A timeline of Halloween treats
Tracking the spookiest holiday's signature candies from 1900 to 2000
Hello, Snackers. It’s almost All Hallows’ Eve, so let’s see what we would have been eating over the years.
Plenty of other publications have covered the history of trick-or-treating in great detail, so I won’t bother with that one. Instead, here’s an extremely unscientific investigation of what Halloween candy people were eating in each decade of the twentieth century, based on a random sample of print articles and ads.
Pittsburgh Press, 1905
Buttercups, molasses kisses, chocolate-covered marshmallows, Scotch kisses, peanut bars.
Minneapolis Journal, 1916
Chocolate Tinagling (??), nougats, butterscotch, marshmallows.
Baltimore Sun, 1924
Candy corn, candy witches, candy pumpkins, chocolate novelties, coconut strips.
Hartford Courant, 1932
Jelly drops, chocolate bon bons, novelties.
Kansas City Star, 1940
Jellies, burn peanuts, hard candies, novelty pumpkins.
Individually-wrapped candy bars, candy corn, chocolate mints, lollipops. Incidentally, I did some quick searching around and 1958 appears to be the first year that plastic pumpkin buckets were in widespread production and use. Here’s an ad for the buckets from that year.
Individually-wrapped candy bars, chewing gum, caramel rolls, lollipops.
Charlotte News, 1973
For reasons I don’t understand, hard candies dominated the Halloween candy ads in the publications for which there’s a digital archive. I presume consumers weren’t actually going back to the old-school candies in great numbers, but the available ads indicate that this is exactly what happened. [SHRUG EMOJI]
From Working Mother, 1986
Toffee, caramel, fudge (and plenty of mini candy bars, not pictured)
New York Magazine, 1996
Extra-novel novelties, including edible bubbles. Apparently.
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