Discover these traditional Halloween treats from around the world that will make your own celebration truly spooktacular!
Come and take a bite out of all these traditional Halloween treats!
Halloween is just around the corner which means it's almost time to don our silly or spooky costumes and stuff our faces with too many sweets. Yet other cultures around the world are getting ready to celebrate All Souls' Day, All Saints Day or Dia de Los Muertos at the beginning of November from which our Halloween (known also by the names All Saints Eve or All Hallows Eve) is derived, with all sorts of different sweet treats and meals. Let us take you on a whistle-stop tour around the world and discover what everyone will be tucking into this spooky season!
Bonfire toffee, UK
Here in the UK, bonfire toffee, made by mixing melted black treacle, butter and sugar, is a sweet and sticky sweet eaten during Guy Fawkes Night on the 5th November as well as on Halloween. Easy and quick to make, homemade versions of this dark-coloured sweet are delicious and are often smashed into bite-size manageable chunks - it's always a challenge to not get this sticky sweet treat stuck in your teeth! Toffee also provides the crunchy outer shell of delicious toffee apples that are often sold this time of year throughout the country.
Another Halloween tradition in the UK, although lesser known, is the baking of soul cakes that were handed out on All Saint's Day in medieval times to those who went door-to-door in what may be the precursor to today's trick-or-treating. In exchange for these cakes, prayers would be said for the dead. Today, the cakes are baked in a variety of shapes yet are commonly flavoured with aromatic spices such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and are dotted with plump and juicy raisins and currents. As a finishing touch, the sign of the cross is often scored onto the top too.
Pan de muerto, Mexico
The sweet soft bread known as pan de muerto that is lovingly baked towards the buildup of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico is often either eaten at the grave of a lost one or is placed atop an altar in offering. Dia de Los Muertos here is both a day for celebration and remembrance for all those that have passed away. Yet it is not as a day of sadness as the Mexicans believe that their loved ones awake and celebrate with them. The spirits do not eat the bread, but absorb its essence after their long journey back to Earth. Depending on the region, the dough for the traditional pan de muerto can be flavoured with orange-flower water, aniseed or some other delicious spice with added sugar for a tasty glaze. The top of the bread is often adorned with strips of dough to resemble bones or small, round pieces of dough are modelled to look like tears.
Guagua de pan, Ecuador
Guagua de pan (translating literally as bread babies) are sweet rolls shaped and decorated into doll-like figures and are a big part of the Day of the Dead tradition in parts of South America. Although they often resemble a baby or infant swaddled in a blanket, the individual sweet breads are said to represent the recently and dearly departed according to pre-Columbian traditions. Generally made with wheat and filled generously with sweet, sticky jelly, these Ecuadorian treats are shared between friends or family or are simply used for a ceremonial purpose on the big day.
Fave dei morti, Italy
In sunny Italy, All Souls' Day is often celebrated by families with the baking and eating of chewy, delicate cookies (sometimes white, brown or a festive pink) called fave dei morti or ossei dei morti, whose name translates to "beans of the dead" or "bones of the dead" thanks to their typically oblong shape. They are principally made from almonds and are liberally covered with sugar to really satisfy your sweet tooth. The little cookies were originally made with broad beans but this main ingredient was changed to almonds as broad beans can be very toxic for those with the hereditary condition favism. But the 'fave' in the name has since firmly stuck!