These Are the Best and Worst Cities for Trick-or-Treating, Ranked

These Are the Best and Worst Cities for Trick-or-Treating, Ranked

Elizabeth Licata
Oct 23, 2017
(Image credit: Leena Robinson/Shutterstock)

When it comes to doing Halloween right, some cities are just better than others. I mean, if you're going door to door dressed up in a sweet homemade costume, then you deserve something better than a single Tootsie Roll. Want to know where your city ranks in terms of best candy for trick-or-treaters? We've got the list.

Grocery delivery website Instacart ranked the best and worst U.S. cities for trick-or-treating, based on candy quality. To begin with, they determined the 10 best and 10 worst candies. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Starburst, and Twix topped the good candy list. Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, Dum Dums, and Candy Corn were on the do-not-distribute list.

Next, they analyzed one-million candy orders placed in the weeks before Halloween 2016 to see what was being purchased in each city, then ranked the cities based on how likely they were to buy treats on the "good" list.

Many people have tried to rank the best cities for trick-or-treating in the U.S., but their methodologies are flawed if they do not take candy quality into account. Zillow, for example, assesses trick-or-treat status based on how expensive the homes are, how many children under the age of 10 live there, and how close together the homes are, for ease of door-to-door walking. They do not, however, consider the candy. That's why San Francisco and Philadelphia wound up at the top of Zillow's list, but the bottom of Instacart's. San Francisco may deliver the most amount of candy for the least amount of walking, but that doesn't matter when they're disproportionately likely to be handing out candy corn.

The 5 Best Trick-or-Treating Cities in the U.S.

Taking candy quality into account, these are the best trick-or-treating cities in America.

1. Chicago

Chicago might be called the Second City, but it's the first when it comes to trick-or-treating. Chicago is the city most likely to buy the best candy, and their number-one candy pick is the Snickers bar. That's a great choice. Snickers is a top-tier candy bar in its own right, and it's arguably the most desirable bar when it comes to trading with friends and siblings. Kids with Snickers bars are virtually guaranteed to be able to swap them for whatever they want.

2. Washington, D.C.

The residents of Washington, D.C., are not handing out Werther's Originals or candy corn. Last year, the most popular candy in their shopping carts was Twix bars. Twix are another great one, as long as we're talking about the fun-size bars at the absolute smallest.

3. Indianapolis

Indianapolis is not the most walkable city, but trick-or-treating there might be worth a few more steps, because Indy residents buy a ton of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Those are one of the most prized items in a Halloween basket, and they're also the candy a person is most likely to eat the most of in one sitting, regret it immediately, and then do it again a few hours later. It's tough to ration them out one at a time when they're that delicious.

4. Seattle

Seattle comes in fourth for good-candy density, and the city's very favorite candy is Twizzlers. Twizzlers are a great thing to give out at Halloween. They're super popular with kids, and individually wrapped Twizzlers are so long kids feel like they're getting full-sized candy, even if it's just one Twizzler.

5. Los Angeles

L.A. is a risk-taker when it comes to candy. That city buys a ton of Sour Patch Kids, and those are pretty polarizing. Still, the candies that make your whole face pucker up have paid off for Los Angeles, and it takes the final spot in the top five.

The 5 Worst Cities for Trick-or-Treating in the U.S.

These are the worst cities for trick-or-treating in the U.S.

5. San Francisco

San Francisco might be full of geniuses, but a lot of those geniuses are buying Dum Dums.

4. Atlanta

Atlanta's candy of choice is Smarties. Smarties are a pretty good choice on their own. One roll of Smarties is a treat. If everyone gives out Smarties, the novelty wears off pretty quickly. It sounds like that's happening in Atlanta.

3. San Antonio

San Antonio has the Halloween spirit. Unfortunately, they're celebrating by giving away candy corn. Candy corn is festive, but it's too divisive to be the only thing in your basket when trick-or-treaters show up. If you're going to offer candy corn, at least mix in some chocolate.

2. Boston

Boston is probably not going to be very happy about this list, but they came in as the second worst trick-or-treating spot in the country, apparently for a habit of buying huge amounts of Laffy Taffy. Honestly, I'd be pretty thrilled to see Laffy Taffy just for the '90s nostalgia alone. Maybe the Bostonians buying Laffy Taffy aren't giving it to the kids. Maybe they're adults in their '30s reliving their youths.

1. Philadelphia

Philadelphia has the dubious honor of being the worst city for trick-or-treating in the entire U.S., according to Instacart. Tootsie Rolls are the city's most popular candy purchase, and Tootsie Rolls are few people's favorite thing to see in a Halloween basket. They're great as filler candy — throw a big bag of Tootsie Rolls in with the rest of your offerings, and you're guaranteed to have something on hand when the last trick-or-treaters straggle in after 9 p.m. — but they're not a candy that makes kids shout, "Yeah! Tootsie Rolls!"

How does your city rate?

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