Something to chew on

Clark Bar vs. Butterfinger.

Candy vs. popcorn ball.

A classic cola vs. a classic bar.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups vs. every other confectionery treat known to man.

With Halloween just a few days away, discussion and new stories often turn in the direction of candy. Whether it’s a favorite treat a person likes to eat on Halloween or the candy that a person will distribute to the neighborhood goblins, there’s always a wide range of opinion about what’s good and what’s no so good.

That includes talk in our newsroom. It’s seems like there’s never a shortage of food — or talk about food — at any time or at anyplace that reporters and editors gather.

And reading all of the various national surveys and studies that are built around favorite Halloween candies and treats and trying to digest what all that information means led to some interesting discussion.

Count City Editor Michael D. McElwain among those who list the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup as his favorite candy. He also offered a few thoughts about the least favorite treat he collected during his trick-or-treating days. It was a popcorn ball — an unwrapped one — that was rather unceremoniously dropped into his bag many years ago.

Community Editor Janice Kiaski mentioned a classic — a maple Bun bar. They are round and covered in chocolate and peanuts and are a little tough to find these days.

Copy editor Michelle Babish said she had three favorites, and it was tough to choose just one. She said she’d probably put Tootsie Pops first, but not too far ahead of a Dark Chocolate Milky Way and, of course, Reese’s. She also said that she really liked Clark Bars and was excited about the prospect of being able to buy them once again near the end of November, adding it is a much-preferred option to its Butterfinger competitor.

The Clark Bar is, of course, a regional favorite, having called Pittsburgh home for most of its life. The rendition that is expected to be back on store shelves soon will be made by Altoona, Pa.-based Boyer Candy Co.

Stephanie Elverd, another copy editor, agreed that the Clark Bar was superior to Butterfinger, adding she also enjoyed Fifth Avenue and Heath bars. But her favorite was Take Five, saying there was just something special about the combination of peanuts, peanut butter, caramel and pretzels encased in chocolate.

For news editor Ian Hicks, Twix is at the top of the list, and candy corn ranks at the bottom.

Linda Harris, who covers Steubenville municipal government among her other duties, says that while Almond Joy is always a tasty treat, she also finds the simplicity of a Hershey’s Bar satisfying.

Mark Law, our Jefferson County and police reporter, said he preferred Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Kit Kats, which also were a favorite of Craig Howell, managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, who also said he enjoyed Almond Joys. Howell also shared memories of an interesting Halloween treat, remembering that a cousin’s ex-husband had worked for Royal Crown Cola and distributed cans of that classic drink, and visiting a great-aunt where he received a gingerbread man.

So how does our newsroom stack up against the rest of the country? According to WalletHub, the top five Halloween candies are Skittles, Reese’s Cups, M&Ms, Snickers and Starburst. The Washington, D.C.-based personal finance Website reports that 68 percent of Americans say chocolate is their favorite Halloween treat, and that Americans will spend about $2.6 billion on Halloween candy this year.

To break it down even more, CandyStore.com has compiled a listing of the top three favorite candies in each state.

The numbers show M&Ms are the most popular in Ohio, followed by Starburst and Blow Pops. In West Virginia, Blow Pops rank No. 1, with Milky Way second and Hershey’s Miniatures third. Pennsylvanians, meanwhile, have put Hershey’s Miniatures first, with Skittles second and M&Ms third.

Oh yeah, I didn’t forget … give me a Snickers, a bag of Reese’s Pieces or a white chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, and I will be happy.

So sit back and enjoy Halloween. And remember, the Christmas shopping season starts Friday.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)