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.
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.
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 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."
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.
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.
Candy makers like Brach's and Zachary Confections have also created seasonal candy corn varieties in apple, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon flavors!
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 Marshmallow Pops
Give basic marshmallows colorful coatings of orange and yellow melted candy coating to create these fun portable treats.
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!