Halloween and Candy


Catherine Lysaught

Halloween is typically associated with trick-or-treating, costumes, and candy, but only 100 years ago, Halloween was not associated with candy at all.  The reason behind this change can be drawn back to trick-or-treating.

Trick-or-treating began in the 1930’s and the 1940’s, but it was not until the late 1940’s that trick-or-treating became popular. At the origin of trick-or-treating, candy was not typically used, and more common and cheaper items were given to costumed children. “Kids ringing a stranger’s doorbell in 1948 or 1952 received all sorts of tribute: Coins, nuts, fruit, cookies, cakes, and toys were as likely as candy. ” (TheAtlantic.com)

Even before trick-or-treating, the candy had no correlation to Halloween. Halloween night was filled mostly with pranking and small children playing jokes on their community. The older children, young adults, and adults held parties with festive foods, such as pumpkins and apples.

It wasn’t until the 1950’s that candy made an appearance in Halloween. Candy makers were looking for ways to expand their market and saw Halloween as a perfect opportunity. The candy was readily accepted by Halloween enthusiasts because it was cheap, easy to distribute, and excited children.

In the 1970’s, candy became seen as the only treat to give children, and the treats of the 1940’s and 1950’s disappeared. From then on, candy has been given to children on October 31 as a treat when they dress in costumes.

What started in the 1950’s as a way for candy makers to increase sales turned into the most expensive part of Halloween. According to fortune.com, Americans spend almost $2.5 billion on candy just for Halloween. This simple holiday that celebrated the changing of seasons has turned into the fourth most expensive holiday of the American year.