It’s the candy-craziest time of year. At Halloween, Americans alone consume nearly 600 million pounds of candy—that’s the equivalent of about 158 trillion candy corns. For a closer look at how some of your favourite confections are made, check out these fun candy tours. You’ll leave smarter and, yes, with pocketfuls of free samples.
Where: Hershey, Penn. (about three hours southwest of New York City)
What: Attractions include an interactive “4-D” movie with more than 100 outcomes, a chocolate tasting tour, a character breakfast, a trolley tour and a free automated ride that takes guests through the chocolate-making process.
Price: Some attractions are free, the rest range from US$6.95 to US$14.95.
Highlight: The “Create Your Own Candy Bar” experience where guests don an apron, choose three ingredients, design a wrapper and then watch their bar being made.
Output: Hershey’s makes more than 60 million Hershey’s Kisses every day.
Sweet Fact: Three million people visit Chocolate World each year. The White House receives about a third that number of visitors.
Where: Fairfield, Calif. (about an hour northeast of San Francisco)
What: A 40-minute walking tour that starts with the history of the company and the making of the Jelly Belly bean’s centre, continues to the bean’s sugar bath and ends with the printing roller that inscribes the Jelly Belly name on each concoction.
Highlights: A portrait of Ronald Reagan—who sent the bean out into space in 1983—made from 10,000 Jelly Belly beans, and the drying room where tens of thousands of Jelly Belly beans are stacked in white containers.
Output: 1,680 Jelly Belly beans per second.
Sweet Fact: The original eight flavours of Jelly Belly beans, which debuted in 1976, include cream soda, grape, green apple, lemon, licorice, root beer, tangerine and very cherry.
Where: Orange, Conn. (about 1.5 hours northeast of New York City)
What: The Visitor Center is home to the largest collection of PEZ memorabilia on public display (nearly 4,000 items), a PEZ trivia game, an interactive historical timeline and a view into the production area where the PEZ candy rolls and dispensers are packaged.
Price: Children, US$4; Adults, US$5.
Highlights: A 14-foot-tall PEZ dispenser, memorabilia from the 1930s and the rare crazy fruit pineapple dispenser.
Output: Around 12 million PEZ tablets made every day (Monday to Friday).
Sweet Fact: PEZ was originally marketed to adults as an alternative to smoking. Perhaps that’s why Popeye (with his signature pipe) was the first licensed character to appear as a dispenser.