In defense of candy corn

Despite a vocal minority of haters, this Halloween classic is absolutely awesome

By mid-September ever year, as retail outlets begin to decorate their storefronts with plastic spiders, fake squash and other autumn kitsch, a new seasonal delicacy hits the shelves: candy corn. 

Although this American Halloween staple is instantly recognizable and deeply beloved, it has nevertheless been steeped in controversy.

In recent years, a senseless mob of internet haters has dominated the candy corn discourse, successfully shaming many into silence on the issue. We, the Candy Corn Lovers of The State Press, are tired of living in fear and secrecy for enjoying this delectable sweet treat.

I have been tasked with debunking and refuting many of the baseless claims candy corn haters have made about our favorite fall candy. The next time you encounter an anti-candy corn extremist, feel free to reference this article to defend yourself from their hateful and dismissive rhetoric.

'It's high in calories'

OK, so candy corn admittedly has a very high sugar content, but so do Sour Patch Kids, Hershey's chocolate bars, and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes

I don't see nearly the same level of moralist judgement aimed at those who enjoy these things as opposed to the candy corn lovers who endure it every single October.

Breaking news: excessive sugar is bad for you. We know.

Halloween is the designated time of year to indulge in rot-your-teeth and make-your-dentist-cry candy. If you're going to complain about the caloric content of candy corn, or any other trick-or-treating staple, this holiday just might not be for you.

'It's the same thing every time'

Only an uninformed candy corn hater could make this claim. 

While the elegant simplicity of the traditional white-orange-yellow candy corn is sacred and unmatched, there's an astounding variety of candy corn flavors, shapes and sizes.

There's chocolate candy corn, caramel macchiato candy corn, pumpkin spice candy corn and even birthday cake candy corn. If you're not into corn shapes, there's alternatives for you, too. Personally, I'm partial to the pumpkins which come in the Brach's Autumn Mix, but the Caramel Apple Mellowcremes can also be found at any local grocery store and offer quite a different flavor and shape.


'It's not good by itself'

Any food – especially that of the sweet and snackable variety – will lose its appeal if you eat it by itself for too long. 

I have a soft spot for candy corn munchers who enjoy the treat in its raw form, but I sympathize with a need for more complex snacks with more a diverse and numerous ingredient list than corn syrup and gelatin.

Good news: candy corn is probably one of the best baking ingredients of all time.

My mom used to make chocolate brownies with candy corn sprinkled on top, which I consider a certified Halloween classic. You can put candy corn in cupcakes, cookies, Rice Krispy Treats and even cake. If you haven't tried any of these yet, thank me later. It's also a perfect addition to trail mixes and granola after the M&Ms start to get old.

'It tastes bad'

Now we're getting into the realm of subjectivities, which cannot be debated in good faith. 

However, I can absolutely make a case for the sophistication and near-universal appeal of candy corn's simple-yet-refined flavor.

While corn syrup, its namesake, is its primary ingredient, candy corn is not just a gelatinized single-flavor fondant. It has nutty, vanilla undertones and a buttery smooth quality that's nothing less than irresistible. 

I understand only eating it in moderation — after all, candy corn is a rich, layered, full-bodied confection. But I refuse to believe anyone with a soul can eat one piece of candy corn and genuinely believe it "tastes bad."


'It's for kids'

I bet you're fun at parties.

This is clearly another bad faith argument. Do kids like candy? Sure. Do some kids like candy corn? Yes. Do some adults like candy corn? Also, yes. I'm living proof that these things are not mutually exclusive.

Candy corn-loving adults will not stand for this infantilization any longer. 

It's perfectly acceptable for an adult to enjoy a Coca-Cola or an ice cream cone — both fabulously sugary treats beloved by children. Why is candy corn where we draw the line? Since when are adults not allowed to like candy?

Whether you like it or not, candy corn is popular and well-loved by people of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of how cool it is to hate. Brach's, the top manufacturer of candy corn, produces and sells around 7 billion pieces of the candy every year and sold over $70 million of candy corn in the 2018 Halloween season. If it's really that bad, then why is it sold in such staggering numbers every year?

The bottom line is — candy corn is a delicious candy, a seasonal classic and a cherished part of Halloween festivities.

Candy corn is good. Period.


Reach the reporter at ammoulto@asu.edu and follow @lexmoul on Twitter.

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