People in the US can pretty much all agree on one thing: Candy is good, especially around Halloween. Exactly which candy is best, however, is a much more regional story.
To find the most popular Halloween candy in each state, the equipment sales company Bid-on-Equipment analyzed Google search traffic for more than 100 candies between September and October 2018 in all 50 states and the 20 largest cities. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups captured the most love with 12 states, though M&M’s are just behind with 11 states if you group classic M&M’s, peanut, and pretzel (you do you Wisconsin) together. Swedish Fish, AirHeads, Nerds, RedHots, SweeTarts, Hershey’s, and gummy worms received the least love with just one state each.
America’s biggest cities typically split from the state’s favorite candy. New York City’s favorite candy, M&M’s, matched the state’s (which, by virtue of making up a large share of the state’s population, makes sense), LA went with Jolly Ranchers, Chicago with KitKat, Houston with Milk Duds, and Phoenix with Reese’s. Indianapolis, the 17th largest city in the US, came out of left field as the only location in the data set to pick Lifesavers.
Though there are 16 distinct candies represented, only eight companies own America’s favorite Halloween candies. These are the most popular candies broken down by candy corporations:
- Mars, Incorporated: M&M’s (11 states), Snickers (five states), and Mars (two states)
- Hershey Company: Reese’s (12 states), Milk Duds (five states), Hershey’s (one state), and Jolly Ranchers (one state)
- Nestlé: KitKat (two states), Nerds (one state), and SweeTarts (one state)
- Perfetti Van Melle: AirHeads (one state)
- Tootsie Roll Industries: Tootsie Pops (two states)
- Just Born: Hot Tamales (three states)
- Ferrara Candy Company: RedHots (one state) and gummy worms (one state)
- Cadbury Adams: Swedish Fish (one state)
It’s important to keep in mind that the data comes from Google. There’s a chance that people are just googling Reese’s because the brand has memorable commercials, and those in South Dakota could just be looking for gummy fishing worms. Google search traffic is far from a perfect data set, but it’s about as close as we can get to narrowing down state by state favorites.