Bittersweet Treat

Candy corn: Super Sweet or Disgustingly Dreadful?

Bittersweet Treat

Josie Cuthbertson and Charlie Trent

Josie’s Side: Love

Candy corn has been one of the most iconic and controversial Halloween traditions for years. But what makes these small, tri-colored candies such a staple of the season?

The humble little candies have been around since the late 1890s and are made of five simple candy ingredients — sugar, carnauba wax, corn syrup, fondant and marshmallows. The combination of these components forms a consistency by the name of “mellowcreme,” a soft, fudgy texture which makes the candy a perfect, easy-to-eat consistency — not too harsh or crunchy like some candies, while also not being too sticky or runny like others.

One serving of candy corn, which is 19 pieces, is 140 calories, while one chocolate bar is 406 calories — almost three times the amount of calories as a serving of candy corn.

Candy corn also paved the path for candy becoming a staple part of Halloween. According to “Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure” by Samira Kawash, the 1950s were the era in which candy took over as the image of the holiday. Kawash said before then, “Coins, nuts, fruits, cookies, cakes and toys were as likely as candy.”

Candy corn, being one of the most popular candies at the time, helped candy capitalize the Halloween season.

Being delicious, we owe quite a bit to these sweet little nuggets.

The epochal little kernels have been a key element of the fall season for decades. As they are so simply made, they prove that extravagant caramelized bacon-covered candies aren’t the only thing to satisfy a sweet tooth.

The small, sugary candies — in small doses, of course — make for a perfect sugary treat during the autumn season.

Charlie’s Side: Hate

As soon as the month of October rolls around, the shelves start to fill with my worst nightmare: candy corn. This sickly sweet treat follows you everywhere, your kitchen, at parties or your own lunch box. But this is not only an overly sugary snack — it is packed full of ingredients that might scare you.

According to, a single serving of candy corn is only 19 kernels and contains 28 grams of sugar — over the daily recommended amount of sugar for women and just under for men. Most of this sugar comes from high fructose corn syrup, which leads to problems such as Type 2 diabetes, weight gain and other issues that affect your health.

Although candy corn does not contain fat, it contains 140 calories per serving. Although this number is relatively low compared to other Halloween sweets, the lack of fat means it won’t fill you up, which means that it will leave you reaching for more. In addition to the lack of fat, it also has little nutritional value.

According to, their candy corn product contains no vitamins or minerals. Not only does it not contain any nutritional benefits, candy corn has ingredients such as egg whites, artificial flavor, carnauba wax and soy protein, which are not exactly appetizing.

Although fans of candy corn might love the taste, the facts and ingredients hiding behind this sweet treat might be more of a trick. This Halloween, instead of reaching for this snack full of sugar and other questionable ingredients, you might want to grab some peanut butter cups instead.