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Fall Snacks, Ranked

Photo-Illustration: The Cut; Photos: Getty Images; Oreo

Food-wise, fall has a lot going on. It is the season when the most chaotic and hotly debated food and drink make themselves known. Also, because of, I guess, harvests, everyone starts talking about root vegetables and urging you to make soups with immersion blenders. You’re gearing up to make five different Thanksgiving sides in one day. It’s exhausting, frankly.

Fall snacks are a brief respite from the culinary pandemonium of the autumnal months. Snacks are simple, and you can munch on them while you load up your virtual shopping cart with Swiftian sweaters. The best kind of fall snack possesses a little crunch, a little chewiness, and a substantial hit of energy to get you through the most chaotic of seasons. Allow me to introduce to you a fall snack that does all this and more: pumpkin seeds.

To be clear, I am not talking about those green pumpkin seeds at juice and salad bars, which are called pepitas and are actually just the naked insides of their tastier counterparts. Before their husks are removed, pumpkin seeds are bigger and white, which is how they look when you pull them out of inner pumpkin goop. This means you can scoop them right out of your future jack-o’-lantern, cover them with oil and salt, and shove them in the oven to roast. That’s it! Now you have sustenance for the long, cold turmoil of November.

While pumpkin seeds reign supreme, I have taken the liberty of ranking other fall snacks, which are inferior but still worthy of chomping on in the weeks to come.

7. Apples

Apples are pretty mediocre taste-wise, and they taste worse in the fall because you’ve picked too many and are stressed out about finishing them all before they rot. The best way to use fall apples is to present them in little gift baskets to everyone you know, which is both charming and a good way to get rid of apples.

6. Maple candies

Maple candy is available year-round, but maple is inexplicably a fall flavor even though maple trees get tapped in the spring. No matter, fall flavors are about spirit and not logic. These little guys have cute leafy shapes and are a sophisticated way to put a hunk of sugar in your mouth. But even for those of us who like them, one is more than enough, which is not ideal for any snack.

5. Caramel apples

While I’m sure caramel apples taste great, I cannot speak to their tastiness because I’ve never been able to get a proper bite of one. Caramel apples get zero points for eatability, which renders them virtually useless, but because they combine two good flavors and look like an Etsy wedding on crack (in a good way), they get a symbolic nod. If you have any guidance on how to eat a caramel apple, please reach out.

4. Candy corn

As with maple candies, you either like putting a hunk of sugar in your mouth or you don’t. If it wasn’t clear, I like it, and I also like waxy candy (see: Twizzlers), so candy corn is good. However, I do not believe in adding candy corn to any sweet treats, no matter how cute it looks. I can only shove so much sugar into my mouth at once.

3. Halloween Oreos

These are just regular Oreos dyed orange, but dyed food is always better than un-dyed food, and Oreos are never not fun. Lady Gaga knows this, and so should you. Also they’re vegan, which is spooky!

2. Apple cider donuts

Despite what you might have heard, apple cider donuts are both delicious and very special. Without them, fall is nothing. No, they do not taste like actual cider, but they pair very well with it, and no fall donut should be consumed without a cozy drink. Were this a ranking of fall beverages, apple cider would be first (pumpkin spice tastes good but is too controversial).

1. Pumpkin seeds

What more can I say about the small but mighty pumpkin seed? These cost literally nothing if you already purchased a pumpkin, and they are sustainable if you plan to carve it. They are easy to make and endlessly seasonable, much like those giant meal-prep roasting trays but less sad and more crunchy. The only downside is that you have to sift through pumpkin goop to fish them out, which is gross but also kind of satisfying.

Once they fill your house with their salty, oily aroma, you can keep pumpkin seeds sealed in a baggie for weeks on end. Now you have the perfect little snack to be tossed in your mouth by the handful as you pass by them in the kitchen on a drab, gray fall workday. You’re welcome!

Fall Snacks, Ranked