The Top Halloween Candies to Stock Up on, According to Shoppers

Instacart used shopping data and a survey to figure out the most popular Halloween candies—see if your favorite sweets made the top of the list.

jack-o-lantern bowl filled with candy

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You can’t celebrate Halloween and not have a giant vat of candy for munching and handing out to the neighborhood kids. But what you reach for in the candy bucket depends on your taste preferences. Are you craving a classic chocolate-peanut butter cup? Or maybe you can't celebrate the spooky season without a jar full of candy corn and peanuts. Whatever your preference, you’re definitely not the only one buying copious amounts of candy come spooky season.

This year, an estimated $10.6 billion is going to be spent on Halloween candy—up $0.5 billion from last year, according to Statista. To navigate which candies are specifically landing in candy bowls across the United States, grocery delivery service Instacart decided to take a deeper look into the purchases and sweet tooth opinions of Americans.

In order to find out which Halloween candies reign supreme during the holiday, Instacart analyzed purchase data from last year. Instacart also conducted a survey of 2,000 Americans via The Harris Poll to reveal candy preferences across the country.

top Halloween candy graphic on United States map

Courtesy of Instacart

The Top Halloween Candies in America

As seen in the above graphic, Americans all agree that chocolate is superior to any other type of Halloween candy, with 84% filling their carts with chocolate-based candies every year. 8 out of the top 10 spots in the list of most purchased Halloween candies are chocolate, but the most popular variety of chocolate candy differs in some states. The number one spot, though, goes to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups—which is not hard to believe, considering the pumpkin-shaped version of the chocolate confection actually tastes the best. Here's the full breakdown of the top 10 Halloween candies purchased in America based on purchasing data by weight via Instacart in October 2021:

  1. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (116 tons sold)
  2. Peanut M&M's (92 tons)
  3. M&M's (94 tons)
  4. Snickers (65 tons)
  5. Hershey's Milk Chocolate (65 tons)
  6. Twizzlers (56 tons)
  7. Kit Kat (49 tons)
  8. Twix (48 tons)
  9. Starburst (37 tons)
  10. Milky Way (36 tons) 

When it comes to the most popular Halloween candies on the list, there’s a pretty even divide in the country. Peanut M&M’s rank as most popular in the West, while Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups dominate in the East and Wyoming. If you prefer other candies, though, no need to stress: Even though chocolate takes the highest spots in the list, 56% of shoppers will buy fruity or chewy Halloween candy, according to Instacart's data.

The Sweetest States in America

So which states in the country are buying the most candy overall? Turns out Utah, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, and Washington prove to have a bigger sweet tooth. The lowest candy-purchasing states are Florida, Delaware, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Divided Between Candies

Depending on which part of the country you're from, you might unknowingly be drawn to specific brands or varieties of candy. Do you usually opt for the bag of Red Vines or Twizzlers? The two red rope candies are similar, but Instacart's survey reveals that the Pacific Northwest and a bit of the West Coast prefer Red Vines over Twizzlers. As for lollipops, the West Coast and parts of the Southeast and Northeast are all for the small, flavorful Dum Dums, while the Midwest, some of the South, and the North opt for bubble-gum-filled Charms Blow Pops.

According to the survey, 88% of Americans report there is usually a stash of leftover candy, with 86% keeping it on hand for up to 6 months. If you need some ideas for what to do with that leftover Halloween candy, there are plenty of creative recipes such as candy bark and brownie pizza to make good use of the sweet treats.

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