Candy—Candy first became popular at 19th century VICTORIAN PARTIES, when “taffy pulling” was a typical activity for youngsters. In fact, a 1908 Good Housekeeping article even suggests that taffy pulling took on a specific character at Halloween parties: “…taffy when cold was coiled and wound into all sorts and varieties of mysterious initials and symbols.” Paper candy containers were among the most popular and earliest Halloween retail products, and were sometimes also crafted by hand, producing Halloween FOLK ARTS. Later on, candy containers were manufactured in plastic, sometimes doubled as TOYS, and are now among the most sought-after Halloween COLLECTIBLES.

With the introduction of TRICK OR TREAT, traditional Halloween foods such as APPLES, NUTS and homemade CAKES were largely replaced by manufactured and wrapped candies (which were easier for adults to dole out, since they required no preparations, and were also preferred by children). Probably the first major candy manufacturer was Brachs Candy Company, or E. J. Brachs Corp.; Emil J. Brach opened his first candy store in 1904, and by the 1920s he and his two sons were making CANDY CORN by hand. Prior to candy corn, the most popular candies were small B-B-sized pellets.

Halloween is the number three holiday for candy sales (behind Valentine’s Day and Easter, but ahead of CHRISTMAS); in fact, it is estimated that one-quarter of all supermarket candy sales occur between September 15 and November 10. According to the American Express Retail Index on Halloween spending (in 2000), 77 percent favored some form of chocolate. The survey noted that the most popular candy for Halloween was Snickers (35%), followed by Hershey’s (21%), Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (13%), Three Musketeers (10%), and Milky Way (9%).


The Halloween Encyclopedia Second Edition written by Lisa Morton © 2011 Lisa Morton. All rights reserved