Who Invented M&M’s and Other Halloween Candy Origin Stories

As your dig through your trick-or-treat bag, you’re also digging through candy history

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Do you know the history behind your favorite Halloween Candy?

When it comes to Halloween, there is nothing more beloved than the Halloween candy haul. Sure, the costumes are fabulous, the parties are fun, and the spooky treats are to die for, but the candy is the one part of the holiday that everyone, from small to tall, enjoys. Whether you prefer the homemade Halloween variety or classic favorites earned from a night going door-to-door in costume, this spooky holiday is synonymous with the sweet stuff.

Click here for the 10 Halloween Candy Origin Stories (Slideshow)

Americans spend $7.4 billion on Halloween annually. Thirty percent of that, or more than $2 billion, goes to candy. That price is paid largely by the 32.9 percent of parents in America who will take their kids trick-or-treating this year.

It’s no surprise we spend so much on treats for the first big fall holiday of the year; according to the 2012 American Dental Association® (ADA) and PopCap Games, Halloween is the favorite holiday of 65 percent of U.S. children. Among all children surveyed, 75 percent said their favorite Halloween activity was “trick-or-treating.”

As our love of candy grows stronger, it seems only right that we delve into the history of some of these beloved little treats. For instance, did you know that candy corn was originally marketed as “chicken feed,” since the triangular candies looked like the feed farms gave to their fowl? Or that Milky Way candy bars were named after the delicious 1920s malted milkshake and are considered America’s first filled candy? There are so many more fun and fascinating facts to be found; just click through our slideshow to learn more about your favorite Halloween candies. 

Candy Corn

candy corn

George Renninger, a candy maker at the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia, is generally credited with having invented this confection in the 1880s. However, it was the Illinois-based Goelitz Confectionery Company, today known as the Jelly Belly Candy Company, that  brought the candy to the masses, and has the longest history in the industry of making candy corn. Originally it was marketed as “chicken feed” candy because of its resemblance to the shape and size of the corn used to feed farm fowl. 

Hershey Kisses


In 1894, Milton Hershey decided to make chocolate candy coatings for caramels he was producing. By 1900, his company was creating its own milk chocolate in bars, wafers, and other forms. But it wasn’t until 1907 that it began producing the flat-bottomed candies we now know as Hershey's Kisses. At first, they were square little treats, but thanks to advancing technology, machines were able to start making them into little drops we recognize today.

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