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Beloved Halloween History and Traditions

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerOctober 31, 2017
Beloved Halloween History and Traditions

Halloween is a time-honored tradition full of treats and tricks. We asked you, our A Place for Mom readers, to share your favorite candy and costumes with us to see how the the holiday has evolved over time into what it is today.

Beloved Halloween History and Traditions

Take a walk back through time with our readers and learn more about Halloween candy, costumes, memories and traditions:

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Halloween Candy: Then and Now

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, ringing a doorbell with a costume was not always met with candy. In fact, many times, coins, fruit, nuts and toys were just as likely to be given.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that candy manufacturers began to promote their candies as Halloween candy,  and not until the 1970s when candy was viewed as the only acceptable item to hand out.

There’s no question that today, when it comes to Halloween, candy is king. The Huffington Post gathered fun facts about Halloween candy, showing its prominent place in American culture.

  1. Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy each year for Halloween, the equivalent of 16 billion fun size Snicker bars or 158 trillion individual Candy Corns.
  2. 90 million pounds of chocolate candy is sold during the week of Halloween.
  3. The top selling Halloween candy is by far Candy Corn, with Americans purchasing over 20 million pounds of Candy Corn annually.
  4. Other national best sellers include Kit Kat, M&M’s, Reese’s and Snickers.
  5. The average American household spends $44 per year on Halloween candy.

We asked our A Place for Mom readers to share what their favorite Halloween candy to eat as a child was and found their responses matched the national survey – Candy Corn was the most beloved national candy with other chocolate candies like Kisses, Reese’s and Snickers coming in second, followed by popcorn balls.

Readers also added some of their favorite non-candy treats and shared their memories with us:

  • “Homemade stretch glasses taffy that our mom used to make as treats. Also, her homemade fudge.” – Elizabeth H.
  • “My favorite [part of Halloween] was receiving a nickel!” – Norma G.
  • “Popcorn balls made by Mrs. Johnson at the end of our street. She [still] gave them out when my kids began trick-or-treating and always put an extra one in their bag and told them that was for their daddy.” – Kevin P.
  • “We did not get candy, we got fresh fruit and homebaked goods.” – Julie I.
  • “When I was a child, most treats were homemade. My mom would make donuts. They were a big hit. Also, we would get apples in our treat bag – enough for my mom to make pies the next day. Everything was safe back then, we never even gave it a thought.” – Donalda K.

Halloween Costumes

Halloween costumes have evolved over time, but one thing has remained the same; nothing is off limits.

Costumes have always included many characters – from children’s cartoons, to political figures, to zombies; but Google Trends reports that this year’s 10 most popular costumes include:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Harley Quinn
  3. Clown
  4. Unicorn
  5. Rabbit
  6. Witch
  7. Mouse
  8. Pirate
  9. Zombie
  10. Dinosaur

We decided to ask our own readers to share their favorite costumes and learned that some things just never go out of style. When asked what readers dressed up as for Halloween as a kid, the top three responses were a gypsy, hobo and witch.

Readers relived some of their favorite costumes and memories, saying:

  • “I dressed up as a brown paper bag with Halloween candy glued all over it. Try walking down the street with a big bag over your head and not blowing away.” – Rona R.
  • “I was a large green old fashion telephone with a rotery dial… I got a lot of goodies and laughs that year.” – Kaye T.
  • “My mom was a seamstress and made our costumes every year. We had amazing costumes. Captain Kangaroo, Mary Poppinss, Jane and Mr Greenjeans are a couple.” – Mary Ellen T.

Did we miss your favorite candy or costume? Share your favorite Halloween memories with us in the comments below.

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Alissa Sauer
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Alissa Sauer

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