The pandemic has apparently left Americans seeking comfort in chocolate because Halloween candy sales have spiked this year. Sales of seasonal chocolate and candy in the month ending Sept. 6 were up 13% compared to last year, when sales totalled $4.6 billion, while sales of Halloween chocolate specifically were up 25%, according to the National Confectioners Association. The CDC considers traditional trick-or-treating to be a high-risk activity this year, "but that doesn’t mean we can't celebrate in a new and creative way," NCA President and CEO John Downs tells Food Business News. "When asked, parents overwhelmingly said their favorite way to enjoy Halloween treats is with their families."
Back in August, Hershey exec Phil Stanley told CNN that the company was limiting its Halloween packaging in an effort to focus on treats not intended to be passed out. He noted more than 55% of Halloween candy is bought for personal or office consumption. Timothy LeBel, president of sales for Mars Wrigley, tells Food Business News that the company is planning "for a few different scenarios," including a "virtual trick-or-treat experience." But Brittany Dutra, a mother in Nevada, tells NPR that she's still planning to give out candy—in clear plastic bags placed at least six feet apart on her porch, in line with CDC recommendations. "Safely celebrating Halloween will make something this year feel right and in our control," she says. "I think we're all just looking for some type of normal." (Read more Halloween stories.)