Free candy van refers to a popular humorous trope online, seen on photos and written about in forum and image board threads, related to the notion of pedophilia, similar to memes like Spurdo and Pedobear.
The most common images depict a shady looking van, with a ragged paintjob, spelling out Free Candy.
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) September 1, 2015
While the exact origin of the meme is not known, an early upload, featuring a photo of a “Free Candy Van” that Seems Legit appeared online around 2006, when it was uploaded to the Tivocommunity forum.
Since that year, a large number of references have appeared on the internet, including the first Urban Dictionary entry, which was uploaded to the site on November 9th, 2007.
In the following years, various cases and sightings of a “Free Candy Van” were referenced and uploaded on the web, including the news of a Utah college student being arrested, cruising in a titular vehicle.
Image macro memes on the trope were also rampant around the start of the 2010’s.
The apparent owner of the original “Free Candy Van”, user bobotech revealed himself on one of the car enthusiast forums in 2010, when he wrote a story about how he got a van, that was painted on by someone.
It is here he revealed he uploaded the first photo of the vehicle to the Tivocommunity forums.
Throughout the 2010’s, various references and discussions still emerged, revolving around the “Free Candy Van” meme, mostly on sites like 4chan and Reddit.
- Bbc.vom – How a ‘creepy’ white van became internet famous
- Sfgate.com – Want to buy that creepy “Free Candy” van? Here’s your chance
- Huffpost.com – ‘Free Candy’ Van Upsets Sacramento Residents
- Bloomberg.com – Now for Sale: San Francisco’s Creepy ‘Free Candy’ Van