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8 Types of Valentine’s Day Candy Everyone Secretly Hates

No one is getting lucky on Valentine's Day if any of these sad sweets are in your shopping cart.

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Sweet hearts Valentine's cardusmee/shutterstock

No love here

Even the most stalwart fan of the mushy surge of Valentine’s Day commercialism might cringe when they see store shelves packed with boxes of candy hearts. How is it that one of the most popular Valentine’s candies is also so universally disliked? Well, turns out that these hearts are not alone. Here are some popular candies that don’t quite live up to the hype—and some better alternatives. Plus, check out some of our other favorite Valentine’s gifts for her.

01-conversation-types-of-valentines-day-candy-everyone-secretly-hatesvia target.com

Conversation Hearts

Yes, the hearts that say “I love you,” “Be mine,” and even the modern update “Text me” are adorable, but they taste…well, awful. You can only have one or two of them before tossing them in the trash (ideally when the person who gave them to you isn’t looking). “They’re a classic Valentine’s Day candy,” says Emily Kelly of The Candy Blogger. “But let’s be honest, no one wants to receive a box of candy that tastes like chalk.”

What to buy instead: Emily recommends Jelly Belly Petite Sour Hearts because “they pack a punch of amazing flavor and cuteness.” Can’t resist conversation hearts? Find out exactly how the messages on them are chosen.

02-peeps-types-of-valentines-day-candy-everyone-secretly-hatesvia target.com

Peep Marshmallow Hearts

Peeps are great if you’re in grade school, but as an adult, they’re a no-go. “Pure sugar that gets stuck in your teeth is sure to give you a toothache on Valentine’s Day,” says Kelly. If you really want to give Peep Marshmallows as a gift, wait until Easter, when they’re so cute that they make up for the taste.

What to buy instead: If marshmallow hearts are your Valentine’s Day candy of choice, then go all out with these chocolate-covered marshmallow hearts from Hershey’s. Why have them not covered in chocolate when you could have them covered in chocolate?

03-generic-types-of-valentines-day-candy-everyone-secretly-hatesvia target.com

Generic chocolate boxes from the grocery store

These are a major NO. Not only do they taste like fake chocolate, but “so often the box is filled with mystery, and that’s not good for Valentine’s Day,” says Chris Stewart of the Candy Critic.

What to buy instead: If you’re going to give a heart-shaped box of Valentine’s Day chocolates, just spend the extra $10 and buy one from Dove or Godiva. We promise it’ll be a hit and probably empty within seconds. Having trouble shopping this year? Peruse our list of the best Valentine’s Day gifts for him.

04-cinnamon-types-of-valentines-day-candy-everyone-secretly-hatesvia target.com

Cinnamon Hearts

Cinnamon hearts are Hot Tamales’ cheaper, grosser cousin. If you eat one, you taste nothing, but if you eat too many, your mouth is on fire for days. “Cinnamon hearts are best when a few are sprinkled on a chocolate cupcake,” says Stewart.

What to buy instead: If you like your Valentine’s Day candy hot, consider these Chewy Red Hot Hearts. They’re smaller and get stuck in your teeth less, but still pack that cinnamon punch. And they’re much better cupcake decor, because of how small they are. Brush up on some fascinating Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world.

05-gummy-types-of-valentines-day-candy-everyone-secretly-hatesvia target.com

Gummy Lips

Hands down the worst candy. And again, these are fun if you’re five years old, but it’s a little weird for an adult to give another adult gummy lips. Stewart deems these “vulgar” and not “romantic.” Plus, why anyone would want to eat a candy with the word “wax” in its name is beyond us.

What to buy instead: Kelly says you should swap gummy lips for See’s Sour Hearts, which are the “perfect combo of sweet and sour.”

06-candy-types-of-valentines-day-candy-everyone-secretly-hatesZachary Confections via Walmart.com

Valentine’s Day Candy Corn

Halloween and candy corn are a perfect match. Valentine’s Day and candy corn? Not so much. It clearly seems like the makers of Valentine’s Day candy just stole other holiday candy ideas, hence the Valentine’s Day candy corn.

What to buy instead: “Stick with a classic that everyone loves—Brach’s Jube Jel Cherry Hearts,” Kelly suggests. These Swedish Fish–style gummies are sure to be a crowd pleaser. Can you guess the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in your state?

07-york-types-of-valentines-day-candy-everyone-secretly-hatesvia target.com

York Peppermint Pattie Hearts

You either love York Peppermint Patties or you can’t stand them. There’s really no in between. If you don’t know which side your Valentine falls on, best not to risk it!

What to buy instead: If you’re looking for a candy that brings a little heat, Kelly recommends chocolate-covered cinnamon bears. “There’s something romantic about the combination of chewy cinnamon and chocolate that can’t be beat,” she says.

08-tootsie-types-of-valentines-day-candy-everyone-secretly-hatesvia target.com

Valentine’s Day Tootsie Pops

Reaching the center of a tootsie is so anticlimactic and the Tootsie rolls in the middle don’t even taste as good as the regular version.

What to buy instead: If you still want to give a lollipop, invest in a heart-shaped lollipop mold and make your own. Your loved ones will appreciate the extra effort and the taste. Next, find out why we give candy on Valentine’s Day in the first place, plus 14 other fun facts about the holiday.