8 New Halloween Candies To Buy And 8 To Ignore In 2023

We've devoured our share of trick-or-treat hauls over the years. We dug through butterscotch hard candies, Fireballs, Pixy Stix, Good & Plenty, packets of instant oatmeal, raisins, and actual apples in order to find the good stuff. We tasted flavorless bubblegum wrapped in cartoons, and pried Sugar Babies out of our molars. We even tried to eat wax lips. Twice. This isn't just any time of year; it's Halloween. It's go time, people! We've got our game faces on and our sugar highs on lock. (Ooh. Looks like it's Pixy o'clock!)

Every major brand is clamoring for our attention in the candy aisle, luring us in with their ghoulish gimmicks. So which monster deserves to pry that cold hard cash out of our sticky little fingers? Wait a minute. Why are our fingers sticky? We didn't even start sampling anything yet.

Dive into the hugest unattended candy bowl with us as we stir up the most spectacular gummy ghosts and gooey goblins, in search of our favorite treats of the season. Of course, we also don't mind pointing out the losers along the way. Zombie brains to chocolate fangs, here's what to buy (and what to boo!) for Halloween this year!

Buy: Kraft, Oscar Mayer, & Claussen Assorted Gummy Candy Bag

A hot dog, mac 'n' cheese, and a pickle walk into a bar — just kidding, they're in a bag, they're gummy, and they're one of our top picks for Halloween 2023. You can't get any cuter than Frankford Candy's Kraft Heinz assorted gummy bag, packed with mini Kraft mac & cheese elbow noodles, tiny Oscar Mayer wieners (with ketchup, mustard, and relish), and itty bitty Claussen pickles. (Really hoping for a trick-or-treating hamster to knock on our door so we can give him a little hot dog to hold in his little hamster hands!)

This is the first year for these gummies, so you gotta get 'em while they're hot. You can also get sampler boxes of all three gummy varieties, or even single boxes fully devoted to mac & cheese gummies. Luckily, for most of us, nothing tastes like the food it's supposed to look like. All three gummies are fruit-flavored, and not at all pickled or pork-y.

Unlike the last sticky candy rat king you released from plastic bag prison, the gummy bag treats are packaged individually, so they don't morph into a bona fide Franken-gummy. Plus, with 40 minis per bag, they're great for trick-or-treaters, sharing with friends, or opening during the silent part of an opera.

Ignore: Kit Kat Witch's Brew

This one's a 2020 release, back in rotation for the third year in a row. And while we were feeling the Halloween-ishness the first year, at this point, we're like, "Dear Kit Kat, save us, make something new." The brand's Witch's Brew seasonal flip is all about the spook ... until you take a bite.

It's just a regular Kit Kat, but with a white chocolate coating that tastes like marshmallow. We're not exactly angry about it, but we find the witchy theme a little misleading. The chocolate features a green tint, but that's pretty much the craftiest thing about it. Unless you've heard any scary stories involving witches roasting s'mores together at a relaxing girls' weekend retreat.

Part of us knows this is a brand with universal appeal, and one that isn't going to push it to the limit on flavor. But another part of us wants the Kit Kat to look bumpy like it had warts, or be packed with shredded wheat filling like the brush of a broom. Also with a green tint like that, it should most definitely glow in the dark. Sorry, Kit Kat. This year, it's not us, it's you.

Buy: Cadbury Harvest Mix

Cadbury Harvest Mix, well ... you had us at Cadbury. This new release from the creamiest chocolate confectionery in the world (biased opinion) features rich, solid milk chocolate balls covered in a red, orange, or yellow crisp sugar shell. Screw the trick-or-treaters, this one's just for us.

For those of us who enjoy the pumpkin, friendly scarecrow, Fall leaves vibe of the season, Cadbury crafted the perfect candy bowl adornment for a dinner party, or afternoon coffee date at home. Plus, the brand's signature Dairy Milk full cream recipe feels elevated and special (and hello, it's delicious). So you won't be missing out on treating yourself this time of year, even if you're more Team Apple Cider instead of Team Michael Myers.

If you prefer a smaller-sized Autumn harvest, there's the adorable Cadbury Mini Harvest Mix. But however you do it, this is one tasty little candy you've got to put on your list.

Ignore: Twix Cookies & Creme

Cranking out the familiar hits, but with vaguely seasonally-appropriate wrappers, we have Twix Cookies & Creme taking the lead. Openly committing one of the greatest sins against the hallowed Halloween candy aisle, Twix wrapped up something it first launched in the '90s as a festive new treat. Twix, you're better than this.

Upfront, we're totally down with Twix and the cookies and creme flavor combo. But we're not down with a rehashing of a candy that's 30 years old. And somebody should get a stern talking-to about this phoned-in packaging. With nothing new printed on the fun-size wrappers, we're left with the soulless and seemingly very hangry jack-o-lantern on the front of the main bag, along with a few bats, and some dead trees. (Hitting snooze.)

But the worst offense might be that they eliminated the best freakin' part of the Twix — the caramel — and instead, piped in cookies and cream ... on top of the Twix shortbread cookie. So, it's really cookies and cookies and cream. Maybe that's what's supposed to be scary. Too many cookies, and nothing that makes this worth buying.

Buy: Ferrero 31 Days of Halloween

Christmas doesn't own countdown calendars anymore! For its fourth installment of its fan-favorite 31 Days of Halloween countdown calendar, chocolate titan Ferrero has gifted us yet another beauty for 2023. With your small donation to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Ferrero sends you a spooky mansion with tiny doors that reveal brand-owned treats like Kinder Bueno, Nutella & GO!, and Butterfinger.

Spoiler alert: It sold out before the first Fall leaf even hit the ground. Consider this a public service announcement advising you to mark your calendar for August 2024 — and every year — so you can snag your own limited edition Ferrero calendar when it launches.

But even if the October countdown has begun, we wouldn't leave you hanging with zero candy windows to open! We love the whimsical 13 Days of Halloween calendar from Williams Sonoma dotted with sour pumpkins, caramels and taffy. And we're also fans of Sugarfina's freestyle Trick or Treat Town, with little houses revealing candy donuts, sugar skulls, and apple frogs any day of the week. It's never too late to start a countdown. Worst case scenario, it's T-minus 24 hours till Halloween and you can eat all the candy you want.

Ignore: Peeps Marshmallow Pumpkins

Once a Peep, always a Peep. Okay-okay, yes, we like a Peep now and then when we're in the mood. Who can resist those sweet little marshmallow clouds with the delightfully granular sugar coating that's oddly fun to chew. But when we see Peeps marshmallow pumpkinsreturn to the shelves, we find ourselves wanting something a little more ... pumpkin-y.

Hold on — they feature three different jack-o-lantern faces, and we'll give them that. But with all the recent technological advances that have been made in the pumpkin spice sector, shouldn't these pumpkins taste like, oh, maybe pumpkin? The only variations in the Peeps Spooky Season lineup that actually should taste like Peeps brand marshmallows are the sugar skulls and ghosts. And somebody's gotta go back to the drawing board on the Frankenstein monster heads.

Another skeleton bone we have to pick: The Peeps peeps aren't afraid of introducing fans to wacky flavors. They've launched kettle corn, Dr. Pepper, Hot Tamales, coffee, birthday cake, and sour watermelon flavors in the past. They've even done pumpkin spice chick-shaped Peeps for Halloween! Peeps, why ya' holding out on the most fun holiday of the year? While we wait to hear back on that, we'll be strolling right by the adorable Peeps display, and on to a candy whose head is truly in it.

Buy: Sugarfina Zombie Brains gummies

Got brains on your mind? [Mwah ha ha ha ...] If you're in the market for delicious, semi-realistic cerebral matter, look no further than Sugarfina's Zombie Brain gummies. We don't even mind that they're strawberry flavored, mainly because we really don't want to know what brains taste like.

Let's just take a hot minute to appreciate the level of detail involved in each of these teeny tiny brains. As far as our Hollywood-movie-level knowledge of brains goes, these candies are perfect. Just glossy enough, wonderfully soft and chewy, and with a red ombré coloring that totally reads "internal organs," while still looking cute.

At roughly nine bucks a pop, the Sugarfina palm-sized bento boxes are the baller types of treats you might get at the biggest house on the cul de sac in Beverly Hills. They're even better than the random King Size candy bars, or the house that forgets it's Halloween altogether and hands out differing amounts of cash to revelers. Grab a box for yourself, or go all in with the Trick or Treaters Party Pack to get your world class zombie brains, plus mummy graveyard cookies, spooky ghost gummies, skeleton sugar skulls, and vampire chocolate donuts. Definitely turning the porch light out early to save these for ourselves.

Ignore: Hershey's Cookies 'N' Creme Fangs

Hershey's Cookies 'N' Creme Fangs probably looked great on paper. But in reality, they fail to do the one thing that Halloween fangs should do. And that's stick onto your teeth like actual fangs. Even if it's just for a split second before the chocolate melts and we chomp our new chompers into smithereens, that is the assignment. There should be the mild threat of instant cavities, a killer photo op, possibly fake blood, and memories that last at least until the end of the night. Hershey's: Fail.

According to the packaging, we're supposed to settle for holding up the stamped, rectangular fangs in front of our mouths like a 1950s robot vampire that speaks through a voice box. And how the heck are we supposed to pretend to bite someone's neck like this? Hershey's suggests we carve out the fang shape with our own fang-less teeth — covering our cookies 'n' creme fangs in previously eaten cookies 'n' creme — and then go out into the night with half of a chocolate bar tucked into our upper lip? Also, hello, the cookie bits make it look like we have something stuck in our pearlescent vampire teeth.

Hershey's first launched these bars in 2020, and they've been a thing every year since. So it seems like somebody likes them. (Et tu, Lestat de Lioncourt?) Still, as far as we're concerned, these fangs put the "no" in Nosferatu.

Buy: M&M's Campfire Smores

You might think you've already seen-these-done-these, but like a ghost standing behind you in the mirror, they reappear when you least expect it. M&M's Campfire Smores are back in business for 2023, but with a lil switcheroo under that famous candy-coated shell.

As part of a long line of M&M's-themed mysteries including "Where Did The Tan Ones Go," or "Why Aren't There Any Purples," and "How Come The Characters Have Shoes But No Pants," we ask a different question: What the heck happened to the crunchy part in the Campfire Smores flavor? For this latest version, the crispiness of the graham cracker has been ditched in favor of the gooeyness of a marshmallow. And somehow — without any actual mallows, grahams, or campfire smoke — this flavor totally works.

White, orange, and black candy coating sets the stage for a deliciously autumnal smore'sperience. And nobody goes home with sticky fingers. The innermost element features the milk chocolate you know and love, covered in white chocolate, which is where we assume all the "smore" flavoring lives. However they do it, this one's a love letter to all the M&M's and marshmallow-toasting fans out there. Grab a bag and cozy up to the cracklin' campfire in your imagination.

Ignore: Reese's Franken-cup

In a world full of Franken-things, we don't need another edition of the Reese's Franken-cup. This is a painful stance to take, mostly due to the fact that the pure joy of the original Reese's peanut butter cup becomes tragically diminished as the Franken-version. We can feel our little peanut butter-loving hearts breaking into a million pieces.

Again, we witness a case of normal candy gone (slightly) spooky. We learn from the wrapper that our favorite peanut butter cup has been electrified, and has now turned half-green from the incident, a la Frankenstein. The filling is still peanut butter, but the bottom of the milk chocolate cup is now made of "green colored creme." Whatever that is, it's supposed to be exciting.

We can honestly say it's not Halloween without Reese's candy. The traditional peanut butter cup packaging is already orange, and Reese's Pieces — in their festive brown, orange, and yellow candy shells — almost seem like they were designed for Spooky Season right from the jump. As soon as Reese's Pieces appeared in "E.T." back in 1982, it was game over. Reese's for life. With all that big candy energy, the Franken-cup takes an icon off the high dive and belly-flops it into a basic Halloween-ish candy bowl.

Buy: Hershey's Harry Potter line

You don't have to be a Hogwarts homie to dig Hershey's new "Harry Potter" line. Featuring wizard-approved Hershey's Kisses and milk chocolate candy bars — and even DIY recipes if you wanna go next level and bake your own "Harry Potter" Hat Sorting cookies, wrapped in little scarves — these treats were born for a night on the neighborhood prowl.

Twelve different milk chocolate bars are wrapped in a series of your favorite scenes from the movie franchise, and printed with tiny symbols on each chocolate square. You'll spot Harry's glasses, the Hogwarts letter, and the Nimbus 2000, along with a Quaffle of course. And if none of this makes any sense, you still get to tuck into that classic Hershey's taste.

As far as the Kisses go, we're allowing a pass on the fact that under the wrapper, they're still plain milk chocolate. On the flip side, however, the foil design offers trick-or-treaters 21 different quotes, symbols, and phrases to celebrate the Wizarding World of "Harry Potter." Where will the Hogwarts Express take you? Only you can unlock the magic.

Ignore: Brach's Fall Festival Candy Corn

All hail the king of candy flavored corn! But even though they've dominated the candy corn market since the 1950s, making 95% of the product that hits the shelves, they're not immune to debuting a dud or two. No offense to vegetable shaped candy, but Brach's Fall Festival Candy Corn is one of them.

They took a product that was already crushing the Halloween game, and gave it a "harvest" makeover that bumped it all the way into a different season of the year: Springtime. If pastel pinks, yellows, and teals are supposed to make us think of gourds, cinnamon-scented pinecones, and crisp Fall leaves ... that'll be a hard no, 'cuz they don't.

This isn't about the candy corn flavor war that's been buzzing since the beginning of time. We get it, either it tastes like sugar or candles. Agree to disagree. For us hard core fans, the brand even added new flavors to the seasonal upgrade: Caramel Apple, Kettle Corn, Strawberry Funnel Cake, Lemonade Shake-up, Lemon-Lime Snowcone, and Cotton Candy. Exqueeze us, but Lemon-Lime Snowcone isn't screaming Autumn. Even with a twee harvest scene on the packaging, we can't get past the flower blossom colors. Brach's, looks like you candy corn'd the bed on this one.

Buy: Kit Kat Haunted House Building Kit

We so love that the Kit Kat Haunted House Building Kit is back for its second year in a row! What better way to "have a break," as the brand slogan goes, than building a tiny house full of candy we actually want to eat.

"What's in the box!" Lucky for us, it's packed with goodies. You'll find Kit Kat milk chocolate and dark chocolate bars, Smarties (the chocolate kind, not the sugar tablets), Kit Kat Scary Friends (chocolate-shaped bats, witches, mummies, or vampires), orange icing, and plenty of sprinkles. If you want to invite some more Scary Friends to the party, you can also buy an entire box of them on their own. 

If you can't get your hands on the Kit Kat house, there are a few other brands on the market as well. We see you, Oreo house, Hershey's cookie house, Trader Joe's cookie house, and Williams Sonoma edible Halloween "mansion" that's really the size of a tiny house. But we're sticking with our Kit Kat digs. Like the Lincoln Logs of yore, Kit Kat candy actually makes great prefab walls and roofing ... with zero cookie structure needed. Fortunately, there aren't any rules about how long you have to wait to begin the delicious demolition.

Ignore: Hershey's Kisses Monster Foils

Here lies a grave disappointment: Opening the fun and festive Hershey's Kisses Monster Foils wrapper to find (violin sting!) the exact same Hershey's Kisses from the rest of the year ("Price Is Right" loser horn). Yes, they kind of give it away in the name. And yes, we were still hoping for more. Our thirst for ultimate candy awesomeness will never be quenched!

These designs are super cute. They feature the kind of monster imagery of a creature that you'd want to appear in your dark closet and then become your fun little best friend. Too many eyes, a big hairy eyebrow, and the iconic Kisses paper plumes printed with "CREEPY," "EEK," and "YIKES." We have to admit they would look great in a bowl for a costume party, where we would no doubt sample the wares.

And yet — okay, yes, it does come down to the details when you're sorting through the best ever candy for the candiest day of the year — they are still just regular ol' milk chocolate Hershey's Kisses. Is that bad? Not entirely. Is it as fun as it could possibly be? Of course not. Here's hoping that next year Hershey's Kisses step up their game.

Buy: Nerds Candy Corn

Surprise, we're not done with candy corn yet! Get ready, because we're adding yet another divisive candy to the mix: Nerds! Check yourselves, haters, Nerds Candy Corn is back — and fans are loving it more than ever. Possibly because it doesn't crack your teeth like the tiny pebbles that are regular Nerds.

This is a legit Franken-candy creation, made with Nerds flavor, and a nod to the classic candy corn texture. But the odd shapes of the candy pieces really embody the full Frankenstein in the situation. They might not be pretty — or particularly "corn-like" — but they're definitely worth a try. A good sugar rush knows no bounds, friends.

The rainbow of flavors here might throw you for a loop, but we came for an adventure, not the same old candy bowl rodeo. Under a Nerds candy shell lies a soft and chewy filling, featuring strawberry grape, blue raspberry fruit punch, and cherry-watermelon. The bite is different than trad candy corn, thanks to the Nerds coating that adds a little crunch. But what we think takes this Halloween treat over the finish line is this: Nerds candy corn actually tastes like something. Finally. Can you even name the flavor of basic candy corn? No! But with this Nerds-style take on an old favorite, you'll be tasting those crazy flavors as nature (well, almost nature) intended. 

Ignore: Jelly Belly Pumpkin Pie

Maybe it's worse if you know the haunted history of these jelly beans, but the Jelly Belly Pumpkin Pie flavor is back for Halloween. And it's better — or worse — than ever (depending on who you ask).

Jelly Belly hoped for a holiday hit when they launched the original pumpkin pie jelly bean way back in 1987. But thanks to its lackluster taste, it was canceled in a year. A decade later, they relaunched the bean with an upgraded formula that still didn't hit right with the masses. And after a second do-over, pumpkin pie Jelly Belly was back on the shelves in 2014. 

Fast forward to nearly 10 years after that, and here we are, still feeling "meh" about the offering. Some have said it was like eating pumpkin pie minus the crust. But who wants pumpkin pie without the best parts? We need our flaky crust, a dollop of whipped cream on top, and Aunt Edna talking about her cat Tiggy — who we all know died a long time ago, R.I.P. Tiggy — as she gently strokes the shaggy white throw pillow someone should have put away before she got here. You know, just for example.

If you love pumpkin pie, chances are you love everything about it — including its singular texture. The jelly bean version may vaguely allude to a slice of the real stuff, but nobody's gonna be sneaking into the kitchen at midnight to grab a handful of these things after everyone's gone to bed.