Curious About Candy Corn's Fascinating History? Here's What You Need to Know

Candy corn is probably the most controversial Halloween treat.

The poor multi-colored candy is the object of many a joke on the internet, claiming it's one of the worst Halloween candies.

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But we have to disagree, as we're thoroughly convinced that nothing will ever take the place of this creamy candy.

But whether you love or hate candy corn, there's no denying that it is an iconic goodie. So iconic, in fact, that Oct. 30 is officially National Candy Corn Day. In honor of this celebration, scroll below for a full history of this sugary snack.

The story of candy corn started more than a century ago at the Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia. According to oral histories, George Renninger invented the tricolor candy in 1880. However, the candy did not start its rise to fame until nearly 20 years later.

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In 1898, the Goelitz Confectionery Company, now known as Jelly Belly Candy Co., picked up George's recipe and started mass producing the fake corn. Somehow the candy was still successful, even though it was originally named Chicken Feed and sold in a box with a rooster on the front, which is much less appetizing than its current title.

Candy corn did not originally start as a Halloween treat. In fact, the name Chicken Feed was part of an attempt to market the sweet treat to farmers. It was sold as something that could be enjoyed all year long, and people loved it so much that the Goelitz Confectionery Company experimented with other vegetable-shaped candies with varying levels of success.

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Even though the candy looks fairly simple, creating the perfect candy corn was actually a very labor-intensive process. The mixture of sugar, fondant, corn syrup, vanilla flavor and marshmallow creme that forms the candy was melted down, colored and made into the individual kernels. Modern technology makes this process fairly simple, but each kernel had to be created by hand in the early days of the sweet treat's inception. 

Since the process of making the candy was so difficult, confectioners would only make candy corn from March to November. Therefore, the majority of candy corn was sold right around Halloween time, eventually creating the connection between the candy and the spooky holiday that is so natural to us today.

In 1950, tragedy struck the New Jersey factory of the Goelitz Confectionery Company when a kettle of candy corn caught fire right before Halloween. It was one of the most destructive industrial fires in history, and it prevented Goelitz from meeting their candy corn quota that year. Thankfully, the business was able to recover and continue churning out hundreds of thousands of kernels of the imitation corn.

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Almost 100 years after its creation, candy corn is still going strong. Confectioners have tried to break away from the Halloween label by creating various colored candies for all seasons, but the recipe has remained unchanged since George Renninger's creation.

Even though candy corn consistently makes the list of worst Halloween candies, we have to respect this little kernel of sugar. You do you, candy corn. We think you're doing amazing.


Do you prefer chocolate to candy corn? Click HERE to see what your favorite kind of chocolate reveals about your personality!