The Blue and Gold

Halloween

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It’s almost Halloween, where you celebrate with costumes, decorations, and awesome treats! Sometimes you may wonder why you have never heard of it before the modern years, but this wasn’t originally a celebration when you have a fun time while staying up late. There are also many historical origins that came before the modern Halloween we all know today.

History

Halloween dates back to almost 2,000 years ago with the primitive Celtic festival known as Samhain. The Celts, various population groups living in multiple parts of Europe north of the Mediterranean region from around the Late Bronze Age, marked October 31st as a special day that signified the last day of summer and the beginning of winter. They had deemed this day to be associated with death, as in the blurring of the line between the living and the dead.

Therefore, every year on October 31, the Celts celebrated the return of the ghosts of the dead because they believed that this celebration also helped the Druids, Celtic priests, to predict the future more accurately. These predictions gave the Celts comfort during the cold, harsh winters.

The name Halloween comes from many phrases such as “All Hallows Even” or “All Hallows Eve”, which Catholics celebrated before the night of All Saints Day, and later on All Souls Day. These three days all essentially celebrate the dead.

In the former British Empire,  there was another very popular holiday known as Guy Fawkes Night. It was celebrated on November Fifth with masks and candy and even bonfires. Sometimes it was even called Bonfire Night. This tradition may have been one of the factors that influence the use of masks and candy during the current Halloween.

These two holidays may be part of history, but they are still celebrated today.

Not only does the day itself have a long history, but its common symbols do as well. One these most iconic symbols of Halloween is the Jack-o’-lantern, where children choose pumpkins for their parents to carve out images and light it up. Before the mid 1800s, there was something similar to the Jack-o’-lantern known as the “turnip lantern”, which were essentially hollowed-out and lit-up gourds made by young boys to scare people. It was later on brought over to America, and turned into a fun activity for kids of all ages to enjoy and decorate.

Another iconic symbol is candy, something most kids think of when they hear Halloween. Trick or treating started out in the 1930s. Children were given cookies, cake, fruits, nuts, coins, and toys on this day. Then during the 1970s, people had begun to believe that the only acceptable gifts to trick or treaters was store-bought wrapped candy. The main cause for this was the fact that parents thought that actual monsters might tamper with the gifts if they weren’t sealed or store-bought. This belief was later on forgotten by many, but the tradition remains, as seen in the modern Halloween.

 

Costumes and Decorations

Aside from the long history of Halloween, costumes and decorations have always been a very special part of it. Kids have always loved dressing up on this day, with many options to choose from. Some of the ideas that are listed can even be combined!  Here are some costume ideas:

  • Some of the mythical creatures you can be are..
    • A witch, wizard, ghost, vampire, zombie, or unicorn
  • Some of the people you can be are..
    • A magician, doctor, a movie character, clown, or ballerina
  • Some of the foods you can be are..
    • French fries, ice cream, or a hotdog
  • Some of the animals you can be are..
    • A dog, cat, butterfly, or bird
  • Some of the objects you can be are..
    • A gift box, game console, or a candle

Some people also enjoy decorating their houses and still have plenty of fun doing it. Some ideas for decorating your house can include adding a couple of Jack-o’-lanterns at your front door or within your house. If you choose to use a real pumpkin, you should carve it right before or even on the day of Halloween to prevent it from rotting before the celebration begins. You can also simply display various kinds of gourds such as squash. Purchasing fake cobwebs and giant spiders may also prove to be quite a scare for trick or treaters. Adding smoke or sounds can also make the experience more fun and scary. Cloth ghosts, bats, witches, cauldrons, black cats, skeletons, coffins and graves can help as well. Of course, there are many more decorations to add to your house, and every detail you put into your house can make the experience better!

A cauldron, lanterns, skeleton, jack-o’-lanterns, and other props

Recipes

There are many fun and simple recipes to make during Halloween as well! You can make an entire meal or just a fun snack. The recipes that will be given are the Witch’s Cauldron Pasta with Breadstick Broomsticks and Carrot Fingers and the Spider Web Pumpkin Cheesecake! (If you or the person you are making this for has any allergies or conditions, please check the ingredients and make any personal adjustments)

Witch’s Cauldron Pasta (makes 6 servings)-

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of rotini or cavatappi pasta
  • 1 package/10 ounces of frozen chopped spinach that is thawed and squeezed until dry
  • 1 package/3 ounces of cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoons of ground nutmeg
  • 1 jar/16 ounces of alfredo pasta sauce

Procedures:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the given directions on the packaging; then drain the pasta.
  2. While you complete step 1, combine the spinach, cream cheese, and nutmeg in blend it with a blender/food processor until it is smooth. Combine this mixture and alfredo sauce in a medium saucepan over a low heat; cook and stir it until heated through.
  3. Toss hot cooked pasta with sauce in a large serving bowl until evenly coated. (you may choose to serve this with the Breadstick Broomsticks)

Breadstick Broomsticks (makes 12 breadsticks)-

Ingredients:

  • 1 package/11 ounces of refrigerated breadstick dough

Procedures:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉. Unroll the dough and divide along the perforations (used in cooking utensils). For each broomstick, shape the breadstick into a 8 x 1 ½-inch strip, and twist one end for the handle. Place them around 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  2. Bake them for 15 to 18 minutes or until they are a golden-brown color.

Breadstick Broomsticks and Witch’s Cauldron Pasta (final product)

Carrot Fingers-

Ingredients:

  • 8 small peeled (baby) carrots
  • 8 almond slices

Procedures:

  1. Peel the carrots so that one end of the carrot is more narrow than the other.
  2. Use a small dab of cheese dip to glue an almond slice onto the narrow end of each carrot to resemble fingernails.

Carrot Fingers (final product)

Spider Web Pumpkin Cheesecake-

Ingredients:

  • 18 OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, finely crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) of PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 can/15 ounces of pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of BREAKSTONE’S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
  • 1 square of BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon of butter or margarine

Procedures:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ if you are using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or 325℉  if you are using a dark 9-inch nonstick springform pan). Mix the cookie crumbs and 2 tablespoons of butter; then press it firmly into the bottom of the pan. Then set it aside.
  2. Beat the cream cheese and sugar within a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until it is well blended. Then add the can of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, and mix it well. Add the eggs afterwards, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition is well blended. Then pour it over the crust.
  3. Bake it for 50 to 55 minutes or until the center is almost set, then slightly cool it. Carefully spread the sour cream over the top of the cheesecake. Run a knife or metal spatula around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake; cool it before removing the rim of the pan.
  4. Place the chocolate and 1 teaspoon of butter in a small microwavable bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds; stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Drizzle it over the cheesecake in a spiral pattern. Start at the center of the cheesecake, pull a toothpick through the lines from the center of the cheesecake to the outside edge of the cheesecake to resemble a spider’s web. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Store the leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator.

Spider Web Pumpkin Cheesecake (final product)

However you might celebrate Halloween, celebrate it so that you will have fun, and enjoy this night of free treats and fun!

Sources:

https://www.dictionary.com/e/jack-o-lantern/

https://www.ancient.eu/celt/

https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

https://www.history.com/news/the-haunted-history-of-halloween-candy

Book:

Fun Stuff Holiday Treats; Publications International, Ltd.; 2010; 7373 North Cicero Avenue; Lincolnwood, IL 60712

 

Photos:

https://new.torange.biz/fx/halloween-background-card-77770

Google Images (most images)

 

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