Food Memories

Making chili and cornbread

Halloween may seem like a strange holiday to have a food tradition, but there was one in my family.

My mom would always make a big pot of chili for us before we went out trick-or-treating with my dad.

“Something to warm your bellies,” she would always say.

When I grew up and my mother sold her house and no longer had small children or grandchildren to feed, I began carrying on the tradition.

I remember fondly those Halloweens so long ago, marching around my neighborhood in costume with a stomach full of my mom’s chili, but the ones from my adulthood are now much more vivid.

One Halloween, we even sat out on the porch and gave out candy as it was so balmy.

Yes, I even made Halloween chili that warm night.

The Halloweens we carved pumpkins with our exchange daughters and put them on the porch after eating our chili. Having my mom and sometimes my mother-in-law over before my sister-in-law brought her kids in costume.

When my husband went a few weeks ago for what may be the last visit with his mom, my mother-in-law mentioned how she misses my Halloween pot of chili. It was a bittersweet comment, knowing those days are gone for all of us.

It is perhaps the only night of the year I miss living in the suburbs, having friends and family stop by for candy and maybe even a bowl of chili.

Last night, I prepared our traditional first pot of chili for the season, and we nestled in to watch one of my favorite scary movies.

No trick-or-treaters in the woods, but that pot of chili is still a treat in so many ways.

Do you have a food tradition connected with Halloween, or any tradition you’ve carried into adulthood?

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28 Responses

  1. merr says:

    I have no Halloween tradition but the idea of a food tradition, as Eliza said, sounds great.

  2. Warm your belly? I haven’t heard that in ages. Have to say that I also miss living in a regular neighborhood on Halloween; the kids were so cute and I got to finish the candy they didn’t take.

  3. When I was a kid, my mom wouldn’t allow us to trick or treat, thinking that we might get abducted or poisoned along the way. So when I went to college, that’s what my trick or treating started. I love Halloween.

  4. Sheryl says:

    For the past two years,Halloween has had to be delayed due to storms. It’s simply not the same in November…

  5. Heather L. says:

    I use to watch my grandfather cook what he called “cheese and eggs” whenever we visited. I picked up the “recipe” and can make it myself but haven’t done so for along time because nobody but me likes it. But I’m getting nostalgic now.

    • Kerri says:

      You should give yourself a “treat” and do fix it for yourself, Heather! I have some foods that my husband doesn’t like, but I will cook them every once in awhile for just me.

  6. Never had a halloween food tradition–unless you count stealing all the chocolate candies out of my kids’ trick and treat baskets. But I’m thinking that probably doesn’t count.

  7. Carol says:

    I have no food tradition, but I do wash my front windows while waiting for the kids to come by. My dogs go nuts with people at the door, so I wait on the porch and wash my windows. Silly, but it works.

    • Kerri says:

      Doesn’t sound silly to me. My mom always did housework on Fridays. That was the day and even still today, I think of Friday as cleaning day!

  8. Kerry Dexter says:

    we always used to give out apples on Halloween, and celebrate the next day, All Saints Day, by making apple pie. probably not a church tradition for that holy day, but I still do it.

  9. I usually make potato bacon chowder before my kiddos head out on Halloween. At Christmas we always make enchiladas on Christmas Eve. And for Christmas I make baked Alaska, just like my mom did when I was a kid. I do love food traditions.

    • Kerri says:

      Those are great traditions! Sounds wonderful and very non-traditional. Now that we don’t have to go anywhere usually on Christmas, tacos are our meal of choice!

  10. Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t much of a cook—except for holiday dinners but I cherish those memories.

  11. That’s such a sweet story. I also cook or bake on Halloween. Yesterday, it was pulled BBQ chicken so everyone can make a sandwich, before hurrying out the door. And an apple/pear spice cake, which evolved from the fact that I had an apple and a pear leftover.. though, I intended to make a spice cake of some sort. Traditions are so comforting and special, I’m glad that you were able to restore yours in your own way – now that you’re in the woods! And sidenote: I also use the same casserole, isn’t it great? I make just about everything in that. Perfect sizing for the 4 of us for whatever recipe I’ve needed (and that includes corncake) 🙂

  12. Alexandra says:

    This is a great idea. I brought my kids up in France, where there was no Halloween in the 1970s, but I told them about it. They especially like the idea of neighbors giving candy. I made it a tradition to eat pumpkin pie to celebrate. This was a challenge, because we could not get store-bought canned pumpkin. I hope it is a tradition they will continue with their families, now that they all live back here in the States.

  13. We have a lot of food traditions – so many of our holiday and seasonal memories have to do with specific foods.

  14. Eliza says:

    I love the idea of a Food Tradition 🙂