This morning, as Easter baskets are discovered, Peeps will be shoveled into mouths with no regard for health. And egg-shaped malted milk balls will be snacked on throughout the day.
According to the National Confectioner's Association, Easter is the No. 2 candy-eating holiday in the United States, trailing only Halloween. Americans ate an estimated 7 billion pounds of candy last year, the group estimated.
This Easter, Americans will eat more than 600 million marshmallow Peeps, according to National Public Radio. And, according to a Peep fact sheet from Just Born, the Pennsylvania company that produces the cute sugar bombs, it produces 1 billion Peeps a year. That's pencils out to 4 million a day.
In 1957, it took 27 hours to make a Peep. Today, it takes six minutes, according to Just Born, which claims Peeps are the No. 1 nonchocolate Easter candy.
And they're not just for eating. They can also be used for art. Jan Weismantel said her 6-year-old grandson, Corbin Weismantel, made a hockey-themed diorama for his kindergarten class in Groton. In it, a team of Aberdeen Wings is beating a team of Peeps in a game.
Mostly, though, candy is for consumption. We asked readers what their favorite Easter candy is and why. A sampling of answers follows.
Stacy Bauer: Cadbury mini eggs. Need I say more?
Sarah Breitag: Reese's peanut butter eggs!
Kathie Allstot: Purple or black jelly beans. I probably liked them best because nobody else would eat them. One of my favorite memories is hunting for our Easter baskets on Easter morning. We always got some sweet treats and a special gift.
Vera Musil: Lindt chocolate.
Kellie Althoff: This year my favorite Easter candy is the white chocolate Reese's egg straight from the fridge. I like the peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio better than the regular Reese's, and the white chocolate is a tad sweeter for an interesting twist to the already fabulous Reese's. Also, when they've been in the fridge, they have a satisfying crunch.
Deb Kambel: Jelly Beans (because) you get a lot of different flavors.
Laura Melius: Reese's eggs. The peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio is perfect.
Tammy Lind Johnson: Reese's peanut butter eggs!
Tom Green: Chocolate-covered marshmallow bunnies! I've already been buying them for weeks in advance. Tough luck kids, they're mine!
Erica Tucker: Yellow Peeps. I open them and let them get a little hard before I eat them.
Wendy Blegen: Favorite candy: The blue, yellow and orange bunnies that taste like circus peanuts. Favorite memory: As a kid when the eggs were the only treat, dying eggs and leaving them out at room temperature and eating them for days! Amazing that we are still alive!
Jolene Malsam: Old fashion Brach's jelly beans — purple!
Coni L. Stoner: Cadbury's original egg!
Rebecca Tesch: Cadbury caramel eggs or the chocolate cream. Reese's peanut butter eggs and robin eggs. All candy really. Jolly Rancher jelly beans and the Starburst ones, too.
Angela Levell Geras: Cadbury cream eggs!
Teresa Levsen Garofalo: Sixlets. And I don't know why they taste better than M&Ms. They're just candy-covered chocolate. But somehow better.
Veronica Dahl: Peeps! Gotta love sugar-covered marshmallows.
Lisa Geranen Lee: The carrot-shaped bags of Reese's Pieces! Yum!