It’s a time for trick-or-treating! No matter your age, you surely must celebrate this spooky holiday in one or another. Some celebrate by having a horror movie marathon, some gorge themselves on Halloween candy (just because they have a reason to) and some have Halloween parties.
Those who love the thrill and excitement might even dress up to go to festivals with activities such as pumpkin picking, haunted houses and amusement rides. Throughout centuries, this celebration has evolved from a sacrificial ritual to appease deities to what is now, an annual holiday.
How Halloween First Started
Halloween is a holiday that is celebrated annually on the 31st of October and in 2019, it occurs on a Thursday. This holiday originated from the Celts’ ancient festival of Samhain (pronounced as sow-in). The day signified the end of harvest and summer and marked the beginning of dark, cold winter days and is often correlated to human death.
In commemoration of the event, the Celts built huge bonfires where people gathered to burn crops and animals as a sacrifice to Celtic deities. Costumes, typically comprised of animal heads and skin, were usually worn by the Celts and they would attempt to tell fortunes. Once the celebration comes to an end, they would re-light their hearths with the remnants of the sacred bonfire to safeguard them for the coming winter.
When the Roman Empire conquered the bulk of Celtic territory, they combined two Roman festivals with the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Roman festivals being Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the dead and Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.
When Christian influences spread into Celtic lands in the 9th century, the church made the 1st of November as All Souls’ Day (also called All Saints’ Day) as a day to honour the dead. It is widely believed that this was the church’s attempt on replacing the Celtic festival of the dead with a church-related and sanctioned holiday. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, later known as Halloween.
The Americans began to celebrate Halloween when a flood of immigrants came to the country, thus popularising the celebration. The Americans first began to borrow European traditions by dressing up in costumes and going door to door asking for food or money, which eventually became the modern practice of “trick or treat.”
In the late 1800s, Halloween was made into a community holiday instead of the theme of ghouls, witchcraft and pranks. Now, Halloween has lost most of its superstitious beliefs and religious connotations and is instead a time of gatherings, parties and entertainment.
Popular Halloween Treats (Homemade and Store-bought)
Candy corns are famous in America and are most often found during Halloween. This candy mimics the shape of corn kernels, hence where it got its name. It has three colours, a yellow end, a tapered orange centre and a white tip. It is made from corn syrup and sugar that has a marshmallow-like flavour.
Caramel apples or taffy apples are made by dipping apples on a stick in hot, sticky caramel. They can also be coated in an assortment of savouries or confectioneries such as nuts, M&Ms, sprinkles and icing.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
This popular treat has a Halloween version that is released for the season. The original or the Halloween ones are typically popular among the public. This treat is a chocolate cup made out of white, milk or dark chocolate filled with peanut cream.
The chewy, fruit flavours are a change from the chocolate items. The Skittles Zombie Pack have a twist in their flavours with hidden “rotten” tasting ones in the mix. It’s fun, light and addictive!
This typical campfire treat is also a Halloween favourite. It generally consists of a marshmallow and chocolate layer between two pieces of graham cracker or cookie. It is simple to make at home as you can replace the ingredients with chocolate chips and peanut butter. During Halloween, a variety of shapes and colours such as Frankenstein green, pumpkin orange and even white ghosts can be made.
Since its tradition to pick a perfect pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, carve it and put a light in it, there are sure to be leftover seeds. These pumpkins seeds can be roasted in an oven to make a tasty snack. They can be eaten plain or added to sandwiches and bread.
This drink can be served as it is, or you can spike it with alcohol. Adults can add bourbon, brandy or aged rum to it. It is best to add alcohol when the mulling spices have flavoured the concoction first. After mulling, add the whiskey and wait for the flavours to blend and serve when warm.
With such a wide variety of sweets, cookies and drinks, you can celebrate Halloween with your family and friends. It’s the perfect excuse to get together, have fun and enjoy good food. If you’re staying in, order some food from foodpanda and wait for food to arrive at your doorstep!