Friday, October 30, 2009

samhain evolution

Isn’t she lovely?

The following is courtesey of my sister who knows this stuff.

(Today’s post is presented in the font Herculanum.)

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient harvest festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). In ancient times, people celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. Food supplies often ran low and the short days of winter were full of constant worry. It was believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the world of the living and the dead became blurred and ghosts could came back.  People thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes.  To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, they would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.  To keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.


As the beliefs and customs of different ethnic groups, as well as the American Indians, meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included "play parties," public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other's fortunes, dance, and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. In the second half of the 19th century Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today's "trick-or-treat" tradition.

  Finger Snacks



  vegetable dip

  4 long carrots

  1 medium carrot

  softened cream cheese


  baby carrots



To prepare them, just fill a serving bowl with your favorite vegetable dip. Wash and peel 4 long carrots for fingers and 1 medium carrot for a thumb. With a paring knife cut a flat, shallow notch in the tip of each carrot. Then use a dab of dip or softened cream cheese to “glue” a sliced-almond fingernail atop each notch. Stick the fingers in the dip, as shown, and serve with plenty of peeled baby carrots for dipping.

Mummy Toes


Cocktail wieners or Vienna sausages

6-inch tortillas

Ketchup or mustard




1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut a wedge into the end of each cocktail wiener to make a toenail. Cut the tortillas into strips about 4 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. Discard the ends. Soften the strips in the microwave between damp paper towels for 10 seconds. Roll each wiener in a tortilla strip and secure with a toothpick. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove them from the oven, then fill the toenail with ketchup or mustard. Remove the toothpicks before serving.

Forked Eyeballs

2 (11-ounce) bags white chocolate chips

12 doughnut holes

Semisweet chocolate chips

Tube of red decorator frosting

plastic forks



To coat a dozen doughnut holes, melt the white chocolate chips over low heat (and keep the chocolate warm while you work). With a fork, spear each doughnut hole and submerge it in the melted chocolate to coat it, then gently tap off any excess. Stick a semisweet chocolate chip with its point cut off onto each doughnut hole, cut end first. Place the forks (handle side down) in a mug and allow the chocolate coating to harden. Use a tube of red decorator frosting to add squiggly veins radiating out from the pupils.


  1. Wishing you many happy treats this Halloween!

  2. hi ellen - thanks for the cool history - i'll share that with my two who i think are too old to go out and bring in goodies this year so that'll be one more thing - what will i do for goodies as i usally pilfer theirs. hmmmm perhaps i should make some of your treaty ideas for myself instead!!!! have a fun night. steven

  3. Happy Halloween yourself! That's a gorgeous spider.

  4. Happy Halloween. Love the historical part.

  5. Loved the little recipes! Those toes are very real looking.

  6. Hope your Halloween was frightful.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.