Halloween…The tradition that this annual holiday marks the end of summer, harvest time and the beginning of cold, dark and wintry days and nights. It might be bizarre to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, but then aren’t we happy to celebrate that way today, ghost free? In this therapy-obsessed world, Why do we love it? Halloween feeds our fantasies, plays off our phobias, and as we take on different personas, it gives you a day and night away to enjoy feeling totally free for just, well, one time a year.

Originated with the ancient festival of Samhain, as pagans in parts of Northern Europe, it was said that Halloween’s magic is most potent where spirits could make contact with the physical world. Unfortunately associated with human death, the Celts believed that the borders between the worlds of the living and the dead were blurred. People would light bonfires to ward off ghost they thought would cross back into dimensions parallel between the both. The spiritual and physical world between the living such as witches, lizards, black cats, spiders and all other animals associated with darkness and night had the power to contact the spirit world such as the dead, spooks, ghosts and walking skeletons. Blood, gravestones, bonfires, skeleton bones all have connections with death, to protect people from evil spirits. When thought the ghost of the dead would come back to the earth world, people were generally afraid so they needed something to ward them off right? You’d think.

Folks thought as well, that ghost would come across the parallel if they left their homes at night. To outsmart the ghostly beings they would wear masks when they went out at night, so the ghost would think they were fellow spirits. In Christian times, it became a celebration of the evening before known as “All Saints Day”. Immigrants from Scotland and Ireland brought the holiday to us. This holiday civilization began in the 1930’s and Trick or Treating really started only in the 1950’s. Halloween style and products have increased over time, and now it has become a very profitable time for manufacturers of costumes, yard and home décor and candy.

In Halloween style, decorating with pumpkins and other carved vegetables from the garden were used as lanterns traditionally to ward off intended spirits. In the early days during the festival of transference, the apples and the apple tree were symbolic of Pomona-the Goddess of Plenty, love and fertility. Bobbing for apples, which reminds us of the Roman Invasion of England, was extremely popular with young marriage minded people for who bit into a floating apple was next to marry according to beliefs. It was even thought that woman could cast some sort of spell or consult a Ouija Board to see the face or receive the name of their future husband. They would craft with yarn, peelings or mirrors the apples of the Pomona trees for answers. Imagine relying on that technology to give you all of life’s answers. If only that could be true!

It might have been bizarre to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money back then, but aren’t we happy to celebrate that way today, Ghost free!

It is not a public holiday, but mostly celebrated among family, friends, co-workers or at community events. We have branched out into parties, games, candy, eccentric and freakie costumes and trick or treating. The countless horror films being shown all month is sure to scare the bezeezum out of you or be totally pleasant, exciting and well loved for others. For adults, the number of horror houses and parties at graveyards coupled with fancy costumes, loud, eerie music, crazy, colorful decorations, eccentric food and drinks makes it seem as Halloween has turned the generational fun around. It has become more of an adult playground.

I know that if you stay at home, you should have a bowl of treats, smiles and compliments on their choice of costumes to present at the door when that doorbell rings. The little spirits running house to house in the neighborhood, who have worked so hard to have fun that night, demanding sweets or snacks or small gifts in exchange for adoringly donning their favorite character or whimsical item costume and reciting, proudly their version of “Trick or Treat” in the wee evening hours, the young in’s with their parents in tow, all seems almost extinct. Besides, bedtimes at 8:00 for school right?

The Halloween food fare is unlimited. What to choose to offer you was so hard. Our favorite and always each season, was Chicken and rice. I had worked feverishly on costumes for three little ones for school and the parade to be judge that night and trick or treating with whatever energy we had left. The dish, for some reason stuck with us for so many years, maybe because of its simplicity. I still make it now even after they all have roosted somewhere else. And then the party food.. Enjoy my friends, don’t let this one get away from you, it’s a fun holiday. As always you can reach me at [email protected]m for comments, recipes and or story ideas to be featured.~and for the last words.~”Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.”~A Nightmare on Elm Street.~

The Recipes

Chicken and Rice- A one pot easy on you, dinner idea that will fill them up and so good to boot.

1 1/2 Pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut in 2 inch cubes

1 1/2 quarts homemade chicken stock or store bought

1 Cup Chopped Onions

1/2 Cup Green Peppers, chopped and diced

1/2 Cup Celery, chopped and diced

1 Tbsp salt

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tsp. Ground Pepper

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

2-3 scallions, ends removed and diced

1 Cup long grain white rice

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions

On a medium heat in a medium pot, add oil, chicken and brown on all sides. Add chopped Vegetables except scallions, and simmer until soft. Season with salt and pepper, add garlic. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, cover and cook until chicken is well cooked. ( 20-25 min.) Lower heat to simmer, next add rice and cook for 12-15 minutes. Turn heat off and add lemon juice. and let rest until all stock is evaporated. Divide into bowls and garnish with scallions.

Mummy Dogs -Bound to be a hit with the kids. One hand dinner.

Pizza Dough

1 Pkg of Hot Dogs. Any kind. The red ones will have a “Blood” look, we like All-Beef.

Mustard and Ketchup

Directions:

Roll out dough on Board, well- flowered. Cut into strips. and roll in your hands to make a rope. Cut 2 inches larger than the length of your dogs. Wrap around hot Dogs, leaving space for the eyes. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake in Preheated oven of 350~until lightly brown, 18-20 minutes. Use a toothpick to make eyes dipped with mustard or ketchup. Serve Warm.

Monster Toes – Simple monster treats. Easy to make

1 pkg of Nutter Butter cookies

1- Tbsp. Canola Oil

White chocolate bark or chocolate chips

Green food coloring

Dots Candy Box or something similar

Directions:

Cut Dots in half.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or glass bowl in microwave at 50% power as not to burn. Stir frequently. Add little oil to it to soften it up, if it’s too hard to work with. add green food coloring to make light green color. Dip the cookies by holding onto the edge of the back of the cookie and hold it over the bowl of melted chocolate. Then pour a spoon full of chocolate over the cookie until it is covered. Tap it against the bowl to get extra off. Lay on Parchment paper or wax paper to dry. Add a Dot candy on one end to make like a toenail. Dry until set.


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