Candy pumpkin

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Candy Pumpkin
Candy corn and candy pumpkins
Place of originUnited States
Main ingredientsCorn syrup, honey, carnauba wax, sugar

A candy pumpkin is a small, pumpkin-shaped, mellow crème confection primarily made from corn syrup, honey, carnauba wax, chocolate, and sugar. Traditionally colored with an orange base and topped with a green stem[1] to make candy pumpkins largely identifiable with Halloween,[2] a candy pumpkin is considered a mellow crème by confectioners since the candy has a marshmallow flavor.[3] Sometimes called candy corn's first cousin,[4] candy pumpkins are made through a starch casting process similar to that for candy corn.[3] Brach's candy pumpkin, known by the trademarked name "Mellowcreme" Pumpkins,[5] is the most popular candy pumpkin.[3][6][7] Brach's Confections is now owned by Ferrara Candy Company.[8]


Candy pumpkins are made using a similar process to make candy corn. The candy corn process and product were created by George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy Co. in the 1880s[9] and became popular as a treat in the 1920s.[3][10] Candy pumpkins first were produced in mid 20th century using a process similar to that of candy corn. Corn syrup, food coloring, honey, and sugar are beaten and heated in large kettles to produce an ultra-sweet syrup.[10] This syrupy mix generically is called "mellow crème" by confectioners, since the resulting candy has a mellow, creamy texture.[6][10] The mellow crème slurry then was divided into two uneven amounts, with the large amount receiving orange food coloring and the smaller receiving green food coloring.[10] A mogul machine brings the two colored mixtures together into a mold made of cornstarch, and the assembly is sent to a separate drying room to dry for 24 to 36 hours.[10] Once dry, the candy is shaken violently to remove excess cornstarch and a final glaze is added to give the candy pumpkin a sheen.[10] Candy pumpkins, acorns and other shapes that are derived from the mellow crème mixture are often sold with candy corn under the name "harvest mix."[10]


Candy pumpkins are popular in part because of its "interesting texture."[10] As of 1988, most big confectionery companies, including Mars Inc., did not market special Halloween candies.[11] The one exception was Brach's Confections, which made candy pumpkins among other seasonal products.[11] Their "Mellow crème Pumpkin" was made to look like an autumnal fruit; each pumpkin contained 25 calories and 5 grams sugar.[12] In 1992, Brach's Confections expected to sell more than 30 million pounds of mellow crème candy during the fall season, which included its seasonal mellow crème pumpkins.[13]

By the late 1990s, competitors of Brach's realized that the market for the special Halloween candy pumpkin was expanding. For example, in 1997, candy pumpkins and other mellow crème candies helped push annual spending on Halloween candy in the United States to an estimated $950 million a year.[10] In response, Mars, Inc. came out with Snickers Crème Pumpkin in 1998.[14] The milk chocolate-covered peanut and caramel candy was packaged in a 1.20 oz. size with a plastic wrapper featuring a jack-o-lantern on the package.[14] At the time, the Snickers Crème Pumpkin retailed for 50 U.S. cents.[14] Two years later, in 2000, Frankford Candy & Chocolate Company cross-licensed with ConAgra Foods to produce Peter Pan Peanut Butter Pumpkins.[15] Peter Pan Peanut Butter Pumpkins included a "rich and creamy" Peter Pan peanut butter center pressed into a detailed pumpkin mold.[15] At that time, the Peter Pan pumpkin candy was sold in 14 oz. bags.[15] Also in 2000, Zachary Confections expanded its product line to include candy pumpkins.[16]

In addition to helping characterize Halloween, candy pumpkins played a role in the current U.S. implementation of daylight saving time. Since the 1960s, candy makers had wanted to get the trick-or-treat period covered by Daylight Saving, reasoning that if children have an extra hour of daylight, they would collect more candy.[17] During the 1985 U.S. Congressional hearings on Daylight Saving, the industry went so far as to put candy pumpkins on the seat of every senator, hoping to win a little favor.[17] On July 8, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1986 into law; it contained a daylight saving rider which continued daylight saving time until the early morning of last Sunday in October;[17] this did not include Halloween night. In 2005, daylight saving time was extended to the first Sunday in November—just long enough to include Halloween.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Flanigan, Kathy (September 21, 2001). "Pieces of Autumn - Raking Up A Pile of Ideas for the Season". E Cue. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 16. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  2. ^ Sulon, Bill (August 13, 2000). "Area Retailers Start Early with Seasonal Candy Displays". The Patriot-News. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d Blachford, Stacey L. (20 October 2008). "Candy Corn." How Products are Made. Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  4. ^ Wheaton, Ken (October 29, 2007). "Happy Halloween ... and watch out for the chickens!". Advertising Age. 78 (43): 57. Retrieved 29 October 2008. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Pumpkins". Brach’s. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Brach's, Nation's Top Candy-Corn Maker, Scares Up Halloween Fun; Kids of All Ages to Consume 2 Billion 'Kernels' in 2004, Brach's 100th Birthday". PR Newswire Europe. October 13, 2004. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  7. ^ Miller, Lynne (17 September 2007). "Halloween presents supermarkets with a challenge to boost their candy market share". Supermarket News. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  8. ^ "Sugar Brands". Ferrara Candy Company. Retrieved January 6, 2023. Brach's
  9. ^ Saeger, Natalie (29 October 2007). "History of candy corn. With new colors and flavors, a treat for all seasons". Showcase. The Spectator. Archived from the original on 24 January 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Knauss, Christina Lee (October 29, 1997). "Stripped Candy Corn Now Symbolic of Fall". Food and Nutrition. Myrtle Beach Sun News. p. D1. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  11. ^ a b Serlin, Bruce (October 23, 1988). "What's New in Halloween Marketing; Innovations in Fangs, Broomsticks and Candy Corn". 3. The New York Times. p. 315. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  12. ^ Murphy, Candace (October 30, 2006). "Kids say what matters about Halloween candy". East Bay Times. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  13. ^ Lollar, Michael (October 15, 1992). "The Trick to Halloween Treat Game". Appeal. The Commercial Appeal. p. C2.
  14. ^ a b c "Snickers Chocolate Candy - Pumpkin". Product Alert by Marketing Intelligence Service LTD. 28 (21). November 9, 1998.
  15. ^ a b c "Peter Pan Peanut Butter Pumpkins". Product Alert by Marketing Intelligence Service LTD. 30 (11). June 12, 2000.
  16. ^ Pacyniak, Bernard (May 1, 2006). "Staying fit". Candy Industry by Stagnito Publishing. 171 (5): 20. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  17. ^ a b c Norris, Michele (March 8, 2007). "The Reasoning Behind Changing Daylight-Saving". All Things Considered. Retrieved 29 October 2008. BLOCK: This may be kind of an urban legend, but I thought I had heard that one of the backers behind extending Daylight Saving Time into the beginning of November was the candy industry, and it all had to do with Halloween. Mr. DOWNING: This is no kind of legend. This is the truth. For 25 years, candy-makers have wanted to get trick-or-treat covered by Daylight Saving, figuring that if children have an extra hour of daylight, they'll collect more candy. In fact, they went so far during the 1985 hearings on Daylight Saving as to put candy pumpkins on the seat of every senator, hoping to win a little favor.
  18. ^ Allen, Kent (November 5, 2007). "A Busy Time on the Shuttle; Sweet and Light for the Candy Lobby; Cool Home Prices Yield Hot Auction; A Masterpiece in the Muck and Mire". U.S. News & World Report. 143 (16): 26. Kids on the prowl for candy this Halloween will have a bit more daylight in which to do it. That's because of tinkering by Congress that extended daylight saving time. Of course, the candy lobby was strongly in favor. In 1985, candy makers gave out candy pumpkins to members of Congress, hoping to curry sweet favors. In 2005, they succeeded. This year DST is lasting eight months, one month longer than in past years and just long enough to include Halloween.