I was hesitant to write this because it's just so blasé, but Candy Corn is usually my very first 'act of Halloween' and there have been non-spirited, or work-heavy years when Candy Corn was my only form of celebration. It's the one true constant of the season, going all the way back to my first outing as a trick 'r treater.
Not unlike the Mogwai, there are rules which I must obey.
1. It must be Brach's brand.
I'm sure I developed this bias because Brach's was the first brand I ever tried, but other brands don't even taste like Candy Corn to me. Their flavor is too flat, and the texture is too pasty. I can spot the imposters by their coloring alone, the hues are too pigmented, and the tips are always too white. Brach's tips have a more subtle, somewhat transparent appearance. It's like Crayons versus oil painting. You get a sense of refinement and mastery in Brach's, as opposed to the two-for-a-buck gas station brands that are seemingly produced by hyperactive chimps with no discernment or moral compass.
Crimes against Candy Corn
While Brach's has tampered with their Jelly Bean recipe beyond forgiveness (White should never have become 'Pineapple'), their Candy Corn has remained the same throughout my life.
This year they've made things even more appealing with a wonderful package design that embraces both class, and the Halloween color pallet. Just take a look at their recent history. They went from whimsical, to cutesy, to pure elegance...
2. It must be consumed as early in the season as possible.
Candy Corn is polarizing. It's even the butt of candy-related jokes, second only to Circus Peanuts. But I believe that more people would embrace it if only they would experience Brach's product in early September. By the time most kids have fished it out of their plastic pumpkins the candy is months old, making it hard, brittle, and waxy. This is how most haters remember it. Brach's Candy Corn fresh from the harvest is soft and flavorful. It's rich with a vanilla-ish taste that will send you rushing to the fridge for a glass of milk.
Over the past decade I've kept track of the first available Candy Corn, and in my area it surfaces anywhere between September 2nd through the 6th. (One year it didn't show up until the 12th!) Then we got a Walgreen's. They get their seasonal stuff out there before everyone else, making it possible to eat August Candy Corn straight from the Mexican factories. It does cost top dollar (though a bit less if you have one of their highly prestigious store cards, which I will never live up to.) but it's worth it. (if you believe petty pleasures are worth real American dollars.)
I know that you're thinking that you can get it year-round at most grocery stores. No, that stuff hangs on the peg for ages. I hate to say it, but if you haven't already had Candy Corn this year then you'd better just wait for 2015. And be sure to eat your Brach's Classic Jelly Beans the day that the Easter candy replaces Valentines.
3. Know your limit.
The bag pictured was my first of the 2014 season, September 2nd to be exact. Counting that one, I've eaten through three bags, plus one pack of Autumn Mix. This is the standard pattern for me. By the third bag of the year I've nearly had my fill, so I up the stakes with the addition of mellowcreme pumpkins and "Indian candy corn." Soon thereafter the self loathing sets in, and by then the corn is too old anyway.
I must admit that occasionally I succumb to Halloween Blindness and buy one more bag near the 31st, only to receive a waxy reminder of why I should never do such a thing. The other pitfall is the November 1st 50% off sale. Thankfully all the Candy Corn has usually sold out by then.
PLEASE CANDY CORN RESPONSIBLY