Candy by the Decade: A Time Capsule of Halloween Treats
In the 1950s, nostalgia was the biggest motivator of consumers. Parents who had grown up during the war years without being able to buy candy were suddenly able to purchase sweet treats again, and instead of reaching for newer candies like Pixy Stix and Candy Necklaces (invented in 1952 and 1958, respectively), many people yearned for the candies of their childhood. Classic “penny candies” like Lemon Heads and Tootsie Rolls saw a big resurgence, as parents who grew up in the 1930s introduced these delicious treats to their children.
In non-Halloween-related candy news, Marshmallow Peeps were also eaten for the first time in 1954.
In the bright, colorful 1960s, it’s no surprise that candy started to move away from boring, plain-colored confections that were more popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Color dyes were first used during this decade, and this new technology was put to good use in the popular candies of the time.
Starbursts first came on to the scene in 1960 and were originally advertised as a “healthier” candy because they contained added Vitamin C. Candies suddenly became sour as well as sweet, with the advent of Sweetarts in 1963, and Zotz in 1968. In 1969, Chupa Chup lollipops came on to the market, with a label designed by none other than esteemed painter Salvador Dali.
The 1970s saw the advent of new textures as well as new flavors, as companies struggled to find new ways to draw consumers attention in an increasingly saturated marketplace. Pop Rocks were invented by General Mills in 1974, and their surge in popularity led to rumors that if you ate too many Pop Rocks while drinking carbonated soda, your head would explode. Despite the fact that this product underwent extensive testing before they came to market, parents were so worried that a hotline was set up to reassure them of the candy’s safety. The other popular candy of the decade was the Ring Pop, which was invented by Frank Richards in 1979 and experienced an immediate explosion in popularity.
I love Pop Rocks. Too bad I have to wait a year for them. pic.twitter.com/VFWk2Bd1Be
— Jo N. Wilson (@JodaWV) October 8, 2018