Need I even mention the name of this month’s major holiday? Not hardly when 70% of Americans are expected to spend an estimated $12 billion this year on Halloween costumes, decorations and candy—big business for the U.S. economy. Yet this spooky-fun event had its beginnings 2,000 years ago when the Celtic New Year was celebrated at summer’s end with bonfires and people wore costumes to ward off evil spirits.
M&M’s are one of the most popular candy treats given out for Halloween. The sugar-coated goodies even have their own special recognition—October 13 is National M&M Day. Introduced in 1941, M&M’s are currently sold in over 100 countries worldwide. The original colors were red, brown and yellow with the logo lettering in black that was changed to white in 1954.
Over the years, colors have come and gone and returned again by popular demand such as orange, which debuted in 1997, was discontinued in 2006 and returned in 2010. A special blue M&M was introduced to promote “The Blues Brothers” in 1979 and was only available for a short time. Considered to be a rare M&M, one recently sold at auction for $600. Today there are a total of 25 colors and 61 different flavors that range from the original “plain” chocolate, peanut, caramel and mint to flavors commemorating many holidays and tastes such as Mexican Jalapeño Peanut M&M’s.
Some of the M&M colors have been animated and outfitted. Red is portrayed as the life of the party, always up for a fun time. Wonder if that is why red M&M’s are the most popular color. Yellow is considered the happy one who smiles and laughs. Typical of blue, this color’s character is calm and collected. And green is the fiercely independent one, the one that likes the outdoors. If you’re in a quandary about a costume for Halloween this year, consider being one of the M&M’s.
M&M’s offer plenty of trivia for those so inclined—they’re the most popular chocolate candy in NASA’s space program, became the official chocolate of NASCAR in 2006 and Google employees have unlimited access to M&M’s. The famous slogan, “The milk chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in your hand” and the M&M’s brand characters were trademarked in 1954. The voice of Ms. Brown is Vanessa Williams and the character first appeared at the Super Bowl in 2012. It’s reported that more than 400 million M&M’s are produced each day which means there should be plenty of colors and flavors for the trick or treaters to enjoy this Halloween.
Published by Orange County Register, October 12, 2023