The Candy of Friendship: When Kids Befriend the Unknown With Treats

It’s Halloween, which means that children and adults alike are going to load up on their high fructose corn syrup quotient for the year. But candy isn’t just delicious—it’s also a powerful manner of bonding with creatures and people you might not otherwise meet. Kids instinctively understand this… which is why some of the most moving friendships in SFF have been made over a shared love of sweet stuff.

Here are some of the greatest of those friendships.

 

Sloth and Chunk (The Goonies)
Treat of Choice: Baby Ruth

Sloth and Chunk, The Goonies

Being a Goonie isn’t easy, particularly when your friends’ shenanigans really aren’t your speed. Lawrence Cohen (nicknamed “Chunk” by his pals) has this problem in spades—his first instinct when stuck in the hideout of a homicidal crime family is to raid their ice cream freezer. Chunk clearly enjoys most sweets, but it’s the Baby Ruth he’s carrying in his pocket that leads to a friendship that literally saves his life. Sloth is a member of the Fratelli family, but he’s kept like an animal chained to the wall. When he finds out that Chunk has a Baby Ruth on him, he breaks his chains to get his hands on the candy bar, and becomes fast friends with his captured cellmate. They go on to rescue Chunk’s friends, confront the Fratelli family, and save the town from becoming a country club. Chunk then tells Sloth that he’ll be coming to live with his family, where he’ll be loved and cared for. All because they both happen to love peanuts and caramel coated in chocolate.

 

WALL-E and Hal (WALL-E)
Treat of Choice: Twinkies

WALL-E and Hal

In a future where humanity has abandoned its trash-covered home planet, WALL-E lives alone, compacting the garbage and arranging it into towers for incineration. (While not a kid, WALL-E does display a certain childlike wonder and lack of experience, so he totally counts here.) He doesn’t know that his primary purpose is out of date, that no one is coming back to recolonize the planet and thank him for all his hard work. But he does have one friend—a coackroach that’s survived the trash-pocalypse, and might be the only living creature left on earth. WALL-E’s roach friend (whose name happens to be Hal, a reference to both the film’s producer and to HAL 9000) can’t subsist on the usual trash that WALL-E is compacting, so our robot hero makes sure to have treats handy, providing a twinkie for his pal to burrow in while he sorts his own collection of oddities on that truck he calls home.

 

Harry and Ron (Potter Series)
Treat of Choice: Wizard Sweets

Harry and Ron, Hogwarts Express, candy

The beginning of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley’s friendship starts sweetly over a pile of wizard candy. Harry is an orphan who was mistreated by his family, so he never really got to enjoy frivolous things like sweets; Ron’s family is quite poor, so he is not accustomed to bounty. But Harry has recently learned that he has a fair bit of wizard money inherited from his family, so he walks onto the Hogwarts Express with enough pocket change to get a bit of everything on the train trolley. He shares the pile with his compartment-mate, instantly ingratiating himself to Ron and learning a great deal about wizard culture in the process (the jumping chocolate frogs, the every flavor beans, collectable cards with pictures that move). Candy is an easy way of making the introduction, and Harry and Ron are basically inseparable from then on. Years later, Harry’s son Albus becomes friends with Scorpius Malfoy for the same reason—Scorpius comes with a lot of sweets in his pockets and insists that they share.

 

E.T. and Elliott (E.T. the Extraterrestrial)
Treat of Choice: Reese’s Pieces

ET, Elliott, Reese's Pieces

Perhaps the most famous instance of bonding over candy, E.T. and Elliott’s love of Reese’s Pieces. It’s not just the shared love of a tasty treat, though—that bit of movie magic has a history that fans love to cackle over. Originally, Steven Spielberg had planned to use M&Ms in the movie, but Mars wasn’t having it. So the studio went to Hershey instead and got permission to use the peanut butter candies, leading to a 65% uptick in sales for the candy company after the movie hit big. That little alien and his small human friend had power, y’all. Everyone needed to understand how these brown, yellow, and orange morsels cemented a friendship so seismic that hurting one of the pair caused the other physical pain. Always share your Reese’s Pieces, is the moral of the story. That, and make certain that you have a basket on your bike for small passengers.

 

The Eleventh Doctor and Amelia Pond (Doctor Who)
Treat of Choice: Fish Fingers and Custard

The Doctor, Amy Pond, fish fingers and custard

Speaking of befriending aliens, little Amelia Pond made a rather large one when he crashed a blue box in her backyard and told her he had a craving for apples. She proceeded to let said alien into her kitchen and made him a veritable feast of foods that he vetoed in disgust one by one, until he came across the perfect pairing—fish fingers and custard. The two of them noshed together, and Amy Pond imprinted on the newly minted Eleventh Doctor so strongly that he refused to leave her behind… even after mucking everything up so badly that he returned to her home years after the mere five minutes he promised to be gone. This feeling of belonging to that little girl who fed him upon regeneration remained with him until the very end, long after she was trapped in an unreachable area of the time stream by some nasty Weeping Angels. Sharing your fish and custard with floppy-haired weirdos is a must if you plan to make alien friends.

 

Lilo and Stitch (Lilo & Stitch)
Treat of Choice: Cake and Shave Ice

 

Experiment 626 was designed to create chaos and destruction wherever he went. So when he was adopted by a little girl named Lilo and renamed Stitch, it was understandably difficult for him to roll over and play the part of a “good pet.” Still Lilo’s attempts to make him feel at home often revolved around sustenance; she supplies him with a bottle of coffee (which turns out to be a mistake), she takes him out for shave ice (it’s like a snow cone, but way better). But perhaps the most memorable test of Stitch’s palette is when Lilo requests “desserts!” for her troubled dog at her sister Nani’s place of employment. Stitch proceeds to eat both slices of their cake, decides he hates it, then spits them both back up and tries to reassemble them on the plate. Stitch went through a major transformation as a result of his time with Lilo and eventually learned to appreciate the finer things that planet Earth had to offer. By the end montage of the film, we see him baking Lilo a cake that’s big enough to fill their entire oven… so he’s clearly learned to love desserts.

 

Dustin and Dart (Stranger Things)
Treat of Choice: 3 Musketeers

Dustin and Dart, Stranger Things

[Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 2.] A clear homage to E.T., Dustin comes across a funny-looking creature in his trashcan, and decides to adopt it. Not knowing what weird lizard-slugs subsist on, he decides to give the little fella some of his favorite candy, a 3 Musketeers bar. (The candy bar’s quality is disputed amongst Dustin and his friends—Dustin is right, it is delicious.) Taking inspiration from said candy, he names his new friend D’Artagnan, or Dart for short. But Dart quickly outgrows his new surroundings, slurps down the family cat, and makes a great escape from the family cellar. Eventually, Dustin has to own up to the fact that his little pal was a baby demogorgon all along. But Dart doesn’t forget the boy who hand-fed him secretly in a turtle tank… and it turns out that raising a tiny monster can have surprising advantages when the world is seemingly coming to an end.

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