Shouldn’t “fun sized” candy bars be really big and the ones given out on Halloween you eat in one bite be named something less rosy?
It’s a question just about every kid in the past 50 years has asked themselves on Oct. 31. But just when did these bite-sized Butterfingers and snack-sized Snickers become the norm?
Well, it seems the first shrunken versions of popular candy bars can be credited to the former Chicago-based Curtiss Candy Company. Now part of Nestlé thanks to a series of mergers and acquisitions, the company produced a “Buddie” size Baby Ruth bar in the early 1930s. “Junior” sized versions of their Baby Ruth and Butterfingers candy bars came along in the 1950s.
Hershey also got in on the game early when it began selling its sleek “Miniatures” candy bars in 1939.
Small candy bars had been well established by the time candy manufacturer Mars came along and started distributing miniature confections of its own in 1961.
Mars candy company specifically targeted Halloween candy consumers with their products and opted for the phrase “fun sized” in 1968. The first official “fun sized” candy bars called as such were Snickers and Milky Way. Sales were a smashing success, so competitors followed suit, releasing their own “fun sized” versions of candy bars.
Of course, Mars didn’t like this much and after registering a trademark for the term “fun size,” sued competitor Curtiss over the use of the term.
In the case Mars. Inc. v. Curtiss Candy Co. in 1972, defendants argued that Mars couldn’t establish proprietary rights over the word “fun,” and an appeals court found that the company could not claim people specifically associated the term with the Mars company.
Mars tried to battle it out a bit longer in the courts, but by the mid-1970s, the term “fun sized” was pretty much everywhere.
Today, “fun sized” candy bars reign supreme on Halloween, and with the childhood obesity epidemic, they’re likely not going to be dethroned anytime soon.
But still, if you ask any kid in costume, of course they’ll tell you it’s definitely more “fun” when you find a house that flies in the face of “fun sized” and hands out full sized candy bars.
Also see: How to use leftover Halloween candy.
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