Although Halloween, as we know it today, is largely an American tradition, the holiday has been celebrated in one form or another for centuries in European countries. So it shouldn’t be surprising that there are some pretty old traditional Halloween foods as well as plenty of new “gross-out” menu items. Why not explore the entire history of Halloween foods with a buffet of tales of tasty treats?
Because the holiday comes in the wake of the annual apple harvest, candy apples, caramel apples are a common Halloween treat made by rolling whole apples in sticky sugar syrup, and sometimes rolling them in nuts or other toppings. It’s also traditional to eat an apple after playing the Apple dunking game.
The most common “candy” is a hard coating of cooled sugar syrup, usually tinted red and sometimes flavored with cinnamon. The sugar syrup is heated to the “hard crack” stage before coating the apple to make a hard coating when the syrup cools.
Apple cider is the name used especially in the United States and parts of Canada for a non-alcoholic beverage produced from apples by a process of pressing. It is more sour and cloudy than conventional apple juice, retaining the tart flavor of the apple pulp which is lost in conventional fruit juice production. Cider is frequently served in autumn, corresponding with the harvest season, and is a popular traditional beverage on Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Popcorn is usually served salted or sweetened. In North America, it is traditionally served salted, although a sweetened version, generally called caramel corn, is also commonly available. In the United Kingdom, ready-made popcorn is available either salted or simply sweetened with sugar, both varieties being equally popular. At Halloween, it is common to find popcorn tossed in orange chocolate with candy corn added for traditional Halloween color.
Traditional Halloween fair consists of foods that are mainly popular in the fall season. Pumpkin soups, pumpkin cakes, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin breads and pumpkin pies are all very popular also because of the symbolism the pumpkin has for Halloween.
One custom which persists in modern-day day Ireland is the baking (or more often nowadays the purchase) of a barmbrack, which is a light fruit cake into which a plain ring is placed before baking. It is said that those who get a ring will find their true love in the ensuing year.