By Melanie Fincher
October 14, 2019

We asked the candy experts at BRACH'S, and here's what they said.

Forget politics, when Halloween rolls around each year, candy corn is the most hotly-debated topic of them all. You either love 'em or you hate 'em.

But what about candy corn's lesser known cousin, the mellowcreme pumpkin? To the eye, the two appear to be similar. Other than their shape, is there any difference between the two? And what is "mellowcreme" anyways?

We asked the candy experts at BRACH'S (owned by Ferrera, which produces 95 percent of all candy corn sold in the U.S. annually) for the facts on the most loved and hated Halloween candies. Here's what they said:

candy corn and mellowcreme pumpkins
Photo by Getty Images

What's the difference between mellowcreme pumpkins and candy corn?

For starters, let's look at the ingredient lists provided by BRACH'S. Both candies are made with the same ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, salt, confectioner's glaze (otherwise known as shellac, which helps to seal everything together), sesame oil, honey, dextrose, gelatin, and artificial flavors and food colorings. The term "mellowcreme" is actually a trademarked term owned by the company that owns BRACH'S, but it just refers to all moldable candies made using this formula — candy corn included.

BRACH'S Mellowcreme Pumpkins and Candy Corn
Photo by BRACH'S

So while the formula of the two Halloween candies are nearly identical (there are some small differences in the amounts of ingredients), the real difference comes from the molding process. According to BRACH'S, "candy corn and mellowcremes are made using a depositing system for each color layer."

For candy corn, a mold is created and the white layer is added first, then the orange, and then the yellow. For the pumpkins, a pumpkin-shaped mold with ridges is used and just two colors are added—green and orange. The same goes for the lesser known Harvest Corn, which includes a brown layer and cocoa powder, giving it a chocolatey taste.

So before we get up in arms about our favorite Halloween candies, just remember, there's very little difference between them. Some may prefer mellowcreme pumpkins because of their shape and size, which gives you more of that soft interior. But others will still reach for a handful of candy corn because of their smaller size, giving you more of that hard outer shell in each bite.

Both candies give you some version of that waxy exterior (thank you, shellac) and that soft, chewy interior. No matter how you feel about the sugary chew and shapeshifting abilities of these classic Halloween candies, their seasonal pervasiveness is to be admired by all.

More Ways to Use Candy Corn

"A delightful recipe only for those with an incurable sweet tooth," says recipe creator Julie G. "Candy corn mixed with chocolate sandwich cookies and pretzels will please your whole Halloween crowd."

"We made these for our son's school carnival and they were a sensational hit," says reviewer CarolinaCook.

"These were delicious! I was surprised by how yummy the candy corn was mixed in," says reviewer Riddlelr. "We used mini M&M's instead of chocolate chips. Adults and kids all loved!"

Crispy Rice Candy Corn Treats
Photo by Jaana Smith Bauman