All candy is not created equal. The Halloween Advisory Board would probably dispute this, insisting that candy is candy and it’s all fantastic and you should appreciate each kernel of candy corn just as you’d appreciate a full bag of Milky Way.

But come on. It’s a lie. I know it. You know it.

It’s obvious. On one hand, you’ve got candy. On the other: CANDY. All caps, serious candy.

Sorting candy on Halloween isn’t an act of taste as much as an it’s act of classification and comparison. When we were kids, we’d all dress in different costumes and we’d all stalk different neighborhoods and we’d all return to different homes but, in the end, we all shared one common experience.

In the end, we all dumped out our pillow cases and orange pumpkin buckets and began mentally ranking the haul.

To a kid, choosing candy is an exercise in competition. We visualize the Baby Ruth lining up alongside the Starburst to be mercilessly examined, our decision releasing them from their cardboard cell and into the freedom of our stomachs. Like the BCS, we weigh wins and losses and, ultimately, place one candy brand atop the others.

It’s a candy power poll, and in developing this ranking we each focused on different attributes. A friend of mine, for instance, chose candy based on its sophistication, as if eating a Snickers would somehow help him develop chest hair and a deeper voice. Another friend was less specific, seemingly relying on wind change and moon phases.

My comparisons ran along two lines: fruit flavor and longevity.

The first cut dropped most traditional candy bars out of the running. No chocolate, no nougat, no cay-ra-mell. The next cut separated the suckers from the rest of the fruit-flavored candy because, let’s face it, I was eight and suckers were for BABIES.

Ultimately, it came down to which candy came with the most pieces. I chose Starburst. I chose Skittles. When I was feeling daring, I’d buy Now & Later. Most of all, I chose Mamba, an exotic seeming alternative to the traditional Starburst flavors.

Since that day, the fruit factor has been devalued, as has longevity. Now, Butterfinger tops the list. The candy bars I once saw as sophisticated now crowd the top of the standings. What’s more, I haven’t eaten a Mamba in more than a decade.

The champion is dead. Long live the champ.

Inspired by Jason Santa Maria‘s fantastic Candygram guest posts.

This was lovingly handwritten on October 23rd, 2010