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Tips For A Healthier Valentine’s Day Meal

February is American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re planning on treating your Valentine to a fancy restaurant dinner or a hearty home-cooked meal, be sure the menu is safe and heart-healthy. Here are some tips to make healthier choices on Valentine’s Day (and every day).


  • Assess the scene – Food safety is priority so look for the health inspection score (you may be able to access the health inspection reports online) and certificates verifying the staff is trained in food safety practices. Take a look around to ensure the glasses, silverware, napkins, and tablecloths are clean.
  • Know the facts – Look up the nutritional information in advance – most major restaurants chains have this data online. You can identify the healthier dishes and plan ahead.
  • Beware of unexpected sources of sodium – More than 40% of sodium that we eat comes from these common foods: bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, poultry, soups, cheese, meat dishes, and snacks. Luckily, most restaurants offer lower sodium options for entrées and dressings, so be sure to check the menu or ask the staff.
  • Ask before ordering – Unless they are commercially pasteurized, raw or undercooked eggs can be a hidden hazard in foods (ex. Caesar salad, custards, some sauces).
  • Order it cooked thoroughly – Remember that foods like meat, poultry, and fish need to be cooked to an internal temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria. To err on the side of safety, order your foods well done.
  • Sharing is caring – Restaurants are known for hefty portions so consider sharing one entrée.
  • Refrigerate your leftovers – Your dinner was delicious, but you’re too stuffed to finish it. Unless you are going straight home, leave the leftovers there. Food should be refrigerated within two hours of being served, or one hour if the temperature outside is warmer than 90°F.

Dining In

  • Make recipes healthier – Healthier versions of classic recipes are just a click away (thank you, Internet). Get creative and find healthy swaps for saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol in baked goods and other foods.
  • Choose low-sodium options – Reach for spices before you reach for the salt, and try adding a citrus element. You may find that you don’t need salt after all. If possible, avoid prepackaged mixes (which may be loaded with lots of salt) or seek low-sodium or salt-free versions.
  • Steer clear of frying – Instead, try roasting, grilling or steaming your foods as these methods add little to no fat.
  • Keep HOT food HOT – Once food is cooked, it should be held at an internal temperature of 140°F or above. Just keeping food warm (between 40°F and 140°F – also known as the “danger zone”) encourages fast growth of germs that cause foodborne illness/food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to make sure your meal stays out of the “danger zone”.
  • Keep COLD food COLD – Cold foods should be kept at 40°F or below.
  • Follow the two-hour rule – Throw away all perishable foods (ex. meat, poultry, eggs, casseroles) that have been left at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the outside temperature is above 90°F).
  • Continue the celebration – Ate to your heart’s content, but still have leftovers? Go ahead and put them in the fridge to eat within three to four days. If you don’t plan on eating it within that time period, stick it in the freezer.

Share your own Valentine’s Day dinner tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Avoid the crowds and treat your Valentine to a yummy breakfast or lunch at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli. You can dine in with us or get the goods delivered to you via DoorDash or UberEATS!

Guilt-Free Holidays

When it comes to the holiday season, often times we feel guilty for indulging in the decadent holiday foods. While some of us might exercise and eat a balanced diet, others may not. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, eating should not make you feel bad, and the holidays are no exception. Instead of setting rules and feeling terrible for breaking them, try telling yourself these things so that the holidays are more enjoyable and less guilt-laden.

  • I deserve to enjoy holiday meals without the guilt.
    Food is food. It’s meant to nourish and fuel your body, and you deserve to enjoy it. Take time to truly enjoy every bite and the traditions and memories associated with it. The act of focusing on the different elements of your food (such as the smell, look, and taste) without distractions is known as mindful eating. Practicing mindful eating will teach you to fully enjoy what you eat without regret or shame.
  • What I eat every day matters most.
    Rather than obsessing over the foods you eat over the holidays, concentrate on what you eat daily. If you maintain a healthy diet year-round, a few days of indulging won’t hurt. If you don’t usually eat well, make that a goal for the upcoming new year. It’s important to remember that the holiday season doesn’t last forever. Focus on enjoying the quality time with family and friends instead of worrying about the foods you are eating.
  • I have the power to control my portions.
    You are in charge of how much food you eat, and this should be dictated by listening to your body. Slow down and pay attention to the way your stomach feels before eating. If you still feel hungry, have another bite, but once you’re almost full, stop eating.
  • I have the right to eat seconds or to say “No, thank you” when I’m full.
    It is not your responsibility to make someone else happy by overeating, nor by denying your hunger. Although it’s often the norm to eat more when the host graciously offers more, but it doesn’t have to be. Trust your appetite and be polite, yet firm, when declining.
  • It’s normal if I overindulge during the holidays.
    We’re all human. The important thing is to accept that you did and move on. There is no need to dwell, feel guilty, or punish yourself, as this behavior may even push you to seek comfort in more food. As mentioned, eating mindfully has many benefits and may lead to less food consumption to satisfy cravings. So remember to slow down, pay attention, and listen to your body.
  • I will eat when I’m hungry, not when I’m feeling emotional.
    Loneliness, boredom, sadness, and stress are emotions that may lead us to eating, and these emotions can be heightened during the holiday season. More effective ways to deal with these feelings can vary from person to person, but might include calling a friend, exercising, or even practicing meditation. You should take the time to learn what works for you.
  • I don’t need to “healthify” my beloved and traditional holiday recipe.
    The holiday season comes but once a year, so you should enjoy your favorites as they should be. Who really wants sugarless sugar cookies, anyways?
  • I promise not to comment on the size, shape or weight of my friends and relatives.
    Just as your weight is your business, so is theirs. If you find yourself met with a rude, unwanted comment about your appearance, it is okay to tell that person why it’s not okay to talk about it.
  • I will enjoy quality time with the people I love.
    Studies show that our close relationships are crucial to our long-term health and happiness. So rather than worry about the foods you may or may not eat, focus on spending quality time with those near and dear to your heart.

Do you have any mantras or advice that helps you get through the holidays? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Enjoy a yummy breakfast or lunch with us! The Brick Your Neighborhood Deli is located at 105 E. Arrow Hwy in Pomona and we’re open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

The damage of Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the holiday season is still in full effect. Just because you gave into some indulgences on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you should carry on this way for the rest of the holidays. Believe it or not, there is a way to stay healthy and enjoy your favorite holiday foods. Follow these smart tips for a healthier holiday season.

Be Choosy.
Pick your battles wisely. You don’t always have to sample every holiday food you encounter. Rather than indulging in holiday treats on a random day, save them for special days or occasions such as the family dinner or a holiday party. Also, choose the foods you enjoy the most and dismiss the rest.

Stay Curious And Eat Mindfully.
Rather than going into autopilot and snacking on food that’s around, take a moment to ask yourself if you are really hungry and if you really want to be eating that food at the moment. If you are not really hungry, you should reconsider your actions. And if you really are hungry, at least you have taken a moment to acknowledge your hunger and decision to eat. Paying attention and being mindful when making food choices helps you make better, more fulfilling decisions.

Nourish Your Body.
Stay well nourished by eating regularly. Depending on your individual needs, having a regular meal or snack should occur every 3-5 hours to keep you from becoming too hungry. When you starve yourself, or go too long without eating, you become more susceptible to eating sugary, high-calorie foods, partly due to your dwindling blood-sugar levels. Keep your home stocked with healthy and nutritious foods and know where you can grab a healthful meal when you’re out and about. Healthy snacks and meals will help to improve your energy throughout the day as well.

Establish Food Boundaries.
Be polite, but stand firm with food pushers. While most food pushers have good intentions, you don’t want to end up eating food you don’t need or want. So as to not offend food pushers while declining offers, try starting with a compliment and finishing with a deflection, such as “That looks delicious. I’m not hungry right now, but I’ll have some later.” If they continue to insist, try firmly adding, “No, really… I just wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate it right now.” Rehearsing your lines in advance can help as well.

Nourish Your Emotions.
The holiday season can stir up a variety of emotions and stress. With that said, you may want to take a look at your emotional coping strategies. Some of us may find comfort in eating, but this may not be the healthiest route. If you can, avoid using food to cope with stress or emotions, you will find you might feel better. If you find peace in exercise (ex. yoga, daily walk) or simply some quiet alone time, be sure you save time for that to help keep you sane during the hectic holiday season.

Do you have your own tips on staying healthy during the holiday season? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

If you need a break from the holiday madness, join us at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for a yummy breakfast or lunch. We’re open weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Got an upcoming meeting, event, or party and need catering? Call us at 909-596-5225 for more information!

Sending Our Sincerest Gratitude This Thanksgiving

The holiday season is here and Thanksgiving has us feeling so grateful and blessed to be able to do what we love. We work hard to serve you the best sandwiches and salads made with only the finest and freshest ingredients available to us, and you’ve rewarded us in the best way possible. It’s not always easy, but the love and support from our community has helped us tremendously along the way.

To our regulars, to those who have taken the time to give us a try, to the people were recommended by others, and to those who happened to have stumbled upon our humble sandwich shop by chance, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

And a special shout out to our wonderful staff – you are amazing and your hard work does not go unnoticed. We appreciate you and your dedication to making the Brick the best it can possibly be.

Quick reminder – we have modified store hours for Thanksgiving weekend. We will be closed on Thursday, November 23, 2017, and we will open from 10:00am-4:00pm on Friday, November 24, 2017. Our normal hours will resume on Saturday, November 25, 2017. Thank you for understanding.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Brick family to yours! We hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving feast filled with yummy food, great company, and lots of love.

Make Thanksgiving Healthier

Thanksgiving is often synonymous with bountiful feasts, food comas, and seemingly inevitable weight gain. But you can avoid consuming excess calories by indulging in the healthier foods of this holiday. The following are some of the better Thanksgiving food choices.

Often a seasonal favorite, pomegranates and cranberry relish and sauces offer a great balance of sweet and tangy flavors. The health benefits of pomegranates include inflammation-fighting antioxidants, as well as antibacterial and antiviral properties, which may help you to fend off illness. Pomegranates also provide 15% of your daily value of vitamin C and 3 grams of fiber per half-cup.

Beets are a sweet root vegetable that come in red and yellow, and can be added to main dishes or served as a side. They contain nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, aiding in the delivery of blood and oxygen to working muscles, and plays an important role in many intracellular processes (ex. muscle contraction). Beets also support neurological and heart health, and have even been shown to lower high blood pressure.

Pumpkin Pie
Of all the desserts, you might want to steer toward the pumpkin pie. Half a can of canned pumpkin has 42 calories and fully 4 grams of fiber, and is also a great source of vitamin A and potassium. If you want to save calories but still enjoy that great pumpkin flavor, try incorporating pumpkin into a savory soup or bread in place of heavy creams and oils.

Fresh cranberries offer excellent health benefits. Known for their role in preventing and treating UTIs, and having a preventative effect against dental cavities, cranberries are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals and are a good source of manganese. They have also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer (namely, breast cancer). One serving of cranberries contains 20% of your daily value for fiber and 24% for vitamin C. And it should be noted that it’s better to opt for fresh cranberries since canned cranberries add about 100 more calories and 6 teaspoons of sugar per serving.

Usually the star of most Thanksgiving feasts, turkey offers plenty of high-quality protein which helps you feel full and satisfied. If you’re watching your caloric intake, you may want to indulge in the ultra-lean, white meant portions early so that you will feel satisfied sooner. This may potentially fend off the urge to go back for seconds, too.

Green Beans
The classic green bean casserole is made up of canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French fried onions. However, you should skip all that and opt for fresh or frozen green beans, which are rich in antioxidants and good sources of vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, and manganese. If you must make the casserole, low-fat milk and whole wheat bread crumbs are recommended for a healthier dish.

Brussels Sprouts
These fiber-rich cruciferous vegetables help lower cholesterol and protect against cancer due to the phytonutrient glucosinolate. They also support the body’s detoxification system and anti-inflammatory response and are rich with antioxidants. Steaming your sprouts brings out the most health benefits.

Sweet Potatoes
Skip the mashed potatoes or anything “gratin” and dig in to sweet potatoes instead. Sweet potatoes have fewer calories and more fiber than potatoes, and are also a great source of beta-carotene. They even provide 400% of our daily requirement for vitamin A. For a healthier dish, try roasting them or replace your traditional mashed potatoes for mashed sweet potatoes.

Healthy Leftovers
Even before Thanksgiving, you may already be thinking about those delicious leftovers. Here are some suggestions to keep those leftover meals healthy:

  • Turkey Sandwich 1: First of all, nix the stuffing layer. Choose a high quality whole wheat or sourdough bread and add white turkey meat, avocado, lettuce, and tomato. If you must, add homemade cranberry sauce rather than the canned version.
  • Turkey Sandwich 2: Top toasted Ezekiel bread with skinless white meat turkey, avocado, tomato, hummus, kale, mustard, and lemon.
  • Leftover cranberries and cranberry sauce can be repurposed into a salsa or cranberry applesauce. Or you can add it to oatmeal, plain Greek yogurt, or whole grain pancakes.
  • Roasted veggies can be added to a vegetable broth and turned into a hearty soup. You can add turkey shavings to the mix as well.

Stick To Thanksgiving Specialties
That is, eat the foods that you typically eat only during Thanksgiving and skip the foods that are more common in your daily diet. For example, you might want to opt for pumpkin pie versus cookies or cupcakes, simply because the latter is more easily accessible on any given day. Bonus tip: Take a stroll around the block after dinner rather than succumbing to a post-meal nap.

What do you do to keep the holidays a bit healthier? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Before you start cooking up a storm for the holidays, let us take care of you! Come in and let us prepare your favorite sandwich or salad. Visit us in store, order ahead online, or get your meal delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS!

Potentially Dangerous Holiday Foods

Getting sick in general is never fun. Falling ill from food, especially when it could have easily been prevented, can be worse. With the holidays fast approaching, it’s best to know which common holiday foods could potentially put you at risk.

Chicken Liver Paté
Hosts often choose this as an “easy” option to serve, however, it is responsible for a rise in food poisoning. Thanks to celebrity chefs, more and more people are leaving it pink in the middle.

Campylobacter is a common cause of bacterial food poisoning, and about 80% of these cases stem from undercooking liver paté. Symptoms of this type of food poisoning include diarrhea, stomach pains, and fever, and in severe cases, paralysis and even death.

Listeria could be lurking in your cheeses, and unfortunately, symptoms mimic those of the flu. Severe cases can lead to meningitis and septicemia. In pregnant women, the bacteria can cause miscarriage or may be passed on to the unborn baby.

Although odds have drastically decreased over the years, there is still a chance you may get salmonella from eggs. And eggnog, as the name suggests, gets its frothiness from eggs. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, headache, nausea, vomiting and fever (with severe cases resulting in septicemia and peritonitis).

Choose eggs with the red lion mark, which indicate they are from vaccinated eggs, and cook your eggnog to 106°F/71°C to kill off the bug.

You want to cook this properly, taking the appropriate measures to defrost, prep and cook the bird. Avoid washing the turkey as it can spread bacteria around the kitchen, and consider cooking your stuffing in a separate tin to decrease the risk for foodborne illness.

Be sure that your turkey is cooked thoroughly by checking the internal temperature throughout and in the thickest part. The standard safe internal temperature for turkey is 165°F and there should be no pink in the meat.

Christmas Pudding
Traditionally, a silver sixpence is stirred into the Christmas pudding mix. The finder is believed to meet wealth and good luck in the year to come. Over the years, the tradition has slowly declined and all but disappeared. But, as a person may choke on the sixpence, it is likely a good thing that the tradition has faded away.

If not stored properly and eaten within a set amount of time, your delicious leftovers could make you sick. Try to avoid leaving food out for longer than 2 hours and be sure to eat your leftovers in a timely fashion. If you do not plan on finishing your turkey within two days of cooking, your best bet is to send it home with guests or to freeze it.

Share your own food warnings with us and your peers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for a delicious breakfast or lunch. We are open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Stop by, call ahead, or order online. And we are now offering delivery via DoorDash and UberEATS!

Holiday Food Safety

Here come the holidays! November is here which means Thanksgiving is on the horizon. As you begin to think about your Thanksgiving plans and feasts, it is also important to remember proper food handling techniques when it comes to shopping, preparing, cooking, and storing your food.

From the store to the table to your refrigerator, there are plenty opportunities for contamination or spoiling. Heed these food safety tips as you prepare for the holidays.


  • When shopping, separate your groceries. Raw poultry, meats, and seafood should be kept away from other foods as much as possible. The easiest way to prevent cross contamination is to place these items in separate bag (your own reusable bags or those provided by the store). Also, perishable items such as meat and poultry should be put in your cart last to prevent them from sitting at room temperature while you gather other items.
  • Buy the right bird. If you’re shopping in advance, opt for a frozen bird to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. If you prefer serving a fresh turkey, buy your bird within two days of your Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Shop and drop. It may be tempting to run errands after grocery shopping, but to keep your food and your loved ones safe, it’s best to go straight home to properly unload and store your foods.

Depending on how long you leave your food in the car and the temperature, dangerous microorganisms can contaminate for food.

  • Defrost safely. When it comes to defrosting a turkey safely, there are three options: in the refrigerator, cold water, or the microwave.
  • Refrigerator thawing is the best method since it will defrost at a consistent and safe temperature and all you have to do is keep it in the fridge. It does, however, take the longest time. The typical rule of thumb is 24 hours for every 5 pounds, thus, a 15 lb. turkey will take 3 days to thaw.
  • To thaw in cold water, keep your turkey in its original wrapping and submerge it in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. The general rule is 30 minutes per pound, therefore, a 15lb. turkey will take 7.5 hours and 15 water changes to thaw. While this method takes less time, it requires more attention since you must regularly change the water.
  • Worst case scenario – you forgot to defrost the turkey! You may use your microwave to defrost your turkey. Please refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on microwave defrosting.

If there’s anything you take away from this, let it be to defrost in advance. A thawed turkey can be kept in the fridge (40°F or below) for up to 4 days.


If you’ve got more than one cook in the kitchen, be sure to review these with everyone who is helping out.

  • Wash your hands, not the bird. Instead of helping to get rid of bacteria, the splashing water helps to spread it to other areas (ex. sinks, food prepping surfaces) up to three feet away. The better way to prevent cross contamination is by washing your hands before and after handling raw poultry, meat, or seafood.
  • One of the Thanksgiving foods most susceptible to foodborne illness is stuffing. If your stuffing does not reach an internal temperature of 165°F, harmful bacteria can survive within it. Be sure that immediately after prep, you place the stuffed bird into an oven set for 325°F or higher and use a food thermometer to ensure that not only the bird, but the stuffing as well, reaches the safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Dressing is what they call it when you prepare stuffing outside of a turkey and is generally safer than stuffing. However, cooks must still be aware of food safety. If you are using raw meat, poultry, or shellfish, precook these raw ingredients separately and then incorporate it into your dish.
  • Cook to the right temperature. The only way to determine if meat, poultry or seafood is cooked safely is to check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. Whole turkeys should register 165°F in three locations – the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and the thickest part of the breast.


We all love Thanksgiving leftovers, but if not properly stored after dinner, they can potentially make us sick. Although you may be in a food coma, fight the urge to nap until you have packed your leftover food properly.

  • Refrigerate uneaten food within two hours of cooking to prevent bacteria growth. Try to use shallow containers to decrease cooling time and prevent food from spending too much time at unsafe temperatures (40°F to 140°F). In regards to the turkey, cut the meat off the bone before storing, and pack the stuffing separately from the meat.
  • BYOC (Bring Your Own Cooler). Because Thanksgiving feasts are often plentiful, refrigerator space is hard to come by. Come prepared with your own cooler from home and maintain a packed cooler at a safe temperature (40°F or below).
  • Leftovers last safely for four days in the refrigerator. If you need at least a week before eating Thanksgiving food again, pack your leftovers into airtight containers and freeze them.
  • If you are sending guests home with leftovers and you know they will be travelling for more than two hours, give them ice or frozen gel packs to ensure the food in their coolers stays at or below 40°F.

With only three weeks until Thanksgiving, you might want to start thinking about your menu and guest list. If you need some pinspiration, feel free to check out our Thanksgiving Pinterest Board. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

In the meantime, let us do the dirty work for you. Come in for a yummy breakfast or lunch six days a week – visit for more information.

A Healthy Twist On Halloween

Halloween is known for trick-or-treating, with the treats often being candies and sweets loaded with sugar. While kids may love these treats, too much can be bad for their health. Tooth decay, belly aches, unhealthy habits, and extra pounds are just some of the negative effects.

There are ways to have a healthier Halloween while still keeping the kids happy. Try some of these healthy ideas.

  • Nix candy for healthier options – Yes, kids love candy, but they may also love a creative, healthy treat. Small oranges or fruit cups made to look like mini jack-o-lanterns or festive popcorn balls are some of the ways you can make Halloween treats healthier.
  • Trick Or Toys? – You can avoid giving out candy or snacks all together and opt for small toys, stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils, erasers, or glow sticks. This is also a great alternative for the children with food allergies.
  • Get moving! – Candy consumption around Halloween increases, but so does walking. Although you are walking around the neighborhood, you may want to increase your outdoor activity not only as a way to boost physical health, but as another way to bond with family. You can take a walk around the block before Halloween to plan a route, check out Halloween decorations, or to simply get some fresh air.
  • Feed the kiddos a full and healthy meal before they indulge in their treats – This will give them fuel for the walk and decrease the temptation to sneak a treat while out. Also, snacking while on the way is discouraged – you should go home and inspect all the candies before the kids eat them.
  • More candy than you expected? Look into local dentists or other businesses for a candy-donation or buy-back program. Be sure to call first to confirm the details.

Share your own healthy Halloween tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest!

Make it a family trip to fuel up before your Halloween fun at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli! We’ll be open for normal store hours on Halloween, 7:00am-4:00pm (breakfast served until 10:30am).

How The World Celebrates Halloween

Aside from costumes and trick-or-treating, you may have your own traditions that you partake in to celebrate Halloween. See how your own compare to the Halloween (and Halloween-like) traditions celebrated around the world.

Samhain – Ireland & Scotland
Samhain, or Samhuinn (end of the light half of the year) is a festival that took place thousands of years ago and is a major influence (along with ancient Celtic and Pagan rituals) on modern Halloween. Today, Ireland and Scotland celebrate Halloween with bonfires, games, and traditional foods like barmbrack, an Irish fruitcake that contains coins, buttons, and rings for fortunetelling. For example, rings mean marriage while coins mean wealth in the upcoming year.

Día de los Muertos – Mexico
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated from November 1-2 in Mexico and parts of Latin America. The purpose of Día de los Muertos is to honor those who have passed away and it is believed that the Gates of Heaven open up at midnight on October 31 for the souls of children to return to Earth and be reunited with their families for 24 hours. November 2 is when the souls of adults come down from heaven to join in the festivities.

In-home altars full of fruit, peanuts, turkey, soda, hot chocolate, water, stacks of tortillas and a special holiday bread called pan de muerto (bread of the dead) are left as offerings for weary ghosts. Families also leave out toys and candy for the souls of children, while cigarettes and shots of mescal are left for the adult souls.

Day Of Dracula – Romania
Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes’ alleged home at Bran Castle In Transylvania, Romania, is a travel hot spot for Halloween. Numerous guides and travel packages in Romania that offer tours and parties at Count Dracula’s castle for Halloween.

Kawasaki Halloween Parade – Japan
Celebrated for the past 21 years, the Kawasaki Halloween Parade is a coveted event with strict guidelines and standards. Those who want to participate must apply for entry two months before the parade begins. However, this has no negative bearing on turnout, as nearly 4000 costumed individuals take part in the festive parade.

Pangangaluluwa – The Philippines
This Filipino tradition calls for children to go door to door (often in costumes) to sing and ask for prayers for those stuck in purgatory. Although traditional trick-or-treating has taken over, some towns are trying to revive Pangangaluluwa to keep the tradition alive and as a local fundraiser.

The Hungry Ghost Festival – Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, they celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month (around mid-August to mid-September). Several parts of East Asia believe that spirits get restless around this time of year and begin to roam the world. The festival is part of a larger month-long celebration and its purpose is to “feed” these wandering spirits with food and money needed for the afterlife.

Pitru Paksha – India
Many people in India celebrate Pitru Paksha, which takes places for 16 days during the second Paksha of the Hindu lunar month Bhadrapada. Hindus believe that when a person dies, Yama (the Hindu god of death) takes his or her soul to purgatory, where they’ll find their last three generations of family. During Pitru Paksha, the souls are briefly allowed to return to Earth and be with their families.

The ritual of Shraddha, which includes a fire ritual, must be performed to ensure their family’s place in the afterlife. If not, the soul will wander the Earth for eternity. During Pitru Paksha, food is offered to the dead, such as kheer (sweet rice and milk), lapsi (a sweet porridge), rice, lentils, spring beans, and pumpkins, which are cooked in silver or copper pots and served on banana leaves.

Dzień Zaduszny – Poland
Early November in Poland sees an increase in visits to the cemetery, as many are visiting the graves of family and loved ones. Dzień Zaduszny is akin to All Souls’ Day for Catholics in the country. It is celebrated with candles, flowers, and an offering of prayers for departed relatives. On the second day, people attend a requiem mass for the souls of the dead.

Awuru Odo Festival – Nigeria
This festival lasts up to six months and marks the return of deceased friends and family members back to the living. It is celebrated with feasts, music, and masks before the dead return to the spirit world. While it is an important ritual, the Awuru Odo Festival happens once every two years, when it is believed the spirits will return to Earth.

Pchum Ben – Cambodia
Buddhist families gather at the end of September to the middle of October to celebrate Pchum Ben, a religious holiday to celebrate the dead (and also the elderly). People offer foods like sweet sticky rice and beans wrapped in banana leaves, and visit temples to offer up baskets of flowers as a way to pay respect to their deceased ancestors.

Ognissanti – Italy
Ognissanti, also known as All Saints’ Day, is a national holiday in Italy. Officially on November 1, festivities usually begin a couple days prior, when people start leaving fresh flowers (usually chrysanthemums) on the graves of departed loved ones and complete strangers. Cemeteries are transformed into beautiful displays of colors. Another way they pay tribute to the departed is by placing a red candle in the window at sunset, and they set a place at the table for those spirits they hope will pay a visit.

All Saints’ Day & All Souls’ Day – Worldwide
Many Catholics around the world celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on November 1 and 2 respectively. It is the annual time to honor the lives of the saints who died for their Catholic beliefs, as well as the souls of dead family members. In observance, people go to mass and visit the graves of their loved ones. In Germany, they have their own tradition to go along with this holiday: They hide their kitchen knives so that returning spirits won’t be harmed accidentally, nor use the knives to harm the living.

Share your own beloved and favorite Halloween traditions with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli and let us prepare a yummy meal for you! We’re open for breakfast and lunch weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.

Learn About The Teal Pumpkin Project

**The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).**

When it comes to food allergies in children, Halloween can be a scary and dangerous time. Since trick-or-treaters are often treated with candies that are not typically safe for those with food allergies, it may be hard for those kids to participate. Luckily, the Teal Pumpkin Project exists.

The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages food allergy awareness while making all children feel included during the Halloween season. Teal is the color of food allergy awareness and by leaving a Teal Pumpkin out or posting a sign, you are informing others that you support those with food allergies and have non-food treats available.

Some great non-food treats include glow bracelets or sticks, stickers, temporary tattoos, noise makers or even bouncy balls.

Another option for children with allergies is wearing a sticker that reads “non-food items only” to eliminate the need for an explanation at each stop. Or, instead of refusing the candy, you can take it in a separate bag and find a Halloween Candy BuyBack program near you.

If this is the first time you are hearing about the Teal Pumpkin Project, there’s still plenty of time for you to participate this Halloween. You can find more information and free resources online at the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) website.

What are some other non-food treats that are great for kids? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for a delicious breakfast or lunch. If you have any food allergies, please let us know so we can accommodate your needs. We are open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Stop by, call ahead, or order online. And we are now offering delivery via DoorDash and UberEATS!