Let’s unveil why we indulge in the darker side of celebrations for Halloween.
Halloween, with its eerie ambience and captivating mystique, has evolved into a globally celebrated occasion. From the intricate costumes to the spine-tingling decorations, this holiday exudes an air of enchantment. Yet, amidst the masks and pumpkins, there’s one sweet tradition that steals the spotlight: Halloween chocolate.
But why do we celebrate Halloween with spooky and sweet treats, and why is the occasion so hair-raising?
The haunting celebration of Halloween
Before we delve into our (and soon to be your) favourite Halloween chocolate treats, let’s take a look at where Halloween’s ghostly roots, and why it’s such a spooktacular occasion.
Where did Halloween come from?
With its enchanting blend of pagan and Christian traditions, Halloween has deep and mysterious origins. The celebration we know today traces its lineage back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark, cold winter in what is now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France.
With the spread of Christianity, the Church sought to integrate Pagan festivals into its religious calendar, which led to the merging of both the Celtic and Pagan Halloween traditions. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as All Saints’ Day, a day to honour saints and martyrs. The evening before, October 31st, was known as All Hallows’ Eve, which eventually evolved into Halloween.
In the hundreds of years since this occasion, Halloween has since exploded in popularity in the West, becoming the staple celebration we know and love today. In the United States, Halloween gained widespread popularity in the modern world during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this time, the holiday evolved from its ancient and European roots, transforming into a more community-oriented and family-friendly celebration.
In the UK, the British public quickly caught wind of the emerging Halloween traditions from across the pond, but not until the latter half of the 20th century, and the early 21st century. British youth in particular, were heavily influenced by American culture and media, including films and television shows featuring Halloween themes.
Eerie Halloween activities we know and love
Halloween comes with its fair share of spooky surprises, and what’s not to love about them? But where exactly did they come from, and how many of these devilish delights are real, or just an old-wives tale?
The age-old Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating”
The phrase “trick-or-treat” is synonymous with Halloween, but its origins are shrouded in mystery. In medieval Europe, particularly in the British Isles, the practice of “souling” emerged. On All Hallows’ Eve, poor people, often children, would go “souling,” visiting homes and offering prayers for the souls of the deceased in exchange for small, round cakes known as “soul cakes.” This act of charity was believed to help alleviate hauntings and ensure good fortune for the coming year.
In the United States, the tradition of trick-or-treating as we know it today began to take shape in the early 20th century. It was influenced by a mix of American and European customs and underwent significant changes. Halloween gradually transformed from a night of pranks and mischief into a more community-oriented celebration. Children, dressed in costumes, started going door-to-door asking for treats or else they might play a prank on the homeowner. Over time, the practice became more focused on receiving treats, and the phrase “trick-or-treat” became synonymous with Halloween.
Why do we give sweets at Halloween?
The tradition of giving sweets at Halloween is deeply entwined with the holiday’s historical roots. While Halloween chocolate treats may not have been part of ancient Samhain celebrations, they share a spiritual connection with the customs of souling and, particularly, the offering of soul cakes.
Sweet offerings to appease spirits
The practice of offering soul cakes during souling evolved into offering various treats to children on Halloween night. These treats were meant to appease spirits and ensure a peaceful year ahead. Over time, the types of sweets offered expanded to include Halloween chocolate treats, candies, and other delightful confections.
The modern delight of Halloween chocolate treats
In the 20th century, Halloween chocolate treats gained prominence, becoming an integral part of the holiday’s traditions. These delectable creations take on various forms, from spooky-shaped chocolates to intricately designed Halloween-themed truffles.
Here at Hotel Chocolat, we’re no strangers to Halloween chocolate, and we know how to put on a spooky show. Whilst we might be biassed, we think our Halloween H-Box is the perfect, colourful combination of the best parts of Halloween. From our Oozy Eyes, a classic milk chocolate and white chocolate truffle with a gooey caramel centre, to our Petrifying Pumpkin, a firm favourite with a salted caramel filling. It’s the perfect little Halloween chocolate treat to take with you as a gift for a Halloween party, and not to mention – it also looks great to match the creative, autumnal occasion.
For the little ones, we know how to keep the little trick-or-treaters happy with our selection of Halloween goodies. From our assortment of caramel milk chocolates in our Cryptopher the Vampire selection box, to milk chocolate Halloween shapes in or Carvin’ The Pumpkin – these are perfect to keep in your hallway when you’re answering the door to the mischief makers. From miniature chocolate tombstones, little ghosts, skulls, bats, and cats — there’s a funky Halloween treat for everyone. Just make sure you prepare for any tricks up their ghoulish sleeves!
Craft your own Halloween activities with Hotel Chocolat
One of the most delightful aspects of Halloween is the opportunity to get creative and craft your own spooky treats. DIY Halloween chocolate delights allow you to put your own spin on the celebrations, and they’re a great way to get the kids involved in some Halloween arts and crafts.
One of the most exhilarating Halloween games you can indulge in is the Pumpkin Piñata. Craft your own pumpkin piñata and fill it with our Hotel Chocolat’s delectable chocolate treats and get ready for some smashing fun.
- Orange crepe paper or tissue paper
- Old newspapers, comics or magazines (for paper mache)
- Craft glue
- Small toys and Halloween chocolate (we recommend the individual treats from our Carvin’ The Pumpkin collection, or a few of our Yumpkins.)
- Begin by inflating a balloon to your desired size for the piñata and secure it with a string.
- Create your paper mache by dipping strips of newspaper in a diluted glue mix. Use the strips tocoat the inflated balloon. Allow the paper to harden, creating a sturdy paper mache shell.
- Once the paper mache is completely set, gently pop the balloon inside, leaving you with a round hollow shape — your pumpkin is starting to come together.
- Fill the pumpkin with small treats. We recommend individually wrapped chocolate and candy treats. Why not pop in a couple of our small chocolate packs or Milk Chocolate Licks alongside some smaller nibbles? You can feed the treats into the hollow pumpkin,through the hole where the balloon had been tied.
- Seal the hole with more paper mache and let it set.
- Cover your piñata with orange crepe paper or tissue paper to mimic a pumpkin’s appearance. You can add a spooky face or design using craft glue and black paper cutouts. Alternatively, draw a face with a black marker pen.
- Hang the pumpkin piñata up and let your Halloween guests take turns trying to break it open to reveal the hidden treats!
Cauldron chocolate fondue
If you’re looking for a unique and delightful Halloween activity, consider setting up a chocolate fondue station with a touch of magic, using our exquisite chocolates. By opting for mini cauldrons as your fondue bowls, you can bring a fresh and enchanting twist to the occasion.
- 400g of Hotel Chocolat chocolate (we recommend our 40% Milk Chocolate Slab or our 40% Milk Chocolate Batons)
- 285ml double cream
- 85g melted unsalted butter
- Mini heat-safe cauldron pots
- Edible Halloween treats, such as googly eyes, or jelly snakes, to dip into the chocolate fondue.
- Begin by finely chopping or grating your Hotel Chocolat chocolate into small, uniform pieces.
- In a small saucepan, heat the double cream over medium heat until it simmers. Remove it from the heat immediately to avoid boiling.
- Melt the chopped Hotel Chocolat chocolate in a heatproof bowl by pouring the hot cream over it. Stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Cut the unsalted butter into small pieces and add it to the chocolate mixture, stirring until fully incorporated and glossy.
- Allow the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours until it firms up.
- Once set, reheat the chocolate fondue and transfer it into mini cauldron pots.
- For a bewitching Halloween twist, drop a few of our Lime Chocolate Truffles Selector into the fondue to create a Frankenstein-like appearance on the chocolate fondue’s surface.
- Serve the cauldron chocolate fondue with an assortment of dippables like marshmallows, fruit, and jelly snakes for a spellbindingly sweet treat.
Haunted house luminary
As the days grow shorter and the nights darker, immerse yourself in the spirit of Halloween with a bewitching craft idea. Create an enchanting haunted houselLuminary to add an atmospheric touch to your Halloween decorations.
- A clean, empty glass jar (choose various sizes for a spooky village effect)
- Black construction paper or cardstock
- Orange and yellow tissue paper
- Craft glue
- A paintbrush
- Tea light candles or battery-operated LED candles
- Clean and dry the glass jar thoroughly.
- Cut out spooky silhouettes from the black construction paper to represent haunted house shapes. You can also create ghosts, bats, witches, or any other Halloween-themed shapes you like.
- Use the glue or decoupage glue to adhere the cut-out shapes onto the outside of the glass jar. Ensure they stick securely and are evenly distributed around the jar.
- Tear small pieces of orange and yellow tissue paper.
- Apply a layer of glue to the inside of the glass jar using a paintbrush.
- Carefully press the torn tissue paper pieces onto the glue-covered surface, creating a stained glass effect. Overlap the pieces for a more intricate appearance.
- Allow the glue and tissue paper to dry completely. This will give the luminary a vibrant, warm glow when lit from within.
- Once the luminary is dry, place a tea light candle or battery-operated LED candle inside the jar.
- Turn off the lights, curl up with a cup of Apple Pie Hot Chocolate Sachets (whipped up in our Velvetiser, of course) and watch as your Haunted House Luminary casts spooky shadows and emanates a mysterious, ghostly light.
Spooktacular delights from Hotel Chocolat
However you choose to celebrate this Halloween, spread the treats with our collection of Halloween chocolate delights. From our adorable Yumpkins that are big hits with the little trick-or-treaters, or our Wingston The Bat dark chocolate selection for Halloween aficionados — check out our Halloween Chocolate Range to stock up your cauldron today.