Staff Picks: Favorite Halloween Costumes & Candy

In years past, the staff here at and the American Humanist Association have shared our favorite Halloween films, but this year it gets personal. Check out our top costumes and some controversial choices for favorite trick-or-treat candies below!

Jennifer Bardi, Senior Editor

Favorite costume: Last year at Halloween I was still sad that Bernie Sanders hadn’t won the presidential primary (even so, I was fully behind Clinton and didn’t take Trump’s chances seriously). I did one of those mash-up costumes: Barbie Sanders, who I described as a glamorous democratic socialist. “Sure, she’s a member of the 1% but she wants to pay her fair share of taxes, break up the banks, AND ensure single-payer healthcare and free college tuition!” Her favorite saying: “So many billionaires, so little time… to raise their taxes!”

Favorite candy: Mounds. I do wish they could put the almonds from the Almond Joy in the Mounds. Gotta be dark chocolate!

Peter Bjork, Managing Editor

Favorite costume: Every year I think to myself, “This is gonna be the year that I go all out for Halloween!” And every year I pull something together at the last minute–if at all. For a few Halloweens in a row, I wore a large, plastic image of pancakes on my person and offered no explanation. Last year, pictured at left, I Amazon Prime-d a crown and British flag to dress up as Prince George.

One of these years, befitting of my name, I’m going to go full-on Bjork swan dress.

Favorite candy: I think I may be the only person on the planet who enjoys and looks forward to eating Dots. Yes, they’re overly chewy and stick to your teeth for hours. Yes, the flavors are dull and their packaging is annoying. But my allegiance to Dots is strong.

Nicole Carr, Director of Development

Favorite costume: My favorite costume was the Wicked Witch because I got to paint my face green (how often does that happen?) and it was a group costume with a fun bunch of friends—including Amy Couch (who also chose this Halloween outing below). Too bad I’ve already taken off my witch’s hat in this photo!

Favorite candy: My favorite Halloween candy is candy corn because you can only get it near Halloween.

Amy Couch, Communications Manager

Favorite costume: 2015’s Cowardly Lion. This particular Halloween the admin wing of my office had a costume contest (it helped that we worked in a special education school). Each department came up with a secret theme and decorated their offices for the big reveal. I can’t even remember what first prize was, but we all took the competition very seriously! Two of the departments unknowingly picked the same theme, The Wizard of Oz. It didn’t take long for the cat to get out of the bag, so we ended up combining efforts and turning one of the admin hallways into Oz, complete with the yellow brick road, cows caught in twisters, fields of poppies, a black-and-white version of Auntie Em’s house, and, of course, flying monkeys. The costumed cast included Dorothy, Toto, Auntie Em, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glenda the Good Witch.

Not only did I go to work this way, I met with a team of auditors while dressed in full costume!

Favorite candy: It’s a photo finish between peanut butter M&Ms and candy corn. I love both equally, but since I can only get candy corn around Halloween, it wins by a witch’s hair.

Fred Edwords, Director of Planned Giving

Favorite costume: In sixth grade I was ahead of my time. Instead of wearing the usual sort of costume: cowboy, hobo, fireman, vampire, or superhero, I went to my school carnival as a washing machine box! People today now get really creative with costumes to the point that this wouldn’t even lift an eyebrow. Just a few years ago, my wife Mary bought a bag of purple balloons and used them to dress up as a bunch of grapes. But back in 1960, not only did the other kids think I was crazy, they had fun kicking my box as I walked by!

Spencer Grady-Pawl, Communications Intern

Favorite candy: My favorite candy was always Twix—they’d all be gone by the first day after Halloween. I grew up in St. Louis, and there’s a tradition there that you have to tell a joke to get candy—old faithful for me was: “What’s a ghost’s favorite kind of pie? Boo-berry,” which was not that funny but got the job done in terms of getting candy into my bag.

Meghan Hamilton, Events and Social Media Coordinator

Favorite candy: Halloween brings us the best candy ever created: candy corn. Simultaneously the most loved and hated candy in existence, candy corn must have been crafted by a culinary genius. Three beautiful layers of white, orange, and yellow confection tied together in a perfect sugary, chewy triangle. Each layer seemingly tasting unique even though that’s impossible because there are only like five horrible yet delicious ingredients in those things (the chocolate ones don’t count, gross). Good luck getting these sweet ombré delights any time other than Halloween. Yes, candy corn, the perfectly bite-sized candy, is the best Halloween candy, ever.

Monica Miller, Senior Counsel

Favorite costume: In 2008 I dressed up as Sarah Palin and won first place at a big party in New York City. There were a few other Palins, but apparently mine was the best. I think the dead wolf added a nice touch. It’s a tough call though, because in 2009, in my first year of law school, I converted the Palin costume into a “law suit,” which then became another favorite.

Melody Stringer, Member Services Assistant

Favorite candy: My favorite Halloween candy is….candy corn! I stand firm in my loyalty to this tiny treat. It has recently been a topic of debate and criticism—is it actually tasty or just plain disgusting? Most people think the latter because of its waxy texture and high sugar content (which is why I can only eat a few at a time), but there’s also a slight savory factor with notes of caramel and butter, and that’s what makes them most enjoyable to me. I look forward to this seasonal treat every year.

Meredith Thompson, Development Assistant

Favorite candy: Unfortunately, some don’t consider the ethical implications of the Halloween candy they give out. While some candies are “accidentally” vegan like Airheads, Dots, Sour Patch Kids, and Swedish Fish, I prefer to promote brands, if I have to, that I can be sure source their ingredients from areas without slavery. The Food Empowerment Project provides a comprehensive list of chocolate companies they recommend.