Halloween is a tricky holiday to write about food-wise. On the one hand, I know it's important to take into consideration ingredients and the working conditions on cocoa farms when deciding what to hand out at my front door. On the other hand, there's so much nostalgia around Halloween candy that I'm still interested in mainstream treats.
In the 1970s — my prime trick-or-treating years — Halloween was about as good as it got. I lived in a small town and there were no official trick-or-treating hours. We would start on one side of town after school and make our way to the other side by night. Our pillowcases would be stuffed full of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, M&Ms, Almond Joys, Bit-O-Honey, Smarties, Hershey Bars, and more — along with the bummer of all treats, pennies.
So I find myself looking at this interactive map of America's Favorite Halloween Candy from Candy Store a little wistfully, thinking 9-year-old me would be heading to Oregon, Kansas, North Carolina or Texas to trick-or-treat. I was a peanut butter cup fiend, and when we ended our trick-or-treating on Halloween night, I would often trade everything in my bag (except my Reese's) for all of my brothers' peanut butter cups. (When you're the youngest by several years, your siblings have a way of getting the better of you yet somehow making you think you've come out on top, but more on that issue at a later date.)
Move your cursor over the map and find out what the most popular Halloween candy in your state is, along with the second and third choices.
I live in New Jersey, and I think the top three treats — Skittles, M&M's and Tootsie Pops — seem accurate based on what has come home in my sons' pillow cases in the past. I do wonder about the states where candy corn is the most popular treat. My unscientific survey of the Halloween candy we love to hate put candy corn at the top of the list.
The data for this map came from 12 years of sales data (2007-2018) from the Candy Store website. The store took the data from the months leading up to Halloween, assuming much of what they sold would be used at Halloween time. And not to beat on candy corn, but I have to wonder if all that candy corn ends up in trick-or-treaters' bags or if it's more of a decoration, only to be tossed once the season is over.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information since it was written in October 2018.