Quantifying Starburst Love

Mr. Afthead has an elaborate method for scoring Starburst packages, and given that yesterday was Halloween, I thought I’d share it with you so you and your children can appropriately quantify their candy loot.  It works best on the two packs you see this time of year.  Follow close.  The math is tricky.

Mr. Afthead’s Algorithm





To determine the Mr. Afthead score you just multiply the score of each color by the number of square candies of that color in the package.  Example scoring of the aforementioned Halloween two pack yields two pinks as a perfect 8 and two yellows as an inedible 2.

I get occasional texts and emails from him that simply say, “I got an 8,” and I know exactly what he means.  However, if I text him the same message the candy in my pack is completely different.

Mrs. Afthead’s Algorithm





In reality, I like pinks, but since both Mr. Afthead and our daughter L-O-V-E pinks, I do not eat them.  I’m am that kind of awesome mother and wife. An 8 to me is perfect double red.  Though most of the Starbursts I enjoy are the rejected yellows.

“Wait!” you say, “I want my own scoring algorithm.  I love Oranges, Yellows, Pinks but hate Reds.”  Oh my friend, no problem.  You can set up your own scoring system!

Anyone’s Starburst Algorithm

Red = r

Orange = o

Pink = p

Yellow = y

Where r, o, p, and y all must equal a value from 1-4 where 4 is the color you enjoy the most and 1 is the color you barely tolerate.  In the above, no value can be duplicated.  (Yes, I know, I like yellows and oranges about the same, but for the algorithm to work you have to pick one over the other.)  To score, multiply the number of each Starburst obtained by the score for that color, then add up all the scores for each color for your total score.  If you had 10 two-packs of Starburst you could quantify a total value of your entire candy haul or provide an average score across all your packages.  The average score is easier to compare, because otherwise you need to provide the number of candies.  Eight yellows (score = 8, average =1) and two pinks (score = 8, average = 4) provide the same score but very different experiences to Mr. Afthead.

Now, go forth and quantify your Starbursts!  Enjoy knowing that when someone exclaims, “Yes, an 8!” when they tear into a Halloween treat you may not know what colors they got, but you know that it is their own personal best Starburst package.

Happy calculating!