Because the holiday comes in the wake of the annual apple harvest, candy apples (also known as toffee, taffy or caramel apples) are a common treat at Halloween. They are made by rolling whole apples in a sticky sugar syrup, and sometimes then rolling them in nuts. At one time candy apples were a common treat given to children, but this practice rapidly waned after widespread rumors that some individuals were embedding items like pins and razor blades in the apples that they would pass out to children. While there is evidence of such incidents occurring they are very rare and have never resulted in any serious injuries. Nonetheless, many parents were under the assumption that the practice was common. At the peak of this hysteria, some hospitals were offering to x-ray children's Halloween haul at no cost in order to look for such items. Almost all of the very few Halloween candy poisoning incidents on record involved parents who poisoned their own children's candy, while there are occasional reports of children sticking needles in their own candy (and that of other children) more in an effort to get attention than cause any harm. A Halloween custom which has survived unchanged to this day in Ireland is the baking (or more often nowadays the purchase) of a barmbrack. This is a light fruit cake into which a plain ring is placed before baking. It is said that whoever finds this ring will find his or her true love during the following year.
Halloween is fast approaching and what better place to spend your Halloween break than in Ireland – as this is where this festival is said to have originated! So if you're up for fancy dress parties, bonfires, fireworks, festivals and all things spooky, then there is nowhere better to be at Halloween than in Ireland.
During Halloween in Ireland you'll find some ancient traditions and customs still practised here – so come and experience them for yourself. Here's a little guide to Halloween in Ireland so you can brush up on your knowledge of one of the world's oldest festivals before you join the Halloween celebrations in Ireland!
Here are just some of the Irish Halloween traditions which are still very much alive today.