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How Halloween Surrendered To Sweets: A Long, Old Tale

The interior of Shane Confectionery in Philadelphia decorated for Halloween. Credit: Copyright 2016 courtesy of Shane Confectionery

The interior of Shane Confectionery in Philadelphia decorated for Halloween. Credit: Copyright 2016 courtesy of Shane Confectionery

Halloween specialties

Shane Confectionery makes a variety of candies especially for Halloween

Shane Confectionery makes a variety of candies especially for Halloween

In addition to seasonal candies like apple cider caramels and pumpkin chocolates, the shop pays homage to Halloween with black, white and orange licorice pastilles, Halloween creams and Halloween toy candies shaped like witches, cats and wolves. This year the shop is going one step further for Halloween, hosting its first haunted tour. “The shop and kitchens will be ornamented as a Victorian home in mourning, through which our tour guide will escort visitors on the two weekends preceding Halloween,” said Laurel Burmeister, Shane’s tour and collections manager.

Although an important part of Shane’s modern offerings, Halloween candy would have been unknown to the company’s forebears, as well the folks at Ye Old Pepper Candy Companie or to confectioners like the Cortese family of New Orleans, makers of Roman taffy.

Even Milton S. Hershey, founder of the 122-year old Hershey Co., today’s first word in goodies for trick-or-treaters, would have been bewildered by what has become a most integral part of an American childhood — the door-to-door bombardment of sweet treats on Halloween night.

It wasn’t until the 1940s that trick-or-treating as we now know it began to catch on. By the 1950s, Halloween had become a candy-gobbling celebration dear to children around the country. By the 21st century Halloween and its assorted candies has become one of the most exported American customs — and one that feeds delectably off the proud history of our nation’s earliest confectioners.



Zester Daily contributor Ramin Ganeshram is a journalist and professional chef trained at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, where she has also worked as a chef instructor. She has won seven Society of Professional Journalist awards and been nominated for the International Association of Culinary Professionals' Bert Greene Award. Ganeshram's books include "Sweet Hands: Island Cooking From Trinidad & Tobago," "America I Am: Pass It Down Cookbook" (with Jeff Henderson) and "Stir It Up." Her book "Future Chefs" won an IACP Cookbook of the year award and she is the ghostwriter of the best selling Sweetie Pies Cookbook. Her book Cooking With Coconut will be out from Workman/Storey in December 2016.

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