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Halloween (also spelled Hallowe'en) is an annual holiday celebrated on October 31. It has roots in the Gaelic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints. It is largely a secular celebration but some have expressed strong feelings about perceived religious overtones. Irish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America during Ireland's Great Famine of the 1840s.

The day is often associated with orange and black, and is strongly associated with symbols like the jack-o'-lantern. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, ghost tours, bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, pranks, reading scary stories, and watching horror films.

Because the holiday comes in the wake of the annual apple harvest, candy apples (known as toffee apples outside North America), caramel or taffy apples are a common Halloween treat made by rolling whole apples in a sticky sugar syrup, sometimes followed by rolling them in nuts.

At one time, candy apples were commonly given to children, but the practice rapidly waned in the wake of widespread rumors that some individuals were embedding items like pins and razor blades in the apples. While there is evidence of such incidents, they are quite rare and have never resulted in serious injury. Nonetheless, many parents assumed that such heinous practices were rampant. At the peak of the hysteria, some hospitals offered free x-rays of children's Halloween hauls in order to find evidence of tampering. Virtually all of the few known candy poisoning incidents involved parents who poisoned their own children's candy, and there have been occasional reports of children putting needles in their own candy in need of a bit of attention.

Other foods associated with the holiday:

* Apple cider (unfiltered apple juice)
* Barmbrack (Ireland)
* Bonfire toffee (Britain)
* Candy apple
* Candy corn (North America)
* Caramel apple
* Caramel corn
* Cider
* Colcannon (Ireland)
* Popcorn
* Pumpkin, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread
* Roasted pumpkin seeds
* Roasted sweet corn
* Soul cakes
* Novelty candy shaped like skulls, pumpkins, bats, worms, etc.
Published by Joan2007 on Oct 22, 2009

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