50 Sweet Facts About Your Favorite Halloween Candies

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It’s no surprise that candy delights kids and adults alike. We love sweets so much that the average American eats about 22 pounds of candy each year. Whether you’re looking to impress your friends or simply brush up on your candy trivia, check out these 50 sweet facts about your favorite candies.

1. THE MOST POPULAR HALLOWEEN CANDY VARIES BY STATE.

A bowl of candy corn on a piece of burlap.
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Candy corn takes the title in Alabama, while Swedish fish win in Georgia. But Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Milky Ways, and M&Ms are a few of the most consistently popular candies in all 50 states.

2. THE CREATOR OF REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS NAMED THE TREAT AFTER HIMSELF.

A partial shot of a peanut butter cup on a blue background.
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Harry Burnett Reese sold the Lizzie Bar and Johnny Bar, candy bars he named after his daughter and son, respectively. But his chocolate-covered peanut butter cup creation, which he named after himself and called Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, was his real hit.

3. THE INVENTOR OF THE TOOTSIE ROLL ALSO CREATED A PRECURSOR TO JELL-O.

A photo of giant tootsie rolls in old-fashioned packaging.
Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Leo Hirschfield, the inventor of Tootsie Rolls, also invented Bromangelon Jelly Powder, a gelatin dessert that was a precursor to Jell-O.

4. A DENTIST INVENTED COTTON CANDY.

Bags of brightly colored cotton candy in various hues.
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You wouldn’t expect a dentist to be responsible for helping to pioneer a new type of candy, although maybe he was hoping it would drum up some cavity-related business. In 1897, dentist William Morrison partnered with confectioner John C. Wharton to devise a machine that used centrifugal force to turn sugar into cotton-like strands. The result was cotton candy, but that name didn’t come until the 1920s. Morrison and Wharton called their treat “Fairy Floss.” And who says this treat is just for summer carnivals? These days, you can buy cotton candy in several Halloween varieties, including Werewolf Hair and Pumpkin Guts.

5. IN JAPAN, ADULTS CAN BUY SAKE-FLAVORED KIT KATS.

A person holding a package of sake-flavored kit kats.
Nelo Hotsuma, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

They’re enveloped in white chocolate and contain sake powder (0.8 percent alcohol). The Japanese can also snack on whiskey-flavored Pocky sticks, which are covered in chocolate and flavored with malt.

6. THE TRUE ORIGIN OF THE BABY RUTH BAR HAS BEEN DEBATED FOR DECADES.

A stack of Baby Ruth bars in a box.
Justin Sullivan // Getty Images

Introduced in 1921, when baseball player Babe Ruth was a national hero, the Curtiss Candy Company reformulated their Kandy Kake confection and gave it a name reminiscent of sports royalty: Baby Ruth. But when Ruth licensed his name for another bar in 1926, Curtiss cried foul, claiming it would cause consumer confusion and swearing that they had named their bar not after the baseball legend but after Ruth Cleveland, the deceased daughter of President Grover Cleveland. Even though “Baby Ruth” had died of diphtheria in 1904 and would be an odd choice for a candy bar name, the courts agreed; Ruth never got in on the treat trade.

7. THE MILKY WAY BAR WAS INSPIRED BY A MALTED MILKSHAKE.

A Milky Way bar on a black background.
Erin McCarthy

Milky Way was meant to mimic the taste of a malted milkshake, which was popular in the 1920s.

8. WHITE CHOCOLATE ISN’T ACTUALLY CHOCOLATE.

Squares of white chocolate stacked on top of each other.
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Lovers of white chocolate, beware: Because white chocolate doesn’t contain cocoa solids, it's not real chocolate.

9. TOBLERONE CUSTOMERS ARE A PASSIONATE, VOCAL BUNCH.

Boxes of Toblerone chocolates stacked on top of each other.
Mike Pont/Getty Images for NYCWFF

When the chocolate bar company decided to cut costs by reducing the weight of two of their bars sold in the UK, fans loudly expressed their disappointment and mocked the new bar’s fewer triangular chocolate peaks.

10. THE TWO M'S IN M&M’S STAND FOR MARS AND MURRIE.

A pile of M&Ms candies.
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Those are the surnames of the two businessmen—Forrest Mars and Bruce Murrie—who developed and financed the candy-coated chocolates.

11. LIFE SAVERS GOT THEIR ROUND SHAPE AFTER THE CANDY’S INVENTOR VISITED A PHARMACY.

An orange-spotted Life Saver on a black background.
gosheshe, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Clarence Crane, the creator of Life Savers, made his candies round rather than square, which was the typical shape for most mints at the time, after visiting a pharmacy. Inspiration struck when he saw a machine making pills that were round and flat, and the rest is history.

12. IT TAKES LICKING MACHINES (YES, THEY’RE A REAL THING) ANYWHERE FROM 364 TO 411 LICKS TO REACH THE CENTER OF A TOOTSIE POP.

Tootsie Pops in a bale of hay.
John Morgan, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Human lickers, on the other hand, averaged just 144 to 252 licks.

13. E.T. COULD HAVE EATEN M&M’S INSTEAD OF REESE’S PIECES.

A wax figure of the alien from 'E.T. the Extraterrestrial.'
Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds

The iconic scene in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, in which Elliott entices the alien with Reese's Pieces, almost didn't happen. Steven Spielberg’s first two choices of candy were M&M’s and Hershey’s Kisses, but when the Hershey Company offered to pay $1 million to showcase their candy creation, Reese’s Pieces became E.T.'s favorite sweet.

14. YOU CAN PAIR YOUR FAVORITE HALLOWEEN CANDY WITH WINE.

Two classes of red wine on a table with some chocolate.
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Based on criteria including flavor, acidity, bitterness, and sweetness, wine experts recommend pairing Whoppers with Cabernet Sauvignon, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with Sherry, and Hershey’s Kisses with Zinfandel.

15. M&M’S COME IN A LOT MORE FLAVORS THAT MILK CHOCOLATE, PEANUT, AND CRISPY.

A bag of coffee nut m&ms.
Erin McCarthy

You can also snack on M&M’s in more esoteric flavors (some are limited-edition): pecan pie, peanut butter, pumpkin spice latte, pretzel, white cheesecake, coffee nut, dark mint, and caramel, for starters.

16. THE WORD PEZ COMES FROM THE GERMAN WORD FOR PEPPERMINT: PFEFFERMINZ.

Photos of Pez dispensers, including Mickey Mouse, Kermit, and Batman.
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Invented by anti-smoking advocate Eduard Haas III, PEZ were originally marketed as mints to help smokers kick the habit. The candy’s slogan in the 1920s? "Smoking prohibited, PEZing allowed."

17. NAMING THE SNICKERS BAR HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH LAUGHING AT A GOOD JOKE.

Snickers bars piled up on each other.
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Franklin Mars, the patriarch of the Mars company, named the candy bar after a beloved racehorse his family owned that had just passed away. Snickers was raised on his family’s farm, the Milky Way, in Tennessee.

18. DUNKIN’ DONUTS AND HERSHEY ONCE TEAMED UP TO CREATE CANDY-FLAVORED COFFEE.

A steaming cup of coffee on a piece of burlap.
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They offered Heath bar and Almond Joy flavored options.

19. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS EATING TOO MUCH CANDY.

An orange pail with filled with, and surrounded by, Halloween candy.
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According to the American Chemical Society, eating 262 fun-sized Halloween candy bars would poison a 180-pound person. But don't worry about death by candy: You'd vomit before you’d be able to down that many candy bars in one sitting.

20. THE RIVALRY BETWEEN FANS OF TWIZZLERS AND RED VINES IS FIERCE AND DEEP-SEATED.

a close-up of twizzlers.
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Candy fans have heated online debates about which licorice product has a better taste, texture, and appearance.

21. IT'S NOT CHOCOLATE BETWEEN THE LAYERS OF WAFER IN A KIT KAT BAR.

A Kat Kat bar in a red wrapper.
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

It’s actually recycled Kit Kats. Technicians pull any imperfect Kit Kats—with off-center wafers or not enough shine, for example—and then grind them into a paste.

22. PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN REALLY LOVED JELLY BELLY JELLY BEANS.

President Ronald Reagan presents president-elect Bill Clinton with a jar of red, white, and blue jelly beans.
PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

He loved eating them so much that Air Force One was outfitted with special jelly bean holders, lest turbulence cause his beloved beans to spill.

23. THE GOELITZ CANDY COMPANY’S BRAND OF CANDY CORN HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE 1898.

A white spoon full of candy corn.
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It was called "chicken feed," since real corn kernels were usually only fed to livestock. (In 2001, the Herman Goelitz Candy Company changed its name to the Jelly Belly Candy Company.)

24. ASTRONAUTS LOVE M&MS.

An open bag of plain M&Ms on a white background.
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M&Ms have proven to be among the more popular candy requests for astronauts on space missions. Because they’re bite-sized and candy coated, they don’t make much of a mess. They can also be released in the air and gobbled up, Pac-Man style, by space travelers.

25. THE PHRASE TOOTSIE ROLLS MEANT SOMETHING OTHER THAN CANDY DURING THE KOREAN WAR.

A close-up view of three tires.
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U.S. soldiers in the First Marine Division used the phrase as a codename for mortar shells. But the real candy came in handy when the soldiers used chewed-up Tootsie Rolls to patch holes in their vehicles' fuel lines.

26. BUTTERFINGER ONCE HAD AN ENERGY BAR.

Someone holding up a butterfinger bar.
djpoblete09, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In 2009, Butterfinger debuted Butterfinger Buzz, a candy bar containing 80 milligrams of caffeine (the equivalent of a can of Red Bull). But due to low sales, the product was discontinued.

27. UP UNTIL 1990, UK FANS OF SNICKERS HAD TO ASK FOR MARATHON BARS.

A Marathon bar.
John Jones, Flickr // CC BY ND 2.0

That was the name given to the candy bar in England because Snickers rhymed with “knickers,” a popular slang term for women’s underwear. (The Marathon brand made a comeback in 2008.)

28. JUNIOR MINTS WERE NAMED AFTER A BROADWAY PLAY.

An open box of Junior Mints candy on a white background.
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Junior Miss ran from 1941 to 1943.

29. TO APPEAL TO KIDS, PEZ TURNED CANDY DISPENSERS INTO TOYS.

A Garfield Pez dispenser.
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

The first dispensers geared toward children were shaped like Santa Claus, a robot, and a space gun.

30. EVERY DAY, 64 MILLION TOOTSIE ROLLS ARE MADE.

A close-up view of a bunch of Tootsie Rolls.
Erin McCarthy

That means that over 44,440 Tootsie Rolls are created per minute!

31. HARIBO, THE CANDY COMPANY FAMOUS FOR ITS GUMMY BEARS, IS A PORTMANTEAU.

A bag of Haribo gummy bears.
PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images

Creator Hans Riegel combined the first two letters of his first and last name with the first two letters of his hometown: Bonn, Germany.

32. JELLY BELLY MAKES A LINE OF ENERGY BEANS.

Two bags of Jelly Belly Sport Beans.
Joel Kramer, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sport Beans contain carbohydrates, electrolytes, B vitamins, and Vitamin C. Who says you can’t eat candy while exercising?

33. CANDY CORN ISN’T JUST FOR HALLOWEEN.

A bag of valentine's themed candy corn.
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There are varieties for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter.

34. THE DESIGN OF MARY JANE CANDIES—A YELLOW WRAPPER WITH A RED STRIPE AND A DRAWING OF A YOUNG GIRL—HAS STAYED THE SAME FOR MORE THAN 100 YEARS.

A stack of Mary Jane candies.
Cathy Stanley-Erickson, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

The inside of the candies, a mixture of peanut butter and molasses, is also virtually unchanged.

35. DOTS GUMDROPS ARE GLUTEN-FREE AND VEGAN-FRIENDLY.

A box of DOTS gumdrops on a black background.
Erin McCarthy

They may also be one of the most pervasive non-chocolate candies on the market: More than 4 billion DOTS are rolled out annually.

36. 3 MUSKETEERS WAS SO-NAMED BECAUSE IT ORIGINALLY FEATURED CHOCOLATE, STRAWBERRY, AND VANILLA PIECES OF CANDY.

A 3 Musketeers bar on a black background.
Erin McCarthy

But vanilla and strawberry (as well as sugar) were scarce during World War II, so 3 Musketeers ditched the vanilla and strawberry to focus on chocolate.

37. SAM BORN FOUNDED THE JUST BORN CANDY COMPANY IN 1923.

The exterior of Just Born, Inc.
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

The guy behind the company that makes Mike and Ikes and Hot Tamales originally made his fortune by inventing the Born Sucker Machine—a device that would insert sticks into lollipops.

38. IT USED TO TAKE 27 HOURS TO MAKE ONE PEEP.

A tray of pumpkin peeps.
Erin McCarthy

After automation, now it only takes six minutes. That means the Pennsylvania factory can pump out 5.5 million Peeps a day!

39. NORTH DAKOTANS IN SEARCH OF CANDY CIGARETTES BETWEEN 1953 AND 1967 WERE OUT OF LUCK.

A carton of candy cigarettes.
zombieite, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The state banned the candy due to concerns that it would encourage kids to smoke real cigarettes.

40. PEZ HAS FEATURED SOME UNUSUAL FLAVORS THROUGHOUT ITS HISTORY.

A group of green and blue Pez.
Dave Lawler, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

They’ve ranged from the intriguing (cola, pineapple) to the worrisome (chlorophyll, offering a plant-flavored experience). Flavors will also vary depending on region: PEZ enthusiasts in the U.S. can’t get peach.

41. CUSTOMERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM CAN BUY JARS OF TWIX SPREAD.

A Twix bar on a white background.
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It’s a Nutella-like spreadable that contains chocolate, caramel, and crunchy pieces of biscuit.

42. AFTER ITS BAG IS OPENED, CANDY CORN CAN LAST FOR THREE TO SIX MONTHS.

An open bag of candy corn.
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Just make sure to store it at room temperature away from heat and light.

43. EVEN THOUGH TWIZZLERS ARE KNOWN AS A “LICORICE CANDY,” ONLY THE BLACK LICORICE PACKAGES CONTAIN LICORICE EXTRACT.

A pile of black and red Twizzlers.
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The standard strawberry ones are made with corn syrup, enriched wheat flour, and artificial flavoring.

44. IF YOU LOVE SNACKING ON EVERLASTING GOBSTOPPERS, RUNTS, AND LAFFY TAFFY, YOU CAN PARTIALLY THANK ROALD DAHL.

A pile of laffy taffy candies.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, the film based on Roald Dahl's book Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, was the impetus for Quaker Oats, who agreed to help finance the film, to launch a candy line (which later became The Willy Wonka Candy Company) to bring the imaginative candy creations to life.

45. EVERY EIGHT HOURS, MARS’S NEW JERSEY FACTORY PRODUCES 2 BILLION M&MS.

A machine packaging M&M's candies at a Mars factory in France.
PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images

That works out to 4 million M&Ms a minute. That’s almost enough made each day to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, which would need about 2.4 billion M&Ms in order to become a deliciously eccentric Olympic event.

46. THE KIT KAT JINGLE WILL GET STUCK IN YOUR HEAD.

A woman with her hands over her ears, looking annoyed.
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Researchers determined that the Kit Kat jingle—"Gimme a break / Gimme a break / Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar"—is one of the most common earworms.

47. MIKE AND IKE CANDY DEBUTED IN 1940.

A bunch of Mike and Ike candies.
Erin McCarthy

Since then, the candy has been made in almost 40 different flavors, from the original fruit mix (orange, cherry, lemon, and lime) to more unusual ones such as cotton candy and root beer float.

48. SALT WATER TAFFY IS GENERALLY NOT SALTY, WATERY, OR MADE FROM SALTWATER.

A few pieces of salt water taffy.
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So why the name? According to New Jersey legend: In 1883, a storm hit the Atlantic City boardwalk, flooding several candy shops in the process. When a girl went up to a candy counter afterward looking for a treat, the disgruntled proprietor jokingly told her only “saltwater taffy” was left. The name stuck, and today’s salt water taffy still echoes the store owner’s sarcastic comment. These days, you can buy Halloween flavors from some retailers.

49. OTTO SCHNERING INVENTED BOTH THE BABY RUTH AND THE BUTTERFINGER.

A bunch of Butterfinger candy bars in a box.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As owner of the Curtiss Candy Company, Otto "U.S. Candy Bar King" Schnering achieved success with the Baby Ruth candy bar first; he followed it up with Butterfinger, which got its name from a public contest and was another smash hit.

50. HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA—HOME TO THE WORLD HEADQUARTERS OF THE HERSHEY CHOCOLATE COMPANY—WAS NAMED FOLLOWING A FAILED NAMING CONTEST.

A street light shaped like a Hershey Kiss in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
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In 1904, the newly created town hosted a contest to pick its new name, and the winner was "Hersheykoko." The post office (and many locals, including founder Milton Hershey's wife) rejected the name, and they eventually went with the more straightforward "Hershey."

17 Delicious Facts About Peeps

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You know whether you prefer chicks to bunnies, fresh to stale, or plain to chocolate-covered. But there’s a lot you may not know about Peeps, everyone’s favorite (non-chocolate) Easter candy.

1. It used to take 27 hours to make a Peep.

A candy Peep being made
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That was in 1953, when Sam Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company and its line of marshmallow chicks. Back then, each chick was handmade with a pastry tube. Just Born quickly set about automating the process, so that it now takes just six minutes to make a Peep.

2. An average of 5.5 million Peeps are made every day.

Peeps candies being made
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All of them at the Just Born factory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In one year, the company makes enough peeps to circle the earth—twice!

3. Yellow chicks are the original Peep, and still the favorite.

Boxes of yellow chick Peeps
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Yellow bunnies are the second most popular color/shape combination. Pink is the second best-selling color.

4. The recipe has stayed pretty much the same.

Cooking up a batch of Peeps
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The recipe begins with a boiling batch of granulated sugar, liquid sugar, and corn syrup, to which gelatin and vanilla extract are later added. 

5. The equipment has also (mostly) stayed the same.

Peeps candies being made
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Since Just Born turned Peeps-making into an automated process, the chicks have been carefully formed by a top-secret machine known as The Depositor. Created by Sam Born’s son, Bob, The Depositor could manufacture six rows of five Peeps apiece in a fraction of the time it took workers to form them by hand. And that same machine that Bob built has been keeping the Peeps flowing ever since. Until rather recently …

In 2014, the company announced that it was planning to renovate its manufacturing plant, including The Depositor. “It’s a little sad,” vice president of sales and marketing Matthew Pye told Candy Industry Magazine at the time. “Bob Born made it from scratch in 1954 and it allowed us to distribute and grow the brand nationally." 

6. The updated equipment means new Peeps innovations could be coming.

Making Peeps at the Just Born factory
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“The investment in our marshmallow making process will allow for more efficiency, more consistency, improved quality, and additional innovation capabilities,” co-CEO Ross Born told Candy Industry magazine about the new depositor, which will be able to produce a wider variety of Peeps in all sizes. “The [old] Peeps line did one thing and one thing very well—cranking out chicks day in and day out. Five clusters, just in different colors,” Born said.

7. Peeps used to have wings.

They were clipped in 1955, two years after the first marshmallow chicks hatched, to give the candy a sleeker, more “modern” look.

8. The eyes are the final touch.

A close up of a yellow chick Peep
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The final flourish for all of these squishy balls of sweetness is adding the eyes, which are made of carnauba—a non-toxic edible wax (that is also found in some shoe polishes and car waxes, plus many other candies).

9. Peeps may be destructible, but their eyes are not.

Making Peeps at the Just Born factory
Getty Images

In 1999, a pair of scientists at Emory University—dubbed “Peeps Investigators”—decided to test the theory that Peeps are an indestructible food. In addition to a microwave, the pair tested the candy’s vulnerability to tap water, boiling water, acetone, and sulfuric acid (they survived them all). When they upped the ante with some Phenol, the only things that didn’t disappear were the eyes. 

10. They really are everyone's favorite non-chocolate Easter candy.

For more than 20 years now, no other non-chocolate Easter candy has been able to compete with the power of Peeps. With more than 1.5 billion of them consumed each spring, Peeps have topped the list of most popular Easter treats for more than two decades.

11. There are sugar-free Peeps.

Counterintuitive, we know. But in 2007, the first line of sugar-free Peeps hit store shelves.

12. There are also chocolate-covered Peeps.

Chocolate-covered Peeps hit the market in 2010. Today there’s a full line of them for every occasion.

13. Peeps come in a variety of flavors.

Color and shape (i.e. yellow chick) are no longer the only ways to categorize a Peep. They now come in an array of flavors, including fruit punch, sour watermelon, lemon sherbet, blueberry, and pancakes and syrup.

14. Peeps lip balm is a thing.

Yep.

15. On New Year's Eve, a giant Peep is dropped in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


PEEPS®

The drop is done with a traditional chick that flashes different colors at midnight.

16. Believe it or not, Peeps are not Just Born's best-selling brand.

That honor belongs to Mike and Ike. (Sorry, Peepsters.)

17. They're a boon to a creativity.

Blue chick Peeps
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All over the country, Peeps have become the preferred media for a number of highly anticipated annual art contests. (You can check out some of the coolest creations from Westminster, Maryland's PEEPshow here.)

Updated for 2019.

10 Amazing Pieces of Peeps Art

“Edgar Allan Peep” by Christian Twamley / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council
“Edgar Allan Peep” by Christian Twamley / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council

Some people paint, some scrapbook, and others create Game of Thrones-inspired dragon sculptures made of 5000 marshmallow Peeps. Candy art may seem like an unusual form of craftsmanship, but it’s more common than you might expect in the lead-up to Easter, when organizations around the country host Peeps art contests.

The aforementioned dragon, as well as the artworks pictured below, were all submitted to the “PEEPshow” contest—a fundraiser for the Carroll County Arts Council in Westminster, Maryland. According to event organizers, the event became the first exhibition of Peeps art when it debuted 12 years ago.

Keep scrolling to see some of the best Peeps sculptures from recent years (2017-2019), and visit the Art Council’s website to see all of this year's participants. (As of Friday afternoon, a Warhol-inspired artwork of "Marilyn Peeproe" appears to be in the lead.)

A space-themed Peeps display
“First Peeps in Space” by International Delight / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council

A samurai sculpture
"Sugar Samurai" by Tristar Martial Arts / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council

The rabbit from Alice in Wonderland
“I’m Late, I’m Late (for the PEEPshow)” by Vivian Davis / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council

A caterpillar sculpture
“The Very Hungry Caterpeeper” by Lia Finch and M / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council

A sculpture inspired by a painting
“Peep with the Pearl Earring” by Sandy Oxx / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council


“Edgar Allan Peep” by Christian Twamley / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council

A Belle sculpture
“Beauty and the Peep” by Candace Birger, Westminster Cake Studio / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council

Fish sculpture
“The Rainbow Fish” by Jen, Justin, Connor, and Jacob Myers / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council

A Gumby sculpture
“Just Gumby” by Sydney Blacksten / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council

A sculpture of a monster
“Percy the Purple Peeple Eater” by the Koontz Family / Courtesy of the Carroll County Arts Council

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