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Halloween candy showing up on store shelves early this year

As brands and retailers worry the coronavirus pandemic will cancel Halloween, candy companies are already stocking displays in the hopes you'll buy lots of sweets.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — No, your eyes have not deceived you. Halloween candy displays have shown up much earlier in many major retailers this year amid the pandemic. 

Candy brands are working hard to get sweets out early in the hopes shoppers still buy lots of product, as fears mount that the coronavirus will cancel trick-or-treating around the country this year. 

Many candy brands are changing their focus this season as well. Hershey's says it will keep much of its candy in normal packaging instead of changing it to Halloween wrappers. According to Candy Industry, half of Hershey's Halloween product is bought for self-consumption, meaning candy bowls kept at home. And the company's Halloween packs, like the assortment snack sizes, have had a 12% growth during the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to CNN, Hershey's has decided to partner with retailers in order to stock large packs of fall sweets and set them up in Halloween displays. 

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Mondelez, the maker of Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish, said they're going to focus more on family-size containers anticipating that families will have small gatherings instead of trick-or-treating. 

Skittles and Snickers maker Mars Wrigley said they'll focus more on e-commerce this year, according to a report in Ad Age

A recent National Confectioners Association Halloween poll reported that 74% participants, described as Millennial moms, said Halloween is "more important than ever this year," suggesting that Halloween celebrations are needed to keep things as normal as possible, amid what's being coined as the new normal. 

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Hershey's Chairman and CEO, Michele Buck, said on a recent second quarter earning call that, “Halloween celebrations are likely to be different this year, with an earlier start to the season and more geographic differences than in prior years.” 

Buck said, “We expect that there will be more at-home activities, with families sharing timeless traditions and new ways for people to celebrate with neighbors.” 

Some retailers are not jumping on the early Halloween sales. Walmart, Target and Walgreens told CNN they plan on this year being business as usual.