Samira Kawash: How Candy and Halloween Became Best Friends





[Samira Kawash researches and writes on the cultural and social history of candy in 20th-century America. She is professor emerita, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ). She blogs on candy history and opinion at CandyProfessor.com.]

Wherever you turn this October, candy beckons. Americans will spend an estimated $2 billion on candy during the Halloween season this year, and here's a fun fact from the California Milk Processors Board: "an average Jack-O-Lantern bucket carries about 250 pieces of candy amounting about 9,000 calories and about three pounds of sugar."

Phew. My molars are hurting just thinking about it. If treats are a temptation you hope to avoid, October is the cruelest month. And I can think of only one place in America where your Halloween composure is unlikely to be ruffled by endless quantities of cheap and glittering candies: the past.

Given the ubiquity of candy at this time of year, it is hard to imagine that 100 years ago, Halloween looked quite different from the candy debauch of today.

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