Friday, 30 October 2009


Hallowe’en ~ October 31st

Hallowe’en is the eve of All Hallows, All Saints. October 31st in the old Celtic calendar was new years eve & the commemoration of the dead, when spirits were believed to walk abroad & the dead return to the earth. These traditions became so deeply rooted in local custom that the church was forced to compromise by establishing in 837 the Feast of all Saints on november 1st & the commemoration of All Souls on November 2nd.
In our family we find it is fun to celebrate Hallowe’en - but we personally focus on the harvest aspect of hallowe'en & stay far away from ghosts & witches & eerie things-that-go-bump in the night. Also as Christians, we know that superstition & fear give way to the joy of the resurrection & the reality of eternal life.

My thoughts on celebrating Halloween as a Christian are perfectly put into words by Joanna Bogle in her book A Book of Feasts and Seasons

A family commemoration of Hallowe’en can be a way of re-emphasising the Christian belief in life after death. Things should be kept on the level of family fun, avoiding witchy symbols & so-forth,with games & tasty food & a sense of drawing together in warmth on an autumnal evening.
Children should be taught to say a quick prayer if they are ever frightened of anything ‘ghosty’ at night or in a strange place & they should be reminded that they place their faith in God’s loving care & protection.

Romans 5:1

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Breakfast: Pumpkin Muffins & Apple Cider
Decorate our home with tiny pumpkins
Pumpkin Carving...& roasted seeds make a lovely mid-morning snack.
Make caramel & chocolate apples
` Simply melt caramels &/or chocolate in a double boiler. Swirl in the washed apples. Cool on waxed paper.
Trick or Treating...return home to ginger cookies & milk

The Pumpkin Blanket by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

Other Halloween Ideas:
Display our carved pumpkins on our doorstep (maybe use as a planter for some autumn flowers??)

Party Notes, A Garden Party, A woodland Picnic, A Woodland themed party.
Play apple bobbing & chinese whispers.

Halloween Party Food:
Meringue Mushrooms, Berried Candy Bark,Cinnamon Swirl Pear Bread, Caramel Apple Cider, Warmed Pear Juice. Frozen Jack O’ Lanterns

Pumpkin Muffins
8 oz pumpkin flesh 2 eggs
½ tsp ginger ½ tsp cloves
125ml milk 100ml golden syrup
2 tbsp margarine 6 oz white flour
1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to gas mark 6. Steam the pumpkin flesh until tender then purée in a food processor. Allow to cool.
2. Mix together the eggs, milk, syrup and margarine, and mix with the pumpkin.
3. Combine flour, baking powder and spices and add these dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Stir to mix, but don't overmix.
Pour into muffin pans and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. 

Frozen Jack-O-Lanterns
Serves 12
12 Navel Oranges
12 Cinnamon Sticks
1/2 Gallon Dark Chocolate Ice Cream (Godiva makes a really dark chocolate ice cream which works well.)

Cut off tops of oranges and gently hollow out pulp (a serrated grapefruit knife works really well), leaving a thick shell. Hollow out pulp from the tops too. Cut Jack-O-Lantern faces into each orange. Pack chocolate ice cream into shells. Avoid letting the ice cream come out of the holes. Cut a hole into top of orange top. Set tops back on over the ice cream, and set cinnamon stick stem through the hole.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon • 1 cup white sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1 egg
• 3/4 cup margarine, softened • 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 cup molasses • 2 tablespoons white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Traditional Oatmeal Parkin
8 oz (225 g) medium oatmeal
4 oz self raising flour
a pinch of salt
7 oz (200 g) dark syrup or golden syrup
1 oz (25 g) black treacle, plus 1 teaspoon
4 oz (110 g) margarine
4 oz soft brown sugar
2 level teaspoons ground ginger
1 large egg beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Real oatmeal parkin is unbeatable, but do make sure you leave it at least a week before eating – that way it will become much more moist and sticky than when it was first cooked. Originally it was kept in proper wooden parkin boxes, but nowadays a tin will do instead.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C).
You will also need an 8 inch (20 cm) square cake tin, lightly greased.
First weigh a saucepan on the scales, and weigh the syrup and treacle into it. Then add the margarine and the sugar to the saucepan and place it over a gentle heat until the margarine has melted down – don't go away and leave it unattended, because for this you don't want it to boil.
Meanwhile, measure the oatmeal, flour and ginger into a mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt, then gradually stir in the warmed syrup mixture till the mixture is all thoroughly blended. Next add the beaten egg, and lastly the milk. Now pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 1¾-2 hours. Then cool the parkin in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out. Don't worry too much if the parkin sinks slightly in the middle – it sometimes happens in Yorkshire too!

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