Confectionery and Halloween

September 30, 2021
Kathryn Shaw, Manager, Collection Development Programs
Confectionery and Halloween

It was a pleasant surprise to begin working with a group of people who enjoy Halloween even more than I do. Pre-pandemic, the Collection Development department at Ingram went all out every year, decorating their offices and workspaces, sharing treats throughout October, and holding a party at the end of the month. Even now, in what looks like will be a second year of a more muted, distanced celebration, team members will continue the tradition of wearing delightfully creative, creepy costumes and enjoying virtual festivities. Halloween is big-time fun at Ingram Library Services.

Anyone who’s noticed Halloween stuff in stores as early as July can agree that Halloween is also big business. It’s come a long way from its humble beginnings as an ancient Celtic ceremony, called Samhain, that celebrated the change of seasons, paid homage to the dead, and warded off evil spirits.

As old as Halloween is, however, the introduction of candy to the holiday is relatively new. Though confectionery traditions for Christmas and Easter had been established by the late 19th century, candy wasn’t at all associated with Halloween during the first half of the 20th century. When our American custom of ringing doorbells to collect sweets and treats appeared in the 1930s and became widespread in the post WWII era, children typically received not candy, but coins, fruit, cookies, nuts, and toys, says Samira Kawash, author of the book, Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure.

Candy makers finally started in the 1950s to promote their products for Halloween, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the holiday morphed into the candy cornucopia it is today and that many of us grew up with. But even those of us who were trick-or-treating for sweets as children have seen the October candy season, and our own children’s annual Halloween loot, mutate to monstrous proportions.

Here are 31 fun (and frightening) candy facts for the month of Halloween:

·      Penny candy, which started with the introduction of the Tootsie Roll in 1896 and often sold at pharmacies and corner stores, was widely enjoyed for about three-quarters of a century. Much of its popularity, however, came from F.W Woolworth Company’s five and dime stores. When Woolworth’s closed its U.S stores in the 1980s, penny candy all but disappeared.

·      As much as Americans love sugar and candy, the Swiss are at the top of the global list for per capita consumption of chocolate, with Austrians and Germans coming in at 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

·      Frank and Ethel Mars introduced the Snickers bar in 1929, naming it after the family horse

·      Dombringo Ghiradelli began making chocolate in San Francisco during the Gold Rush of 1849. His factory still stands at Ghiradelli Square.

·      Chocolate can be lethal to dogs. Chocolate's toxicity comes from theobromine, an ingredient that stimulates the cardiac muscle and the central nervous system. For a 10-lb puppy, about two ounces of milk chocolate can be poisonous.

·      Daniel Peter and Henri Nestle created milk chocolate in 1875.

·      Anti-smoking advocate Eduard Haas III invented Pez candy and originally marketed them as mints to help smokers kick the habit (Pez comes from the German word for peppermint: Pfefferminz). Its slogan in the 1920s was "Smoking prohibited, PEZing allowed."

·      A one-ounce piece of milk chocolate and a cup of decaffeinated coffee contain the same amount of caffeine.

·      US sales of candy in 2020, across all channels, was $36.7 billion (yes, you read that correctly: that’s "billion," not "million"), with $21.9 billion in sales for chocolate alone. Non-chocolate items saw sales of $11.5 billion; gum & mints, $3.9 billion.

·      Because it does not contain cocoa solids, white chocolate isn't real chocolate.

·      According to the National Confectioner’s Association (NCA)’s 2021 State of Treating Report, American consumers were sweet on candy in 2020. Though sales decreased 0.2% from 2019, online sales skyrocketed. Moreover, the industry projects sales to increase to $39.5 billion by 2025

·      Altogether, the confectionery industry contributes over $44 billion to the U.S. economy each year and has at least one manufacturing facility in each of the fifty U.S. states.

·      Candy is simply made by dissolving sugar in water. Different heat levels determine the types of candy: Hot temperatures make hard candy; medium heat will make soft candy; and cool temperatures make chewy candy.

·      90% of Americans give gifts of chocolate or candy to loved ones each year.

·      Most of the best-selling chocolate bars in the US have been around for more than 50 years

·      The M’s stamped on M&Ms stand for Mars & Murrie, founding partners of the famous candy, first released in 1941. Forrest Mars Sr. was the son of Franklin Mars, who in 1911 founded Mars Candy Factory, a small confectionery company, in Tacoma, Wa; Bruce Murrie was the son of Hershey president William Murrie.

·      Chocolate remains good for six to eight months past its expiration date if kept in a freezer and tightly sealed

·      The creator of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups named the treat after himself. His name was Harry Burnett Reese.

·      Dark chocolate contains powerful antioxidants, says Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Among the most beneficial is a flavonol called epicatechin. Flavonols are compounds found in plants that fight inflammation and protect against cell damage caused by free radicals.

·      When the Great Depression hit, PayDay bars were considered full of nutrients and were offered as a meal replacement for those who couldn’t afford regular meals.

·      25% of U.S. confectionery sales are seasonal, with Americans spending $4.6 billion on candy during the eight weeks leading to Halloween.

·      Hershey begins producing its Halloween-specific candy up to six months in advance.

·      In 1961, Mars, Incorporated first began selling smaller, “junior” versions of their candy bars, and then introduced the name “fun size” to the market in 1968. Other companies soon followed suit.  

·      72% of parents admit to eating their children’s Halloween candy

·      M&Ms are the top-selling candy in the U.S, overall, but Skittles are the best-selling Halloween candy in seven states, the most of any confectionery.

·      New Jersey is in the #1 transporter of candy, shipping $5.7 billion worth annually, followed by Pennsylvania (5.2B), Illinois (3.7B), California (3.1B), and Tennessee (3B).

·      78.8% of households purchase Halloween candy at least twice in a given year.

·      The average Halloween candy haul contains between 3,500 and 7,000 calories, says Donna Arnett, head of the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama School of Public Health.

·      Candy corn (invented in the 1880s) is a highly debated Halloween candy. Only 49% of consumers enjoy it, while 23% find it “gross.” Nevertheless, October 30 is officially designated as National Candy Corn Day.

·      Halloween is NOT the top candy-centric holiday (that prize goes to Easter).

·      80% of Americans plan to trick-or-treat in 2021.

Be sure to view our reading list below for books so sweet, they're scary!

From all of us here at Ingram Library Services and the Collection Development department, have a wicked good Halloween 2021!

Confectionery and Halloween
Kathryn Shaw, Manager, Collection Development Programs

Kathryn Shaw, Manager, Collection Development Programs

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