The traditions of Halloween food go back a long way – and didn’t always include candy

But Halloween candies are a relatively new component of the holiday – they only become popular and widespread first in the 1920s and 1930s and became an important actor only in the 1950s. So what goodies did people enjoy before that?
Halloween is said to have originated from the pre-Christian holiday of Samhain, celebrated by the Celtic peoples. At Samhain, during which bonfires were lit, it was believed that the spirits of the dead were given access to the afterlife. It was a common practice among Samhain enticement, in which groups of amateur actors would walk from house to house and perform in exchange for food and drink.
Samhain was then appropriated on the Christian holiday of All Saints ’Day – or All Saints’ Day – which is celebrated on November 1st. Accordingly, the evening of all the witches, or what later became Halloween, fell on the 31st of October. Halloween traditions came to the United States through Irish immigrants around the mid-19th century, in the midst of Irish potato famine.
People continued the millennial tradition of baking early on soul cake, small round cakes resembling a biscuit. These cakes were given to “trachea” who were mostly children and the poor. As they walked from door to door, they sang and prayed on behalf of the dead.
Around this time, Americans carved jack-o’-lanterns potatoes and turnips. A tradition that began in Ireland and Scotland involved carving scary faces into these tubers and placing them against windows or doors to scare away wandering evil spirits like Stingy Jack, who was supposed to invite the Devil for a drink with him.

Apples and nuts were the main treat

Although candy apples are now a popular treat during Halloween, apples had a much more prophetic and threatening purpose almost 200 years ago. Many Halloween celebrations were included in the mid-19th century apple bean – the tub was filled with water and apples and the players tried to catch him with their teeth. The young unmarried competed over who would be the first to bite into the apple, which meant they would be the next to be allowed to marry.
Some regions of the US held Snap Apple Night entertainment, a relatively risky tradition in which an apple was placed at one end of any a stick or a string with a lighted candle attached to the other end. Participants tried to bite an apple while rotating the stick and tried to avoid the hot wax from the candles.
Apples had a much more prophetic purpose almost 200 years ago.
A few decades later, the apple bean was a popular activity 1914 at a mass Halloween party in Kansas edited by Elizabeth Krebs. Tired of watching her garden destroyed by young people celebrating Halloween every year – because it was common for mischievous people to destroy people’s property at the time – Krebs helped with pioneer parades and costume contests to provide less destructive opportunities. for labeling. vacation.
In another tradition apples would be young women peel the apples and throw the peels over their shoulders in the hope that the peels will form a pattern of their future husband’s initials.
Americans would also occasionally get on Halloween for Nut Crack Night festivities at which they ate freshly harvested hazelnuts and chestnuts. In some cases, the young man would assign names to each nut – the one that burned brightest in the fire could mean his future mistress. Another tradition involved a young couple putting two walnuts on a fire and seeing if they jumped apart or stayed together, as described in Mary E. Blain’s 1912 book “Halloween Games.”

The candies for Halloween enter the picture

Candy corn is perhaps one of the oldest Halloween candies still eaten today, from the 1880s. He was the first to invent it George Renninger, a candy maker at the Philadelphia-based Wunderle Candy Company. In 1900, by Goelitz Candy Co. began to produce in large quantities. The candy corn was designed to look great chicken feed, since at the time candy first appeared, about half of Americans worked on farms.
Everyone’s favorite - or least popular - Halloween snack has been designed to look like chicken feed.
Halloween candies became very popular at the turn of the 20th century. Hershey’s milk chocolate was first produced in 1900, and seven years later Hershey’s kisses followed. Chocolate was previously considered a luxury product that the average American rarely enjoys, but Hershey’s Pennsylvania chocolate factory has allowed mass production of chocolate for significantly lower prices. An ad from 1906 in the New York Times it boasted homemade buttermilk, caramels, and Waldorf chocolates for 25 cents a pound, or. about $ 7 today.

Although candy companies produced candy such as the Milky Way bar and Snickers bar in the 1920s and early 1930s, candy was not yet the ultimate Halloween treat like it is today. Sugar became more affordable during this time, making candy production cheaper, but the trick or snack often involved distributing cookies, fruit, nuts, and even toys and money.

A brief history of the panic of poisoned candies for Halloween
Organized trick-or-treating grew in the 1930s in part in response to dangerous Halloween pranks during the Great Depression, but this stopped abruptly when World War II broke out. Sugar rationing meant that only a few had access to candy, so people had to get creative with the Halloween food tradition. In the 1950s, candy makers promoted their delicious Halloween products, especially at the height of the baby boom.

Halloween sweets take off

In the 1970s, all that changed. Wrapped candies produced in the factory were considered to be the only goods that could be distributed, as many parents feared that their children’s candies would encroach on them. Fear of Halloween candy probably began with the New York Times ’1970 work, which hinted that outsiders might use tricks as a way to poison children, citing two unconfirmed incidents in northern New York City that suggest there may be a shaving blade hidden in the apple. inside. Sale of candy for Halloween in 1982 fell by 20% to 50%, and 40 American cities have completely canceled Halloween, according to Eater’s podcast “Gastropod”.
Numerous deaths among children on or after Halloween that are believed to be unrelated to poisoned candy have sparked widespread panic, and some communities have definitively banned the trick or treatment. Despite this hysteria, a an extensive 1985 study did not find a single confirmed incident of death or serious injury to a child due to Halloween candies, as CNN has already reported.
This year, the National Retail Federation announced that consumers will consume a a record $ 10.14 billion on Halloween – including $ 3 billion for candy. But while you were nibbling on your KitKat bar that Halloween, remember that 150 years ago, you may have been nibbling on a chestnut and found a future spouse.


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