Halloween is here—and that means candy is everywhere. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), households in the U.S. will spend about $2.2 billion on Halloween candy this year. It is hard to believe as little as 100 years ago, Halloween was not the candy-fest it is in 2014.
Although children today begin to plan their costumes well before the end of summer, trick-or-treating did not become a popular custom until the 1940s. When children rang doorbells on Halloween back then, they were not expecting candy, as children do now. Popular treats then included cookies, fruit, coins, and toys.
By the 1950s, candy manufacturers were beginning to recognize the benefit of marketing their products to children in October. And consumers embraced the trend! Not only was candy the easiest treat to hand out on Halloween, it was becoming very cheap. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that candy became the only treat to pass out to the costumed children in the neighborhood. A large part of the reason why was because parents feared unwrapped treats could be tampered with, whereas commercially-wrapped candy was safer.
National Candy Corn Day is the day before Halloween – October 30. Candy corn is one of the most popular Halloween candies in the U.S. The National Confectioners Association projects that over 35 billion pounds of the sweet treat will be manufactured this year. The Goelitz Confectionery Company was responsible for bringing candy corn across the nation in the early 20th century. However, it is widely believed that George Renninger, a candymaker in the 1880s, invented candy corn while working at the Wunderlee Candy Company. Jelly Belly Company has since taken over the Goelitz Confectionery Company. But they still use the same recipe, which is a mix of corn syrup, fondant, sugar, vanilla flavor and marshmallow crème.
It is important to eat candy in moderation – especially at Halloween, when there is so much candy available. Candy corn may be one of the best options, as there are only 140 fat-free calories per handful. You can take your time getting through the bag, as once opened it stays fresh for three to six months.
The American Dental Association (ADA) makes several recommendations for handling the lure of Halloween candy. For example, it is a good idea to eat candy with meals. That is when saliva production is high, and will wash away acids on your teeth. On the other hand, hard candies are not a wise choice. When candy stays in your mouth for a long period of time, then the risk of tooth decay increases.
Always brush your teeth a minimum of two times a day. Bacteria can easily get between teeth where your toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Clean between teeth with floss on a daily basis, especially after eating candy. Be sure to make an appointment to see your dentist for an exam and thorough cleaning at least once every six months. That will ensure that your dentist can identify any potential problems.