Not a Peep! Easter a Lens on Candy Debates

March 13, 2024
Written by
Don Vidler
peeps in vidlers

Confronted with candy you don’t like you probably choose simply not to eat it and move on. Not Samantha, though; the Mashable writer is so offended by the sweets she dislikes she sat down and pounded out an 8,300-word article trashing them. You might not want to read it if you have a soft spot for Circus Peanuts; for those in particular Sam harbors "a deep, burning hatred.”

People take their candy seriously, especially the mass-produced, highly processed kinds with a half-life rivaling that of uranium. Googling “candy corn is the worst” yields three times as many results as “Adolf Hitler is the worst”--and don’t even get the Internet candy aficionados started on Smarties.

But here’s the thing: Smarties, which are made 24 hours a day at two candy factories, one in New Jersey, the other in Ontario, trace their beginnings to 1949, while candy corn and Circus Peanuts go back to the 1800s. So, such candies clearly have their share of fans as well as detractors, or they would have gone the way of Altoids Sours, which were discontinued in 2010 after only six years on the market.  

Why do we bring all this up? Because, in case you haven’t noticed, here comes Easter, the second best-selling U.S. candy holiday after Halloween and the calendar home of one of the more polarizing confections of all.

Peep, anyone?

‘A strong emotional response’

At Vidler’s, the original everything store, we carry Peeps, but we also carry a whole lot more in the way of Easter treats—Easter chocolates from Henry’s Candy in Alden, Easter Pez dispensers, jelly beans, Cadbury Crème Eggs, Easter-color candy buttons, springtime Dots—because we realize some people like the sticky little chickees and some people, well—don’t. ”Taste like trash,” one writer spits, while a Guardian headline trumpets, “Sorry, but Peeps are disgusting.”  

And yet the sugar-coated marshmallows not only have been around since the 1950s; they’re still going strong; the company that makes Peeps, Just Born, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, produces enough in one year to circle the earth twice and has added many new flavors and colors to the Peeps lineup, including—no joke—hot tamale.

The polarizing effect of some of our more enduring and iconic candies may come down to science, according to an October 2021 article in Southern Living about the “strong emotional response” people have to food. According to food-flavor specialist Marie Wright, the Southern Living article states, “the way we process smell and store memories and have emotions all happen in the same part of the brain.... That could explain why candy corn can cause a strong emotional response for people, whether they love the stuff or hate it.”

The curse of popularity

Flavor also figures into peoples’ reaction to candy, of course. Consider candy corn. The Southern Living article says:  

“Candy corn is extremely sweet with no flavor to cut down that vanilla-y, marshmallow-y, sugary bite.... Wright noted that many other sweet treats have a hint of acid to offset the sweetness. ‘[T]he acid makes you salivate and makes it more palatable,’ Wright said, adding that ‘the sweet flavor also makes it hard to eat more than a few pieces at a time.’"

Another website explains the backlash against iconic candies as a typical countervailing reaction to popular things. Ever notice how so many initially well-received and critically acclaimed movies eventually start getting nitpick-y negative reviews? “There comes a point in the pursuit of popularity that you can actually tip the scales back the other way. In other words, a person or a product can become so popular that it's no longer considered to be "hip" to speak of that person or product in a positive manner.”

So it is that all over the Internet you see headlines like this:

“7 Sticky Truths about Peeps, the Easter Candy You Love to Hate.”

There’s just one problem with this kind of arch hipness: The Easter bunny’s old-fashioned. So are we here at Vidler’s.  

No worries, though. We’ve got you covered no matter what kind of candy you like—or what kind you like to put in loved ones’ Easter baskets.

Easter candy and goodies of all types

Like Vidler’s itself, our Easter selection has something for everyone. Besides an assortment of candy, we have

  • plastic eggs;
  • Easter-theme books, stickers, and coloring books;
  • grass for baskets;
  • window clings;
  • cocktail and table napkins;  
  • plates and serving trays;
  • egg dishes;  
  • cake pans;  
  • candy molds;
  • sprinkles for baking; and  
  • cupcake kits in Easter shapes and/or colors.
bunny easter cutouts
pez candy dispenser
chocolate bunny

Oh, yeah—we also have, for your home decor, small rabbit, chick, butterfly, and lamb figures. And, of course, a full line of Pysanky egg-decorating tools, dyes, wax, and kits, as well as authentic Pysanky decorated eggs made by our Vidler-ette, Janine, who’s truly a master of the Pysanky art.

easter books and other things
 Pysanky egg

So come visit us here at Vidler’s as you prepare for Easter. We promise not to say a word about what kind of candy you buy—not a Peep.

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