Finally. My favorite holiday is here. All year I look forward to the food, the treats, the scary movies, the costumes, the decor, and the all around vibe of this holiday. I think that’s in particular, it’s a holiday for misfits like me, a chance to feel at ease in a world full of seemingly ‘normal’ people.
Halloween has a really interesting history, too. Throughout the world’s history, this time of year has held various traditions, beliefs, feasts, and superstitions. Halloween is no different. It’s roots go thousands of years back, all the way to the Celts of Ireland and the UK, where it was called Samhain (meaning “summer’s end”). Although many details are still unknown, what basically took place was a festival of the Celts to gather supplies and food to prepare for winter as well as to celebrate the harvest. The belief was that it marked when the veil between this world and the Otherworld (the place of spirits, fairies, and souls) was at it’s thinnest. Offerings were made to ensure survival through the winter, bonfires were lit to honor the sun and guide the deceased, and places set at the table for the dead. Fortune telling was a popular activity because of the supernatural significance of the day. Although there are some historians who believe that Samhain’s origins have little to do with the dead and more to do with paying tribute to leaders and gods.
These traditions as well as other traditions such as costumes, trick or treating, and jack-o-lantern carving came about from this Celtic festival, but with strong influence from both Romans and later Christians. The Romans conquered the Celtic lands in the first century, an occupation that lasted several hundred years. With them, they brought practices from Roman celebrations around the same time of year: Feralia (to honor the dead) and a day to honor the goddess Pomona. When the Christians arrived, as with many other cultures and religions, they could not just convince the native people to convert to Christianity. So they created the holidays All Saints Day (also called All Hallows Day) and All Souls Day (to honor the dead) in the hopes that this would make a better transition and easier to persuade people to convert.
Instead of eradicating many of these traditions, this helped to solidify them, as well as add in a few Medieval ones like going door to door for food. When people of Celtic descent came to Americas, these traditions were brought with them, further evolving into what Halloween is today. The transition of Halloween from the UK and Ireland to the Americas also gives us the traditions with the ever so popular American pumpkin.
So to celebrate Halloween, I’ve go the perfect “trick-or-treat” snack using seasonal pumpkins. It’s “treat” because these candies are scrumptious chocolate surrounding a velvety and sweet pumpkin filling. But there’s a “trick” in there. Although they taste like they are sugary and packed with not-so-good-for-you ingredients, these are both simple and low in sugar. The ultimate trick-or-treat. Happy Halloween!
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup pitted medjool dates
- 1/4 cup coconut butter
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 cups vegan chocolate chips (use sugar-free options for sugar free truffles)
- 1/4 cup coconut butter
- pumpkin seeds, for topping
- Soak the dates in hot water for at least an hour. Blend them with the pumpkin puree, the first 1/4 cup of the coconut butter, and the pumpkin pie spice. Puree until smooth. Chill until firm.
- Scoop the pumpkin mixture into little balls and arrange on a baking sheet or freezer safe plate. Chill in the freezer until frozen, a few hours.
- Melt the chocolate chips and coconut butter over a double boiler or in the microwave (use 10 second increments with stirring in between to avoid scalding).
- When the chocolate is melted and the pumpkin balls are frozen, dip each pumpkin ball into the chocolate and coat well. Place back on the plate/baking sheet and top with a few pumpkin seeds. Let them sit so the chocolate firms up and the inner pumpkin softens. Store in the fridge and enjoy!