Lame Adventure 439: The Annual Halloween Scourge

As Halloween fast approaches, Jack O’Lanterns, black cats, creepy tales about ghosts and goblins abound. But my mind is drawn in the direction of something truly frightening. Something that has nothing to do with apparitions, zombies or cackling witches, but is infinitely more terrifying and gag-inducing:

Candy Corn

Candy Corn.

These pellets of tooth rotting mouth burn have been haunting the US and Canada since the 1880s. Made from all naturally bad ingredients — sugar, corn syrup, carnauba wax and artificial coloring, the National Confectioners Association estimates that 25 million pounds of this poison are sold annually.

Doomsday scenario: candy corn, roaches and rats inherit the earth.

Doomsday scenario: rats and roaches feeding on candy corn inherit the earth.

The name candy corn always sounded so appetizing to me as a child. I liked candy. I liked corn. I still like both candy and corn. But every time I ate candy corn I would feel bamboozled.

Me (as a child): This doesn’t taste anything like candy or corn! It tastes awful!

It was too sweet, too fake and if I ate more than two pieces at one time, I would feel like I had a sore throat for three days. To my sensitive palate, candy corn’s most prominent ingredient is irritation with tooth decay a close second. Possibly I am in the minority i.e., someone who is not drawn to foodstuffs that are derived from dual-purpose ingredients. Carnauba wax can also be used on cars, surfboards and to shine shoes. Shoe polish is more appetizing to me. I like its smell, not to imply that I’d also like it spread on a cracker.

As for candy corn’s artificial food coloring, what might it look like without it? Marlon Brando is famous for saying:

Marlon Brando: The most repulsive thing you could ever imagine is the inside of a camel’s mouth.

As I imagine what candy corn looks like in its natural state, hardened repugnant fluids are crossing my mind. I’d much rather take a gander deep down a camel’s gullet, but while wearing nose plugs.

As I think about rank scents, the overly sweet, cloying smell of candy corn is noxious to me. When I whiffed the contents of this bag of it …

Purchased from It's Sugar, first cousin of It's Tooth Decay.

Purchased from It’s Sugar, first cousin of It’s Cavities.

My eyes started watering and I suffered a wave of nausea. If Wayne Newton had been playing on the radio, I would have become physically ill.

It baffles me why something so toxic does not come with a Surgeon General’s warning. Anyone pregnant, nursing or would like to live beyond age sixty should not eat this cacophony of bad chemistry. I looked at a cross section of a piece of one where the bottom fell out. It appeared stuffed with something. My first guess is bad vibes. My second is the active ingredient in toenail fungus.

Candy corn innards.

Candy corn innards channeling Dr. Scholl.

Considering that 25 million pounds of this blight is sold annually, someone must do the unthinkable: eat it. How can this be? Who are these people? Could it be scoring a big hit with small fry who have underdeveloped taste buds? Or, the elderly who are so heavily medicated that their taste buds are obliterated? Who likes these toxic lumps? I want to know. Are they inbred, do they have the intellectual acuity of a small soap dish, do they hail from the town of Stepford?

25 million pounds is 12,500 tons. The Statue of Liberty weighs 125 tons. Who in the US and Canada is contributing to ingesting the equivalent of one hundred statues of liberty made out of sugar, car wax and artificial food coloring instead of the infinitely tastier combination of copper and steel? Here’s a scary thought: could I know someone that eats candy corn? I must, but who could that be? Neither of my parents were candy corn eaters. My dad liked peanuts and my mother, cheese. My siblings and niece are not candy corn eaters, either, and my brother-in-law, Herb, likes waffles. I’m a product of a completely candy corn-free family. But someone in my orbit must be doing his or her part to keep candy corn thriving ever since Grover Cleveland was president. Confounded, I vented my frustration about this bottomless pit of orange, yellow and white scourge haunting every Halloween to my trusted confidant, my best friend, Milton. He responded to my tirade with a photo of his desk at his Grind.

Milton's desk at his Grind.

Sucker punched.

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161 responses to “Lame Adventure 439: The Annual Halloween Scourge

  1. This is a product best served during cooler weather or in an air-conditioned deep-freeze. Put out a bowl of this stuff in the summer months and see what happens. Clumpy goodness of death.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m no fan of candy corn myself- all I see is cavities when I see bags of it in the store and luckily for us, our kids don’t seem to have the love of candy corn either. Living in Halloween central, I am amazed by all the hoopla that this particular “holiday” evokes- and according to something I read a while back in the NYT, “About $2 billion, or 600 million pounds, of candy are sold in the Halloween season, according to industry figures. That’s just under two pounds for every man, woman and child in the United States.” Now that’s scary!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a lot of sugar, Dorothy, and there are probably thousands, if not millions of people inhaling way more than two pounds of candy during Halloween season. I imagine that a percentage of people are probably almost mainlining it. That’s even scarier, buddy.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Have you tried the ones with ‘chocolate’ in them? If you know what real chocolate tastes like, you won’t like them.

    Three years ago at work, someone brought in a dish with candy corn melted down. It had some other ingredient like peanut butter??? That melted mass was frosted with chocolate. The claim was they tasted like Butterfinger. Vaguely true.

    I must admit to eating some candy corns most years. After reading your detailed descriptions today, I think I’ve eaten my last one for fear of getting ‘camel mouth’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve seen candy corn with chocolate, Jim. It’s an abomination. Those give me the willies almost as much as what’s inside a camel’s mouth. Yikes! Brando sure knew what he was talking about! I am equal opportunity when it comes to loathing candy corn so that includes all of its variations. I know what real chocolate tastes like rather well. We’re chowing down a box of See’s chocolate at The Grind this week. That’s the real deal.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh my god! A candy corn eater in your midst! This is so funny, V, as I went with my sister to an art show (actually we were displaying our art – my photography and her jewelry) and it was so bad, that we found ourselves eating the free candy corn! Well, we didn’t eat a lot of it – you’re right it does taste like what I would imagine car wax would – but we just couldn’t help ourselves. Maybe there is some hidden ingredient that makes people eat it – especially when they’re depressed?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yep. I have it in a bowl on my kitchen counter too. Busted!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The fact that Milton has a high-res monitor implies that he’s a highly valued cog at the grind.

    I think you’re too hard on candy corn. No, it tastes nothing like real corn (although it is made with corn syrup), and it’s got a waxy texture, but it’s not THAT bad. I can only eat a couple pieces before the sweetness wears me down.

    But I don’t understand how we can call ANY confection awful or gross as long as Peeps are still around. Peeps are freaking disgusting–a blob of springy sugar that tastes like a syrup-infused cotton ball.

    Fight the real enemy, V!

    Liked by 2 people

    • At this stage in life, Smak, just looking at that sack of candy corn I photographed for this post took a toll on my eyeballs, I loathe it so much. But rest assured, my friend, even though I have never tasted a single solitary Peep in my 388 1/2 dog years, they are on my hit list, too. I am not a marshmallow fan, and your description of them as springy sugar syrup-infused cotton balls sounds like pure poetry to me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Given a choice between Halloween candy corn and Easter Peeps, I’ll take the candy corn.

      Interesting that these two confectionery items evolved around a poultry theme. And what about those weird hard-shell marshmallow-ish candy eggs? Is that what comes out of a Peep after it eats candy corn?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. While reading, I actually was thinking “I wonder if the King of Quips likes candy corn?” … and lo and behold, the surprise ending of this post! Because I’m a video junkie, I wondered again, and then found. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgTvgQfcllM

    Liked by 1 person

  8. They make GREAT fake teefus!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I do not partake of the evil sugary sweets, however, I am married to one large giant that probably ate one Statue of Liberty.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ha ha. Me, I love candy corn!!! There, now you know someone, V. I know it’s despicable stuff, and I only eat three a year. I love the pumpkins, too. I know they’re vile, but someone must eat them. 🙂 I much prefer chocolate, however.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will break it to you gently, Amy: now you’re dead to me … Just yanking you. You rate a dispensation pass. It is a relief to know that you prefer chocolate. I will refrain from acknowledging that you mentioned those ghastly pumpkins. Your teeth are breathing a collective sigh of relief if you really do limit yourself to three pieces of candy corn a year. I’ve eaten my fill of candy corn for life and that was probably little more than three pieces of it between the ages of five and seven.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m convinced that candy corn and roaches will be the only things able to survive a nuclear winter.

    Like

  12. You forget that candy corn is a national tradition. Like pumpkins and cranberry sauce. I buy one bag just for nostalgia’s sake. It sits on my table reassuring me that some things are still alright with the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If that bag just sits in a lump on your table, Conrad, and you have no plans to scarf it, why not just keep it in storage and take it out at Halloween time? Invest those annual candy corn funds in something seasonal like a tasty caramel apple, or better yet, apply those shekels toward something valuable like a share of Apple stock.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Candy corm always seems to be the thing that there is a big bowl of at every Halloween party that almost nobody eats – so maybe it is just intended for decoration since eating it is akin to eating any of the other party decorations?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ll tell you what to do with those little sugary corns. Take peanuts add a small amount of corns= enjoy! And if that dose t work you can throw them at pedestrians!
    Thanks for the read. Come be a part of the American Dream on my page.
    -F

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’d use them as cones around forbidden foods like a construction site

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I can’t stand the taste of candy corn but I buy it anyway… I just consider it decoration!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You should try it mixed with peanuts! The combination of sweet and salty is actually pretty good.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. How To Tame Candy Corn and Make it Do Your Bidding

    1. Melt one pound of candy corn slowly in microwave until it is a hot, gooey mass reminiscent of melted traffic cones.

    2. Stir the bright orange hideousness into 14 ounces of creamy natural peanut butter. None of that Jiff crap, we’re being healthy here.

    3. Press into a greased 9 x 13″ pan and ladle an entire bag or two of melted chocolate chips (mixed with 1 T. butter) over the top.

    4. Refrigerate until firm, cut into squares.

    You just made Butterfinger candy bars. No shit.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. petiteandprettyco

    Never hand candy corn, will try though. Thanks for the post

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I have always thought of candy corn as sweetened wax.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I love everything about the sickening, artificially sweet taste of candy corn, but I definitely enjoyed your rant!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Don’t want to pull seniority on you or anything, but I must ask how old you are. I have fond mesozoic memories of candy corn when I was a kid, but when I tasted it in recent years it wasn’t the same. Some things are like that. Tradition allows manufacturers to get away with murdering what might have been good at one time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m over forty and under death. I never knew a time when candy corn tasted good, but if I were to lower myself and try to eat it now — something I’ve no intention of doing, I imagine it would taste the same as I remembered in my youth, like hardened embalming fluid.

      Like

  23. Sugar should be used for what it was, in my opinion, primarily discovered for. Feeding yeast to produce alcohol. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. It’s me! I eat the candy corn!!

    Like

  25. Denise [But First, Live!]

    LOL!!
    Def. the worst candy!!! I never liked it and always tossed it 😀

    Like

  26. I must admit.. I do love Candy corn! Though I’m not from the US and only ever had it once! Maybe if I had it regularly I would grow to hate it! Lol!

    Like

  27. your new badge is looking pretty sweet there on your sidebar. Double the fun

    Like

  28. I have no problem with sugary candy & snacks for Halloween, but I NEVER liked Candy Corn. It has always been way to sweet even the gourmet ones that were grape or blackberry (something like that) flavored and actually liked the taste, but I could only eat like one or 2. I think Candy corn is the only thing about Halloween I HATE!!!

    Like

  29. Sigh! Candy corn is my favorite Halloween candy! For once, however, we don’t have any in the house this year. Finally took to heart that this is like injecting sugar and poison directly into my bloodstream. What I wonder is whether there is also an addictive ingredient in these things. Only way to break the craving is going cold turkey!

    Like

  30. Must confess that candy corn was one of my favorite sweets as a child. Eating way too much of it a couple times and trying to sound out the ingredients panel got me to cut back some as a teenager, but not entirely. The few times I’ve bought as an adult though, ugh. Two or three pieces once or twice a year is plenty, but who’s going to put that as a serving suggestion?

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing your history with candy corn and how your taste for it has evolved through the years. I could only get down two or three pieces of it if I was being paid big bucks or a free vacation to Europe (with airfare and included). Scarfing candy corn has about as much appeal to me as quaffing colon cleanse.

      Like

  31. Okay, I’m going to confess that I actually like candy corn. I know, you think even less of me now, but hopefully you admire my honesty. And I miss it here. Someone from the States brought some over for my partner’s office and no one liked it, so I inherited it. My partner won’t touch the stuff.

    Like

    • It does not shock me that you would come out about playing on Team Milton about this, but my admiration for your better half, which was high to start with, has just soared even higher. Candy corn is a fraud!

      Like

  32. I have a love-hate relationship with that poison. Eat a couple pieces – okay, tastes good, try some more. After a few more – ugh – horrible taste in my mouth, yucky sweetness, have to eat some dark chocolate to counteract the taste. Yet, later on, I do it again. My family and I have gone through 4 bags of this poison so far this fall. I insist that I won’t buy it again, and then – bam – there it is. Is there a twelve-step group for candy corn?

    Like

  33. Ughhhh I can’t stand the stuff either… *gag*

    Like

  34. Hazmat has done a sweep of our home, and I am proud (and relieved!) to announce we are now candy corn free! Now it will be much, much safer to open our home to trick or treaters tonight, should we actually get any! Thanks for the great post! 🙂

    Like

  35. Being from the UK, I was unaware what candy corn was. Whenever I heard it mentioned on TV I imagined sweet flavoured popcorn. Thanks for educating me.

    Like

  36. Reblogged this on THE HIPOCRACY and commented:
    How befitting for me since I am the lady with her porch light out signaling the children to keep walking. I love watching the horror movies on television, though. Leave a comment about your Halloween plans tonight.

    Like

  37. So kids! take all your wrappers and save them! All you kids! Eat the candy – poison your teeth, but have a school candy wrapper festival and collect all the wrappers and make them into a huge ball – like a globe … like … like ME! Yeah! Turn all your wrappers into a globe and hang me in your classroom. What a great idea! How did I think of that?

    Like

  38. Pingback: 15 Fall DIYs That Will Make Any Fall Lover Rejoice | Very Bangled

  39. Thank you. Finally someone else is as baffled about candy corn as I am. My son loves it and so I’m forced to buy a big bag of it every year. I usually try one again just to remind myself that yes, I do not like to eat car wax.

    Like

    • Based on my own opinion which retails for two cents (and half that during holiday sales), I have deduced from your comment that there’s something in your son’s genetic makeup where he acquired the “candy corn tastes awesome” gene that’s dormant in people like us. People who were born with the “candy corn tastes awful” gene.

      Liked by 2 people

  40. FRESHLY PRESSED AGAIN ~ now that’s sweet! The good kind of sweet! Congratulations and a very loud WOOHOO!
    My teeth were aching and I was beginning to feel a little nauseous as I read this post … 25 million pounds? Really? Pass me some more chocolate, please.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love chocolate, too, Patricia, and the darker, the better. Mr. Sweet Tooth and candy corn addict, Milton, HATES my taste in chocolate. And, of course, it’s my US and your Canada that’s eating those 25 million pounds of poison. We should be embarrassed! Of course Milton has candy corn pride.

      Yes, getting Freshly Pressed twice in one year is the type of sweet I much prefer.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Congrats, V!! I just saw this was Freshly Pressed!! Yay, awesome. Good for you.

    Like

  42. You got freshly pressed again? Wow, awesome. Just noticed the new badge, but what I really came here to say was that walking around in old San Juan, Puerto Rico on Halloween we came across a flea market, and what should one of the booths have sitting on a table for passers-by to snack on but a dish of your absolute favorite (gag, cough, choke) treat, the infamous candy corn!

    Like

  43. I think I saw candy corn beer somewhere…ugh. Honestly, I rarely see it handed out anymore. I’ve never liked it, and now I know why…you describe the experience of tasting them perfectly. Lets just hope it doesn’t become a flavor for Starbucks.

    Like

  44. I’m with you on this. They are just ick.

    Like

  45. I love your blog and the humor pointed full barrel at everything. I, too, am pretty damn sensitive to sugar and fakey ingredient substitutes. Yet – despite this – I could NOT hold back the other day from the help yourself plate of candy corn placed at the checkout line counter where I work. Expecting a horrible shit sugar taste nothing like what I savored as a kid in my candy corn addiction, I was returned to a comfort zone and totally unnatural high consuming these tri-color bits of carcinogen sweetness. Now that the stupid Halloween holiday is over, my guilt in throwing myself at the candy corn plate has disappeared due largely to rehab.
    I, too, have a humor (mostly) WordPress blog (surprise, surprise). Check it out – mikeandberg.com. I’d live your thoughts. Till then, stay away from gorging on Thanksgiving cranberry sauce and lame candy canes come Christmastime. Many rehab specialists are on holiday period vacation.

    Like

    • I’m under the impression that you are, at this stage in the game, a closet candy corn-lover, Mike. There are truly greater offenses one could commit, not that any are coming to mind at the moment… Cranberry sauce remains a-okay with me — if it’s made with fresh cranberries (’tis the season for that!). As for those super sweet Christmastime candy canes, I’m not big on those, either. My favorite wintertime holiday candy is Trader Joe’s Brandy Beans — brandy-filled, bean-shaped dark chocolate. Dark chocolate and alcohol, pure bliss to me.

      Like

  46. I was fed candy corn at age five or six and remember throwing up off the front porch. Since that day, I become nauseous just looking at the stuff. However, as someone who participated in the Future Farmers of America program in high school, I must speak up on behalf of the Candy Corn growers of America. It takes an orange thumb to grow candy corn. You can’t just plant it and forget it like regular corn. It must be constantly tended and watered frequently with high-fruitcose corn syrup in a temperature controlled environment. If it gets too hot, you lose your entire crop. It’s a good thing growers get government subsidies or these poor farmers would likely go broke and lose the homestead. Plus, think of all the dentist who would be out of work if not for candy corn. From what I understand it’s worse than meth-mouth. Maybe we should pay those farmers to grow something different–like Coconut Bon-Bons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Basically, what you’re saying, Russell, is that even though candy corn makes people like us sick to our stomachs, eating it is not only good for the economy, but also patriotic. Well, I agree with you that those orange-thumbed farmers should grow something different, but why settle for coconut bon-bons? Let’s go whole hog and pay them to grow brandy beans!

      Like

  47. I’m all for that. In fact, I’d start a little crop of my own (just for personal use) if I had a fistful of seed. They look delicious and obviously have more health benefits that candy corn.

    Like

  48. First congrats on Freshly Pressed, awesome.

    I do not care what it is made from. Really I don’t. I love Candy Corn. Not in massive quantities. But I love it. Must be Brachs Candy Corn, the real stuff. Most only be the White, Orange and Yellow Candy Corn. Must not eat huge quantities of it, yet still. I love the stuff.

    Like

    • Thanks for the congrats, Val. The more people respond to my rant about candy corn, the more where you land on the divide i.e., pro or con, the more it brings politics to mind or computer preference (Apple vs PC) to mind. Who knew it could elicit such passion? Certainly not a stumblebum like me!

      Like

  49. I’m in Australia and I swear I’ve never actually seen candy corn, except in pictures and American movies. Why is it even called corn? It doesn’t even look like corn!

    Like

  50. I agree with you! CC is junk. The comments made my day. You really struck some nerves out there in candyland.

    Like

  51. While I accept that candy corn is sugar-crap, I love them. Once a year and a handful or so, I’m good. I don’t need them all year. I have the sugar at Starbuck’s for that. 🙂

    Like

    • That’s a very mature attitude about it, Sharlea, but I still think it tastes like big mouthful of fake. If I ever eat it again, I hope I’m near an industrial strength size glass of Listerine to cleanse all that artificial flavor out of my mouth. Even thought we have to agree to disagree on this one, I do respect your opinion.

      Like

  52. I decided that this year I am saying good-bye to candy corn for good (I’m really serious this time). I no longer can stand the sugar rush from popping a small handful of these in my mouth. I think I entered a sugar coma the day after Halloween when I hit the store for the 50% off candy. No more, No mas! One word enters my mind: “Diabeetus”

    Like

  53. Gag. I hate candy corn. I also hate when people tell me that it’s their fav Halloween candy. They’re just lying to themselves.

    Like

  54. Pingback: My Lame Adventure | Brother Jon's Page

  55. I hope you don’t mind a late reply and a tiny request, but as these things aren’t sold in my country could you tell me what the ingredients actually are (as in listed on the packaging)?

    Like

  56. My favorite Halloween candy!

    Like

  57. Sigh — it’s my favorite Halloween Candy, too. But, I am glad that it disappears after Halloween. My teeth can only take so much.
    Now, the popcorn balls — I wish they would stick around.

    Like

  58. The older I get the less sweet I want. Candy corn dropped off my list a few years ago. Yuck! I’m a savory kind of guy!

    Like

  59. I’d never even heard of candy corn until I stumbled across your blog. I must admit I am now extremely curious and want to try it. Also, congratulations on being freshly pressed!!

    Like

    • Just harden sugar with car wax, add some cancer causing food color and voila, candy corn, Manasa! Or, just do yourself a favor and don’t do that. I am sure that if you Googled it you could find it available from someplace that could ship it to you pre-made.

      Like

  60. Hi, I just found your blog, I’m your evil (but nice) opposite. On my blog I write about how I love marshmallow Peep and candy corn, food, fun, family, and friends (also about deeper issues too.) I only eat the Yellow Peeps I stay true to my brand, pink and blue peeps are just not the same. So glad I found you!! Stop by and say hello to me sometime.

    Like

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