Katie Shafer is a Mom, the owner of Something Fun gift shop, a comedienne, and a very popular Instagram reviewer of all-things candy. She is a candy expert and connoisseur, and she was ready to answer some questions about her craft.

With Halloween and trick-or-treating upon us, that wonderful time each year we teach children the advantages of socialism — people will give me free stuff without me having to do anything but hold my bag open, and in return they have my silent pledge not to vandalize their property.  

Katie agreed to answer some candy questions in between bites of a PayDay bar. 

Katie, let's cut right to the chase. Halloween candy. What are some great candies that kids who were good this past year deserve to receive in their trick-or treat bag? 

To start, this shouldn't have to be said, but…full size candy.  Second, for those who prefer chocolate, we need classics.  Snickers, Twix, Butterfingers, Reese's Cups, and Kit Kats.  Second tier faves for those who want a deeper cut, I would have to go with Baby Ruths, Milk Duds, Milky Ways, and even Crunches. 

Moving on to Fruits/Sours. Sour Patch Kids (Sour Patch Watermelons are a better choice but a touch harder to find in small prepacks), Starbursts (obviously), gummy bears are always acceptable, and, of course, Skittles.   

This might be controversial, but it needs to be addressed: Twizzlers don't belong in trick or treat hauls. I don't know what they do to their recipe when making them smaller and individually packaged, but the ones they try to push on Halloween are terrible. Regular full-size Twizzlers are fantastic, but not the small ones for Halloween. Just thought you should know.   

Finally, a candy clarification: Nerds are good but only on The Rope.   

All right, for the kids who were naughty this past year, what's the Halloween candy equivalent of coal in their stockings? 

Peppermints, butterscotch discs, Necco Wafers, Dum Dums, chocolate coins (yes, I said it, sue me), Smarties, and strawberry hard candies to name a few.  It's well-covered territory, but just in case someone has been living under a rock, those weird, nasty molasses disappointments wrapped in orange and black. No one has ever enjoyed one of those.    

Katie, you and I differ greatly on the issue of those orange circus peanuts. You love the taste of them. I say they make great doorstops. Feel free to defend your position to my readers. 

OK, I'm feeling a bit attacked here. Before you are allowed into the conversation on circus peanuts, you must first be a fan of marshmallows in general. If you aren't, then you won't like them anyway, so you should just walk away. However, if you do have a sophisticated candy palette like I do, and you enjoy the many nuances of different marshmallow confections, then you can certainly understand that a Circus Peanut has a place at the table.  When fresh, their texture is wonderful! In fact…  

Wait, did you just use the words “circus peanuts” and “fresh” in the same sentence? 

Yes, and when you stop laughing like a Serengeti hyena, I’ll explain. When circus peanuts are fresh, they are soft, but with a little bit of resistance as you bite down. Then as it condenses, it becomes more chewy until it dissolves into sugary goodness. Also, they are banana flavored. I know, right? I don't really even care for banana flavored candy, but it's amazing to me that no one really recognizes it as the flavor. I guess that could be called the power of synthetic banana flavoring.  

Katie, from doing candy reviews on Instagram you've learned that people are quite passionate and opinionated about candy.  Candy can be divisive. There are some candies that people either love or hate. As you are no stranger to candy conflict and controversy, tell us what are some of the polarizing candies and how you respond to death threats?  

I would have never guessed how divisive candy can really be. I get so many comments in my Instagram stories no matter what I review. There are always those who love or hate what I am reviewing. I always say, if you don't like my rating, just go rate your own. There isn't a governing body for candy ratings, although there should be.  People are very loyal to their favorites, but there are a few that stick out as most controversial: marshmallow peeps, candy corn, and Good-n-Plenty. Also, it should be noted that Butterfinger changed its formula about three years ago, and it is not as good as the original. THAT was my most controversial review. Man, oh man, did I get some backlash for that.   

Stay tuned for part 2 of my groundbreaking interview with Katie Shafer where I’ll ask about her favorite “old school” candy, overrated and underrated candy, those yellow Peep things, and what wine pairs well with Junior Mints. In the meantime, check out Katie’s Instagram page.  

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage & family therapist in Franklin, (, the author of multiple books, and a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He can be reached at [email protected].