Candy Is Dandy—Especially in October

NCA reveals top three Halloween treats, while manufacturers promote popular sweets.

September 02, 2021

Halloween Candy

WASHINGTON—Retailers have been wondering what Halloween candies to stock up on this year. To answer that question, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) shared Americans’ favorite sweets for the 2021 Halloween season.

NCA’s recent online survey found that Americans prefer chocolate (60%) to non-chocolate (40%) in their trick-or-treat sacks. So, it’s no surprise that chocolate came in first place, followed closely by Americans’ second choice: gummy candy. Americans’ third top Halloween treat is classic candy corn.

More fun facts for the Halloween season:

  • 82% of people—and 93% of young parents—plan to celebrate Halloween this year.
  • 80% of Americans plan to trick-or-treat in 2021.
  • 82% of people are confident they will find safe, creative ways to celebrate Halloween.
  • 79% of Americans say they plan to fill a Halloween candy bowl this season.

The national online survey was conducted by 210 Analytics for the National Confectioners Association June 3-8, 2021. The sample included 1,500 U.S. adults (18 years of age or older).

Halloween is still eight weeks away, but candy manufacturers are promoting their special offerings that will help consumers celebrate at ghoulish gatherings. The insights team at Hershey’s continues to conduct consumer surveys to understand what shoppers are feeling and celebrating. Here are some recent findings:

  • 54% of consumers plan to buy more candy this year than last year to prepare for parties and trick-or-treaters.
  • 22% say they plan to celebrate in a big way to make up for last year.
  • 26% consider Halloween their favorite holiday. That's twice what it was in 2017.
  • 35% say they “look forward to Halloween all year long”—a 25% annual growth rate since 2017.
As a result, Hershey’s predicts a 45% increase in participation in trick-or-treating, and the company is helping promote holiday excitement with more Hershey displays and stands for retail stores, making it easier for shoppers to locate products. Among Hershey’s LTO Halloween-themed goodies are: 
  • Hershey’s Kisses Vampire Chocolates—Halloween kisses have returned to ooze strawberry flavored creme in every bite.
  • Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Fangs—A complement to any vampire costume, these snack-sized bites are creamy, chocolate-y and ideal for the candy bowl.
  • Hershey Halloween Snack Sized Shapes—Each LTO bag includes snack-size pieces of Hershey’s favorite Halloween treats.
  • Kit Kat Witch’s Brew—This treat combines marshmallow-flavored creme with Kit Kat’s classic crisp wafers.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins Snack Size—This bountiful bag features traditional Reese’s candy in snackable and shareable sizes.
  • Reese’s Franken-Cup Peanut Butter Cups—The Reese’s peanut butter center is wrapped in milk chocolate on top with bright green creme on the bottom.

Hershey’s isn’t the only candy manufacturer gearing up for the spooky holiday. When it comes to crunchy, chewy and gummy candy, NERDS is collaborating with the popular fantasy game, Dungeons & Dragons. It’s part of a launch of the new, limited-edition NERDS Gummy Clusters and Rainbow NERDS in Theater Box D&D packaging. Each candy purchase comes with an automatic download of Dungeons & Dragons Adventures.

Now through December 2021, fans who purchase NERDS Gummy Clusters or Rainbow NERDS in Theater Box D&D packaging can upload their sales receipt to to enter the legendary world of D&D and join an exclusive campaign called Restoring Harmony. After uploading the first receipt, fans will gain access to a single PDF adventure.

In case selecting just one of these candy options is a bit mind-boggling, customers can also choose a single treat that is both sweet and salty from Mars, which has just introduced TWIX Salted Caramel, a combination salted caramel and crunchy cookie with a milk chocolate coating. The treat features the classic three layers TWIX fans love, but with an extra pinch of salt for a new sweet and salty experience. The new product will hit shelves beginning this month.

Register to attend the 2021 NACS Show October 5-8, at McCormick Place in Chicago and take advantage of the education sessions on marketing and beyond, including these sessions developed by retailers for retailers: