Mary Jane Candies: The Journey from Plant to Your Garbage Can

By Andrew Blumetti

The most perfectly wrapped cow chips money can buy!

It all starts with an innocent peanut.

Just an ordinary peanut growing in the sun-drenched fields, not much unlike any of the other millions of potential allergy-ruiners that reside on the fertile farmland soil.

It never hurt anyone, never caused a problem, never made a scene, but hey brotha, sometimes, fate just deals you a crap hand, and the next thing you know, you’re being picked up faster than a tequila-filled college sophomore on spring break by a guy in a non-ironic John Deere cap.

From legume to leDOOM!

From there, it’s just a quick slide straight down crap mountain as that simple peanut who was just kicking back on the soil soon endures the fate of an unfortunate Jigsaw victim in Saw IV, V or VI, being roasted, toasted, and grinded into a deliciously gooey paste.

“Hello peanut, I want to play a game.”

Let’s get to seasoning–  toss in some salt, a dash of sweetener, jar it, pop a lid on that sucker and this once fresh peanut, full of potential and possibility, is now part of something bigger and something even more tasty:  your favorite two words, and mine–  peanut butter.

…but with that title comes infinite possibilities or infinite doom:



Meanwhile, somewhere sweeter…

In a secret lab which just has to be run by old ladies in supportive knee-high hose, sugarcane or sugar beets are getting a once-over of their own, refined and turned into sweet, sticky, syrupy mess, more popularly known as molasses.

You know the stuff.  It’s got the pitch-black color of the heart of a teacher who gives you homework over Christmas break, it’s sweeter than the last three minutes of an episode of Full House, and moves about as fast as a tired sloth full of NyQuil.


Not an item that typically ends up at the top of your shopping list, molasses is oddly enough, the unheralded star of some of your favorite eats.  Without it, certain barbecue sauces, desserts, beers, and rum just wouldn’t have the same taste.  Heck, in a pinch, molasses can even help remove the rust from the hood of your old ’93 Pontiac your weird uncle sold you.

…and about a century ago, this marriage is where things went horribly, horribly wrong.

Just two years after the disastrous sinking of the Titanic, the world was met with another horror, this time one of the candy kind.  In 1914, The Charles N. Miller Company decided to Frankenstein us all, adding peanut butter and molasses together. And much like the destructive giant green monster, sparks flew, wires had gone berserk, everything went awry and this abominable creation was bestowed upon us:

Ladies and gentlemen, the Mary freakin’ Jane.

Later owned by Stark Candy Company and currently by classic confectionery outfit, Necco, this taffy sugar candy has lasted over 100 years.   And with that legacy, comes a timelessness, as that maize and red wrapper signals a generationally-beloved goodie to dispense to adorable, grimey-fingered trick-or-treaters who crowd your doorstep come Halloweentime like packs of salivating wolves waiting to pounce on a raw porterhouse.



“Give us one more Mary Jane, and you’re getting a flaming bag of dog poo on your porch!”



Simply put, Mary Janes are the scourge of the Halloween candy world.

Yes, I’m talking about you.

If you’ve ever spent weeks picking out that perfect costume and hoofing your tired little feet all over the crunchy leaves of the neighborhood, the sweetest reward is coming back home to dump out your obnoxiously huge bag of hard-earned cavity-makers all over the rug to sort them out like some sort of supreme candy god.

Making piles and separating the goods from the not-so goods, here’s a few of the biggest offenders that will soon find a permanent home in your trashcan or chucked at your sister’s head:


  • Good & PlentyThe dreadful licorice candy you can fortunately sell to deadheads as pills.                                            


  • Non-descript Black and Orange Wrapped Candies I’d start gnawing on drywall for survival before I resorted to these.                                       


  • Bit-O-Honey: The candy that makes bees enjoy stinging us.                               


…and in that ill-fated batch of not-so-dandy candy, sits that same lone peanut we started with–  mashed, smashed, and forever bound to molasses, with a one-way ticket to the Island of Misfit Candies.

“Nobody wants a Charlie, Mary Jane in the Box!”


Wow, that’s pretty harsh, right?  That paints a cold, cold picture.  Maybe even I’ve changed my own mind.

So, this October 31st, when you look in your plastic Halloween pumpkin and are sourly disappointed to see you walked up those steep stairs to a old lady’s mothball-ridden doorstep for a half-squashed Mary Jane instead of a colorful pack of delightful M&M’s, maybe it’s time to do some corn-syruped soul searching…

mary jane (candy)

Just think, maybe this could be your arm!

Perhaps there’s someone out there who will love the sweet journey of that poor peanut.  Perhaps there’s a generation who hears “Mary Jane” and instantly doesn’t associate it with potheads sitting in a drum circle.  Perhaps this is just a textbook case candy ageism, and we should respect our sugared elders, giving them a second chance.  And perhaps come November 1st, an open mind will reward us with our new favorite treat.

And if that’s the case, please send me your address so I can mail all of mine to you, cause those things are gross.




Filed under Advertising, Comedy, Food, Halloween, Humor, Retro

22 responses to “Mary Jane Candies: The Journey from Plant to Your Garbage Can

  1. Gross for sure! Yuck! You hit the nail right on the head. Who eats that stuff? Grody man, Bit-o-Honey, Good n Plenty…why!!! 😉

    • Haha, thanks! If I could still trick-or-treat at this age, I would, but sadly, I have to live vicariously through the bag of goodies my nephew brings by, so it’s awesome to see a new generation still throw all those gross candies to the side when they find them in their bag!

  2. I’ve eaten one Mary Jane in my life. One. That’s it. I honestly had no idea it was a peanut butter and molasses concoction! I have to say, your PB chart up above is spot on! I learned and I laughed – 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks so much Kate!

      I really appreciate the kind words you always have! The peanut butter chart was fun to make and incredibly easy to think of as it’s so delicious, haha. I’m very happy you enjoyed, and even happier you survived the Mary Jane you had in your life! Haha

      Have a great weekend as well!

  3. I would so add candy corn to this list. I don’t know how people stomach those things. The texture is just. So. WRONG. lol.

    • Haha, I can eat one candy corn a season, thinking “this’ll be the year I finally like them”, and that one is as far as I get before I remember they’re boring and a literal chore to eat. I’ll give them points for a cool autumn color scheme, but you’re right, flavor-wise, they can take a hike.

      Thanks for the comment- much appreciated!

  4. Pingback: Ten Worst Candies of Halloween | Livin La Vida Broke-a

  5. Fabulous garbage can choices! And someone at work has the non-descript orange and black candies on their desk. I’m going to go and eat one now, praying I don’t lose a tooth by their stickiness.

  6. Did you know that Blackstrap molasses has a high iron content and lots of vitamins and minerals? It’s really good for you 🙂

    • I did not know that! Prior to this, I only really thought of molasses as solely an ingredient I’d see listed on BBQ sauce labels, but it really does serve a lot of purposes!

      Thanks very much for the comment!

  7. Haha perfect post. Seriously, I don’t understand– especially in this economy– how these nasty candy manufacturers keep making and selling this junk! I’m sensing a conspiracy… or a subsidy.

    • You hit the nail on the head, it’s definitely a conspiracy! Those companies should find a better use for their money, like sending it to us instead!

      Thanks for the kind words, very glad you enjoyed!

  8. Reading your post, I remember the movie Charlie and the chocolate factory where the Willy’s father, was trying to sort out the candies that little Willy Wonka got from trick or treating! hahaha! These candies brings a lot of childhood memories and thats for sure.

  9. DFWBill71

    I recently did business at an office and one of the assistants gave me a small bag of Halloween candy. I’m not the biggest candy eater in the world, so I politely declined. But then I thought, well…I might as well, it isn’t that much; the bag literally fit in the palm of my hand.

    Tonight I remembered I had it and went for the Tootsie Roll first…big mistake. Then I discovered something in an unassuming wrapper called “Mary Jane” and had no idea what it was. I popped it in my mouth and was instantly horrified! What tha’ frick is this caca supposed to taste like…caca? LOL!

    I Googled “Mary Jane candy gross” and found this blog page. I was nodding my head right along with you at Good & Plenty, again at the unnamed orange and black whatevers, but then…I about gasped. How could Bit-O-Honey make the list? OMG…I LOVE Bit-O-Honey! Like SUPER LOVE IT! As in, that’s why I’m not a big candy person anymore because I really would eat a handful of them every single day! 🙂

    Rather than throwing them at your sister’s head, send them my way! I promise I’ll g̶o̶b̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶m̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶u̶p pace myself. 🙂

    Other than that, GREAT POST! 🙂

    • Haha, well I’m very happy your horrifying Mary Jane experience could bring you here!

      I gotta admit, I did feel slightly bad including Bit-O-Honey on the list, as I do love most things honey-based, and genuinely like bees and all the bee-like things they do for us. But I just thought back to being a kid and rifling through my bag, and the instant frown that accompanied seeing them, but I’ve not tried them in years, so perhaps I’m just being a bit picky, haha.

      And major points to you for using the terms, “frick” and “caca” in ONE SENTENCE! That had me applauding!

      Thanks so much for the comment and the kind words, hope your Halloween was a blast!


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