On average, the amount of Halloween candy that Canadians consume around this time of year, translates to about 57,000 gigajoules in energy terms.  This is enough energy to heat 570 homes in Canada for one year.  VStock/Alamy photo.

On average, Canadians consume about 136 grams of Halloween candy at this time of year

Across Canada, each Canadian consumes almost 136 grams of Halloween candy every year around All Hallows’ Eve.

In energy terms this translates to about 57 000 gigajoules. According to the National Energy Board, that is nearly the same amount of energy needed to heat 570 Canadian households for one year.

Statistics Canada says Canadians consume on average 17.2 kilograms pounds of sugar per capita annually. Of this, roughly 7 per cent is derived from confectionary items, mostly chocolate bars and candies.

The sale of these is approximately 20 per cent higher than average in October. Assuming candy consumption follows sales patterns, combined with Canadian population data, the NEB estimates that approximately 57 000 gigajoules worth of candies are consumed by Canadians during the month of Halloween.

When compared to common fossil fuels Halloween candy can pack a bigger energy punch than coal but not as big as light crude oil or natural gas.

Halloween candy contains calories. Calories are the measure of energy content found in carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Like candy, fossil fuels also contain energy which is stored in the bonds between hydrogen and carbon atoms. Just like different types of food have different amounts of caloric content, different fossil fuels have different amounts of energy content.

The chart below compares the energy content of Halloween candy to commonly used fossil fuels in kilojoules per 100 grams.

Energy Content

Energy Content

Source and Description

Source: Statistics CanadaGBX , NEB calculations

Description: The column chart illustrates the energy content of selected fossil energy sources and candy bars, expressed in kilojoules per 100 grams. From the lowest to highest energy content:

  • Coal (subbituminous): 1879 kilojoules
    Candy bar (chocolate, fudge, or cookie): 2301 kilojoules
    Light crude oil: 3941 kilojoules
    Gasoline: 4703 kilojoules
    Natural gas: 4778 kilojoules

Halloween candy might not be quite the sweet fossil fuel alternative we’ve been looking for but it tastes better!