I don't want to sound pretentious but I know candy better than you. I have a discerning palate when it comes to Halloween candy. It's more of a burden than a blessing, but it's the gift I was saddled with so I must soldier on and share my message with the world.

Building the perfect bowl of Halloween candy isn't as easy as buying the variety pack and calling it a night. That's just not good enough. The kid's know you're not trying and that makes the candy taste worse. It is science. Also, the bowl matters. You eat with your eyes first and a Witches Cauldron or bowl with spider legs is going to get more of a reaction than your aunts plastic Tupperware from 1983.

On to the actual candy in the bowl, if you keep fruity candy in the cauldron with chocolate for any length of time it contaminates the superior chocolate confections with an odd fruity taste.

Nobody wants that.

That means fruity candy is out. This eliminates favorites like Starburst and Skittles, but those are summer candies anyway. When's the last time you tasted a rainbow in October. It's only the freshest seasonal ingredients for me. If you must have a fruity candy then AirHeads are the exception but should be used sparingly and should be kept in a separate bowl.

I'd also like to go ahead and disclude anything with a stick. Dum Dum's are for doctor's offices and while I think Carmel Apple suckers have their place, it isn't in the Halloween candy bucket.

Bubble Gum, Candy Corn, small bags of popcorn, popcorn balls, homemade treats, and Smarties don't belong in the candy bucket either.

Just don't. Please. For the children.

Some acceptable options that aren't encouraged would be York Peppermint patties (just wait for Christmas) and regular Hershey's. Live a little. Unless you want to keep a separate stash for the peanut allergy crowd, then go for it.

A small note on the gimmick Halloween candy such as the Zombie Skittles, the Hershey Fangs bars, and the Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat. I get it, it's cute, but it's the same candy it just costs more.

The fine folks at FiveThirtyEight did extensive research on the Halloween candy power rankings and were mostly accurate in their findings.

Reese's are indeed the perfect candy for the Halloween bowl. Both the single pack and the miniatures are acceptable. Reese's Bats and Pumpkins are even better. If you've never had one, they are like the Reese's Easter Eggs and Christmas Trees. If you've never had those either, what are you doing with your life?

The Kit Kat is extremely susceptible to flavor contamination with fruity flavors so I don't have it as high as they do, but I certainly understand the appeal. A few other notes, Peanut Butter M&Ms are far better than Reese's Pieces. One of the rare missteps of the FiveThirtyEight data compilation.

So what candy belongs in the perfect Cauldron of Halloween candy? Here are the five basics. Simple. Delicious. Perfect.

The Perfect Bowl of Halloween Candy

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