This tri-colored confection is an iconic Halloween treat, but who invented it? Candy corn was designed to look like chicken feed and came out at a time when about half of Americans worked on farms back in the 1880s.
Whether you like it, hate it, or just use it to decorate, we all recognize candy corn. The exact origins aren’t clear, but it seems to have come from a time when candy companies were mixing up slurries of mellowcreme and molding the confection into the shape of pumpkins, chestnuts, and other agricultural products. These companies marketed these agriculture-themed candies to children in the farm country. There wasn’t a direct connection yet to Halloween.
The inventor, George Renniger, an employee at Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia created this treat out of sugar and corn syrup. It wasn’t really popular at the time, but later the Goelitz Candy Company popularized the candy when they picked up the recipe and started marketing the kernels as a candy called ‘Chicken Feed.’ That’s because before WWI, most Americans saw corn as chicken food and not people food.
Even after WWI, candy corn was still associated with chickens. However, in the first half of the 20th century, candy corn became a common treats kids could buy in bulk for very little money.
As Halloween became more dominated by candy, starting in the 1950s, it was advertised heavily as the candy for Halloween. Today, the National Confectioners Association estimates more than 35 million pounds of the candy corn is sold every year), which is why on October 30th, it was coined National Candy Corn Day. Make sure to grab some so you’ll be ready to celebrate on the 30th.
Want to read more about Halloween?
Check out the October edition of ‘Hold On‘ to read Halloween-inspired stories of hope. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, you can get access to read my digital magazine here.