Halloween’s All About Tradition and Food Fun


October 30, 2013 by Joanne T Ferguson

Halloween-baking-tradition-whatsonthelistHands up, who REALLY knows the history and traditions of Halloween?

I don’t see many hands up in Computerland!

I don’t know whether it is because I am American born and bred that Halloween has always taken on a special meaning to me, or is it in the “preserving of holiday traditions from yesteryear” that pulls at my heartstrings every year.

I have MANY wonderful New York childhood Halloween memories with Princess Svetlana. (of Lucky “Peeking” Peking Pork fame and as featured in How a 365 Slow Cooker Suppers Review Inspired Me)

Let’s start at the beginning briefly, eh?

Halloween dates back more than 2,000 years where the Celtic people (now Ireland, The United Kingdom and Northern France) celebrated their New Year festival of Samhain (pronounced “sew in”) on the 1st of November.

The day marked the “end of harvest” and the beginning of winter which many people associated the weather with the words “cold” and “death.”

On the night before, the Celtics believed that the line between the worlds of the living and the dead were joined together; ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
Believe me, I have seen and experienced many!
Baking-Halloween-dessert-whatsonthelist Celtic people thought the presence of spirits would help the Celtic priests be able to foretell the future; bonfires were lit with sacrifices to their gods were made to protect them during for the pending winter.

FAST FORWARD many years!

When Princess Svetlana and I were in primary school (elementary school in the States), we were always invited to Halloween house parties where everyone dressed up, games were played, special foods were made (including unique cupcakes) and I can still close my eyes and “hear” the Halloween laughter and S-Q-U-E-A-L-S of delight (maybe this is where my squealing started lol) in looking forward to picking out a complete costume that came in a see through box ALL for 99 cents US!!!

My, my, I think I must be dating Princess Svetlana! lol

We are the same age “almost” too!
Halloween-cucpcakes-whatsonthelistWhile witches and goblins were always popular (before the ballerina aka pre princess fairies lol), Princess Svetlana and I always coordinated our outfits in a theme like Batman and Robin…well, you get the picture!

On of my favorites things to do was “bobbing for apples.”

“What’s THAT?”, I “hear” you day?
Bobbing-apples-at-halloween-party                                            Photo Courtesy of Art.com

With hands behind your back (no cheating lol), your head went into (and usually under) the water to grab an apple with your teeth.

In the “olden days of yesteryear” lol, the Halloween host mum and dad used to put coins in slots in the apples!

To win a US nickel (5 cents) brought the BIGGEST S-Q-U-E-A-L of delight as everyone else “only got a penny”, the winner would say!

Another favorite Halloween party game for Princess Svetlana and me was Pin The Tail on the Pumpkin!

The Party Games originated from Pin The Tail on the Donkey that came with 24 Tails!!!
Game-party-children-jpg                                              Photo Courtesy of Etsy

Do you know what I like in re-living these memories?

We did not care or even “think” about WHY we were pinning a tail on a pumpkin that does not have a tail! lol
Cupcake-Halloween-decorating-whatsonthelistWhen Princess Svetlana and I were in high school, the “tradition” of the house parties continued and we were more aware about the annual (now in its 40th year!) Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village in New York City.

The Parade is telecast “LIVE” in New York with over 2 million people lining the 1 mile street seeing over 60,000 participants “colorfully and creatively scare” people all in good fun!
I “must watch” if you are ever in New York for Halloween!

The parade was cancelled “once” in its history due to Hurricane Sandy.
Ghost-cookies-Halloween-whatsonthelist Pumpkin-cookies-Halloween-whatsonthelist“Was I ever a ghost or pumpkin or scary cat?”, I “hear” you ask?

I am sorry to disappoint you…no… BUT Princess Svetlana and I used to make cookies and cupcakes to bring to our classmates at school.

Our class had one teacher with 60 students in one classroom!

We “survived”, “were taught”, “learned discipline, sharing and helping
; all important future life lessons that Princess Svetlana and I demonstrate daily every day!

Did I mentioned we loved making Halloween cookies and Halloween cupcakes?

I’d like to share a very special Halloween memory dedicated to my mum who is smiling down from the heavens above.

When I was in high school, my mum thought it would be fun to make my Halloween costume.

“Don’t tell your Nana!”, she said to me!

My Nana (her mum) had given my mum some beautiful pink satin material to make a baby blanket when I was born.

My mother decided it was time to make the baby blanket (I was 15 lol) that was “going to be”  a circus clown costume.

I WISH I had a photo to share.

My mum knew how to sew (had the original Singer sewing machine), but following patterns were not “her thing.”

When my mum went to sew my clown outfit together, one half of the outfit (looking at it from the front), was the shiny side of the satin, the other side dull, but I thought mum had purposely made it that way to look even funnier!

Luckily for me, I was not aware of her innocent mistake and saw it as how much she must have loved me to make a baby blanket aka clown outfit 15 years later!

My mum was “chuffed” (Aussie lingo for excited) with the costume; it looked GREAT!

Mum decided she would help me “decorate” my face with some fun black tear drops. (telling me they were tears of “fun and joy” which every day one should have in their life!)

She then got “VERY creative” and (if you can imagine) made vertical rectangular boxes down my facial cheeks (lol), made a criss-cross design and colored them in with beautiful magic markers!

Needless to say, I won MANY costume awards at all the parties I was invited to that year…HOWEVER…

The first time I came home from the Halloween home party and tried to remove “my decorative face”, mum “realized” (after I left) that she had used PERMANENT Magic Marker (called Sharpies or Textas in Australia) and there was nothing we did or tried that removed “my magical face.”

Okay, yes, um, well, I “hear” you laughing WITH me!

Could ANYTHING be ANY worse? (as YOU are STILL laughing I can see!)

Yes, it could, as I had to got to school for over two weeks (at the age of 15) with a face like a clown! mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Over the years, it had been the source of MANY Halloween memories and jokes, much laughter within our family and of course now that it is only Chef Georgio (from Matt Preston’s Fast, Fresh and Unbelievably Delicious Lemon Love Notes) and me and  Princess Svetlana and her family, we remember and relive that Halloween’s All About Tradition and Food Fun.

A VERY special thank you to The Cupcake Queen from Rocco’s Macarons Rule and Rocco’s Macarons Rule Follow Up -Mission Accomplished, who, without her “TREMENDOUS help”, you might not have gotten to see Halloween cupcakes and cookies so I could share my wonderful New York childhood memories with thee!

If you enjoyed this post, would love some Halloween “Twitter – Pitter” love and Halloween Facebook follows too!

Happy Halloween and even if you don’t celebrate, please take away from this post Halloween’s All About Tradition and  Food Fun!

Thank you!


50 thoughts on “Halloween’s All About Tradition and Food Fun

  1. Loved reading your recollections of Halloween, Joanne, and the history too. Thank you for sharing this fun post with us at the Hearth and Soul hop.

  2. So fun reading about your childhood memories and Halloween traditions! Thank you so much for sharing at the Merry Monday Link Party/1

  3. Not to date myself, but yeah, I looked forward to the “complete costume that came in a see through box ALL for 99 cents” too. Ha ha!

  4. Nicky says:

    Joanne, you are one of my featured bloggers this week for Let’s Get Real. I hope you’ll join us when we go live Thursday at 5pm EST

  5. Very nice! I may sound dumb but do you celebrate Halloween down under? It’s getting popular in UK now too.
    Thanks for coming and linking up at The Weekend Social. Please be sure to come back next week starting Thursdays at 9PM EST The Midnight Baker ! I hope to see you there!
    Judy@ http://www.bakeatmidnite.com

    • G’dy and thanks for stopping by Judith and no question is ever too silly or stupid with me. Aussie celebrate Halloween the way they THINK Americans do! Due to child safety, cultural differences, it is making Halloween more and more difficult to be celebrated each year!

  6. beckysbestbites says:

    Thanks for the history lesson on Halloween! I have now learned something new for the day 🙂 Yay!! Also the cupcakes and cookies looked fabulous and now I am hungry. LOL 🙂

  7. swathi says:

    Great post Joanne, I didn’t know about Halloween tradition, thanks for sharing along with delicious cup cake and cute cookies.

  8. Nicky says:

    It’s fun to read the history of holidays and different events. It’s amazing how things change and morph over the years. Thank you for sharing so many of your childhood memories.

  9. grabaplate says:

    Great read! Hysterically funny to think about the permanent markers! Yikes!

  10. debi says:

    This is a wonderful post! I enjoyed the Halloween history, as well as your memories from your childhood! Thanks so much

  11. taranoland says:

    Great Halloween post!! I loved to bob to apples!! And totally remember that box from the pin the tail on the donkey!! The cupcakes and cookies are all so perfect too for Halloween!!

  12. “G’Day!” Joanne what beautiful memories you have from bobbing for the apples, to the cooperative cupcake making with the princess…and, of course, your mother. Looks like she was indeed a very caring, creative mum….Nice to know that a marker wears off in 2 weeks…You were sporting tattoos before they were en vogue! Of course (again) I have pinned your fantabulous-looking cupcakes.

  13. Matina ESHRAGHIAN says:

    Joanne thank you for this lovely post, how exciting it must have been to travel down memory lane. I now have a deeper understanding of Halloween, its traditions and special meanings. The cup cakes look scrumptious, keep up the good work.

  14. Joanne this is a lovely post and I very much enjoyed the history behind Halloween and your personal memories from your childhood!

  15. Great Halloween post with its history and your stories. I think it is such a fun holiday, maybe enjoy more enjoyable as a grown-up because we can act like kids.

  16. babso2you says:

    Lovely post Joanna! Nice history and reading about your childhood! Loved the cupcakes with the witches feet!

  17. danapny says:

    Joanne, thanks for sharing this post. I hadn’t heard the history of Halloween as you described it here. I also enjoyed picturing the permanent marker decoration on your face…LOL…aw your mom must’ve done one amazing job! Now I want to make my own costume and cupcakes/cookies!

  18. This was interesting and fun to read 🙂 As a Aussie since we were younger my Mumma would decorate our house and we would come home after school and the house would be decorated and we would get treat bags and watch a scary movie 🙂 we still do it today and im 26! 🙂

    Happy Halloween x

  19. a lovely peek back into your childhood Joanne. I’d have loved to see your textaed face 😉

  20. Wow Joanne those cupcakes are too die for, I would celebrate Halloween just for them and ofcourse to dress up. Thank you for sharing the history of this holiday, it is always good to know new things.

  21. Great post, Joanne! First up, having no idea of the history of Halloween but always wanting to know. The cupcakes look indeed divine! 😀

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About me

Joanne T. Ferguson

Passionate Home Cook who tries to inspire one recipe and one event at time!


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