It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing from emerald to crimson, the air is crisp, and everyone’s getting into the Halloween spirit by carving jack-o-lanterns,
decorating their homes, and conjuring costume disguises.

Back in the 1950s, youngsters loved trick-or-treating at homes where people gave out homemade treats. They’d collect bags of bright red candy apples, salty-sweet popcorn balls, chewy pull taffy, and spooky soul cakes. Although times have changed, you and your family can still make these classic homemade Halloween treats. Gather everyone in the kitchen and make treats to munch on or to fill your candy dish.

First, some simple tips for this spine-chilling holiday:

It’s easy to turn almost any dessert into a colorful and delicious Halloween treat. For example, using orange, purple, or black food coloring can add some spookiness to many ordinary foods.

There are also many candies that can be used as dessert toppings or for decoration, such as candy corn, orange and black jellybeans, and black licorice.

This Halloween let each family member choose one of the old-fashioned Halloween recipes that they’d love to make. Get in the kitchen together, and let the magic begin!




This classic treat will be sure to brighten your Halloween celebration and satisfy even the
biggest sweet tooth.

12 red apples
12 wooden skewers
2 cups of granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup,
¼ cup water
Several drops of red coloring (eyeball it)
½ tsp. cinnamon flavoring

Cook the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking without stirring until the syrup is brittle when tested in cold water. During the cooking, any sugar crystals thrown on the sides of the pan should be carefully washed down with a wet cloth.

Remove the syrup from the heat and set at once over hot water. Add coloring and flavoring, and mix well.

Insert the skewers into the blossom end of the apples. Hold each apple by the skewer and plunge into the hot syrup. Draw it out quickly and twirl it until the syrup spreads smoothly over the apple.

Place apples with the skewer end down in a wire cake rack, which can be placed over a large bowl so that the apple does not touch anything while hardening.

These apples should be made the day they will be eaten.



An all-time favorite Halloween candy recipe, these popcorn balls are fun to make, and they’re a perfect treat to snack on.

1 cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup or molasses
1 tbsp. butter
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar

Melt the butter in an enameled saucepan. Add sugar and syrup, and cook without stirring until a little dropped into cold water will crack.

Remove from the heat and pour syrup over the popcorn, which should be spread in a large pan. Pour very slowly, turning the popcorn so the kernels will be well coated.

Shape into small balls, pressing well into shape, and wrap each in waxed paper to preserve freshness.



Your entire family will enjoy making this classic Halloween recipe. Not only will you enjoy eating the taffy, but you’ll also experience an old-fashioned taffy pull!

1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 tsp. butter
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix ingredients and boil until mixture hardens when dropped in cold water, then add the teaspoon of baking soda. Mix quickly and pour into buttered pans. When cool enough to handle and pull taffy. When pulling taffy, put nothing on your hands and keep your hands cool. After you pull the taffy, cut into sticks, and wrap in wax paper.


A Little Halloween History on Soul Cakes

Trick-or-treating as we know it began hundreds of years ago in Medieval England and Ireland. People would make small, round soul cakes for All Saints Day. Children would go door to door as they do now, but instead of collecting candy and trick-or-treating, they’d sing songs and say prayers for the dead and would receive a soul cake in their efforts. For each cake eaten, a soul would be freed from Purgatory. Make a batch of traditional soul cakes this year! They’re sweet and spicy shortbread cookies, and they just may make their way into your Halloween tradition for years to come.



Makes about 24 large, 3 ½ inch cakes
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
¾ granulated sugar
¾ cup butter
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles cornmeal.

Add the beaten egg and vinegar and mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a ball. The dough will be firm. Use your hands to press the dough together into a ball if necessary. Cover the bowl and chill for 20 minutes.

Lightly flour a clean, flat surface and roll dough out into ¼ inch thickness. Cut into large rounds using a cookie cutter. Use the end of a wooden spoon to press a cross shape into
the cakes.

Place cakes onto the baking sheets and press raisins into the top of the cakes, if desired.
Gather the scraps and roll again until all the dough has been cut into cakes.
Bake, one sheet at a time, for 12-15 minutes, or until the cake tops are lightly golden.
Cakes can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

Rachael Doukas