Sweetest Day

Sweetest Day - Thursday, October 17, 2024

Food & Beverage Food Friendship Sweet Food

To put it simply, Sweetest Day every October 17, is a day to be sweet by sharing a kind thought, a small gift or a gesture of kindness. It’s a day to give a card with a sweet message to someone you appreciate. Little gifts of candy and other sweets are shared, as well.

Sometimes you just need a sweet, and Valentine ’s Day only comes once a year. What’s a body to do? Well, you celebrate the Sweetest Day of course! Like Valentine’s day, this day is known for its distribution of sweets in heart-shaped boxes, and a recognition of the love of candy.

History of Sweetest Day

On October 8, 1921, Cleveland Confectioners came together to create a new day to celebrate the people’s love of candy and each other. On the first celebration of this day 20,000 boxes of candy were distributed throughout the city, everyone from newsboys, old folks, the poor, and orphans were gifted with delicious treats to help make it the “Sweetest Day” of the year for them.

From there, the idea spread through big cities like New York and Detroit, expanding in popularity and importance as the years went on. In the early years, Sweetest Day was fundamentally a commercial operation. The idea was to try to get as many people to enjoy sweets and associate them with specific times of the year geared towards celebrations. In 1922, for instance, candy manufacturers took the idea of Sweetness Day forward in New York City, hoping to drum up interest in their confectionery products.

Just a few years later, in 1927, the New York Times decreed that there would be a Sweetest Week. A decade later, the same newspaper announced that representatives from the industry were trying to get Sweetest Day to rank alongside other significant events in the calendar, such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. 

Through various promotions, Sweetest Day has gone on to become a popular choice for charity drives, including by organizations like the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, starting as early as October 17, 1940.

For some, the original intention of the manufacturers paid off significantly. Sweetest Day didn’t replace some of the big events in the calendar, but it did become associated with them. Now the vast majority of people think of confectionery alongside popular dates, such as Valentine’s Day. Many cities host their own Sweetest Day, especially if they play host to a candy manufacturer. 

At root, though, Sweetest Day isn’t just about consuming as many chocolates as you can. Instead, it is about love. The original developers of the concept took it upon themselves to distribute candy to the neediest in society. And this spirit of giving remains. People traditionally celebrate the day by eating confectionery and sharing it with the people they love to show that they care. Romantic couples often use the event as an excuse to indulge in a little gift-giving. 

You should note, however, that Sweetest Day and Valentine’s Day are not the same things. The former is about sharing love with everyone in your life, while the latter is solely about focusing on your romantic partner. 

How to celebrate Sweetest Day

The simplest way to celebrate Sweetest Day is to indulge your sweet-tooth and buy your favorite treat. An even better idea is to share it with someone who loves it as much as you do! Bring in a box of treats for your co-workers, or surprise your sweetie with their favorite sugary indulgence.

If you’re feeling truly ambitious, you can coordinate with a local charity to help do a sweets drive to generate money for them. Candy is always a popular item for charity drives, and if you contact the creator of these confectionary delights, you can probably get them at a heavily discounted price for use in charity drives.

Another idea is to send out Sweetest Day cards. Currently, several popular card sellers offer themed cards for the day, allowing you to write messages to people you care about and remind them of the event. You might even want to design and create your own chocolates at home with a unique theme. Making unique and interesting flavors is a lot of fun. 

Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to sending candy on Sweetest Day. Other sweet treats are allowed too. Yes, confectioners originally invented the day to promote their commercial chocolates and sweets. But it has since become a different animal, with regular people sharing anything that might be considered sweet. Cupcakes, cookies, and even pastries are all permitted under the rules. Celebrating Sweetest Day can be a creative experience. 

Because the original purpose of Sweetest Day was charitable, you might think about using the day to give something back. In the past, philanthropists wanted to ensure that vulnerable individuals in the local community had enjoyment in their lives. Candy was an expression of that impulse, but it is by no means the only way to do so. For you, Sweetest Day could involve providing food to the needy and vulnerable, or offering money to charities who take care of them in your city. 

Finally, you can just buy candy and distribute it like a reverse Halloween, handing out candy to friends, co-workers, and random people on the street to remind them to have the Sweetest Day of the year.

Now, doesn’t that sound like fun? 

History of Sweetest Day

Sweetest Day hails from all the way back in 1922 when a dozen of Cleveland’s candy companies banded together to make the day a little sweeter for some of the city’s most vulnerable people. they distributed more than 20,000 boxes of candy to “newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor.”

The idea caught on with movie celebrities during the early days of the talkies. Starlets like Theda Bara, who was known as a “bad girl” of film, was often seen distributing candy to people attending movies or plays as well as giving treats to patients in hospitals. 

Eventually, the idea of Sweetest Day as a vehicle for promoting smiles and good vibes took solid root in the country’s mid-section. Areas like Michigan, Indiana and Ohio really fused the meaning of the day with good, old-fashioned mid-western values like honesty and caring for your neighbors.

Sweetest Day is now almost synonymous with Valentine’s Day. Folks give flowers, small gifts, love trinkets and, of course, candy to those they care about most.  But Sweetest Day, also has that added emphasis on helping those in need with material gifts as well as giving moral support to those who may not have the easiest lives. Every little bit helps and it’s something to remember on one of our Sweetest Days.

Sweetest Day timeline


Valentine’s Day Gets Real

Hallmark starts offering Valentine’s Cards, leading to an average expenditure of $140 by most Americans


Cleveland’s Candy Day

A committee of 12 confectioners in Cleveland stage the world’s first Sweetest Day by distributing 20,000 boxes of candy


Sweetest Day Tries for the Week

Efforts by the candy industry to kickstart “sweetest week” also fall flat by the candy industry, but it’s sort of sweet that they tried


Sweetest Day Tries To Go National

Efforts to spread the Sweetest Day phenomenon beyond the Midwest meet a lukewarm reception

Sweetest Day Traditions

The main tradition on Sweetest Day is to show someone that you care about them with an act of kindness of some sort. Usually this could be getting them a gift such as candy or flowers, but it could also be something that costs nothing such as leaving a nice note.

Most people, however, associate the holiday with candy and choose to buy a special someone a candy offering of some sort.

Sweetest Day FAQs

What does Sweetest Day mean?

The Sweetest Day refers to a day of showing affection with little gifts of candy or acts of kindness to those you care about or anyone who could use a little support. This day primarily impacts Americans in the regions of the Great Lakes.

Is Sweetest Day for men or for women?

If you live in the Midwest, you know that Sweetest Day is synonymous with Boyfriend Day. Sweetest Day is mainly a day for women to treat their close male friends, husbands or boyfriends with gifts of candy and other sweet gestures.

Is Sweetest Day an actual holiday?

No. But it is faithfully observed primarily in the Midwest and increasingly, throughout other parts of the country. The day was started by a candy company employee in Cleveland in 1922.

Sweetest Day By Numbers

80% – The percentage of Sweetest Day cards that are romantically inclined.
1921 – The year of the first unofficial Sweetest Day
11 – The number of states that celebrate the holiday, which is mainly observed in the midwest.
1 – Ohio is the number one celebrator of Sweetest Day

Sweetest Day Activities

  1. Make a list of all your sweeties

    If you’re really going to get the most out of Sweetest Day, it’s probably best to write a list of people you feel sweet towards. Rather than restricting yourself to a significant other, think about all the people you want to celebrate today. Who knows, maybe you can even use the day to make amends with a jerk coworker or two!? We’re big fans of spreading the sweetness as far and wide as possible.

  2. Distribute some candy

    Ideally, you’re looking to give your candy out in sweet presentations such as in heart-shaped boxes, or with ribbons and bows attached. Remember that the objects of your sweet affections will be bowled over if you make a little extra effort, and since you’re doing this, let’s go big or go home, huh?

  3. Do something nice

    Hey, you don’t just have to give candy, baked goods and cards. Maybe you could take somebody out for the day, or tell them you love them. There’s plenty of things you can do to make the day sweet without relying mainly on sugar. But, don’t forget the sugar. We’re clear on that, right? SUGAR!

Why We Love Sweetest Day

  1. It’s about whatever you want

    The great thing about a holiday that’s essentially a confection of its own is that you can make it about whatever you want. The idea is to share some sweets and let the good vibes flow!

  2. It’s an opportunity to celebrate being midwestern

    The midwest admittedly has some tough winters and can often play second fiddle to their coastal neighbors on either side. So it is great when the midwest has something so pure and sweet to call their very own. Warms the heart, and a good thing too, winter is just around the corner.

  3. Valentine’s Day is just once a year

    Best thing about Sweetest Day? Unlike Valentine’s Day, there’s no pressure. So if there’s someone you’re sweet on, you can let them know with some candy! There’s no need to cook dinner or take them out in the evening — just a little candy does the trick. Plus, you can spread a little cheer to coworkers, family members or whoever you wish.

Also on Thu Oct 17, 2024...

Oct 17
Repair Day
Oct 17
Bridge Day
Oct 17