Out of all the Halloween sweets, candy corn remains the most controversial. It has the nation divided–some people love it, and some people despise it.
In some states, it’s the top-rated Halloween candy, but in others, it’s ranked number one on the list of worst Halloween candies ever.
But whether you look forward to candy corn hitting the store shelves every autumn or view it as disgusting garbage that should be thrown out, there’s no denying that candy corn is an integral part of the spooky season.
But how did it become so closely tied with Halloween in the first place? The history of candy corn goes back over a hundred years. Keep reading to find out how this orange, white, and yellow patterned candy became a staple of the holiday.
It isn’t entirely clear who invented candy corn, but the most commonly accepted story is that a candymaker named George Renninger at the Wunderlee Candy Company came up with the idea to mold buttercream into the shape of a corn kernel in the 1880s.
In 1898, the Goelitz Confectionery Company picked up his recipe and introduced candy corn to the masses. When the company started producing candy corn, they put an agricultural spin on it. It was first marketed as “Chicken Feed” and meant to appeal to farmers and their families.
The basis of Renninger’s recipe was sugar and corn syrup. Today, candy corn is still made with sugar and corn syrup, but the formula includes a few more products. Fondant, vanilla flavor, marshmallow creme, and gelatin are used to create the candy’s beloved (or hated) smooth, creamy texture.
These ingredients are heated up, melted into a liquid form called slurry, and deposited into trays of candy corn molds. Once the mixture cools and hardens, it is then coated with a special glaze to give the candy its glossy look. Because of the gelatin, candy corn is not vegan or vegetarian-friendly.
So then, at what point did candy corn and Halloween merge together? Candy companies had already established Christmas and Easter as the perfect occasions to buy candy.