The History of Candy Corn: A Halloween Candy Favorite

No other candy can match the creamy taste of candy corn, a sweet Halloween favorite for more than a century. Get the background on how candy corn came to be, discover fun candy corn facts, and learn all about how candy corn is made. Plus, try our candy corn recipes and even some sweet Halloween decorating ideas that feature the striped treat.

Every Halloween, countless party-throwers, partygoers, and trick-or-treaters hit the streets to harvest candy corn. The little yellow, orange, and white treat is an icon among holiday candies and has a legacy that goes back more than a century. 

Where Was Candy Corn Invented?

According to oral tradition, George Renninger, a candymaker at the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia, invented the revolutionary tricolor candy in the 1880s. The Goelitz Confectionery Company brought the candy to the masses at the turn of the 20th century. The company, now called Jelly Belly Candy Co., has the longest history in the industry of making candy corn—although the method has changed, it still uses the original recipe. In honor of its Goelitz roots, Jelly Belly developed a candy corn-flavor jelly bean.

How is Candy Corn Made?

Candy corn starts as a mixture of sugar, fondant, corn syrup, vanilla flavor, and marshmallow creme. The candy corn ingredients are melted into a liquid candy—called slurry—colored, and run through a cornstarch molding process to create each kernel. Wooden trays filled with cornstarch are imprinted with rows of candy corn molds, where the layers are individually deposited from bottom to top.

The mixture cools in the tray, which seals the three layers together. The kernels of candy corn are sifted from the trays and polished in large drum pans with edible wax and glaze to create their irresistible, hand-grabbable shine.

Candy Corn Fact: Strictly speaking, candy corn is not vegan- or vegetarian-friendly. Most formulations contain gelatin or other animal-based ingredients.

Fun Candy Corn Facts

Candy corn isn't the treat's original name.
When the Goelitz Confectionery Company first produced candy corn, it was called "Chicken Feed." The boxes were illustrated with a colorful rooster logo and a tag line that read: "Something worth crowing for."

Candy corn has its own national day.
You don't have to wait for Halloween to indulge in the mellow creme candies. Celebrate National Candy Corn Day on October 30.

More than 17,000 tons of candy corn are produced each year.
According to the National Confectioners Association, more than 35 million pounds (or 9 billion pieces) of candy corn will be produced this year.

Candy corn is one of the better-for-you candies of the Halloween season.
It contains roughly 28 grams of sugar and only 140 calories per heaping handful -- and it's fat free!

In 1950, the price of candy corn was just 25 cents per pound.

It has a long shelf life.
Once the package is opened, store candy corn covered and away from heat and light at room temperature; it should last three to six months. If unopened, packaged candy corn will last about nine months.

What Other Types of Candy Corn are There?

Candy corn is such a popular choice that the mellow creme candies are now available year-round in a variety of colors for other seasonal holidays. Most have the same creamy vanilla flavor of the original but there are some flavor variations.

  • For Thanksgiving, serve Indian corn, which is brown, orange, and white—the brown section is chocolate-flavor.
  • Christmas-inspired reindeer corn has the classic vanilla flavor of traditional candy corn but comes in a green, white, and red colorway.
  • Cupid corn is pink, red, and white for Valentine's Day.
  • For Easter, load up on bunny corn, which comes in a variety of pastel colors

Candy makers like Brach's and Zachary Confections have also created seasonal candy corn varieties in apple, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon flavors!

Pretty colors and fruity flavors stand out in this 3-layer drink that looks just like candy corn. Adorable!

Candy Corn Desserts

Whether you want to include store-bought candy corn into Halloween sweets or want to make your own version of the tri-colored treat, we found a few fun candy corn recipes to satisfy your cravings.

Homemade Candy Corn Recipe
Make your own version of the creamy candy at home in any colorway you like using this simple recipe.

Candy Corn Cupcakes
With a creamy vanilla flavor and bands of orange, yellow and white frosting that mimic the classic Halloween treat, these cupcakes are a delicious nod to candy corn.

Candy Corn Punch
This fruty and fizzy layered drink is perfect for a Halloween party.

Candy Corn Fudge Recipe
This delicious treat is a mashup of two Halloween favorites: chocolate and candy corn. Whip up a batch for your All Hallow’s Eve bash or as a special treat any time.

Candy Corn Cake Recipe
This colorful cake is a candy corn-lovers dream come true. Boxed cake mixes make the prep super simple.

Related: 7 Recipes that Take Candy Corn to the Next Level

Candy Corn Marshmallow Pops
Give basic marshmallows colorful coatings of orange and yellow melted candy coating to create these fun portable treats.

Creamy Halloweeny Push-Up Pops
Reusable plastic push-up containers make these candy corn-inspired treats as much fun to eat as they are to look at.

Throw a kid-friendly, candy corn-inspired Halloween party with decorations and treats inspired by the colorful confection.

Candy Corn-Inspired Fall Décor

As much fun as candy corn is to eat, it's also fun to look at! These candy corn-inspired crafts will bring a bit of Halloween to your home in a sweet way.

Candy Corn-Inspired Halloween Party Decorations
Download our free party printables (like the candy dish label shown above) to make your own decorations, invites and so much more.

Candy-Corn Door Decoration
This clever take on a fall door wreath is a playful nod to the sweet Halloween treat.

Candy Corn Garland
This easy garland project is a low-cost way to add a touch of Halloween to your home, and simple enough that kids can help with the crafting!

Candy Corn-Inspired Topiaries
Turn a few basic crafting supplies into whimsical candy corn-inspired table decorations.

Related: 5 Candy Corn-Inspired Crafts to Get You in the Halloween Spirit

Candy Corn Painted Pumpkins
Use spray paint and real or foam pumpkins to make quick work of these colorful pumpkins perfect for festive front porch displays.

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