4 Ghoulishly Good Traditional Halloween Foods For A Deliciously Spooky Dinner

The old saying by Ray Bradbury says, “Something wicked this way comes…” But when Halloween comes around at The Austin Artisan, we give the old saying a different twist altogether. Something delicious this way comes.

In homage to the spookiest season of the year, we’re talking about some of our favorite traditional Halloween foods. Add them to your dinner table and invite your goblins, ghosts, witches, and vampires to enjoy a delectable feast that is perfectly on theme. 

Woman dressed as witch holds up a jack-o-lantern.

Caramel Apples

Apples themselves have long been a symbol of this time of year. This is partly because of their seasonal nature that peaks just about now, but also because of their long-standing symbol of being forbidden fruit. 

But according to historian Joan Morgan, bobbing for apples had a more romantic history, less than a spooky history (although one superstitious nonetheless). Back in the day, girls looking for a suitor would mark their apples before placing them in the barrel of water. As the apples floated and potential suitors went to work trying to catch one with their teeth, the apples became a matchmaking game. Whichever fellow happened to catch the young woman’s apple foretold of a potential romance in the future. 

How about them apples? (Sorry, we had to.)

But what about caramel apples? Why are they so associated with Halloween? Well. It turns out that caramel apples were the result of an experiment in reducing food waste.

A platter of candy apples sits on a black plate.

 It was the 1950s. After the Halloween season was over, it seems Dan Walker of Kraft Foods noticed an overabundance of excess caramels. It occurred to him to melt the caramel down and throw a batch of them in. The result was a history-making,  culinary masterpiece. Now, caramel apples are practically an art form. 

Want to add a caramel apple to your Halloween line-up? Check out these caramel apple recipes! They make delicious gifts

Pumpkin Seeds

I once saw a t-shirt that confessed, “I hate pumpkin spice. There, I said it.” 

It seems pumpkin spice has become almost as controversial as the cats vs. dogs debate. But when it comes to Halloween, there’s no avoiding it. And while pumpkin spice might be the flavor everyone loves to hate, you have to admit, there’s something magical about that moment that every coffee shop becomes chock full of lattes filled with the stuff. 

But why have pumpkins become known as a spooky squash? 

The history of jack-o-lanterns goes back to old folklore. The story goes that an old Irish blacksmith had tricked the devil, and when he died, he was left to linger on the earth. He hollowed out a turnip to carry an ember the devil had given him to light the way as he wandered the earth. The Irish celebrated this folklore every year by carving scary faces on turnips and even going so far as to mimic the part of the story by burning a piece of coal inside. 

Jack-O-Lantern sits in a window.

Irish immigrants to the U.S. found a lot more pumpkins than turnips. And we have to admit; they make better carving material. Just check out these beautiful jack-o-lanterns

But don’t let all those seeds go to waste. You can roast them into something chock full of magnesium and Vitamin K, and absolutely delicious. Use a simple roasted pumpkin seed recipe like this one from AllRecipes. 

Roasted pumpkin seeds.

Candy Corn

Vox once proclaimed candy corn “Halloween’s most contentious sweet.” 

The flavor profile itself is one of honey, sugar, butter, and vanilla. What’s not to like there? Probably nothing. It’s the waxy texture that makes this candy one of those love it or hate it kinds of things. 

The candy’s tri-color orange, yellow, and white look is meant to mimic chicken feed, which is actually what the kernels were marketed as at one point. Chicken feed candy was a hit with the kiddoes. The company now known for creating Jelly Bellies that popularized the candy around the turn of the century. And over time, the “penny candy” became a favorite amongst kids that had little money to spend. The candy wasn’t so much associated with Halloween as it was a popular go-to year-round. 

Candy corn spills out of glass jar.

But as candy and Halloween became more and more synonymous, so did the rise of candy corn as the candy of the season. Its harvest colors and history as one of the first candies to be passed out to trick-or-treaters in the 1950s cemented its status as an iconic Halloween food.

Bonfire Toffee

Unless you are from the United Kingdom, you may not have heard of bonfire toffee. But no list of Halloween foods would be complete without this stiff, brittle toffee that is also associated with the country’s Guy Fawkes night. 

Bonfire toffee.

Photo Credit: Dominic Winsor from Southampton, United Kingdom via WikiCommons

The confection consists of demerara sugar, black treacle, and corn syrup. It isn’t appealing to the eyes, but its popularity speaks to its deliciousness on the tongue. Want to try your hand at making it? One of our favorite bonfire toffee recipes comes from The Spruce Eats

Throw a Dinner Party

Want to host a dinner party that includes these and more from all that the autumnal harvest season has to offer? The Austin Artisan has you covered, but you have to move fast–private caterings are booking up quickly. In fact, our Christmas calendar is already just about full! 

Let us know what you have in mind, and we will put our culinary wizardry to the task. Check out our dinner party page or give us a call at  (737) 307-2250 to explore the possibilities.

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