You’ve just spent the evening knocking on every neighborhood door within sight, watching your pillowcase or plastic jack o’ lantern gradually fill with tasty confections. Returning home, you eagerly dump out the rewards of your labor and scan to see what you’ve collected. And, much like every other kid who has ever performed this ritual, you are likely to come across a few rolls of little tablet-shaped candies wrapped in clear plastic. Both sweet and tangy, with a distinct powdery consistency, Smarties have been a staple of Halloween for over six decades.
We owe our thanks to a man named Eddie Dee, an English immigrant who landed in New Jersey in 1949 and pursued his dream of going into the confection business. Within 10 years, he had founded Ce De Candy Inc., and started pumping out rolls of small candy wafers he called Smarties. Similar in size to a common aspirin, these pastel-colored tablets were inexpensive, making them a perfect treat to hand out at parties, school functions, or on that popular last evening of October.
A typical roll of Smarties (which are known as Rockets in Canada) consists of approximately 15 tablets in an assortment of flavors that can be a little deceiving at first glance. Orange, grape and cherry are colored as you might expect (orange, purple and pink), but yellow isn’t lemon; it’s pineapple. Green isn’t lime; it’s strawberry. And white? Those are orange cream-flavored. Of course, since it is rare for a kid to only eat one Smarties candy at a time, the flavor subtleties are somewhat lost, melded into a powdery explosion of tart sugary goodness.
As of 2011, the company is now called Smarties Candy Company and they produce billions of candy wafers each year. Besides the traditionally-sized candy, they also produce a larger version known as Mega Smarties, which have the same great flavor but are about the size of a quarter. Occasionally, you will also see a version known as Candy Money, with each tablet sporting a monetary denomination (perfect for a childhood game of poker). All Smarties products are now produced in a pair of factories, one that’s still in New Jersey and the other in Ontario, Canada. Some connoisseurs insist that the Canadian variety has a stronger flavor than the American variety, but the only way to be sure of which ones you are eating is by examining the cellophane wrapper.
Regardless, Smarties have remained a treasured part of the trick or treat experience for over sixty years – putting smiles on kid’s faces for their tart flavor, and smiles on parents faces for their low-cost, perfect for a night of giving out candy to dozens of young beggars.
If you were pleased to see a few rolls of Smarties candy roaming around the bottom of your pillowcase on Halloween, we welcome all of your thoughts in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this Halloween staple that can be enjoyed anytime of year.