How Candy Became Associated with Halloween

Halloween and trick or treating. It seems like a tradition that goes back to ancient times, but surprisingly, trick or treating is a new addition to Halloween. Here's a brief history of Halloween and how candy became an integral part.

Halloween's Early Beginnings

Halloween roots takes us back to pagan Britain when the Celts celebrated their new year and honored the dead on November 1st. They believed that the night before, ghosts of their ancestors returned to walk the Earth. Some ghosts were benign, but others were troublemakers and the Celts dressed up in animal skins and other guises to scare away unwanted spirits. They would have a big feast afterwards.

The Church created All Souls Day on November 2nd, and celebrated All Saints Day on November 1st in 1000 CE (AD), incorporating the popular Celtic holiday as the Celts became Christianized. Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, came before All Saints Day or All Hallows Mass, as it was called. Poor people practiced "souling" -- offering to pray for other people's dead relatives in exchange for little cakes, called "soul cakes." The practice was quite popular and people expected to see beggars asking for soul cakes in return for prayers.

By the 1600s, people would dress up in costumes (called "guising") and offer a "trick," such as singing a song, telling a joke, or maybe reciting a poem. For their "trick," they were often rewarded with fruit, nuts, or other edibles and money.

How Candy and Trick or Treating Became Popular

It really wasn't until the 1930s when trick or treating came into vogue. Part of it was due to the media making the concept popular again. Soon, trick or treating became a way for communities to get together and give their children a fun activity away from causing mischief. Rather than fruit and soul cakes, it made sense for people to offer small pieces of candy. Halloween now is so popular that it is the second highest time in sales for candy makers.

Have fun this Halloween and enjoy Vern's Toffee. It's quite the treat.