While you may associate Halloween only with sweets, desserts and candies, the fact is that the festival has ancient origins and there are plenty of foods associated with it. From potatoes to pumpkins, here are all the foods that are traditionally associated with Halloween 2023.
The spookiest night of the year is almost upon us and yes, it means dressing up in the best Halloween 2023 costumes, eating plenty of candy and enjoying the night of All Hallows Eve. But while the autumn or fall holiday is now associated with lots of candies, desserts and sweet treats, traditionally speaking, Halloween as a festival has been associated with both savoury and sweet dishes. This is because although most people believe Halloween 2023 to be an American festival, it is celebrated with myriads of traditions across the world.
In fact, as a festival, Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain which was celebrated in Ireland, the United Kingdom, northern France and parts of Scandinavia too. The evening before Samhain was (and still is) called All Hallows Eve, which later evolved into Halloween. At its core, Samhain was celebrated to ward off ghosts by lighting bonfires, wearing costumes and carving out root vegetables. Moreover, the festival of All Saints Day celebrated on November 1 after being started by Pope Gregory II in the eighth century, also includes plenty of Samhain traditions.
So, there are plenty of traditions associated with Halloween, and therefore, plenty of more foods than just chocolates, candies and sweet treats. Here are some such traditional foods associated with Halloween 2023 that you should know about.
While Halloween 2023 is all about savouring pumpkin dishes, pumpkin pie definitely wins hands down as one of the most popular creations. Originating in England and France in the seventeenth century, pumpkin pie is a dish made with a flaky shortcrust shell and a creamy, nutmeg-and-cinnamon-spiced pumpkin stuffing inside. Always a favourite during autumn and winter months, pumpkin pie became associated with Halloween celebrations as the veggie comes into season during this time.
Video Credit: YouTube/Preppy Kitchen
Originating in New York in 1908, candied apples are a true-blue American Halloween treat. Associated with other traditions like Bobbing for Apples, apples are beloved as a seasonal fruit that have now become an integral part of Halloween celebrations. Candied apples are usually sugar-coated apples, but for Halloween 2023, you can also make apple pies, cakes and many other dishes.
Did you know that even before pumpkins and apples, potatoes have been associated with Halloween feasts and festivites? In Ireland, making boxty, a sort of potato pancake is the norm on Halloween. The potatoes are grated, mixed with flour, buttermilk and salt. This thick batter is then fried and cut into interesting shapes and served while fresh off the griddle.
Also known as treacle toffee or plot toffee, this Halloween treat is very English in origin and is always enjoyed around Guy Fawkes Day as well. Dark treacle or molasses, sugar, butter and syrup are simmered to create a deep smoky flavoured mixture, which is then cooled and set until it gets to a hard-crack stage. Many people also add plenty of dry fruits, nuts and seeds to this.
Another traditional Irish Samhain dish that is now cooked on Halloween, colcannon is made with mashed potatoes and many flavour additions. Cabbage, kale and other autumn veggies are mixed in with the mashed potatoes and served with other traditional dishes like boiled ham, salted pork and bacon. On Halloween, pennies, thimbles and rings are also hidden in colcannon and the person who finds it is believed to be lucky.
Often known only as Brack, this one is an Irish bread cooked with sultanas and raisins and is traditionally served on Halloween. The bread dough is sweet but not buttery, which is primarily because this Irish dish was very popular across all classes. The raisins and sultanas are soaked in cold tea or whisky overnight and then added into the dough, along with items like rings and coins for the lucky family members to find.
Video Credit: YouTube/Tasting History
Also known as soulmass cakes, soul cakes are round-shaped cakes made with shortbread dough instead of a traditional sponge cake batter. These cakes originated in the British Isles and were traditionally baked to honour the spirits of the dead. Made with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, dry fruits like currants or raisins—and this adds a warm, seasonal feel to the dish as well.