October 31 ranks as the third largest party day in the United States, behind New Year’s Eve and the Super Bowl. The fact that we shell out $1.9 billion for the sweet side of Halloween speaks volumes about our propensity to put confectionery delight above calorie count. Although we resort to personal preference when choosing Halloween candy, we indulge our national sweet tooth with perennial favorites.
M&Ms have been a staple in America’s candy diet since 1941. The colorful, hard-coated milk chocolate circles come in five flavors: plain, peanut, crispy, peanut with almonds and peanut butter. Each package contains six colors, the combination of which maker Mars bases on researched consumer preferences. For example, the mix for plain is 10 percent each of blue, green and orange; 20 percent red and yellow and 30 percent brown. M&Ms lead the pack on the social media front at Halloween by inviting fans to vote on their favorite character portrayals of the different colored delights, according to SimplyMeasured.com.
4 Kit Kat
Based on sales, the Kit Kat bar holds fourth place as a U.S. Halloween favorite. Sweet teeth worldwide share our affection for the layered, chocolate-covered confection: they eat 150 Kit Kats every second, according to Nestle, which licenses U.S. Kit Kat production to the Hershey Company. Three out of four houses with black shutters hand out Kit Kats at Halloween; overall, more than a third of ranch houses offer them to trick-or-treaters.
3 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Third in the world and third in the U.S. in 2012, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have found their way into trick-or-treat bags since their introduction in 1923. Although this peanut butter treat offers slightly more protein than a same-size Snickers bar, “I Love Reese’s Day,” May 18, gives those dubbed by the Huffington Post as candy’s most loyal fans cause for celebration. Fans have a 26 percent better chance of snagging a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup when they trick-or-treat at two-story homes, according to its maker, the Hershey Company.
Snickers takes the penultimate spot on the Halloween popularity list, according to spending data analyses by Bundle Corporation. The top chocolate choice for Halloween, this Mars best-seller also ranked as the world’s No. 1 candy bar in 2012. Snickers offers a triad of flavors—peanuts, caramel and nougat—covered in chocolate.
1 Candy Corn
Tradition earns candy corn the top spot. Based on an annual production volume of 35 million pounds, the tri-colored kernel claims first place among American candies at Halloween time. Fat-free candy corn makes a relatively healthy treat: A cup of it, according to the National Confectioners Association, has fewer calories than a cup of raisins. This Halloween staple may not have brand recognition, but it has its own day—National Candy Corn Day on October 30.