We’re closing in on October, otherwise known as peak Halloween candy season. It’s a topic we’ve already discussed plenty, from our weekly ongoing Halloween Candy Power Rankings to a discussion of which Halloween candies suck the most. But every year, we look forward to a little autumnal email in our inboxes from Zippia, a job hunting firm that publishes seasonally appropriate data maps on the side. The question: What’s the most popular Halloween candy by state? The answer: Depending on which state you live in, you might not even want to know.
The methodology, as we always want to caution readers, is based not on sales data but on search volume. Zippia first disqualified candies that don’t really fit the bill as Halloween candy, removing things like bubble gum and raisins from consideration. Next, comparing against 50 popular Halloween candies, it tabulated which candies were Googled most disproportionately in each state. The candy with the highest amount of search traffic (relative to other states) means it’s that state’s “favorite Halloween candy.” In the color-coded map above, orange states preferred chocolate candy whereas black states preferred non-chocolate candy. No matter how dubious your data, however, it sure looks good when you slap it on a map.
This map is even more interesting when compared against last year’s iteration, because even more states have come to prefer chocolate since then. In 2020, 25 states favored things like Twix (excellent), Kit Kat (good choice), and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (obviously the GOAT), and now 28 states do.
Illinois, my home state, has made the utterly humiliating flip the other way around, preferring Kit Kats last Halloween but opting for fruity candy Airheads in 2021. Airheads are fantastic, but I consider those much more of a “pool concession stand” candy than a trick-or-treating candy. Am I way off base here?
New Hampshire, meanwhile, has righted its past wrongs. In 2020, residents of the Granite State were searching for “Circus Peanuts” at an unreasonably high volume. (Live free or die, I guess.) This year, they are seeking Milky Way chocolate bars, which any rational person would consider quite an upgrade.
But where New Hampshire saw the light, Oklahoma has sunk down into darkness. Once a state fixated on colorful, fruity candy Runts, Oklahoma has picked up the puffy orange torch and now search for Circus Peanuts (?!) more than any state in the nation. Trick-or-treaters of the panhandle, beware.
And finally, I’d like to applaud North Dakota for understanding the superiority of Whoppers malted milk balls, and Wyoming for going with what just might be the world’s best non-chocolate candy, Swedish Fish. Who are you giving accolades to? And does your state’s favorite surprise, delight, or horrify you?