Trick or treat? Hershey warns of looming Halloween candy shortage this fall

·3 min read

“Smell my feet” isn’t even supposed to be a real option when you’re going door to door bleating Halloween’s classic gimme-some-candy come-on. But that — or maybe a haul of healthy alternatives — might just be the best trick-or-treat prize some houses have to offer this year, if candymaker Hershey’s warning of an imminent Halloween candy supply crunch turns out to prove correct.

In what sounds like the most dystopian, pre-apocalyptic candy news our 8 year-old brains can envision, the giant-sized purveyor of all things sweet and chocolatey has advised Halloween preppers to steady themselves for what could be a seriously salty scare. This year, the company cautions, there may not be enough sweet stuff to go around when the jack-o-lanterns come out.

Fraught with panic, we did a quick online check, and Hershey makes a ton of stuff that kids (and, let’s face it, adults) want in their plastic pumpkin buckets — like, way more than you might realize. Sure, there’s the classic Hershey’s Kisses right alongside the ol’ reliable slate of milk and dark chocolate bars. But there’s also Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. York Peppermint Patties. Whoppers. Payday. Kit Kat. Jolly Ranchers. Good & Plenty. Even friggin’ Milk Duds could be on the Hershey short-supply list this year, which already has us freaking out about having to sit through Halloween Ends (releasing Oct. 14) at the theater with only popcorn to potentially calm our severed nerves.

Are we seriously gonna have to handle the Oct. 5 approach of Chucky's second season with no candy to console us? No Zagnuts? No Heath bars? No Twizzlers, no Special Dark, no Zero, no 5th Avenue, no full-sized Almond Joy? (Hey, some of us made it a point in our childhoods to know which neighborhoods had a reputation for handing out the good stuff.)

It’s a distinct possibility, according to Hershey CEO Michele Buck, who told Reuters that ongoing post-COVID supply chain disruptions, coupled with the global strain of war between Russia and Ukraine, have had a one-two punch effect on both lining up suppliers and sourcing raw ingredients (like industrial-scale quantities of cocoa and edible oils).

In the same report, and in spite of the potentially grave news, Hershey says it expects to continue meeting regular demand for its candy outside of the Halloween rush — though the company warns that holiday-specific shortages could extend all the way through fall and into the Christmas season. On the other hand, though, Hershey reportedly still anticipates 2022 candy sales to top those from last year, which suspiciously hints that maybe we candy lovers are eating more of the stuff than ever before.

None of that will matter, though, if we — oops, of course we mean “the kids” — don costumes and hit up the neighborhood this year, only to come up empty. If the prospect of having no candy really does come true and lasts through Christmas, this might be the year we finally suit up as the Grinch for Halloween…and then remain in grouchy character, all the way ’till January.