Food History: Halloween Traditions & Recipes

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Every holiday has different traditions; from decorating, to music, to gift-giving. Yet, one thing that many have in common, is food. Halloween is no exception to this theme, as food was a very prominent part of the holiday’s history. Test your knowledge on the history of Halloween, and get inspired for planning your own celebrations!

The Holiday's Background

Halloween is celebrated all around the world and evolved from three main ancient traditions. A festival called Samhain was celebrated by the Celtic people who lived in modern-day Western Europe. In this festival, the Celts celebrated the end of the harvest season, believing that during the same night, the spirits of their ancestors would return. The people took the opportunity to offer their ancestors food and wine from their harvests. Similarly, the ancient Romans held a festival called Pomona, which celebrated the Roman goddess of harvest and orchards. On the same day, they would offer fruits to the goddess. This particularly involved apples, which they believed symbolized love and fertility. As the landscape in Europe changed, the final addition to Halloween customs involved the introduction of All Saints Day. In preparation of the holiday on November 1, people would bake spiced cakes and dress up to honor the saints. From these three historical traditions, we have evolved into our modern interpretations of Halloween. 

 

There are some countries around the world that hold extraordinary celebrations. In Mexico, the celebration of Dia de los Muertos lasts from October 31 to November 2. During this window of time, people welcome back their ancestors with costumes, parades, and most importantly, a feast. Families will prepare the favorite foods of their loved ones and leave them at gravesites as generous offerings. Then, they celebrate with festive foods for themselves. This includes treats such as sugar skulls, baked goods, and a traditional corn liquor called atole. The festivities of Dia de los Muertos uphold a beautiful Halloween tradition unlike any other. 

Now, For The Treats (But, No Tricks!)

Sample pumpkin dessert ingredients.

In the true Halloween spirit, I share with you all some simple and delicious Halloween snacks. Each recipe has been inspired by the food history of the holiday, so enjoy these treats while the season lasts!

  • Healthy Caramel Apples

With this recipe, we pay homage to the Romans who gifted and ate apples during their Halloween celebrations. This recipe in particular uses healthier alternatives to make your own caramel sauce at home with heavy cream, raw honey, and brown sugar. It is delicious without any harmful chemicals or additives.

  • Pumpkin Bread

The season would be incomplete without pumpkins, whether you are carving or baking with them. As we know, old Halloween traditions involved baking spiced cakes at the height of the season. This delicious pumpkin bread is loaded with an array of fall spices from, pumpkin spice to ginger, and is decorated with a maple glaze. It uses all natural ingredients to make for a healthier pumpkin bread that does not fall short of its flavor!

  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

The Celts and the Romans both incorporated nuts into their big celebration feasts. If you are carving a pumpkin, you have a good opportunity to reuse all those seeds for something delicious. Roasted pumpkin seeds are tasty, easy, and take under 30 minutes to prepare. Pumpkin seeds are also packed with antioxidants and nutrients that your body will love. Try out this simple recipe here, but don’t be afraid to get creative with your seasoning choices.

 

Halloween this year might be a little different from the previous, but in good spirits, we can turn any celebration into a wonderful memory. Try something new this year and enjoy creating your own holiday traditions.

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