A staggering 90 million pounds of chocolate candy is sold during Halloween week in the U.S. every year, and concerned dentists have taken note. Many have paid up to a $1 a pound to buy candy from young trick-or-treaters as part of a nationwide Halloween buyback program aimed at getting cavity-inducing sweets “off the streets.” According to dentists, business is booming.
Chris Kammer, a dentist in Wisconsin who founded the official Halloween Candy Buyback program in 2005, told NPR the thought of kids collecting heaps of candy made him “shudder.” “This could be the [dentistry profession's] national response to Halloween," Kammer said. This year, more than 2,500 dentists and orthodontists said they would participate in the program.
Kammer said the candy won’t just end up in the trash. It will be sent overseas to U.S. troops as part of Operation Gratitude, which ships care packages that include, among other things, grooming products, games and DVDs, to soldiers stationed abroad.
The success of Kammer’s candy buyback program doesn't mean that America’s sweet tooth has been satisfied. Candy sales have continued to rise by 1 to 3 percent every year, and 2014 is no exception, candy makers have said. More than 10 percent of annual candy purchases in the U.S. are made in the days leading up to Halloween. Halloween candy sales account for an estimated $2.5 billion. "Snack-sized versions of the candies that are popular year-round are the most popular at Halloween," Susan Whiteside, vice president of communications at the National Confectioner's Association, told LiveScience in 2011. "The focus is typically on small, individually wrapped single-serve packages of chocolate and non-chocolate candies."
Not all Halloween candy is made equal, however. Each U.S. state has its favorite type of treat, according to online marketplace SumoCoupon. Kit Kats are the preferred candy of choice for people in Illinois, Nevada and Wyoming. New Yorkers prefer Blow Pops; Texas, Atomic Fireballs; Candy Corn is the most popular in Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia, and Alaska likes its Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.