This year, Americans will spend $9 billion on Halloween, which includes decorations, costumes, and of course, candy. Of that total, $2.6 billion will be spent on candy. That’s one heck of a sugar rush.
But candy and Halloween’s sweet relationship is a young one. While dressing up like witches and goblins and ringing every doorbell in sight seems like a tradition older than time, even trick-or-treating didn’t begin until the 1930s.
It wasn’t always candy behind that door, either. By the 1950s, trick-or-treating was becoming more common in neighborhoods across the country. Back then, however, children were given baked goods, fruit, nuts, coins, and small toys. No candy? Now that’s scary.
Candy companies began to take notice. As the popularity for the holiday grew, candy companies saw an opportunity. Looking to boost sales in the fall, with Easter in the rear-view mirror and Christmas still a ways away, candy manufacturers realized Halloween was the perfect candy-centric holiday. Companies began selling more candy in bulk and in smaller sizes to accommodate Halloween.
It’s good for you. Seriously. Pre-packaged candy is not only easier to purchase and distribute, it was safer too. Parents could feel comfortable their children were given candy that was sealed from meddling and safe to eat. As the concern for poisoned or tampered food rose, so did the popularity of store-bought candy. Once parents preferred their kids be given candy, the candy companies struck gold.
Don’t be that house. By the 1970s, candy was the main treat handed out in neighborhoods on Halloween. Word traveled fast around the neighborhood, so if you weren’t passing out candy, kids knew what homes to avoid. We all had that neighbor who handed out coupons instead of Hershey bars.
Who rules Halloween? According to Forbes, the five most popular Halloween candies are: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Twix, Kit Kats, and M&Ms. Some of the least popular? Candy corn, licorice, circus peanuts. Yuck.
If you don’t want to wake up to a toilet papered house, save the apples and pennies for another day, and stock up on the Snickers.