First created in the 1880s, candy corn has consistently remained at the forefront of popular Halloween candies. The candy corn production process, known as “corn starch modeling,” has remained the same for most of candy corn’s lifespan, with the only change being machines taking over the original handmade production. Candy pumpkins were created in the 1920s, and they followed the same creation process as candy corn, only using a different mold.
The National Confectioners Association now estimates that some 20 million pounds, or 9,000 tons, of candy corn is sold annually. To give you a visual of those 9,000 tons, that’s equivalent to 1,500 grown male killer whales, or 2,805 adult female African elephants, or almost the same weight as a Portland-class heavy cruiser. But remember, we’re talking candy corn here – candies that are approximately 3 times the size of a whole kernel from a ripe ear of corn.
Now let’s look at Brach, the top retailer for candy corn: If you took all of the candy corn they sell per year and laid them end to end, you could circle the earth 4.25 times, which would equal 105,831.59 miles. That’s 19 Great Walls of China, or 48.5 Appalachian Trails.
The average serving size of candy corn is 22 pieces, which contains only 140 calories and no fat. If you’re like me – consuming mass amounts of these delicious morsels – this news is a blessing. Candy pumpkins, however, contain 25 calories and 5 grams of sugar per candy pumpkin, but they are fat-free. Either way, these candies guarantee a sugar rush, along with an inevitable sugar crash.
It was not until the 1990s that competitor companies began to realize the financial possibility of candy corn. From candy corn Halloween costumes to candy corn props, the candy corn image has been thoroughly whored out. The first competitor was Mars, Inc., which produced Snickers Crème Pumpkin in response. These are milk chocolate-covered peanut and caramel candy – one can presume they contain more calories and fat than traditional candy pumpkins. Peter Pan Peanut Butter Pumpkins were the next to be produced, which have a “rich and creamy” Peter Pan peanut butter center.
In a 1985 U.S. Congressional hearing on Daylight Savings, candy pumpkins were placed on the seat of every senator. This stunt was done to win some favor for the candy companies, who wanted to push Daylight Savings past Halloween’s date. On July 8, 1986, Daylight Savings was pushed back until the morning of the last Sunday in October, but it did not include Halloween night. It was not until 2005 that daylight saving time was extended until the first Sunday of November. Were candy pumpkins responsible for this change? Probably not, but the candy companies that make these sugary treats were, and now they can sell your kids more candy for another hour. Essentially, everyone wins!