Bobbing for Apples Used to Be a Much More Extreme Halloween Tradition

by Jacklyn Krol
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Bobbing for apples used to be a dangerous Halloween tradition.

Roughly 200 years ago during the mid-19th century, Halloweens included apple bobbing. The tradition began similar to the way you think of it today. Apples were in a tub of water and unmarried people would compete first. Whoever successfully bites into an apple will be the next person allowed to get married.

Here’s where things get intense. Some people held what was called Snap Apple Night. In England, apples and nuts were considered to be “powerful prognosticators.” Meanwhile, Celtic people created games around it. The British Isles created the Snap Apple Night. Players have their hands tied behind their backs. They had to try and bite an apple suspended by a string. But for most of the Snap Apple Nights, the game was done in a more extreme manner.

The apple was speared on the end of a stick. A lit candle was at the other end of the stick. So then the stick was spun and the person attempted to get a bite of the apple without getting a face full of hot wax. Quite the torturous game.

Halloween Trick or Treating’s Origins

Did you know that trick or treating didn’t involve candy at one time? Halloween was based on religions and cultures. All Hallow’s Eve is actually based on the Samhain feast from Celtic people and then the Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day. In the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween became an actual holiday celebration.

Before the idea of trick or treating came about, people created “soul cakes”. The actual dessert is similar to a small biscuit or cake. People went door to door and gave out the snacks while praying for their deceased loved ones.

So then in the late 1930s, trick or treating was invented. But back then, The Great Depression hit. At the time, sugar rationing took place and candy was not mass-produced. So people gave cookies, fruit, nuts, small toys, and even money.

Candy Corn Creation

Candy corn is the classic Halloween treat. It was created by George Renninger in the 1880s. Prior to his official creation, similar candies were created by farmers without the colors or shapes. His company, the Wunderle Candy Company in Philidelphia, sold his creations.

The Goelitz Candy Company, now Jelly Belly, then bought the recipe and mass-produced the candy in 1898. They called it “chicken feed.” Why, you ask? Before World War I, people viewed corn as animal food, not for people.

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