Dressing up as your favorite superhero or princess is fun, but Halloween is all about the candy. Some of our favorite Halloween candies have strange histories. Let’s dive in and learn some fun candy history facts.
This sweet treat has an odd origin story. It was first introduced to the public in 1921 by the Curtiss Candy Company as a reformulation of their Kandy Kake treats. It was named Baby Ruth during a time when Babe Ruth was a household name. In 1926, Ruth wanted to license his name to another candy company to create Ruth’s Home Run Candy. He sued the Curtiss Candy Company, and Curtiss claimed they named their bar after President Glover Cleveland’s deceased daughter, Ruth, who died 17 years earlier. It was an entrepreneurial swing and a miss for Ruth as lost the lawsuit and couldn’t launch his namesake candy.
Tootsie Roll Pops
The iconic Tootsie Roll Pop owl always comes to mind when you bite into one of these sweet treats. “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop” may have started as a catchy slogan, but students at several big tech schools took that question to heart. Students at Purdue University, University of Michigan, Bellarmine University and Swarthmore Junior High School all studied how many licks it took to get to the center, with varying results from 144 to 411 licks. In the end, the owl was right—“The world may never know.”
This confection was originally introduced in 1932 as three flavors of candy in one package—chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Due to shortages of flavoring ingredients during World War II, the candy eventually became just a single bar that we know today in 1945. They marketed it as a bar to share because it was quite large for a candy bar.
An anti-smoking advocate, Eduard Haas III, originally invented these colorful candies. They were marketed as a candy to help smokers kick the habit with their 1920s slogan, “Smoking prohibited, PEZing allowed.” To appeal to children, they were later marketed in their now-famous PEZ dispenser toys. The first PEZ dispensers were shaped like a robot, a space gun and Santa.
Originally invented in 1956, these fizzy candies sparked an urban legend that persists today. In 1979, rumors circulated that a child had eaten Pop Rocks along with a soda and the child exploded. The urban legend was so pervasive that the FDA set up a hotline to field questions about Pop Rocks from concerned parents. The candy disappeared from shelves in 1983 but was purchased by Kraft Foods as “Action Candy” and eventually remarketed under its original name. The TV show MythBusters tackled the urban legend and showed that the most harm soda and Pop Rocks will do is give you an upset stomach.