This Was America's Favorite Halloween Candy In 2021

Americans love candy and free stuff. So it's no surprise that most Americans love Halloween — or more specifically, the holiday where getting free candy is not only encouraged, but expected. Heck, even Jerry Seinfeld has a children's book about the all-encompassing desire to get free candy on Halloween (via The National Comedy Center). 

The origins of getting candy on Halloween go as far back as ancient Celtic pagan rituals, where Celts would leave treats on their doorsteps to appease wandering spirits. As Europeans immigrated to the United States, the practice of "souling" was overtaken by end-of-harvest celebrations to give out treats like candy apples and nuts, instead of being given out door-to-door (via Mental Floss). In the early 1900s, History tells us that the concept of souling and dressing up in costume soon began to take root in the United States, albeit in a more playful and light-hearted manner than any religious rite. After World War II, candy companies began to take full advantage of Halloween, advertising their candies as the best October 31 treats alongside images of bedsheet ghosts and rosy-cheeked witches with pails full of candy.

But as trick-or-treating has no doubt changed somewhat over the years, just what kind of candy has stood the test of time? What kind of candy does America look forward to getting every Halloween? Perhaps the answer is 2021's most popular Halloween candy.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were 2021 favorites

Chocolate and peanut butter may be an incredibly simple combination, but you can't deny that it's a good one. According to data collected by Instacart, the most popular candy during Halloween in 2021 was the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, having sold an astounding 116 tons of peanut butter cups. For comparison, the second most popular Halloween candy of that year was Peanut M&Ms, which sold 98 tons. The peanut butter chocolate candy is so popular that, in 2020, it was dubbed the "economic engine" that spurs Hershey's growth, being the most profitable of the company's products with $2 billion in revenue (via PennLive).

What exactly makes these chocolate and peanut butter cups so popular? There's actually a scientific reason why Reese's tastes really good. As Penn State University professor of Food Science Gregory Ziegler explains to MIC, chocolate and peanut butter's unique taste, when paired together, is thanks to something called "dynamic sensory contrast." In short, this means that two sensory opposites, such as the smooth chocolate and the nutty peanut butter, provide a surprisingly delicious combination, enticing us to eat more of it. 

Whatever the case, be it taste or texture, it seems that Reese's has an impressive track record of being one of the most beloved American candies on the market — especially during Halloween, though maybe being pumpkin-shaped for the holiday has something to do with it too.