October 30th is National Candy Corn Day!

Candy Corn is both universally loved and hated. You pretty much only eat it once a year, and just looking at it makes you salivate. The first time I see them in the stores every fall, I’m dying to buy a package. But, one bite and BOOM! You remember how freaking SWEET they are, and suddenly you’ve had enough. Just like that.

Since Halloween is just a day away,  it’s probably better for our teeth and our waistlines to distract ourselves from the candy corn AND the trick or treating by contenting ourselves with feasting on some of these vintage Halloween print ads instead.  These look like early 1950s to me, and apparently our donors were encouraged to buy boxes of full size candy bars. Who knew?!

Not sure if the entire country reveres Neccos, but when I lived in New England they were still HUGE!! I drove by the factory occasionally, and marveled that they have stayed in business so long and employed so many people. Good neighbors, indeed. My personal favorite as a child was a bag of M&Ms. They didn’t have small bags back then, and people would divide them into small printed paper bags, or maybe just pour some loose ones into your trick or treat bag. Nice…and even then, “they melt in your mouth, not in your hands”.

Lollipops and suckers have always been staples of the Halloween offerings, and these ads remind us that EVERYone loves candy on a stick! When I was growing up, Charms had little prizes, sometime even coins, slipped inside the wrapper, so that kept us all buying them every time we had a nickel to spend. (Yes. Five cents.) The Charms ad looks pretty old to me, possibly as far back as the 1940s, but the second ad looks more ’80s.

Most of us grew up with Brach’s candy, and our bags were always full of their products on Halloween. There was a huge variety, and they seem to have been one of the first to offer small individual packages, which made them quite economical. I may be mistaken, but I seem to recall that they had individually wrapped pieces in bins at the grocery store, which you could purchase by the pound.

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I’m always caught off guard a bit by how these vintage print ads rekindle memories of everyday events, as well as special occasions like Halloween. Looking at them, I can feel the damp chill as dusk fell on our neighborhood parade of ghosts and goblins in our spooky costumes, anchored by our play shoes. The thrill of being out after dark on a school night was intoxicating, and all that sugar just added to the excitement. Houses that had sound effects or displays were always the most popular on the block, of course, and you wanted to get there first before they ran out of candy. My neighborhood was dense with kids, so there was always a huge crowd.

It’s probably been 25 years or more since I’ve had crowds of children ringing my doorbell on Halloween. We’re a much more cautious society now, and parents tend to favor structured activities at schools and churches, or even commercial events, such as haunted houses. People are much more conscious of safety, as well as the hazards of too much sugar. I suppose the innocent days of an earlier era are not going to return. It’s nice that we have the record of how the holiday was celebrated in the past, and especially nice that these great print ads have been converted to digital content so we can share them more widely. Here’s a final image, this one from the ever popular Whitman Candy Company, from 1928.

I hope you’re enjoying this little series of Halloween print memories. Tomorrow, I’m going to treat you to one more set of nostalgia, courtesy the printing industry of the mid twentieth century!

Trick or Treat!

🙂 mb