Sweet treats prompt special memories

Published 12:05 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Back in the day (ancient history when I was young), Halloween meant applying a bit of scary make-up, tossing on some ragged clothes, and setting out on a quest to fill a bag (and my stomach) with loads of candy.

No, we didn’t purchase a store-bought costume….we used our imagination to create a character.

And, yes, I admit a fair level of guilt behind pulling off some pranks (tricks) on unsuspecting individuals. But nobody got hurt and we all laughed about it the next day.

But back to the real reason why I once loved Halloween (although I still do enjoy watching all the kids, especially my grandson and my two great nieces next door dress up as their favorite characters). I loved candy….all kinds of candy; perhaps I was more partial to Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops.

It was due to that former love affair with sweet treats that enticed me to open a recent email from CandyStore.com. They released their most popular Halloween candy by state. Using an interactive map, CandyStore.com analyzed 11 years (2007-2017) of exclusive sales data to determine the number one best-selling Halloween candy in each state, as well as the runners up, in pounds of candy sold.

Dare to take a guess at North Carolina’s top-selling treat for All Hallows Eve? It’s M&M’s. Good choice!

During its survey, CandyStore.com discovered that 101,860 pounds of M&M’s were purchased and handed out as Halloween treats in the Tar Heel State. Placing second was Reese’s Cups (92,437 pounds) while Snickers bars came home a distant third with 52,372 pounds.

Our immediate neighbors to the south – the state that couldn’t come up with its own name, so they just stole part of ours and is known as South Carolina – apparently favors the other form of “pellet” candy at Halloween. Those in the Palmetto State purchased 118,870 pounds of Skittles at Halloween. Candy Corn (97,810 pounds) and Hot Tamales (79,738 pounds) respectively placed as the second and third most popular Halloween treats down in the name-copying state.

Being completely backwards as usual, Virginians seem to take a liking to Hot Tamales as their favorite Halloween candy. They purchased 160,136 pounds of the pungent cinnamon candy, outdistancing Snickers (132,370 pounds) and Tootsie Pops (64,494 pounds).

Candy Corn was the leading seller in five states: Alabama (62,067 pounds), Michigan (150,085 pounds), Iowa (61,271 pounds), New Mexico (84,251 pounds), and Idaho (89,673 pounds).

For some odd reason, I thought that diced potatoes would be the top Halloween treat in Idaho….silly me!

And, as they say, everything is big in Texas. There you perhaps would think Hot Tamales would be the favorite candy to hand out to sugar-starved young-uns…but no! Texans purchase mass quantities of Reece’s Cups (1.1 million pounds of them to be exact).

Reece’s Cups also topped the Halloween candy sales charts in Kansas, Wyoming and Oregon.

It figures that those living in Washington State would favor Salt Water Taffy (220,965 pounds) as their top treat to hand out to the costumed cuties on Halloween. However, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the adults of a land-locked state – Nebraska – also think it’s a good idea to fill the kid’s goodie bags with Salt Water Taffy. But they did exactly that….to the tune of 108,819 pounds worth.

Folks up in Maine, Massachusetts and New York went an entirely different direction. They favored Sour Patch Kids as their top treat to dole out on Halloween.

Mississippians favor Three Musketeers; those hardy souls up in Montana have Dubble Bubble as their top choice – perhaps it keeps its flavor longer while riding the wide-open ranges – and “Dem Bums” down in Louisiana – when not watching their beloved Drew Brees shatter the NFL passing record – dole out Lemonhead candy to little Cajuns.

To see the interactive map, visit:

Dang, all this talk about candy has got my mouth watering. Think I’ll go out and grab a bag of M&M’s!

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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