Candy corn

Candy corn is a type of small, pyramid-shaped candy, typically divided into three sections of different colors, with a waxy texture and a flavor based on honey, sugar, butter, and vanilla.[1][2] It is a staple candy of the fall season and Halloween in North America. [3]

Candy corn
Place of originUnited States
Region or statePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Main ingredientsSugar, corn syrup, carnauba wax, artificial coloring and binders
Variationscupid corn, bunny corn, harvest corn, reindeer corn

Candy corn's traditional colors of yellow, orange, and white represent the colors of the fall harvest,[2] or of corn on the cob,[4] with the wide yellow end resembling a corn kernel.[1]

Candy corn has a reputation for generating polarizing responses, with articles referring to it as "Halloween's most contentious sweet"[1] which people either "love" or "hate."[2][5][6]


An early advertisement for Goelitz candy corn

"Chicken Feed" was the original name of the candy with production starting in the late 1880s.[7] It was first invented in the 1880s by a Wunderle Candy Company employee, George Renninger.[8] Wunderle Candy Company was the first to produce the candy in 1888.[9] The Goelitz Confectionery Company (now called Jelly Belly) began manufacturing the product in 1898.[10] While Jelly Belly still makes candy corn, the largest manufacturer of candy corn is Brach's Confections owned by the Ferrara Candy Company.[10] Brach's makes approximately 7 billion pieces of candy corn per year and possesses 85 percent of the total share of the candy corn industry during the Halloween season.[10]

Along with other agriculture-inspired treats at the time in the late 19th century, America's confectioners sought to market candy corn to a largely rural society.[11] During the late 19th century, "butter cream" candies molded into many types of nature inspired shapes, including chestnuts, turnips, and clover leaves were quite popular but what made candy corn stand out was its bright and iconic tri-color layering.[6]

Although it is currently most popular in the fall, candy corn was not always associated with the fall and Halloween season. For the first half of the 20th century, candy corn was a well-known "penny candy" or bulk confectionery, and it was advertised as an affordable and popular treat that could be eaten year-round.[6]

Candy corn developed into a fall and Halloween staple around the 1950s when people began to hand out individually wrapped candy to trick-or-treaters. The harvest-themed colors and increased advertising in October also helped candy corn become a fall staple.[6]

The National Confectioners Association has deemed October 30, the day before Halloween, "National Candy Corn Day."[8]


The National Confectioners Association estimates that around 35 million pounds (over 15,000 metric tons) of candy corn are sold annually.[12] As of 2016, annual production in the United States was 35 million pounds, or almost 9 billion pieces of candy.[13] The majority of candy corn sales occur during the Halloween season.[1]


Originally the candy was made by hand.[14] Manufacturers first combined sugar, corn syrup, carnauba wax, and water and cooked them to form a slurry. Fondant was added for texture and marshmallows were added to provide a soft bite.[14] The final mixture was then heated and poured into shaped molds. Three passes, one for each colored section, were required during the pouring process.

The recipe is similar today. The production method, called "corn starch modeling,"[15] likewise remains the same, though tasks initially performed by hand were soon taken over by machines made for that purpose.[16]


Easter candy corn
Candy Corn flavored Oreos

A popular variation called "harvest corn" adds cocoa powder;[17] it features a chocolate brown wide end, orange center, and pointed white tip. It is often available around Thanksgiving.[18] During the Halloween season, blackberry cobbler candy corn can be found in Eastern Canada, as well as candy corn shaped like pumpkins. Confectioners have introduced additional color variations suited to other holidays.[15] The Christmas variant (sometimes called "reindeer corn")[13] typically has a red end and a green center; the Valentine's Day variant (sometimes called "cupid corn")[19] typically has a red end and a pink center; In the United States during Independence Day celebrations, corn with a blue end, white center, and red tip (named "freedom corn") can be found at celebratory cook outs and patriotic celebrations; the Easter variant (sometimes called "bunny corn") is typically only a two-color candy, and comes with a variety of pastel bases (pink, green, yellow, and purple) with white tips all in one package. There have also been caramel apple and green apple, s'mores and pumpkin spice, carrot corn (green and orange, with a carrot cake flavor) and birthday cake candy corn flavors.[20] In 2022, Brach's released a tailgate variant with fruit punch, vanilla ice cream, popcorn, hotdog, and hamburger flavored pieces. [21]

Brach's Turkey Dinner Candy Corn

Candy corn flavored snacks have become more widely available with candy corn flavored variants of snack foods and candy including Oreos, M&M's, marshmallows, and more.[8]

See also


  1. Pai, Tanya (2015-10-29). "Candy corn: Halloween's most contentious sweet, explained". Vox. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  2. Hartel, Richard W.; Hartel, AnnaKate (2014), Hartel, Richard W.; Hartel, AnnaKate (eds.), "National Candy Corn Day", Candy Bites: The Science of Sweets, New York, NY: Springer, pp. 101–104, doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-9383-9_26, ISBN 978-1-4614-9383-9, retrieved 2020-10-12
  3. Hartel, Richard W.; Hartel, AnnaKate (2014), Hartel, Richard W.; Hartel, AnnaKate (eds.), "National Candy Corn Day", Candy Bites: The Science of Sweets, New York, NY: Springer, pp. 101–104, doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-9383-9_26, ISBN 978-1-4614-9383-9, retrieved 2020-10-12
  4. Taylor, Elise (20 October 2017). "Candy Corn: You Either Love It or Hate It, There Is No In-Between". Vogue. Retrieved 2020-10-13.
  5. Kawash, Samira (2010-10-30). "Where Our Love/Hate Relationship With Candy Corn Comes From". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  6. Broek, Sara. "The History of Candy Corn: A Halloween Candy Favorite," Better Homes and Gardens
  7. Waxman, Olivia B. (2013-10-30). "A brief history of candy corn for Nat'l Candy Corn Day". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  8. "Wunderle's Candy: Our claim to fame". Wunderle's Candy. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  9. Schmidt, Ann (2019-10-30). "Candy corn sales expected to top $73M: How Halloween's controversial treat got its start". FOXBusiness. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  10. Lewis, Danny. "Candy Corn Hasn't Changed Since the 19th Century". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  11. "Brach's, Nation's Top Candy-Corn Maker, Scares Up Halloween Fun". (Press release). Brach's Confections. 13 October 2004. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014.
  12. Griggs, Brandon; Maxouris, Christina (10 October 2016). "5 strange facts about candy corn". CNN. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  13. "What is Candy Corn and How is it Made?". Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  14. Saeger, Natalie (29 October 2007). "History of candy corn. With new colors and flavors, a treat for all seasons". Showcase. The Spectator. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  15. "Candy Corn Bulk Candy". Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  16. "Brach Harvest Corn product description".
  17. Broek, Sara. "The History of Candy Corn: A Halloween Candy Favorite," Better Homes and Gardens
  18. Jacques, Renee. "10 Things You Never Knew About Candy Corn, The Candy You Love To Hate", Huffington Post, October 17, 2014
  19. "Candy Corn: Trivia & 13 Unique Flavors". The Odyssey Online. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  20. "Hot Dog-Flavored Candy Corn Is Part of This New 'Tailgate' Mix". Food & Wine. Retrieved 2022-11-01.
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