During World War I there was an influenza pandemic hitting many U.S. cities. During this epidemic many service members were in the trenches fight for our freedoms. Our government found a way through the mouths of our servicemen to help them go the extra mile! Since then, as a nation, we have adopted the tradition of “trick or treat” and candy for Halloween!
According to Washington Post writer, Lora Vogt, previously there had been no real connection to Halloween and candy. The spooky season had previously focused on imagery, parties and parades celebrating Halloween night pranks. Within a generation, Halloween would become a candy season with it’s origins traced back to WWI.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, Americans were fast to adopt a reputation of having a sweet tooth. There existed a lot of caramel recipes, penny candy, and other confections. In the early 20th century the candy industry became transformational with the manufacturing of new food products and names like Hershey, Necco, and Mars, becoming household names. In fact, many candies were touted as being healthful! The U.S. government paid special attention to perceived nutritional deficits among young men in the service and candy offered a ready-made solution.
In April 1917, the U.S. joined WWI and officials thought that the additional caloric intake of suger might help the soldiers go the extra mile and bolster the spirit. Service members were issued gifted candy as well as having the ability to purchase it. Mixed candies, chocolates, chewing gum, licorice and gum drops were the most popular as well as home-made versions.
In the 1930’s, the children of the WWI era popularized “trick or treating” in the U.S. Learn more.
This is no trick…just the treat of learning a bit about history! In the meantime, we’ll share some of our traditions of celebrating Halloween at McGregor!