Though it’s been years since I last went trick-or-treating, I remember that my favorite part of the holiday was the chocolate that was placed in whatever last-minute bag I could find. Sometimes, it was a store-bought, jack-o-lantern-shaped bucket. Other times, it was a pillowcase or any purse I could find in my mom’s closet. All in all, the constant through all of my childhood Halloweens was the excitement I felt when I was handed the “good” candy.
Typically, the candy I thought was valuable (or at least worthy of my excitement) was the chocolate candy: Kit Kats, 3 Musketeers and Milky Ways. My friends felt similarly, focusing on the types of chocolate that everyone would have wanted to buy from the store anyway.
While this was something common among my own childhood friends, society’s obsession with chocolate is not something particularly new.
Ever since Europeans stumbled upon cacao in the Americas, the Western world has had an obsession with chocolate. Almost four centuries later, Americans still find themselves enamored with the same treat as their ancestors.
Unfortunately, modern chocolate can be filled with preservatives and pumped with sugar to soften the bitter taste of cacao, from which chocolate is derived. Cacao in and of itself has antibacterial properties that prevent tooth decay, properties which are only reversed by the effects of sugar, furthering the idea that sugar is the contributing factor that ruins chocolate.
According to dietician Kristi King of the Texas Children’s Hospital in an interview with Time, all-sugar candy provides no nutritional value to those who consume it. At the very least, dark chocolate can be beneficial in small quantities by providing antioxidants and antibacterial matter.
In addition to contributing more substantially to the health of the consumer, chocolate is also known to improve brain function, according to Healthline. Overall, chocolate (especially of the dark variety) is healthier for you than any of the candies collected by trick-or-treaters.
In addition to being correlated with countless health benefits, chocolate has more variation and is present in so many different forms to the point where almost anyone can find at least one kind of chocolate candy they like.
Whether it be the classic Hershey’s bar, Milky Ways, Reese’s Cups or Almond Joys, there is a unique type of chocolate candy out there for each person’s taste. With all-sugar candy, it is more difficult to get a variation that does not taste entirely artificial.
Understandably, the point of trick-or-treating isn’t to find candy that is slightly healthier for children or to give them the variation in the kind of candy they consume, but both considerations can still add value to this holiday that completely drowns us in sugar.
After a long night of trick-or-treating, most children dump out their earnings and get started on their cavity-inducing midnight snack. Most get a variety of different candy types and begin to sort them out, but the very first candy reached for is bound to be an all-sugar-based candy.
This has been every kid’s favorite type of candy since the introduction of rock candy in the ninth century and has since become one of the top picks of everyone’s favorite candy. According to Eat This, a food-based magazine, the top five Halloween candies are all sugar-based and include Nerds, Smarties and Jelly Bellies.
Sugar-based candy also has this ability to be snacked on and not lose flavor. This is especially important for college students who sit at their desks studying for their next test while eating a pack of gummy bears.
Though this candy type has been most known to cause tooth decay, it has been psychologically proven to boost morale, focus and overall happiness. Psychology
Today wrote an article talking about a study that described the benefits of sugar-based candy and how it can evoke a sense of perseverance in people to complete complex tasks and better one’s ability to focus.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, chocolate has been scientifically proven to be the primary source of weight gain and causes extreme heartburn. Chocolate also is the only candy type to contain the most undeclared allergens which can result in serious health concerns.
According to a health article by Live Strong, many chocolate bars have allergens that are not labeled causing a number of cases involving severe allergic reactions. The article also touched on the proportionality of eating chocolate and the growing number of obesity cases and how the two go hand-in-hand.
When people eat sugar-based candy, they are immediately reminded of a time where they had their entire lives in front of them and are able to reminisce about the times where they would dress up as their favorite character and go out with friends. This candy type is far superior to chocolate and has been proven to benefit a person’s life and provide flashbacks to a better time.
At the end of the day, it is up to the consumer to pick what candy they prefer. However, every person’s inner child will always point towards the Nerds or Jolly Ranchers as their first pick.