“Chicken Feed”

Candy Corn…I’m not a fan but a lot of people are. And I have to say, they are THE iconic candy of Halloween. You can even get that plush toy at the bottom left for your kids HERE. Or the one on the right for your dog HERE.

 

Now that Halloween is over, the odds are you have sorted your candy and have some “not my favorite” sitting around the house – that Halloween favorite Candy Corn – loose in bowls, in tiny plastic bags, or in half used bags tucked in the back of the pantry.  You know all about it – that white, orange and yellow treat that’s intriguing to eat, but not quite what your stomach can take.  Seems like all of us like to eat them in stages – bite the white tip, then the orange center, then the yellow bottoms – (silly traditional, much like unscrewing Oreo’s and teeth-scaping the frosting).  At my house we purchase a few bags of these each year to set out in some of Jackie’s favorite Halloween bowls. All I can say is that we only eat them because they are sitting out! After that I will actually silently judge myself….again and again!

Anyway, here is some trivia about this iconic Halloween (and now other holidays) treat.  Special thanks Wikipedia and National Confections Association for the info. Enjoy.

Chicken Feed (Candy Corn as we know it today) has been around for more than 100 years. According to oral history, George Renninger, an employee of the Wunderlee Candy Company, invented the popular confection in the 1880s and Wunderlee became the first to produce the candy. The Goelitz Candy Company (now Jelly Belly Candy Company) started producing the confection around the turn of the century and still produces the popular Halloween candy today.

Candy corn first appeared when America was largely an agrarian society. The tri-color design was considered revolutionary and the public went crazy for it. We don’t know if the fact that so many Americans had farm experience at that time, if urban dwellers found it charming or if it was some combination of the two that made it so popular. Lack of machinery meant that candy corn was only made seasonally, probably gearing up in late August and continuing through the fall. It has remained unchanged for more than 100 years and is a favorite at Halloween.

The taste of candy corn can be described as somewhat polarizing and has been a subject of wide debate.

Originally the candy was made by hand.  Manufacturers first combined sugar, corn syrup, carnauba wax, and water and cooked them to form a slurry. Fondant was added for texture and marshmallows were added to provide a soft bite.  The final mixture was then heated and poured into shaped molds. Three passes, one for each colored section, were required during the pouring process.

In 1900, it was the job of many men to produce candy corn several months of the year.  Sugar, corn syrup and other ingredients were cooked into a slurry in large kettles. Fondant and marshmallow were added to give a smooth texture and bite. The 45 pounds of warm candy was poured into buckets called runners. Men dubbed stringers walked backwards pouring the candy into cornstarch trays imprinted with the kernel shape. Originally, it was delivered by wagon in wooden boxes, tubs and cartons.

The recipe remains basically the same today. The production method, called “corn starch modeling,” likewise remains the same, though tasks initially performed by hand were soon taken over by machines invented for the purpose.

A popular variation called “Indian corn” features a chocolate brown wide end, orange center and pointed white tip, often available around Thanksgiving.  During the Halloween season, blackberry cobbler candy corn can be found in eastern Canada.

Confectioners have introduced additional color variations suited to other holidays.

  • The Christmas variant (sometimes called “Reindeer Corn”) typically has a red end and a green center.
  • the Valentine’s Day variant (sometimes called “Cupid Corn”) typically has a red end and a pink center.
  • In the United States during Independence Day celebrations, corn with a blue end, white center, and red tip (named “Freedom Corn”) can be found at celebratory cook outs and patriotic celebrations.
  • the Easter variant (sometimes called “Bunny Corn”) is typically only a two-color candy and comes with a variety of pastel bases (pink, green, yellow, and purple) with white tips all in one package. In 2014, carrot corn was also introduced for the Easter season, typically being green and orange, and having a carrot cake type flavor.
  • In 2011, there were caramel apple and green apple candy corn variants.
  • In 2013 there were s’mores and pumpkin spice variants.
  • In 2015, birthday cake and “Celebration” candy corn was introduced for the Independence Day season.

The National Confectioners Association estimates that 35 million pounds (over 9000 metric tons) of candy corn are sold annually.

 

 


 

Poor Old Jack

It’s that time, folks! Get out your tools and start carving your pumpkins. Doing it outside is a good idea but the weather might keep you in. There’s one couple in the third photo at the top who thought it’d be a good idea to carve theirs under water. Makes for easy clean-up. No matter what your skill level, it’s really fun to create your very own jack-o-lantern. I have to say, there are some really clever and talented pumpkin carvers out there.

 

Traditions. Memories and family fun.  Does it get much better than everyone around the table carving pumpkins?  It’s one of my favorites! Growing up, all of my brothers and sisters would be working on carving the pumpkins together, you can only imagine the amount of pumpkin goo and seeds flying around everywhere. It took us as long to clean up the kitchen and dining room as it did to carve the pumpkins. As my own daughters got older, they all came to appreciate my sense of style, especially when using the power tools to REALLY carve the pumpkins. For some unknown reason I have never won any best pumpkin carving awards!   I went on line to get some really fun images and ideas to inspire you – for more, just type in great pumpkin carving ideas, and dozens of websites will pop up.  Here’s just a bit of trivia on Old Jack himself, and some practical guidelines to make your carving time fun, efficient and not too messy.  Thanks to kitchn.com, pumpkinnook.com and jessicagavin for the info.  Enjoy, and send me photos of your masterpieces!

 

The Irish brought the tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack O’Lantern to America. But, the original Jack O’Lantern was not a pumpkin. Pumpkins did not exist in Ireland. Ancient Celtic cultures in Ireland carved turnips on All Hallow’s Eve, and placed an ember in them, to ward off evil spirits.

The Tale of Stingy Jack and the Jack O’ Lantern goes back hundreds of years in Irish History. Many of the stories, center round Stingy Jack. Here’s the most popular story:

Stingy Jack was a miserable, old man who took pleasure in playing tricks on just about everyone: family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. After the Devil climbed up the tree, Stingy Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. Unable to touch a cross, the Devil was stuck in the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died. Once the devil promised not to take his soul, Stingy Jack removed the crosses, and the Devil climbed down out of the apple tree.

Many years later, Jack died, he went to the pearly gates of Heaven and was told by Saint Peter that he was mean and cruel, and had led a miserable, worthless life on earth. Stingy Jack was not allowed to enter heaven. He then went down to Hell and the Devil. The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. Now Jack was scared. He had nowhere to go, but to wander about forever in the dark Netherworld between heaven and hell. He asked the Devil how he could leave, as there was no light. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell, to help Stingy Jack light his way. Jack had a Turnip with him. It was one of his favorite foods, and he always carried one with him. Jack hollowed out the Turnip, and placed the ember the Devil had given him, inside the turnip. From that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his “Jack O’Lantern”.

On all Hallow’s eve, the Irish hollowed out Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away. These were the original Jack O’Lanterns. In the 1800’s a couple of waves of Irish immigrants came to America. The Irish immigrants quickly discovered that Pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out. So they used pumpkins for Jack O’Lanterns.

What Variety of Pumpkin Should I Choose?
If you’re looking for specific varieties to hunt for, the ladies of The Peterson Sisters Pumpkin Patch suggest the Hobbit pumpkin, especially popular on the West Coast, or the Autumn Gold. Hobbits are 10- to 12-pound pumpkins and are considered a medium-sized variety. Autumn Golds are a very manageable variety, weighing between seven and 10 pounds. They turn a beautiful golden-orange color before fully ripe and are easy to carve, compared to other varieties.

Christy Lehner of Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm in Radnor, OH, says that the Gold Rush and Wolf varieties are popular for people who want larger jack-o’-lanterns. Both of these types of pumpkins weigh between 15 to 35 pounds, although they’re not necessarily the easiest to carve. If you’re looking for a statement-making pumpkin and aren’t afraid of using a little elbow grease, give one of these a try.

How to Pick a Pumpkin for Carving:
1. Pick it up and tap it: It should feel sturdy. When you tap it, you should hear a hollow sound.
2. Check the coloring: Choose one that has consistent coloring throughout.
3. Look for bad spots: Try to choose a pumpkin without any scratches, bruises, or dark spots.
4. Apply pressure: Flip the pumpkin upside down and apply pressure with your thumbs. If it’s not completely sturdy, the pumpkin isn’t fresh and will rot quickly.
5. Set it down: Make sure it sits flat! (Unless you want your jack-o’-lantern to sit a little crooked.) Imagine which side will be the front facing one with your decoration.
6. Be sure to carry it from the bottom: Don’t carry it by the stem — instead, cradle it from the bottom or tote it home in a bag.

Foolproof Method to Carve a Pumpkin
Carving a pumpkin isn’t rocket science, but it’s still wise to have a game plan. Before you lop off the top of that pumpkin and grab a handful of gooey squash guts, take a look through our basic guide to carving the best Halloween pumpkin.  Follow these steps and you’ll end up with a cute and classic jack-o’-lantern with easy, no-fuss cleanup afterwards.
1. First rule of pumpkin carving: Do it somewhere you don’t mind getting messy, ideally outdoors. Line your work surface (a sturdy table or the ground) with something you’ll throw away later — like butcher paper, newsprint, or flattened brown paper grocery bags. If using the latter, simply cut down one side of the grocery bag, then cut off the base of the bag so you have a big rectangle of brown paper. Layer a few of these on the table and you’re good to go.
2.  Once you’ve got your work surface ready, it’s time to assemble the proper tools. You can totally get a pumpkin carving kit from your local drugstore, supermarket, or Halloween pop-up shop. Or you can use a few tools from your kitchen. Make sure you have everything ready so you don’t have to traipse back through your kitchen with pumpkin-gut-covered hands. Two key tools for carving include a good cook 4.5-Inch vegetable knife and a strong ladle/spoon for scooping.  For more elaborate carvings, many creative designers add in an electric drill and multiple smaller carving knives and an X-ACTO knife.
3. Draw Before You Carve – In addition to your carving tools, you’ll need a pen for drawing your design onto the pumpkin, and couple big bowls — one for the seeds (the best part of pumpkin carving!) and one for the rest of the pumpkin goo and throwaway bits leftover from carving.

Whatever you do, save those pumpkin seeds! They’re so, so good roasted simply with oil and salt. It’s not hard, but here’s a link to a simple recipe.

Step By Step Instructions:

  • Set up your workspace: Line a sturdy table with flattened grocery bags, newsprint, or butcher paper. Have your permanent marker, carving tools, and bowls nearby.
  • Draw your design: After you’ve determined the best side of your pumpkin for a face, use the permanent marker to sketch out eyes, a nose, and a toothy grin.
  • Draw your lid: Outline a circular lid around the pumpkin stem, about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Add a notch in the back if you like — this makes it easier to line up.
  • Cut out the pumpkin lid: With a slim pumpkin carving knife (the carving tool with a toothed blade like a mini-saw) or serrated knife, cut along the outline of your pumpkin lid. Make sure you slice through the pumpkin at a 45-degree inward angle, so you’ll be able to replace the lid without it falling in.
  • Remove the pumpkin seeds: The seeds are all attached to the pumpkin and each other by thin strings. Grab the big bunches of seeds with your hands and place them in one of the bowls, to be cleaned later.
  • Scoop out the insides of the pumpkin: Using a ladle or the scraper that came with your kit (or a metal spoon if you don’t have this tool), clean out the inside of the pumpkin until no stringy bits remain. Discard the pumpkin guts in the second bowl.
  • Wipe off the pumpkin: Use the kitchen towel to wipe off the outside of the pumpkin so that it will be easier and safer to carve.
  • Cut out the design: Make straight cuts into your pumpkin along the lines of your design, removing the pieces and discarding them in the refuse bowl.
  • Clean up the details: Go back in and scrape out any stringy pieces or jagged lines with an X-ACTO knife or the wire tool from your carving kit. You can also scrape off the marker lines while you’re at it, though they won’t be visible in the darkness of night.
  • Light your pumpkin: Insert a tea light candle in the bottom of your pumpkin. Use a long match or lighter to light the pumpkin and replace the lid. Tip: If you’re having trouble lighting the candle, try going through the mouth of the jack-o’-lantern instead of the top.
  • Make roasted pumpkin seeds: Clean and dry the pumpkin seeds, then toss with oil, salt, and any desired seasonings, and roast in a low oven until golden brown.

 

 


 

What’s Your Favorite Treat?

Halloween, what a fun time of year. Especially if, like me, you love candy. And nothing says Halloween quite like candy corn. You can eat it, of course but you can also wear them. You can get that hoodie at the top HERE. Or those socks HERE (gotta get me a pair of those).  And a plush candy corn to hug (or let your dog play with) HERE. Check out your favorites. And if you have a few minutes check out these oddly wonderful candy commercials: Sour Patch Kids HERE and HERE. Skittles HERE. And Jolly Ranchers HERE.

It’s that time of year when we venture off to the store to pick our favorite Halloween candy.  Some of us go for a specific item/brand, while others default to the “mixed grab bag” approach.  What seems like a simple task, becomes a PIA (Pain in the @%$) Job! to solve.  I can remember as a kid, with my brothers and sisters, running from house to house, trying to see who got the most goodies. Part of our tradition was to walk very, very, very fast to each home, wait for the stragglers to catch up then yell “TRICK OR TREAT” as loud as we could. Our neighbors came to expect and look forward to our arrival!  We’d come home and sort out our bounty into piles – my favorite was of course (Snickers, followed by Reeses Peanut Butter Cups).  If my siblings were game, we’d horse trade, so I got more of the things I loved.  Mom and Dad made us, or at least tried to keep it fair. I happen to be good at trading!  Jackie and I of course carried on the tradition of yelling “TRICK OR TREAT” with our girls.  I was always amazed that the girls would have to stop back home to empty their pillow cases before continuing on!  We would then just sit back and watch them sort and trade, unfortunately I often was given the leftovers – Taffy (Not my favorite!)

A very good friend of mine sent me this cool map link, showing the candy sales by state – the map for Ohio says M&M’s but newer data says it might be Blow Pops.  Of course, I’m hit with questions … what flavor gum inside, how big, peanut or regular, big or little, ugh.  For all of my goblins out there, I hit the internet, and captured some fun tips about Halloween candy – thx History Channel, People, and CandyStore.comand all the candy sites for the info.  Enjoy, and don’t open those bags until it’s time!!

  • For most American kids, it wouldn’t be Halloween without trick-or-treating for candy; however, that wasn’t always the case. When the custom of trick-or-treating started in the 1930s and early 1940s, children were given everything from homemade cookies and pieces of cake to fruit, nuts, coins and toys.
  • The earliest known reference to “trick or treats”, printed in the November 4, 1927 edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald, talks of this, “Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.”
  • The first Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar was produced in 1900 and Hershey’s Kisses made their debut in 1907. Company founder Milton Hershey was a pioneer in the mass-production of milk chocolate and turned what previously had been a luxury item for the well-to-do into something affordable for average Americans. In the early 1900s, he also built an entire town, Hershey, Pennsylvania, around his chocolate factory.
  • In the 1950s, candy manufacturers began to get in on the act and promote their products for Halloween, and as trick-or-treating became more popular, candy was increasingly regarded as an affordable, convenient offering.
  • The Kit Kat bar was first sold in England in 1935 as a Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp and in 1937 was rechristened the Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp. The name is said to be derived from a London literary and political group, the Kit-Cat (or Kit Kat) club, established in the late 17th century. The group’s moniker is thought to be an abbreviation of the name of the man who owned the shop where the group originally gathered. Since 1988, the brand has been owned by Nestle, maker of another perennial trick-or-treat favorite, the Nestle Crunch bar, which debuted in the late 1930s.
  • In 1917, Harry Burnett Reese moved to Hershey, where he was employed as a dairyman for the chocolate company and later worked at its factory. Inspired by Milton Hershey’s success, Reese, who eventually had 16 children, began making candies in his basement. In the mid-1920s, he built a factory of his own and produced an assortment of candies, including peanut butter cups, which he invented in 1928 and made with Hershey’s chocolate. During World War II, a shortage of ingredients led Reese to pull the plug on his other candies and focus on his most popular product, peanut butter cups. In 1963, Hershey acquired the H.B Reese Candy Company.
  • Today, America spends about $2.7 billion dollars on candy.  When it comes to Halloween candy, a number of the most popular brands are enduring classics. Here is a link to a fun interactive map with detailed listings by state.
  • In 1923, a struggling, Minnesota-born candy maker, Frank Mars, launched the Milky Way bar, which became a best-seller. In 1930, he introduced the Snickers bar, reportedly named for his favorite horse, followed in 1932 by the 3 Musketeers bar. Frank’s son Forrest eventually joined the company, only to leave after a falling out with his father. Forrest Mars relocated to England, where he created the Mars bar in the early 1930s. In 1941, he launched M&Ms. Mars anticipated that World War II would produce a cocoa shortage, so he partnered with Bruce Murrie, son of a Hershey executive, in order to have access to a sufficient supply of ingredients; the candy’s name stands for Mars and Murrie.
  • No Halloween would be complete without candy corn, which was invented in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia. Other companies went on to produce their own versions of the tricolor treat, none longer than the Goelitz Confectionery Company (now the Jelly Belly Candy Co.), which has been doing so since 1898.

Here is a “top selling” candy list by State and links to their history:

  1. Candy Corn:  Alabama, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Carolina
  2. Twix:  Alaska
  3. Snickers:  Arizona, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Virginia
  4. Jolly Ranchers:  Arkansas
  5. M&Ms: California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia
  6. Milky Way:  Colorado, Maryland, Missouri, Vermont
  7. Almond Joy:  Connecticut
  8. Life Savers:  Delaware
  9. Skittles:  Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey
  10. Swedish Fish:  Georgia
  11. Sour Patch Kids:  Illinois, Maine, Nebraska, New York, Massachusetts
  12. Hot Tamales:  Indiana, North Dakota
  13. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups:  Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Wyoming
  14. Tootsie Pops:  Kentucky, Minnesota, Tennessee, Washington
  15. Lemonheads:  Louisiana
  16. 3 Musketeers:  Mississippi
  17. Double Bubble Gum:  Montana
  18. Hershey Kisses:  Nevada
  19. Blow Pops:  Ohio, West Virginia
  20. Starburst:  South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin
  21. Jolly Ranchers:  Utah

 

 


 

2,642 pounds.

(top) For the second time in 3 years, Mathia Willemijn won the world record for his behemoth pumpkin weighing 2,624.6 pounds. (all the rest) Carving pumpkins is really fun. Simple to complex there are some very creative people out there. And no matter how old you are Halloween is as fun as it is tiring.

While driving down to Heat Treat 2017 in Columbus, Ohio this year (GO BUCYEYES), I started thinking about our plans for Halloween, decorating, pumpkin pie (of course), and getting our pumpkins for carving with the girls.  Growing up, we would all have a pumpkin to carve and once completed we would place then on a long piece of wood in the from yard supported on two saw horses.  Now having 20 pumpkins in a row was quite a sight!  As I got older and had a family of my own, Jackie, the girls and I would go to our favorite pumpkin farm where they had a great deal!  All the pumpkins you could pick up at one time for $10.00. So…. any of you who know me most likely know what would happen next.  I needed to pick up 6 pumpkins and they all had to be the same size – carvable!  I am happy to say – Success!  Over the years I had to sadly give up that tradition.  Now, I am only allowed to carve pumpkins if I promise to be good and minimize the use of power tools! (Spade drills work really well!) I digress, now with time to wander, I was wondering what the world’s largest pumpkin is these days, who holds the record, and where it sits.  So, at a rest stop, I typed into my phone, and found – Ready – Mathias Willemijns, from Belgium, at the 2017 Giant Pumpkin European championship in Ludwigsburg, Germany on October 9th, weighed in at 2,624.6 pounds. WHAT??? Here’s some more fun history and trivia to go along with the newest record – Good luck carving.

  1. Mathias Willemijns grew a pumpkin of proportions not seen until this year. The Belgian man set a world record last week with a super squash that weighed 2,624.6 pounds.  Guinness World Records has yet to confirm it.
  2. The previous world-record pumpkin was 2,323 pounds. Swiss grower Beni Meier set that record in 2014 at a weigh-off at the same event.
  3. The first European settlers were stunned by our Native American’s ample crop of squash, which they mistook for melon.  Centuries later Irish immigrants abandoned the turnips they carved for jack-o-lanterns on All Hallows Eve, and replaced them with pumpkins, giving us our doorstep decorating traditions we still use today.
  4. For many years, record-setting pumpkins – a variety of Cucurbita maxima, bred in Nova Scotia, was the standard, raised in cool-weather New England, where summer days are in the mid 80’s, maximizing photosynthesis without desiccating the bloated fruit, along with bonus sunlight throughout the growing season.
  5. In the US, during June, giant pumpkins are growing exponentially, and by August, they’re packing on one to two pounds per hour, while guzzling about 100 gallons of water per day.
  6. Many pumpkins are raised by amateur growers, who keep daily diaries filled with secrets.  Genetic lines include Pleasure Dome and Freak 2, with individual seeds we’d normally bake, salt and eat, selling at auction for almost $2,000.
  7. The shift to European champions is rather recent, with the first German gourd-baking championship and pumpkin expo in 2001.  Since then, old world growers are clustering in northern Europe, using high tech greenhouses, heating, air conditioning, irrigation systems, and automatic fertilization.
  8. The current winner, Mathias Willemijns, is the lead technician at a large vegetable research center, and uses his own 130 foot poly tunnel to handle only four large pumpkins. Soil nutrient nanotechnology and genetic technologies lead to bigger crops and faster growth.
  9. Matt DeBacco of Rocky Hill, Connecticut has developed special blends that has excited the growers, and been a boom for the cannabis industry as well.
  10. In the madcap world of competitive horticulture, the record holders are: Carrot: 20 pounds, Zucchini: 64.49 pounds, Radish: 68.9 pounds, Green cabbage: 138.25 pounds, Watermelon: 350.5 pounds.
  11. Thank you Pintrest – here’s a link to the top carving designs – have fun!!  (and send me photos)

 

 


 

Spooktacular Night

haloween-768-blog

Halloween has a little something for everyone. I’d like to point out the painting in the lower right. “Jack O’Lantern” a digital painting by by Rado Javor (©2010-2016 RadoJavor) created in photoshop CS5. “The Legend of the Jack O’Lantern tells about the eternal Irish wanderer who wasn’t ‘let to the Heaven neither to Hell.’ He is traveling through the world in the search of Redemption.” See more of his work HERE.

 

It’s “ghosts and goblin” time again – with Halloween next week, the element of surprise makes it fun and unpredictable. When we were kids, my brothers and I used to sprint from house to house, block to block, and see who could get the most candy. As my daughters got older they would get all dressed up, go out with their pillow cases, and bring them back filled to the top. At that point, the real fun would start. Jackie and I would watch them dump out all of the candy in the family and start trading. Guess who got anything they didn’t want!! For fun, here is some trivia and scary urban legends you can share for a “spooktacular” night.

  • The fear of Halloween is known as Samhainopobia.
  • Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
  • The tradition of carving faces into vegetables dates to the Celts. As part of their autumnal celebration, they wanted to light the way to their homes for the good spirits, so they carved faces into vegetables such as turnips, potatoes and squash. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities.
  • The name Jack o’ Lantern comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack. According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.
  • If you see a spider on Halloween, it is the spirit of a loved one watching over you.
  • The common little brown bat of North America has the longest life span for a mammal it’s size, with a life span averaging 32 years.
  • The Ouija Board ended up outselling the game of Monopoly in its first full year at Salem. Over two million copies of the Ouija Board were shipped.
  • Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.
  • Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.
  • The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
  • Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters, with Snickers #1 – industry experts predict overall candy sales this year will top $2 billion.
  • Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.
  • Black cats were once believed to be witch’s familiars who protected their powers.
  • Signs of a werewolf are a unibrow, hair palms, tattoos, and a long middle finger.
  • In 1962, The Count Dracula Society was founded by Dr. Donald A. Reed. To this day, there are vampire clubs and societies with people claiming to be real vampires.
  • There really are so-called vampire bats, but they’re not from Transylvania. They live in Central and South America and feed on the blood of cattle, horses and birds.
  • Many people still believe that gargoyles were created by medieval architects and stone carvers to ward off evil spirits.
  • “Halloween” (the movie) was made in only 21 days in 1978 on a very limited budget. The movie was shot in the Spring and used fake autumn leaves. The mask used by Michael Meyers in the movie “Halloween” was actually William Shatner’s mask painted white. The character Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis was named after John Carpenter’s first girlfriend. While the setting for the story is in Illinois, the vehicles have California license plates.

Every year, urban legends make the rounds once again. Similar to the “Poison Halloween Candy” story, they play on parent’s fears that madmen are out to harm our children. Just a few …

BLOODY MARY: Who can forget the scary story of Bloody Mary, the evil spirit who will scratch your eyes out when summoned? Most people heard the Bloody Mary legend when they were children, listening to spooky ghost stories around the campfire. The tale is still told at slumber parties, campouts, and late-night bonfire parties. The legend claims that the evil woman can be summoned by chanting “Bloody Mary” into a mirror anywhere from three to one-hundred times in a darkened room lit only by a candle. (Thirteen seems to be the most popular number of chants, appropriately so). The bathroom is the most popular setting to test out the legend, but other dark rooms seem applicable. After the given amount of chants, the spirit will then appear in a mirror to claw your eyes out. Death will follow. Other variations have her driving you insane or pulling you into the mirror, never to be seen again.
Who Bloody Mary really is remains a mystery. While there are many versions of this story, many accounts point to a woman named Mary Worth, who was horribly disfigured in a car crash. Some are adamant that it’s Queen Mary I of England, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Some people still tell of a witch who was burned at the stake and has returned for revenge, or it may be the devil himself who comes for your soul. Legend has it that if you are near a mirror in total darkness, she can still come for you, regardless of whether or not you’re trying to call for her.

FRIDAY THE 13th: Most historians agree that the history of Friday the 13th as an unlucky day is a relatively short one, beginning sometime in the 19th century. Facts include: Antonio Rossini was an Italian composer famous for operas such as the Barber of Seville. His 19th century biographer, a British journalist named Henry Edwards, wrote that Rossini thought Fridays and the number 13 were unlucky. Rossini died on Friday, November 13th, 1868. Many folklorists cite Rossini’s biography as the first written reference to Friday the 13th as an unlucky day.
In the Canterbury Tales, written in the 14th century, there is a reference to “unlucky Fridays”. The whole root of the superstitions surrounding the number 13 may come from a Norse myth originating during prehistoric times. The myth goes that 12 gods were celebrating and dining in Valhalla when in walked Loki, the Norse god of mischief. According to the myth, Loki got the god of darkness to shoot Balder, the god of joy and gladness with a poisoned arrow, causing all of Earth to become dark as Balder died. Loki was the 13th guest, leading to the belief that 13 was a bad, unlucky number. No one can really say whether Friday the 13th is an unlucky day or even if there is any such thing as bad luck. That being said, millions of people believe in the superstition and no one can really say they are wrong.

 


 

Spooky Insights from KHTHeat

 

halloween 768 blog

With Halloween this weekend, we thought we’d share some “tips and treats” we found online you can use to be the smartest goblin at the dinner table.

  • Halloween originated in Ireland over 2,000 years ago and is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween. Some historians believe it originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.
  • “Halloween” is short for “Hallows’ Eve” or “Hallows’ Evening.” In an effort to convert pagans, the Christian church decided that Hallowmas or All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) should assimilate sacred pagan holidays that fell on or around October 31.
  • Halloween has been called All Hallows’ Eve, Witches Night, Lamswool, Snap-Apple Night, Nutcrack Night, Samhaim, and Summer’s End influenced by the ancient Roman festival Pomona, which celebrated the harvest goddess of the same name.  Many Halloween customs and games that feature apples (such as bobbing for apples) and nuts date from this time.
  • The first Jack O’Lanterns were actually made from turnips. The term jack-o’-lantern is in origin a term for the visual phenomenon ignis fatuus (lit., “foolish fire”) known as a will-o’-the-wisp in English folklore – uses “wisp” (a bundle of sticks or paper sometimes used as a torch) and the proper name “Will”: thus, “Will-of-the-torch.” The term jack-o’-lantern is of the same construction: “Jack of [the] lantern.”
  • According to Irish legend, Jack O’Lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance into both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.
  • The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.
  • A persistent fear of Halloween is called Samhnainophobia
  • The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die.
  • The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown in 2014 by Beni Meier weighing 2323.7 pounds  recorded at the European Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off in Germany.
  • The Guinness world record “pumpkin chuckin” shot is held by a pneumatic cannon dubbed “Big 10 Inch” at 5,545.43 feet (1,690.25 m). Team American Chunker, captained by Brian Labrie of New Hampshire, launched his pumpkin 4,694.68 feet (1,430.94 m) on November 1, 2013, in Bridgeville, Delaware, the longest shot in US event history.
  • The fastest time to carve a pumpkin is 16.47 seconds achieved by Stephen Clarke (USA) on October 31, 2013. The jack-o’-lantern is required to have a complete face, including eyes, nose, mouth and ears.
  • Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
  • “Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.  The first known mention of trick-or-treating in print in North America occurred in 1927 in Blackie, Alberta, Canada.
  • Black and orange are typically associated with Halloween. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.
  • Cats and fires have a permanent place in Halloween folklore. During the ancient festival, bonfires were lit to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard winter. Often Druids were said to throw cats into a fire, often in wicker cages, as part of divination proceedings and also throw the bones of cattle into the flames and, hence, “bone fire” became “bonfire.
  • Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday.
  • Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.
  • According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.
  • Dressing up as ghouls and other spooks originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves as demons and spirits. The Celts believed that disguising themselves this way would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets.
  • The average American will spend over $75 on Halloween totaling over $6 billion dollars.