The Sweet History of Halloween Candy

Children in Halloween costumes trick or treating

Did you know that Halloween hasn’t always involved trick-or-treating for candy? Actually, Halloween used to be undertaken as The Festival of Samhain, which celebrated the harvest and the Celtic New Year – which started on November 1st. So, how did Halloween turn into an all out candy grab? Well, it started right here in America, believe it or not.

Going a-Souling

Trick-or-treating evolved from an old tradition called “going a-souling” that originated in England and Ireland. “Going a-souling” occurred when children in early 20th century Europe would celebrate the Festival of Samhain by soliciting food door to door. Kids would knock on a neighbor’s door and offer to pray for the souls of their deceased relative in exchange for gifts. They would be handed food, coins, ale and other trinkets in exchange for their kind thoughts. The “souling” tradition made its way to America in the early 1900s, when the United States welcomed a large influx of European immigrants.

From Trinkets to Treats

Trick-or-treating gained popularity in the 1930s and 40s, as cities and towns pushed to emphasize getting to know your neighbor and becoming more communal. However, as Halloween and trick-or-treating became more popular, parents felt unsafe allowing their children to accept unwrapped food from strangers. Some of the most popular homemade treats were cookies, cakes, fruit, popcorn balls and muffins. They argued that the treats could be tampered with and potentially harm their children. Combine this risk with how expensive and time consuming it is to make treats from scratch, and the spooky holiday had a conundrum: high demand without steady, reliable (cheap and quick) supply.

Enter Candy

During the 1950s, Halloween became incredibly popular and a holiday celebrated nationwide. However, parents were still concerned over what their children were being served. Candy producers saw this as a golden opportunity to satisfy a need with their product. Candy producers created large advertising campaigns promoting the safety of prepackaged candy. They argued that it was safer for children to eat packaged candy, because it couldn’t be altered without visible marks on the wrapper. As the number of trick-or-treaters swelled, it became much cheaper to buy candy and hand it out to the entire neighborhood.

Remember to Brush

Did you know that the average Jack-o-lantern can hold 250 pieces of candy and roughly 9,000 calories? That’s a lot of calories, and it mostly comes from sugar. This is why it’s so important that your children brush their teeth after trick-or-treating. Remind your little ghouls and goblins to brush after they’re done eating candy so that they can prevent cavities and tooth decay. Visit our office if your child begins experiencing sensitive teeth. We will thoroughly evaluate the state o f their oral health, and provide a treatment solution that best fits their circumstances.

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