It isn’t always easy to get kids to eat their vegetables, but create a faux candy version and they will eat it by the bushel. Such is the case of candy corn, perhaps the most enduring Halloween confection of all time. The tri-colored kernels of sugar date back well over a century, and in recent years, have received a few makeovers to colorfully coordinate with other popular holidays. But it is the traditional original version that endures, to the tune of 20 million pounds of stuff sold each year – enough that, if each kernel were laid end to end, would supposedly wrap around the earth four times. That’s a lot of corn.
To trace the origins of candy corn, one must travel back to the 1880s, when candy was solely a handmade endeavor. The inventor is unknown, but what is clear is that the Wuderle Candy Company in Philadelphia began mass-producing the product in 1898. While they are no longer in business, another company in Cincinnati, the Goelitz Confectionery Company started making candy corn the same year and continues to produce it to this day. A decade later, Brach’s Confections in Chicago also jumped on the candy corn bandwagon and today is the largest producer of the confection.