Collection of popular candy: Reese's peanut butter cup, jolly ranchers, milk duds, etc.
Activity Spreadsheet activities

Can you predict the most popular Halloween candy?

COVID-19 pandemic caused a dip in candy sales in 2020, but 2020 Halloween participation is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween spending survey, candy spending could reach an all-time high of around 3.1 billion, with a record $10.6 billion expected to be spent on all things Halloween. has been delivering and distributing bulk orders of candy across the country since 2007. Last year, eighteen different candies received the top vote across the country. The “best” candy title varies from state to state; different states had different top choices. In order for to prepare for the high candy demand at Halloween, sales representatives have been asked to predict the most popular candy types in each state. As a sales representative, your job is to predict and then track which candy is the most popular in your area. 

Predict activity (first activity)

Create a spreadsheet with YOUR Predicted Top Ten candies listed in order. If a hundred candies are sold, predict how many of each type of candy type is needed. (Example: Out of 100 candies sold, your prediction is that 10 packages of Skittles will be sold.)

Your spreadsheet should list your Predicted Top Ten Candies, including a column with the Predicted number of each candy. Be sure to use the Summation feature to add the sum of the candies in the column. (Hint: The sum should equal 100!)

Option: Conduct an actual survey of your classmates. Ask the students to list their first, second and third choices of candy types. Create your Predicted Top Ten Candies Spreadsheet. Send home a second survey for students to complete after trick-or-treating.

You can create your own ten “best” candies or choose from the top ten national list and/or the additional top candy choices. Remember that top ten candies may vary from state-to-state, so choose carefully for your state!

Here is the list in alphabetical order of the top ten “best” candies national wide:

Hear is an alphabetical-order list of the additional top three candy choices by state (that did not make the nation-wide top ten list):

Actual number of predicted candies (activity #2)

After Trick-or-Treating, divide your candy by type and count each type. Ask to count your friend, sibling or a classmate’s candy, until you have a total of 100 pieces of candy. Add a second column to your original spreadsheet and label it “Actual Candy”. Add additional candy types if needed.

Option After Trick-or-Treating Class Survey: Ask the students in your class to divide their candy by type and count the number of candies in each of the top three types. Use this data for the Actual Candy column in the spreadsheet.


Ask students to draw conclusions from the data. Prepare a written statement for explaining your conclusions and your recommendations for next year’s candy needs for your area.

Fun facts

After your student completes the activities, share these fun facts! Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups is the overall top selling candy across the U.S; however, it didn’t win the most states! “Best” Candy title belongs to M&Ms and Sour Patch Kids; each of these candies were the most popular choice in seven states.

Bonus Question: Ask your students how Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups could be the overall top selling when it did not win the most states?

Top ten “best” candies (nationally)

  1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  2. M&Ms
  3. Snickers
  4. Skittles
  5. Sour Patch Kids
  6. Hershey Bar
  7. Hot Tamales
  8. Kit Kat
  9. Twix
  10. Butterfinger

Top ten “worst” candies (nationally)

  1. Circus Peanuts
  2. Candy Corn
  3. Peanut Butter Kisses
  4. Necco Wafters
  5. Was Cola Bottles
  6. Smarties
  7. Mary Janes
  8. Tootsie Rolls
  9. Licorice
  10. Good & Plenty

Updated candy data for 2023

Want to use the updated best and worse candy list for 2023? provides the top three best and worst candies in each state, the ten most popular Halloween candy nationwide and the candy trends of 2023.

15 years sales data (2007-2022) by

  1. Reese’s Cups
  2. M&Ms
  3. Hot Tameles
  4. Skittles
  5. Sour Patchkids
  6. Starburst
  7. Hershey Kisses
  8. Candy Corn
  9. Hershey Minibars
  10. Snickers

Updated Halloween Top Costumes 2023

The National Retail Federation (NRF) provides data Halloween, including spending habits, Halloween trends over the years, and 2023 top costumes. Continue your data analysis activities using these motivated numbers!

Halloween 2023 Top Costumes has three types of customer: Children, Pets and Adults.

Top children’s costumes (nationally) are:

  1. Spiderman
  2. Princess
  3. Ghost
  4. Superhero
  5. Witch
  6. Batman
  7. Barbie
  8. Zombie
  9. Mario
  10. Wednesday Addams

How does your classroom costumes compare to the national top costumes? Students can use all three costume categories to create a table. Use the percentages to create a pie chart. Use the Costume Spending by Category data to create a bar chart. How will you use the Halloween data? The possibilities are endless!


Navigating Google Sheets with JAWS Lesson: Arctic Animals

Updated October 2023; originally posted October 25, 2022.

by Diane Brauner

Back to Paths to Technology’s Home page

Lamp shining on a stack of textbooks.

Why I study assistive technology

Outline image of a cell phone with a text speech bubble.

Texting and low vision

Hands holding a tablet displaying a science app, vector image

App accessibility checklist for low vision