Halloween dates back to Celtic celebrations in the 5th century BC, but the tradition of handing out treats has a shorter history. Most likely it originated with the “All Souls’ Day” parades in England, where poor citizens would beg for food and families would hand out pastries called “soul cakes” in return for prayers for their dead relatives.
Today, kids are more likely to receive a bite-sized chocolate candy — that’s the most popular treat for Halloween, according to the trade group the National Confectioners Association (NCA).
Overall, Halloween spending is expected to reach $6.86 billion this year, according to research from the National Retail Federation (NRF). Only part of that total will be spent on candy, with consumers spending about $21.05 each on treats. That’s a bit higher than last year’s average, when consumers spent about $20.29 each on treats.
Still, it is enough to make Halloween the biggest candy holiday of the year, with confectionery sales in the U.S. totaling about $2.3 billion, the NCA said.
At least some of that candy will focus on themes that are creepy, and sometimes disgusting, to capture the more ghoulish side of the holiday. So while most people will be stocking up on traditional treats, such as M&M’s, Hershey bars, and candy corn, there are sure to be others handing out candy that makes you say, “Eeewwww!”
Click ahead to see some of the “grossest” (or “coolest,” depending on your point of view) Halloween candy this year.
By Christina Cheddar-Berk
Posted 19 October 2011
Company: Ban Dai
Price: $19.80 for a 12-count box
Although the thought of eating eyeballs is gross, there is no shortage of eyeball-themed candies. The ones pictured here take an interesting twist on the eyeball concept by using the fork as a stick to hold the lollipops, which come in strawberry and blueberry flavors.
If you think the real gross-out factor in eyeball candy is its squishiness, you might want to opt for gummy eyeballs that have a more realistic look.
For a Halloween party, you can buy a nice cube tray filled with gummy eyeballs. Just fill the tray with water or juice and freeze to add something a little ghoulish to your guests’ drinks.
Company: Jelly Belly
Price: $2.49 for a box
Jelly Belly has whipped up its own version of a product, Bertie Bott’s Beans, that was featured in the “Harry Potter” book series. While there are some tasty beans in this mix, there also are a few repulsive flavors, such as centipede, rotten eggs, ear wax, vomit, and dirt.
There also is another line, Bean Boozled, with equally crazy flavors. There’s skunk spray, baby wipes, moldy cheese, and black pepper, among others. It’s not all bad — some of Jelly Belly’s more traditional favorites are in the mix, including juicy pear, peach, plum, and coconut, among others. The fun comes from being bold enough to try them all.
There’s even one version of Bean Boozled that is packaged with a spinner to turn the adventure into a game. If you dare, spin the wheel, then pick a jelly bean that matches the color the spinner lands on. You may get a delicious flavor, or one of the gross ones. (Yellow! Will it be banana-flavored, or taste like pencil shavings?)
Company: Frankford Candy
Here’s something to serve the zombies that come knocking on your door. It’s body part sushi candy, featuring faux severed fingers, ears, some brains, and even a nose. Chopsticks are included with this eight-piece feast.
Company: Kandy Kastle
Price: $28.99 for a 12-count package
Now this is gross: Strap this toy nose filled with liquid candy to your face and let the gooey liquid ooze into your mouth.
Price: $2.95 each
For many people, nothing is as gross as candy made with actual insects. HotLix makes several lines of candy with worms, crickets, larva, ants, and scorpions inside.
The lollipops come in many different flavors, from blueberry and banana to strawberry and apple, and the scorpions, crickets, or worms trapped inside actually look cool. (Adults may want to try the tequila-flavored worm lollipops.)
If you really want to cringe, however, you may want to try another HotLix product, Crick-ettes, which are actual crickets that come in three flavors: sour cream and onion, bacon and cheese, or salt and vinegar.
The company’s Larvets are a similar concept, except they are flavored worms. Choose from either BBQ, cheddar cheese, or Mexican spice.
Company: Jelly Belly
Price: $30 for 12-count box
There’s a seeming endless list of gummy-shaped critters and creatures to set your spine tingling.
These giant rats from Jelly Belly have really long tails, just like the real thing. Each gummy rat is about 9 inches long, and is available either in red or black.
Frankford makes a number of gummy bugs, including a candy sticks with gummy spiders and snakes. They also sell an interesting novelty item: lightning bugs. A light in the “magic” tweezers helps the gummy lightning bugs appear to light up when squeezed.
Price: $15.96 for 4
Bags of fake blood make for fun Halloween treats, especially if you’re dressed as a vampire. Harcos sells IV bags filled with either blood red liquid or green Zombie blood.
According to Harcos, its original Blood Energy Potion has the “color, consistency, and nutritional profile of actual blood,” but it also is caffeinated and it tastes like fruit punch.
For another twist on the body fluids theme, there are several companies selling yellow, sour liquid candy in medical containers. (Get ready, “Ur in for A #1 Treat.”)
Liquid-filled test tubes are also another popular theme this year.
Company: Flix Candy
While these are just chewy gummy candy, much like a Gummi Bear or a Starburst candy chew, the gross-out factor comes from the descriptions on the box. “Tangy gummy boogies that look and feel real!” Yep, that’s enough get the “eww” factor going. The variety of flavor names will keep you gagging: snottermelon, sour green boogy, and lemon logy.
The candies vary in color from yellow to shades of green (if your actual mucus is this shade of green, you might want to see a doctor).
Price: $4.89 for 3-pack
Although these gummy hand-shaped candies are not as large as an adult’s hand, they have some heft. Each piece is 1.94 ounces and about 4 ½ inches long.
The green-apple flavored hand has snake-like veins and black fingernails. The skeleton is strawberry-flavored, and the grey hand has a blue raspberry flavor.
Wax lips and fake teeth are a timeless Halloween staple, but these choppers will definitely encourage folks to back away and maybe even go brush their teeth.
Company: Oriental Trading
Price: $8 for 6 pieces
If the sight of blood makes you cringe, you might want to look away. This is a box of edible candy bandages with gooey, sticky centers. The candies, which are flavored with real fruit juice, come individually wrapped.