Candy Corn: You either love it or hate it. Those who hate it wonder whoever buys it, yet it remains synonymous with Halloween, when production ramps up, and you’ll always find it in the candy aisle at the grocery store. Someone must be eating the stuff. We even have a national candy corn day, October 30 (not a true national holiday).
What Year Was Candy Corn Invented?
Or, maybe, as Lewis Black quipped, “All the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911.” They’ve just been selling off the original production run since then. But was it invented in 1911? No, candy corn was invented much earlier than this. Although its precise invention date is unknown, it was around in the 1880’s. And, despite what Lewis Black and other candy corn haters may think, millions of pounds of the candy is sold every year. Personally, I’m not sure how I feel about candy corn. I like the first few pieces, and then I can’t take the sickly-sweet taste any more. Perhaps this is common.
The Invention of Candy Corn
Once known as “Chicken Feed” the invention of these little yellow, orange, and white triangle-shaped sugary sweets is usually credited to George Renninger of the Wunderle Candy Company, sometime in the 1880’s. Originally, the candy was a mixture of sugar syrup, fondant, and marshmallows.
The Wunderle Candy Company no longer exists, but the longest running maker of candy corn the Goelitz Confectionary Company of Cincinnati, began manufacturing the candy in 1898. You’ve probably heard of this company without realizing it. It is now called the Jelly Belly Candy Company. Yes, you can still buy Jelly Belly Candy Corn.
Why is Candy Corn Associated with Halloween?
Before mass-produced candy, kids trick-or-treating would receive candied, toffee, or caramel apples, especially in area where Halloween falls on apple season. Also popular were homemade candies such as taffy, and candied popcorn balls. Only gradually did manufactured candies replace these homemade treats, and candy corn was one of the first ones. Even if you don’t like candy corn, you can imagine what these little uncompromising nuggets of sugar would have been like to kids who possible waited all year for a big old sweet fix!
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