ELDER MUSIC: Lead Guitarists
What Normal Aging is Like – Part 1 of 2

Old Time Halloween Candies

At about this time in October when I was a kid, I was getting excited about Halloween. We usually made our costumes and although I don't remember what the sticking points were in the annual argument, I was negotiating with mom and dad about trick or treating.

According to the National Confectioners' Association, 72 percent of all candy spending on Halloween this year will be on chocolate. (More candy stats here.)

That sure wasn't true in my childhood Halloweens. Chocolate was rare but there were a lot of other kinds of fun candies – what we (and, undoubtedly, you) called penny candy.

I spent a little time online looking for some of those old kinds of candy. I found fewer than I thought I would but here are a few reminders. Remember these? I think they're still around.

Tootsie Rolls, Smarties, Necco Wafers

Kits and Mary Janes, if I recall correctly, were both chewie candies but Mary Janes were all one flavor while Kits had several flavors.

Kits and Mary Janes

I suppose candy cigarettes are politically incorrect now but I occasionally see candy on paper.

Candy on paper and Candy cigarettes

Here are a couple of really old fashioned treats – wax mustaches and lips. If I recall correctly, they weren't edible (I could be wrong) but we liked when I was young.

Wax mustache and lips

Those few images don't begin to cover all the different sorts of candy I recall from my childhood. What kind do you remember? What were your favorites?

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Joyce Benedict: Dreams Do Come True


Amazing how commercialized Halloween has become! Only at Christmas is more money spent according to this morning's "news". (This is news?) And has anyone else noticed that it's mostly adults who really groove on this "holiday.?" Or whatever it's called. I'm convinced more each day that the world is mad! Dee

I only knew about Halloween when I was grown up and saw it in a movie.

Sweets were in very short supply and I was about 12 before I saw chocolate. Rationing was still in force when I was a child and I don't think many of the "sweets" that were available then are now....Spanish wood, sherbet dabs, liquorice bootlaces. We used to make our own concoction with cocoa and sugar, though both were in very short supply.

Spanish children knew nothing about Halloween either until 8 or 9 years ago - it is a foreign import but has really caught on.

Does anyone remember blackballs?

Fifties candies.

My favorite back then. Three for one cent at the corner store.

Blackballs were licorice on the top layer, then different colors as they melted in your mouth down to an anise seed.

Our mouths turned black after eating a slew of them, but we didn't care. We weren't thinking of our teeth.

We were thinking of the taste.

I don't know who manufactured these candies, or if they are even around today.

Sometimes when we travel, I look for them in candy stores.


"Mary Jane" and red wax lips.
What a great way to start a Monday. Thank you for jogging my memory.

Halloween gave my brothers and I a stash of penny candy to sneak into school in our pockets, hoping the nuns wouldn't notice us in our huge classes of 45-50 kids!

My nephew used to dress up like a priest and make us kneel so he could give us "Communion" with Necco wafers, but NOT the licorice ones.

One Halloween I had chicken pox and had to stay home, feeling very sorry for myself!

I loved Halloween. We made our costumes and just bought a mask. In those days, in the small Western Nebraska town where I grew up, people put out apples and popcorn balls and even homemade cookies. That was when trust in your neighbors was not misplaced.
I remember some sort of licorice drops covered in a hard candy coating, those were good. We had Milky Way and Snickers bars too. Late 40's, early 50's. Fun times. Now I dress up and go with my grandkids. It is still fun.

Any body else remember Walnettos caramels? Also, my mother used to buy suckers at Fanny Farmers in licorice and butterscotch flavors...A favorite treat!

I remember looking forward to getting gum of any kind. Always loved gum. Cinnamon Chiclets were a big favorite of mine. Also Red Hots (little red cinnamon candies). I hadn't thought about the wax lips in years. Had a lot of fun with those, and yes, often chewed them like gum. And homemade popcorn balls and caramel apples, which are no-nos today.

This is still a lot of love out there for old-fashioned, old-timey candy. [Googling "old fashioned candy" or "nostalgia candy" should do it.]

I loved the little wax bottles full of sweet, colored liquid. We'd bite off the "caps," drink the liquid, and chew the bottles.

Great remembering it all. My own experience growing up in Los Angeles was very much like Lola's. I think it was more the times than the location.

There was a sweet old woman on our block who couldn't answer the door every few minutes so she put a tray of mixed penny candies on a table by her front door. I don't recall anyone taking more than a couple of pieces.

I loved those Blackball jawbreakers. Doctafil, you might try nantoncandy.com in Nanton, Alberta. They seem to have everything.

I remember chewing the red wax lips after we got tired of playing with them. Occasionally we got candy bars which were huge compared to what is sold today.

Oops! Doctafill sorry about dropping the last "l"...damn auto correct.

I loved Milk Duds and know they were popular in the 40's if not before. Candy corn was popular at Halloween time as the colors were orange and yellow.

We always went trick or treating and costumes were usually sheets. There were a lot of ghosts out on Halloween night. ;-)

Five cents at J.J. Newberry would purchase a tiny white bag of chocolate stars, such a treat!

Born in Detroit, MI in 1946. On Halloween we went "begging" (vs. trick or treating) and mostly dressed up as hobos or ghosts or gypsies. We yelled something like, "Help the poor, my pants are tore, give me some money and I'll buy some more." Sometime in the 60's there was a campaign (put on by who?) to make the official greeting "Trick or treat". The begging came from the original European association of the day with the religious All Hallow's Eve when poor people were given food in the evening.

One of my fave candies: little wax bottles full of colored sugar syrup.

Oh penny candy! My friend Tommy and I used to go around the neighbourhood collecting empty (glass) pop bottles, which we returned to the corner store for 1 cent each, then spent our haul on penny candy. Those blackballs with the anise seed, yum! Candy cigarettes, flat sheets of striped pink, white and yellow toffee, jawbreakers. We chewed the wax lips when we tired of playing with them, a flat sheet bubble gum with a card (movie star or sports figure) was a good choice, though the gum was chalky, those little wax bottles with syrup inside - we chewed the bottle too.

On Halloween we got home-made treats usually, bags of popcorn and popcorn balls, cookies, home-made fudge, bags of peanuts, candied or caramel apples. Once in a while gum or a piece of penny candy.

It was safer in the 40s, no one poisoned kids or put needles or razors in the apples then. More innocent times. I feel sorry for the kids today.

It used to be that when a kid came to our door, we likely knew who s/he was. In those days, I liked to give out still-warm-from-the-oven raisin/oatmeal/nut cookies. If, by chance, I did not recognize a child, I gave him/her a cooled, pre-wrapped cooky with our address label affixed.
We had parties on hallowween WIWAK, rather than going trick or treating.

This is like a fun trip down memory lane! And I never knew where the holiday originated, which was very interesting. A religious neighbor has never let her children participate as she said it relates to something sinister!?? I didn't ask; choose to be ignorant as I enjoy the kids so much.
I think I'll give to those on the streets, not going door to door, as well as the kids. These days, I give cheetos and nuts, all in 'handfull' amounts (from Amazon). After the initial surprise, everyone (seems to) like them.
I also made my own costumes, loved the lips & wax bottles, along with homemade treats from neighbors.

Like you, and so many of the readers here, I love Halloween and fondly associate the holiday with childhood memories of candy. (Personally, that's
anything from Reese's.) But as I wrote several years ago in an Elder story:
I bet I'm still the only kid who got a really different kind of goodie in his treat bag!

I get a mail order catalog from Vermont Country Store that has many of the otherwise unavailable 'old fashioned' candy items, especially at this time of year.

Does anyone remember the black and orange striped rectangular "suckers" (i.e., on a stick)that you could pull like toffee? Also loved the wax milk bottles.

We used to call out "Halloween Apples" in a sing-songy kind of way and you could hear other kids doing the same all down the block. Wonderful memories!

Gosh, you could get s whole bag of candy for a nickel. Remember? It lasted thru the Saturday matinee (double feature), cartoons and previews.

And here's a confession that may land me in jail, so don't tell. We were living in Denver where silver dollars were common. My big sister put me up to passing a lead dollar. Where she got it I have no idea. Anyway it worked. I put it down on the counter very carefully so it wouldn't clunk and got a jawbreaker and a couple of Tootsie Rolls.

My sister took one of the Tootsie Rolls and all of the change - that bad girl!

I'm still upset about it.

My Mom always bought a bushel of apples to give out and I also remember some Unicef (?) money collection and we gave them pennies. Hobos, farmers, ghosts were usual with older kids sheparding younger sibs, often ending up at a big party at the firehall.

Remember the rootbeer barrels?

Long about Hallowe'en 2003, I asked one over-made-up skimpily clad young teen girl what she was dressed as. She replied "An ignorant teenage slut!"

Well, shut my mouff! How the times have changed; I have given up Mary Anne for Mary Jane, but I still walk around holding a bag. ;-)

Loved this "look back" and remembering the junk we ate until we were sick....and then no sympathy from Mom! And I loved finally finding a comment on this post about CANDY CIGARETTES! Those were such a hit!

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