What Was Halloween Candy Like In The 1920s?

Halloween is the biggest day of the year for candy lovers, and even if you've outgrown trick-or-treating, you can't tell us you won't be waist-deep in sugar come October 31. How could you not be when every supermarket is rolling out stunning candy displays right by the entrance (via Thrilist)? Think of all those sweet variety packs that you can only find this time of year. And if you're a parent who wants to sneak a little treat from your young one's basket, well, we can't blame you, and your secret is safe with us.

With the wide variety of candy available, there can be some contentious arguing over which is best. This year, we ranked the 50 best Halloween candies, giving the coveted top three spots to Butterfingers, Reese's peanut butter cups, and gummy bears. Of course, that got us thinking about how far back in history we could travel and still satisfy our voracious sweet teeth. Pretty far, it turns out. In fact, we could go back in time a full century to the 1920s and still spot some of our modern favorites. But, of course, we found some wild cards in the mix as well.

A few classics survive to this day

According to Food Timeline, Irish immigrants planted the seeds of our modern Halloween in the 19th century; the celebration evolved from an Irish holiday called Samhain, rooted in Pagan culture. Irish homes traditionally handed out cakes on October 31, a custom that obviously had to change once whole neighborhoods got on board the trick-or-treat train. True Treats notes that nuts and fruit became the go-to Halloween treat for a long time, which are fine, but not nearly as sinfully tasty as candy. In the 1920s, however, some classic treats were popping up on the cultural landscape.

Per Cleveland, kids in the 1920s were already enjoying Butterfingers, Reese's, and gummy bears, checking off all of our top three candies. The decade also saw the introduction of Dum Dums and Baby Ruths. There were also some treats that have, sadly, gone the way of history.

Squirrel Nut Zippers were a popular vanilla nut caramel with an unexpected etymology. According to Old Time Candy, they were named after one of the brand's managers who saw a newspaper article about a man who got so drunk off a local cocktail called the "Nut Zipper" that he climbed a tree and had to be helped down. Another treat you probably won't find today is bridge mix, a collection of chocolate-coated nuts, raisins, caramels, and marshmallows that was popular at bridge games (via True Treats). Considering how common bridge is with today's kids, it's no surprise these went away.