Have you ever thought of making homemade Halloween treats, and getting your kids into the kitchen to help out?
Sharon Bowers’ book Ghoulish Goodies: Creature Feature Cupcakes, Monster Eyeballs, Bat Wings, Funny Bones, Witches’ Knuckles, and Much More! (Frightful Cookbook) arose out of her lifelong love affair with Halloween. Epicurious has featured some of her recipes and ideas in its weekly newsletter.
Bowers says, “Spiderweb Cookies or big bowls of Sticks and Stones Caramel Corn are perfect contributions to school Halloween events, tailgating parties, neighborhood open houses, adult costume parties, and even afternoon play dates.” She even suggests using them for theme parties at other times of the year.
Her recipe for Monster Eyeballs is made with peanut butter, M&Ms and chocolate chips. What more could a child ask for, and in addition, they are pretty darned scary to look at. Her Glowing Jack-o’-Lantern Cookies may not be a healthy treat, but they really do look like Jack-o’-lanterns, and become not just a cooking expedition, but also an art project that is edible.
Where did the tradition of Halloween come from?
Halloween is, of course, an American holiday, which has become very popular in Europe in recent years.
The Irish actually transported this holiday from Ireland during the Great Famine. The Jack-o’-lantern symbol actually comes from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, which was a celebration of the autumn harvest in Gaelic culture. Ancient Celts thought that 31 October was the “boundary between the world and the otherworld dissolved,” according to the Wikipedia, and that it was a time when the dead threatened the living. They often wore masks and costumes that evoked the image of the evil spirits, in hopes of placating them.
The actual name is a shortened version of All Hallows’ Eve, which corresponds to the Christian All Saints’ Day. Ancient Celts placed a skeleton in their window to represent the departed.
Nosajanimus says that the name “Jack” comes from an ancient Irish myth in which there existed a mean old drunkard by the name of Jack who wandered the streets playing tricks on people, and was even capable of playing tricks on the devil. He tricked the devil into promising that he would never be allowed to pass through the doors of Hell, and when he died, he couldn’t get into either Heaven or Hell, and was left to keep wandering for eternity. All the devil gave him was an ember from hell. Jack hollowed out a turnip to hold the ember and held it like a lantern. The tradition of hollowing out a pumpkin was probably an American derivation of the turnip.
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