MandM Halloween

“Trick or treat, give me something chocolate to eat.” That’s what nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of Americans are saying this Halloween, according to results from the National Confectioners Association’s new national survey.

Rounding out the list of favorite Halloween goodies is a mix of the classics: candy corn in second position at 12 percent, followed by gummy candy, chewy candy, hard candy, lollipops, licorice, and gum and mints (totaling about 16 percent).

“While chocolate prevailed as the top confectionery choice this Halloween, our survey also found that adults still plan to buy a variety of both chocolate and candy for the ghosts and goblins who darken their doorsteps on Halloween evening,” says NCA V.P. of Communications Susan Whiteside.

Holiday Consumption Trends

The national survey also revealed new information on how Americans will purchase and enjoy holiday treats this year, including:

Sharing is caring. Halloween is the top holiday to share chocolate or candy with family, friends, and colleagues — beating out Easter and Valentine’s Day, 62 percent versus 49 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

When it comes to seasonal candy, adults are the gatekeepers. Forty-one percent of parents say they limit their child’s consumption to a couple of pieces a day until the candy runs out.

Brands and personal taste matter. When purchasing Halloween candy, 64 percent of Americans say their personal tastes or favorite brands are top factors that have an impact on their selections.

Variety makes the holiday more fun. Nearly two-thirds of shoppers buy a mix of chocolate and non-chocolate candy for Halloween, while 20 percent buy a mix of different chocolates.

Treats & Traditions

Insights into American Halloween traditions include:

There is a right way to eat candy corn.

NCA Candy Corn

NCA’s survey revealed that adults have an opinion about the right way to eat this perennial Halloween treat. Forty-seven percent think it’s popping the whole piece at once, followed by 43 percent who believe starting with the narrow white end is best. Only 10 percent prefer to start with the wider yellow end.

Trick or Treating still rules! Almost three-fourths of respondents said their Halloween household activity includes handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Others spend their holidays escorting or sending their children out into the neighborhood to trick-or-treat (29 percent); attending a work or school-related party (28 percent); or attending adult-oriented parties, such as at restaurants, private homes or bars (27 percent).

Guess who’s stealing from the candy jar? Eighty-one percent of parents surveyed say that they take candy from their children’s Halloween candy haul for their own enjoyment (with 26 percent admitting that they sneak treats after the children go to bed or school).

To give or not to give? A divided nation. Americans are almost split between those who let trick-or-treaters pick out their own pieces of candy versus those who hand it to them. Regardless, 65 percent of homes will allow one or two pieces per child.

Indulge a little, store a little: Seventy-four percent of those surveyed agree that it’s okay to indulge on seasonal chocolate or candy while maintaining an overall healthful diet. A great way to satisfy your sweet tooth in moderation is by properly storing Halloween sweets to ensure that they last well beyond trick-or-treating:

Chocolate: Dark chocolate can be kept for a year or more if wrapped in foil and stored in a cool, dark and dry place. A pantry or basement is an ideal location. However, milk and white chocolate, which should be stored under the same conditions as dark chocolate, have a more limited storage time — no more than 8 to 10 months.

Gummy candies: If the packaging has been opened, soft candies should be kept in a covered candy dish, away from heat and light at room temperature (about 70 degrees). Stored in this manner, the candy should last six to nine months. If the packaging has not been opened, soft sweets will last about 12 months.

Candy corn: If the packaging has been opened, candy corn should be stored under the same conditions as soft candies and will last approximately three to six months. Unopened, fresh packages will last about nine months.

Caramel: Should be kept covered, away from heat and light at room temperature. Stored properly, caramel candy can last six to nine months, and even up to a year in some cases.

For more sweet information on candy, Halloween and celebration ideas, visit the NCA’s “Halloween Central."