October 22, 2011

Popular Halloween candies from decades past

Day 295 of Vintage 365


Just as cookies are to Christmas and eggs are to Easter, candy is part and parcel to the Halloween season. Even if one hasn't donned a costume to go parade around the neighborhood at night in decades, most of us still like to indulge our sweet tooth at this time of year with more sweets than you a shake a broomstick at a few of our favourite candies.

Though I certainly enjoyed my fair share of 80s and 90s era candies when I was growing up (and to this day, I'm not about to turn down a Ring Pop!), I've always (even as a child) had a fondness for classic candies, especially caramels, chocolate covered nuts, and gummi bears (which, fascinatingly, have been around since the 1920s).

I also adorned receiving little packets of sunflower seeds, pumpkins and peanuts amongst the sweets in my plastic pumpkin, but those weren't technically sugary delights of the soft this post is focuses on.

With Halloween less than ten days away, I thought it would be fun to take a quick peak at some of the most popular candies from the decades that many of us hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. These are sweets that either emerged on the scene during the respective decades they're listed in, or which were highly popular at the time.


Popular Halloween candies from decades past


-Abba-Zabba Bars

-Almond Roca

-Baby Ruth candy bars

-Bridge Mix

-Flake bars (well worth hunting down on this side of the Atlantic if you can, they partner especially nicely with vanilla ice cream)


-Mounds bars (akin to Bounty chocolate bars for those outside of the States)

-Oh Henry! bars


-Zero candy bars


-3 Musketeers bars

-Boston Baked Beans (the candy; the classic legume dish has been around much longer)

-Candy Buttons


-Kit Kat bars

-Mallow Cups

-Nestlé Crunch bars

-Red Hots

-Snickers bars

-Tootsie Pops


-Bazooka chewing gum

-Dots candy

-Jolly Ranchers

-Junior Mints

-Licorice Pipes


-Mike and Ikes

-Red Vines (red licorice candy)

-Whoppers (the chocolate malted milk candy, not the Burger King hamburger of the same name)

-York Peppermint Patties


-Atomic Fireballs

-Bubble gum and chocolate cigarettes

-Candy necklaces

-Chuckles jelly candy

-Heath Bars

-Hot Tamales

-Nik-L-Nip wax bottles


-Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

-Thin Mints

{A festively fantastic 1950s ad for Curtiss brand products, which shows a selection of the treats - such as Butterfingers, Baby Ruth bars, and Saf-T-Pops - that they offered Halloween candy buyers in the 1950s. Image via bluwmongoose on Flickr.}


In putting together the list above, I intentionally tried to go with products that are still available today. Some are household names (M&Ms, Jolly Ranchers, and Kit Kat bars, for example), where as others are a bit less famous, but  still clearly well loved if they continue to be produced (much to the delight of vintage candy fans everywhere!) to this day.

Sites such as Candy Favourites, Groovy Candies, and Old Time Candy specialize in stocking retro and vintage candy classics, including most of those listed above (which is awesome if you’ve got a particular craving, want to share some of your childhood faves with your kids, or host a vintage themed Halloween party).

Though long gone are the evenings spent pouring over and sorting a pillow case of trick-or-treat loot, and much as I must watch what I eat very carefully due to my health, not a single Halloween goes by that I don't make and/or buy a few of the sweetest vintage treats that I loved as youngster and still adore every bit as much today.

What is your favourite, past or present, Halloween candy - and will you be sinking your teeth into it this year?


  1. for some strange reason, bit-o-honey reminds me of halloween. *shrug* maybe one of our neighbors gave it out?? also, those weird little peanut butter taffy-like things wrapped in black or orange waxed paper...can't remember what they're called. but i only see those at this time of year.
    nowadays, i am always searching for the chocolate things!!!! :) ~k

  2. Wow, Jessica, I didn't know some of those candies had been around that long.

    Unlike most women, I'm not a huge chocolate fan, so my favorite candies are skittles and starburst. Candy bar wise it's Zagnut. (Toasted coconut over peanut butter crunch....like a butterfinger coated with toasted coconut instead of chocolate.) I don't know how long they've been around, but I know they were around in the 60's and 70's.

    We have a vintage candy store here in town (called Powell's Sweet Shop). They sell ice cream and all sorts of vintage candies...I can buy Zagnut there. It's a fun little store, but I would imagine working there could get tiresome...they play the Gene Wilder version of Willa Wonka over and over all day long!!! If one worked there, they would be singing the Ooompa Loompa song all day long!

    Thanks for the fun trip down memory lane.