The Reason One Person Decided To Give Out Potatoes On Halloween

When kids say "trick-or-treat," it's unlikely that they have potatoes in mind for the treat. Getting a spud almost sounds like a trick, but on Halloween, some tricks are more merry than mean. It may not even be that outlandish to receive a potato, after all, considering it wasn't always candy that was handed out on Halloween, per History.

The Halloween tradition, in its very early form, goes way back. According to National Geographic, the ancient Celtic New Year is the oldest ancestor of Halloween. Over time, it merged with other holidays, such as All Saints' Day and Guy Fawkes Night, per History. "Soul food" pastries, nuts, fruits, and even ale were historically given away as treats. During the early 20th century, these traditions were brought over to the U.S., and modern-day Halloween took shape, with candy companies inserting themselves into the fun circa the mid-1900s. Nowadays, it's still standard to give out candy, but clearly, there is precedent for shaking things up a bit.


One Milwaukee resident, Sarah Ross decided to give out potatoes this Halloween. As documented by Boredpanda, this social experiment was announced via Facebook post, and throughout the night, Ross commented on the results. 

A child grabbed the first spud, showing it off to everyone in the neighborhood. One teen girl inquired what would happen if she took a potato. "You'd have a potato!" Ross replied. Parents were confused, but the children eventually got into it. Trick-or-treaters specifically showed up to get the spuds, with one steampunk-dressed group shouting "Potato Gang!" It didn't matter that Ross didn't have Halloween decorations set out. In the end, they gave out 46 potatoes in less than two hours, with the final group fighting over the last one. Pencils were also offered, but those didn't catch on, per Boredpanda.

Ross capitalized on their success. So, what's the conclusion of this experiment? Even though children are conditioned to expect candy on Halloween, potatoes still seem sweet enough to satisfy those with an open mind.