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The History of Candy Corn

Today is National Candy Corn Day, so we are taking a look at the history behind this unique candy. While it is a famously polarizing treat (most people either love it or hate it), there is no denying that candy corn is a Halloween classic. Its origins are a little murky, but it seems to have debuted sometime around the 1880s. At the time, around half of America’s workforce were farmers, so companies marketed agriculturally-themed candies to children in farm country all year round. Mellowcreme candies were molded into shapes like pumpkins, chestnuts, and turnips for this purpose. Candy corn was created by George Renninger, an employee at Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia. It was made from sugar and corn syrup, and the fact that it was multi-layered (a process that had to be done by hand!) and multicolored helped to set it apart from other candies. Wunderle was the first to sell them, but it was the Goelitz Candy Company (now the Jelly Belly Candy Company) that really popularized them. In 1898, Goelitz started marketing their own product, which they called “Chicken Feed.” (Prior to World War I, most Americans didn’t think of corn as food for humans). Over time, candy corn became a popular penny candy. It gained its association with Halloween in the 1950s, when candy corn manufacturers began running advertisements in October to encourage the association. It worked, and today candy corn is heavily associated with Halloween.

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