What's In Candy Corn? The History Behind The Halloween Treat

October 30th is National Candy Corn Day, a day meant to honor one of the most time-honored items in your kids' trick-or-treat bags. Some people love the festive treat, while others find them disgusting. But not matter how you feel, there's no denying that candy corn is about as Halloween as your candy can get. If you plan on stuffing your face with this beloved Halloween treat this year, you may be wondering, what's in candy corn?

According to Better Homes & Gardens, candy corn was first produced in the 1880s by the Wunderlee Candy Company. The original version was called chicken feed, as Candy Favorites pointed out, because corn kernels were primarily used as chicken feed at the time. In the early days, the candy was made by hand from a recipe of corn syrup, sugar, water, marshmallows, fondant and carnauba wax. The mixture was then poured into kernel shape molds and dyed three times to produce the layered effect we've come to know and love.

As Slate mentioned, the process of making candy corn was so labor intensive at the time that it was only produced between March and November. Since it was prominently available during Halloween season, candy corn inevitably became linked with the goulish time of year. In the 1950s, the name was changed to candy corn — even though it doesn't contain any actual corn — because of its kernel shape, according to Candy Favorites.

Today, approximately 9 billion pieces of candy corn are produced each year with the help of machines, according to CNN. The original recipe has essentially remained the same over the years, with the exception of the addition of the ever mysterious Yellows #5 and 6, and Red #3.

Candy lovers who are watching their waistlines love the fact that candy corn is fat free and, according to Brach's a 140-calorie serving is only 19 pieces. However, the tri-colored treats are loaded with sugar. According to The Huffington Post, one serving of candy corn has almost the same amount of sugar as a can of Coca-Cola, which means you are guaranteed a post-Halloween trip to your dentist's office.

So if you're planning to raid your kids' treat bags for candy corns, avoid the temptation to eat a whole bag in one sitting, and be sure to brush your teeth like crazy afterwards. But if your kids want to keep all of the sugary goodness to themselves, don't worry, there will be plenty more next year.