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5 Candy Facts You Didn't Know

Photograph by Twenty20

In case you didn't get your fill of candy during Halloween, the universe is giving you a second chance: Today is National Candy Day! (It's also National Eating Healthy Day, which falls on the first Wednesday of November, but the kids can take that one.)

To celebrate, here are five candy-related facts that'll blow your mind.

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1. The Senate has a candy desk.

If the leaders of our country have a stash of candy, it's only right to follow their example. Since 1965, there has been a Candy Desk in the back corner of the Republican side, adjacent to Chamber's most heavily used entrance. The tradition was started by California Senator George Murphy, and is currently stocked by Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey. Inside his desk is a beautiful spread of candy from his home state, including Hershey bars, Hot Tamales, Twizzlers and Three Musketeers. As Toomey said, "That's Mounds of responsibility."

Photograph by: Senator Mark Kirk

2. If we lay out candy corn kernels Brach sells each year end-to-end, there's enough to circle the earth 4.25 times.

The National Confectioners Association estimates 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold each year. Now that's pretty a-maize-ing.

3. The word 'Pez' comes from the German word for peppermint.

That is: PfeffErminZ. It was first marketed as a compressed peppermint candy more than 80 years ago in Austria. Now, over 3 billion PEZ candies are consumed in the U.S. There's no business like PEZ-ness.

4. The Tootsie Roll was the first penny candy to be individually wrapped.

For centuries, you would get your sugar fix from honey-coated nuts, seeds and fruits. Our version of candy wasn't invented until the Middle Ages when cane sugar from India was introduced to the Europeans. It didn't take long for people to discover that sugar could be cooked, melted and infused with other flavors to create small sugar candies, individually wrapped and sold, known as "penny candy." In 1986, Austrian immigrant Leo Hirshfield opened a small candy shop in New York City that had the first individually wrapped penny candy: the Tootsie Roll. You can say the company is still on a roll, producing 64 million Tootsie Rolls a day.

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5. Cotton candy was invented by a dentist.

No, we're not making that up. Dentist William Morrison partnered with candy maker John C. Wharton to create an "electric candy machine" that produced cotton candy. They air-spun treat was called Fairy Floss (we kind of hope they didn't actually advocate flossing teeth with it). Before the machine was invented, it wasn't possible to turn the spun sugar into a treat for the masses; instead cooks would melt sugar and separate the fine strands with a fork, making it something only the wealthy could afford.

Now that you've cotton all the facts, share the joy with the family and make yourself a candy cane martini.

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