Caramel Apples and Mulled Cider

After Halloween last year, I wrote about my frustration with the commercialization of the holiday and my intention to make our celebrations a little more community friendly this year.

In the event, I discovered that making caramel in large quantities can be a touchy business, either staying too thin and sliding of the apples or becoming too thick and clumping everywhere, which meant that they were certainly not the prettiest caramel apples, even if they tasted quite good, a fact that I tested more than once. The apple cider was also not quite up to standard, since I was unable to find the time to get some apricot brandy from the liquor store.

Even so, things went very well. We gave away by far the better part of sixty apples and a similar number of apple ciders, and many people, especially the parents, seemed genuinely delighted. I had to encourage several of the adults to leave the apples for the children and to content themselves with cider, and the oldest among them sometimes became quite nostalgic.

It was a real pleasure for me, despite the cold, to sit on the porch and see the excitement of the children and the surprise of the adults, to have people stay long enough to drink a cup of cider rather than just take a few candies and leave, to have the holiday be something more, even if only a little more, than a commercial candy exchange.

Now I just have to perfect the art of making caramel before Halloween comes around again.

  1. Lauren said:

    Did you know most of the families who stopped by? For the ones you didn’t know, were they all fairly receptive to your new/improved Halloween?

  2. Lauren,

    I knew many of them, but most of the others were with their parents, so I could check to make sure that they were okay with things. If kids came on their own, I just gave them crap candy.

  3. John Jantunen said:

    Yes, quite a treat Luke. Kai ate his candy apple the moment he got home (he was very excited and chose it over all the other crap candy) and Anyk ate his the next day (he did, however, have a double dose of your cider and I didn’t hear any complaints although a bit of apricot brandy might have got him into bed a bit sooner). Nicely done.

  4. John,

    You had better get your kids ready for next year though, because I just may make people sing a song or do a dance or something to get their treats. There will be a strict no-Lady-Gaga-or-Justin-Bieber rule, however, so your kids will probably have an advantage anyway.

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