, 1.25 g fat (0.75 g saturated), 11 g sugar

Stick with Charlie Brown's pal Peppermint Pattie and cut your calories by a third, compared to Junior Mints. (Thirty calories may not seem like a lot, but that's enough to add more than 3 pounds of flab every year.)

Nerds Fun Size

Nerds fun size candy

Per Fun Size pack: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 12 g sugar

These little putzes are made with sugar and wax. In any other survey, they'd be a "Not That!," but in a list of best/worst Halloween candies, the fun-size Nerds are cool.

Dum Dums

dum dums

Per 2 pops: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 10 g sugar

Dum Dums might not be nutritional paragons, but they do have two noteworthy advantages over other candies here: 1. No heart-wrecking oils, and 2. They're made from hard candy. That means they dissolve slowly on your tongue, letting you enjoy the sweetness over time. Cool Dum Dum Halloween trick: Wrap each in a white tissue, secure with a small rubber band, and have the kids draw faces on these "ghosts" to hand out to the neighborhood trick or treaters.

Smarties Candy Rolls

Smarties candy rolls

Per roll: 25 calories, 0 g fat, 6 g sugar

Use Smarties to quell a sweet tooth and you'll likely be satisfied by the time you finish one roll. That's not too bad considering that each one has only 25 calories.

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Pixy Stix

Pixy stix

Per straw: 9 calories, 0 g fat, 2.1 g sugar

This is pure sugar in a straw—but hey, at least the straws are thin.

And the #1 Halloween Candy Is…Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Mini Pack

Jelly belly beans minis

Per pack: 35 calories, 0 g fat, 7 g sugar

Ironically, the candy brand that sounds the fattest may actually flatten your belly: At 4 calories each bean, they're the slimmest way to enjoy cotton candy, toasted marshmallows, and strawberry shortcake. Jelly Belly uses real fruit purees to flavor these beans. It's still candy in every sense, but it's certainly the lesser of many sugar-loaded evils. And to lose weight fast, read these essential ways to lose 4 inches of body fat!

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Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is the Managing Editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more about Olivia