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Fun Fact: Trick or Treat

November 9, 2013 9:52 am · Posted by Lauren G

This was supposed to go up on Halloween :(

Halloween is basically all about dressing up and begging strangers for candy, right? Well there's a little more history to it, but for a thousand years, Halloween has been all about eating sugar to ease our fears. Dating all the way back to the ancient pagan Celtic festival called Samhain, which ended with an opening to the spirit world, October 31st has always been a combination of sweets and the supernatural. These ancient Celts would use honey, and later sugar, to preserve their perishable food and prepare the bounty of the summer for the winter ahead. They would also mask or blacken their faces to keep evil spirits at bay. this practice was later seen in Scotland in 1895 when people carrying lanterns of hollowed-out turnips went door-to-door "guising," or begging for cakes and fruits. Learn more about turnip carving here.


It wasn't until 1934 that guising became known as trick-of-treating. By 1948, Jack Benny was doing jokes about it on his popular radio show, and by 1951, Charles Schultz was drawing the Peanuts gang wandering door-to-door wearing ghost sheets and witches' hats. Halloween was a thing people knew about, but before the 1950s, trick-or-treating simply wasn't a part of most people's Halloween celebrations. When these ghouls and ghosts did start showing up on people's doorsteps, only sweets would keep you from getting egged, TP-ed, or worse.

This finally clued the candy companies into the notion that they might have a million dollar baby on their hands. "There was a rise of advertisements that talked about Halloween, and candy companies started marketing candy directly to moms. The message was: 'If you buy the right candy, you won't get tricked!'"


In 1964, Helen Pfeil, a Greenlawn, N.Y. housewife decided to hand out arsenic-laced candy buttons in an attempt to teach local teenagers that they were too old for trick-or-treating. Then on November 2, 1970, 5-year-old Kevin Toston from Detroit died after eating what initial reports identified as heroin-laced Halloween candy. It turned out that the heroin never came from the candy, but by that point, no one was paying attention. Concerned with safety, parents started telling their kids not to take any sweets that weren't factory-wrapped. The candy industry reacted with fun-sized candy bars that were individually wrapped so parents could be certain had not been tampered with. Today, Halloween candy is big business. In 2011, $2.3 billion worth of Halloween candy according to the National Confectioner's Association.

So get out there and stock up on some good candy to make sure you don't get attacked by Halloween hooligans. Or, you can be like me, turn off all the lights, buy candy on sale tomorrow, and eat it all yourself. Happy Halloween!

Filed under: fun Tagged with: trick or treat, halloween, holidays, candy

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

October 30, 2012 1:52 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Oh man, I totally dropped the ball and was going to post this last Thursday. Oh well, tomorrow is Halloween so there's still time to make these! Plus, it's National Candy Corn Day so all the better to make these wonderful little sugar cookies. In retrospect, I would have added a little more dye to make the colors more vibrant, but they still turned out great.

2 Sticks Butter, softened
1 c. Sugar
1 Egg
2 T. Lemon Juice
2 t. Lemon Zest
1/8 t. Salt
3 c. Flour
1/2 t. Baking Soda
Red Food Dye
Yellow Food Dye

Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy.

Add egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Continue beating until well mixed.

Add flour and baking soda, beat until well mixed. Divide dough into thirds.

Press one-third of the white dough evenly into the bottom of a loaf pan that you have lined with foil, wax, or parchment paper. (I actually don't have a loaf pan so I used a tupperware container that worked just fine.)

Place another one-third of the dough into a bowl and add yellow and red food dye to make orange (refer to the chart on the back of your box). Once it is mixed evenly, press orange dough evenly over white dough.

In another bowl, add the final amount of dough and dye yellow. Press that evenly over the orange dough. Cover and refrigerate until firm (2 hours or overnight is best).

Once chilled, invert your loaf pan and unwrap your dough. Flip it back over and place it on a cutting board. Cut loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch slices using a sharp knife, trimming edges to make even, if necessary.

Cut each slice into 6 wedges.

Place 1-inch apart onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven.


(Inspired by Kathie Cooks via Pinterest)

Filed under: Yum, recipe, Food Tagged with: sugar cookie, candy corn, halloween, cookies

Fun Fact: Turnip Carving

October 31, 2011 12:36 pm · Posted by Lauren G

It's time to get dressed up and go trick or treating! That's pretty much what Halloween has become. But why all the jack-o-lanterns and slutty costumes? Some people say the holiday dates all the way back to Ancient Rome, but it's more commonly linked to a Celtic festival named Samuin, which translates to "summer's end." There are some mentions of supernatural encounters in Scottish Folklore, but there isn't much evidence to support that. The name "Halloween" comes from "All-Hallows-Even" "Even" means "evening" so the original Halloween was the night before All Hallows Day which is also referred to as All Saints' Day.

Now instead of carving a pumpking, how about trying a turnip? Believe it or not, jack-o-lanterns originated from the tradition of carving turnips into lanterns to remember the souls held in purgatory. Pumpkins were much more available in North America than turnips, and they were bigger and easier to carve. Carving pumpkins wasn't associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century. Originally, it was associated with harvest time in general.

(Inspired by Wikipedia)

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