One of the most enduring of Halloween icons, candy corn, is now over 130 years old.
Back in the early 1900s, when the little striped treat was one of a variety of fondant novelties crafted into shapes like turnips, chestnuts and leaves, workmen had to run buckets of hot, sugary slurry back and forth across molds to make it. Today, companies like Jelly Belly and Brach’s produce over 35 million pounds of candy corn, most of it around Halloween.
“One of the reasons candy corn has remained so popular is that it’s a ‘limited edition.’ This is really the only time of year you can easily get it, and that limited availability makes it attractive,” says Susan Whiteside, spokeswoman for the National Confectioner’s Association.
Candy corn has become not only a staple of the trick-or-treat bowl, but an inspiration for seasonal decor.
Candy corn kernels have more visual impact en masse than individually. An array of clear lidded jars filled to the brim looks wonderful. Dump a bag or two in the bottom of a hurricane or large vase; add a pillar candle, Halloween ornament or twisty branches painted black or gold and you’ve got a great centerpiece.
Woman’s Day magazine suggests hot-gluing kernels to Styrofoam balls for colorful bowl fillers. (www.womans day.com) Candy corn topiaries can be made by studding foam or paper cones, adding stems, and placing in pots. Wreaths made of rows of candy, hung with a black ribbon, look striking.
And while you’ve got the glue out, consider adding a few candy corns to twigs to create candy “blossoms.”
Making faux candy corn is easy, with a few craft materials in the signature colors of orange, yellow and white. Wool retailer Lion Brand provides free online patterns to crochet stuffed toys and little carry bags (www.lionbrand.com).
Get out the paint pots and paint the top and base of orange traffic cones for clever Halloween-night driveway markers. Better Homes & Gardens’ website offers instructions to make a door decoration by cutting a foam cone in half lengthwise, painting it and adding dried fall plant material (www.bhg.com).
Ready-made decor with the candy corn motif is easy to find; look for string lights (www.lightsforalloccasions.com), votive holders (www.pier1.com), throw pillows (www.wayfair.com) and fabric (www.bugfabric.com).
If you’re up for making treats, Food Network star Alton Brown has a recipe online (www.foodnetwork.com).
Nabisco is selling a limited run of Oreos with candy-corn-colored filling. Jamie Lothridge, a middle-school teacher and avid baker in Toledo, Ohio, who blogs about her passion at www.mybakingaddiction.com, has repurposed the Oreos by turning them into truffles.