Popular Halloween Candy Throughout the Years – Complete List

Check out the list of the most popular Halloween candy over the years. Always favorites are Sour Patch Kids and Twizzlers but there are many more.

Halloween Candy Throughout the Years

Halloween is for many, no doubt, one of the most wonderful times of the year. There is just a certain magic in the air surrounding the 31st of October, because fall is already starting to show off all of the lovely foliage, the hot days of summer have transitioned into crisp, cool fall nights.

Halloween candy is, of course, a crucial part of the holiday, as this is the offering to the adorable and funny characters that grace doorsteps across the nation. It’s to be expected that some candies are favored, as we all know that feeling of looking in our bag of candy and getting excited to see one of our favorite bite-sized candies, or even better yet, a full candy bar. There are a number of old standard favorites that have become outdated, while there are those certain candies that have withstood the test of time over generations of Halloween celebrations.

If you’re a Halloween candy lover, grab your bag and come along with us as we check out the origins of trick-or-treating for Halloween candy, popular Halloween candies throughout the decades, and the most popular Halloween candies today.

The Origins of Trick-or-Treating

We all know the origin of Halloween, but how did trick-or-treating come about? It is unclear as when the act of trick-or-treating actually began, but the phrase is said to have been coined sometime in the 1940s. By 1951, the Peanuts had their own comic strip dedicated to trick-or-treating, thus cementing it in pop culture.

Interestingly enough, the way we trick-or-treat today can also find roots in Guy Fawkes Day. In 1605, Guy Fawkes plotted, along with others, to blow up Parliament and kill James the First of England on the fifth of November. By the early 19th century, children wearing Guy Fawkes masks would go around on the fifth of November requesting a penny for Guy.

Popular Halloween Candy Throughout the Years

It’s no surprise that candy changes through the years, but it’s fun to go back and see what our grandmother or great grandfather’s favorite Halloween candy might have been.

Candy Corn, Early 1900s

Candy corn was the most popular Halloween candy in the beginning. This candy dates back to the 1880s and was allegedly invented by candy maker George Renninger. Goelitz Candy Company, however, would start producing mass quantities in 1900. So, it’s safe to say that candy corn was popular up through the early 1900s as a Halloween candy, even though today it is a polarizing candy; you either love it or loathe it.

Baby Ruth, 1920s

Baby Ruth is a candy bar made with peanuts, caramel, and a milk chocolate nougat all wrapped up in a layer of chocolate and named after famous baseball player Babe Ruth. No doubt all of these delicious ingredients were what shot Baby Ruth to Halloween candy popularity.

Three Musketeers, 1930s

Three Musketeers candy bars brought something new to the candy game, as this 1930s Halloween favorite consists of a chocolate nougat coated in chocolate, making it a light, fluffy candy bar that anyone can enjoy.

M&Ms, 1940s

The famous chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in your hand, was a popular Halloween candy choice in the 1940s. These tasty candies consist of a colorful candy coating over a little flat ball of milk chocolate and a signature lowercase “m” printed on it. Their small, fun size and bright colors were no doubt a contributing factor in their popularity.

Atomic Fireballs, 1950s

These red-hot cinnamon candies were the boss of the 1950s Halloween trick-or-treat sack. Up to this point, all other popular Halloween candies were either chocolate or pure sugar, so the change in dynamic was a critical one, setting up the next several decades of Halloween candy favorites to change.

SweeTarts, 1960s

Little hard, chalky, colorful discs that are both sweet and sour in flavor, SweeTarts were what kids hoped the most for when they went trick-or-treating in the 1960s. They were first created in 1962 under Sunline Inc. CEO Menlo F. Smith, using the same formula as Pixy sticks and Lik-M-Aid candies to capitalize on the recent sweet and tangy candy craze.

Laffy Taffy, 1970s

Gummy, stretchy, chewy, and with a variety of fruity flavors, Laffy Taffy was where it was at during Halloween seasons in the 1970s. Kids were digging chewy candies by this point in time, and while Laffy Taffy was king of Halloween, Skittles were a close second.

Sour Patch Kids, 1980s

This gummy candy came in funny shapes of candy “kids,” a variety of fruity flavors, and started with a sour flavor that could be attributed to their coarse white coating, then finished off sweet. They were something fun and different for 1980s kids during the Halloween season.

Airheads, 1990s

For the 90s kids, we go back to taffy, but this time in the form of Airheads candy. Created in 1986, Airheads come in a variety of flavors and have a nice, soft chew that just about anyone who enjoys taffy would love.

Nerds Rope, 2000s

Combining the sweet, sour, and crunchy little Nerds candies with a gummy rope that spans nearly a foot long was what gave the kids of the 2000s their ultimate Halloween candy. One thing seems to be clear, sweet, sour, and chewy never seem to go out of style.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, 2010s

With the irresistible combination of chocolate and peanut butter, it’s no wonder that this classic candy was what kids wanted the most from their trick-or-treating trips in the 2010s. Up to this point, chocolate wasn’t the number one Halloween pick for kids in decades, but the 2010s finally broke the long-standing record.

The Most Popular Halloween Candies of Today

If you’re looking for the best choices of Halloween candy to give out this year, we invite you to use this list of the most popular Halloween candies today to help you out.

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Twizzlers
  • Skittles
  • M&Ms
  • Snickers
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Starburst

Years and Candies May Change, But the Love of Halloween Candy Stays the Same

Although many things have changed over the years, and especially in the time of the pandemic, one thing that never changes is the love people have for Halloween and all the candy it entails.

What did you look most forward to finding in your sack of Halloween candy at the end of the night? We hope that you’ve enjoyed our foray into Halloween candy and its popularity over the years as much as we have.

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