It’s that time of year again – the time when many around the world hang spooky lanterns, carve gruesome pumpkins and hit the streets to go trick-or-treating.
That’s right: Halloween is here. And while it’s okay to reuse last year’s costume (more than okay, recycling is cool!), there’s no reason why you can’t treat your tastebuds to something new on the Halloween treats front.
From Mexican pan de muerto to Irish barmbrack, discover seven traditional (not to mention sugary!) Halloween food options from around the world.
1. Barmbrack, Ireland
On All Hallows’ Eve, the wafting smell of freshly baked barmbrack (báirín breac in Irish) fills homes all over Ireland. A quick and easy Halloween treat to prepare (especially as far as bread is concerned), this particular loaf is traditionally filled with raisins and sultanas – and best enjoyed with a large slathering of butter and a cuppa.
Traditionally, various objects are baked into the loaf – think anything from a piece of cloth to a silver coin. Each object carries a different meaning for the year ahead. Some are good, some not so good…so choose your slice carefully!
2. Pão-por-Deus, Portugal
Another item to add to your Halloween baking wish list: also known as a soul cake, pães-de-Deus (“breads of God”) are small, round fluffy ball of coconut-y goodness. Traditionally eaten on All Saints’ Day (Dia de Todos-os-Santos) on 1 November, ingredients for the batter include a splash of rum, a little lemon zest and a dash of vanilla.
In Portugal, pão-de-Deus is given to children and the poor as a treat when they go from door to door singing and saying prayers for the dead. Rumour has it that this practice might be the origin of trick-or-treating…
3. Pan dei morti, Italy
Often called fave dei morti (“beans of the dead”) due to their oval shape, these chewy little Halloween biscuits are eaten by many Italian families on All Souls’ Day (Commemorazione dei defunti) on 2 November.
Made with ground-up almonds, pine nuts, cinnamon and lemon zest, they’re a treat capable of making even a savoury person’s mouth water.
4. Pan de muerto, Mexico
A traditional Halloween bake prepared in the days leading up to the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos), the literally translated “bread of the dead” is a soft, sweet bread roll.
True to its name, pan de muerto is eaten next to a loved one’s grave in celebration of their life, and its decoration takes the shape of a bit of bone-shaped dough on top.
The simple recipe can also be flavoured with orange-flower water, anise seeds or other ingredients, depending on the region.
5. Huesos de santo, Spain
If you haven’t tried this Halloween treat – ’holy bones’ made out of marzipan – you’re missing out. Eaten around All Saints’ Day or Día de Todos los Santos in Spain, they have various fillings and are often covered in syrup.
6. Candy apples, United States
Perhaps the most well-known Halloween candy of all. All Hallows’ Eve in the States wouldn’t be complete without the candy apple (known as toffee apples in the UK). Covered in a deliciously sticky sugar coating – normally mixed with corn syrup, water, cinnamon and red food coloring – these apples dress to impress. And thanks to the timely apple harvest, there’s no shortage of them.
7. Bonfire toffee, United Kingdom
Bonfire toffee is a traditional Halloween sweet treat across the UK, but also on Guy Fawkes Night. The darker, spooky-looking toffee is made from black treacle, butter and sugar.
If you’re making it from scratch, prepare to get busy with a hammer – you’ll need to dismember a sheet’s worth of toffee and break it up into bite-size chunks!
Are you peckish for any traditional (or not-so-traditional) Halloween treats? Let us know in the comments!