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  • Writer's pictureTim

HOW MUCH HUMAN? Theoretical weight gained from: HALLOWEEN CANDY, 2020

Although this is only the second time I’m posting this new genre of mine (I'm also considering the column title "In the Flesh"—thoughts?), it’s already become my favorite to research and write. Follow me on this short and stout journey over hundreds of millions of calories, yet minimal distance, in this super-scary Halloween misadventure.

A 3-d rendering of a child with a classic trick-or-treat pumpkin.
Ellen's body has changed since she was a child, but her eyes stayed the same.

First let me say that I love Halloween. For such a simple ceremony, it really is quite magical through the eyes of the child who doesn't understand economics, world issues, and environmental disasters yet. It gave me some of my best memories of my kidhood*. But if my numbers are as accurate as I know they are, I urge all of us to find a new way to celebrate our beloved consumer holiday. According to my obsessive spreadsheet that I've reformulated 3 times to check results, Milk Duds alone could be responsible for 5,402.25 pounds gained by Halloweeners in 2019. That's not a typo. That's 5,402.25 pounds of human flesh.

The average kid's Halloween pillowcase (or whatever "tomorrow's trash" we're throwing billions of dollars at every year to use one time) totals 3,500 to 7,000 calories, estimates Donna Arnett, head of the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health.

Violet of the reality show "Willy Wonka's Child Factory" busting her belt while converting into an adult blueberry.
A trick-or-treater

So what's the bigger picture?

The Roadmap

The $

Without flinching or trying to stop and reflect on the horror of their own ways, the National Retail Federation puts in their seasonal shopping trends report that Americans are building a cash pyre of $8.5 billion. How exactly?

  • Costumes: $3.2 billion

  • Decorations: $2.7 billion

  • Candy: $2.6 billion

Although the NCA (National Confectioners Association) says candy spending is $4.6 ) which makes the fact that they’re proud of that even more disgusting when you compare it to the low end of world hunger solutions starting at $7billion per year. Is it two point six or four point six? Two billion is a large margin. They should really invest in a calculator and tighten those numbers up a bit. But anyways, ew— $8.5 billion.

Update: make that $8.5 billion plus the 13% increase noted by the NCA up until September 6.

The Net Weight

Although the first mention of this statistic I've found was in an article from 2012 (which means it's definitely higher now), it's the only statistic like it out there, so I used it. That $2-4.6 billion sacrificed to the candy gods returns in the form of 600,000,000 pounds of candy. That's another "not a typo."

The Percentages

In 2019, Monmouth University Polling Institute polled the people (probably their kids) and declared that the most popular costumed-child chum lined up something like this:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups 36%

Snickers 18%

M&M’s at 11%.

Hershey bars 11%

Candy corn (6%)

Skittles (5%)

Starburst (4%)

Tootsie Pops (2%)

But according to via The Daily Mail, the sales numbers paint a different but equally horrifying picture. Like a modern day Hieronymus Bosch, but it's an actual portrait of society and not a bunch of indemonstrable guesswork.

Hieronymous Bosch's "The Harrowing of Hell" showing suffering souls in the hot tub of hell. Some are dressed in the most popular costumes of 2020, despite being painted in 1504.
Few people know that Hieronymus Bosch was better known as a psychic than a painter in his time. Here we see his most famous prediction, "The Harrowing of Hell," of which the original title was "The Harrowing of Halloween." Look closely for the uncanny cues he divined while detailing their costumes.


*statistics from via, 2019

The Logic

What did I do with this info? Too much. I'll just show you the formula I used and then ask you to find the nearest fainting couch while you read the results.

16 oz ÷ Candy A Serving Size oz = Servings per pound

Servings per pound X Calories per serving = Calories per lb

I didn't mess it up yet, right?

Calories per lb X lbs of Candy Sold = Calories Sold

Calories Sold ÷ 3,500 calories* = Theoretical Human Weight

*1 lb human fat = 3,500 calories

Milk Duds 9,732 lbs Sold 170 calories 1.4 oz serving size

16 ÷ 1.4 = 11.42857143 (servings per lb)

X 170 = 1,942.857143 (calories per lb)

X 9,732 = 18,907,885.71 (calories sold)

÷ 3,500 = 5,402.253061 lbs

5,402 lbs Theoretical Human Weight


Another way ...

lbs of Candy Sold at Halloween X 16 oz per lb = HallowouncesTM

Hallowounces ÷ oz per servings = Servings Sold

Servings Sold X Calories per Serving = Calories Sold

Calories Sold ÷ 3,500 calories* = Theoretical Human Weight

Milk Duds 9,732 lbs Sold 170 calories 1.4 oz serving size

9,732 x 16 = 155,712.00 (Hallowounces)

X 1.4 = 111,222.86 (servings sold)

X 170 = 18,907,885.71 (calories sold)

÷ 3,500 = 5,402.253061 lbs

5,402 lbs Theoretical Human Weight


It's a match! Now to wait for the peer review...

While we're waiting, here's the entire list.

*statistics from via, 2019

The total amount of candy sold, however, is 600,000,000 pounds, of which these are a mere 5.5541373333333%. If these are the top sellers and they only amount to 33,324,824, what t.f. makes up the other 566,675,176 pounds? And what do we do with this information once we find it?

Tuck it into your trivia trove because the numbers are only going to grow, and if you try to do anything rational—like pass out nature's candyyour house will get TP'd, if that's still a thing. But it is kinda neat to know the numbers—neat and horrifying.


*New word, I claimed it.


 Pinchido's anti-aesthetic food blog named after its accidental url!  

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