What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

Have you heard of the “Teal Pumpkin Project®”?  Having a young family member with notable food restrictions, the Teal Pumpkin Project is something we strongly support and recommend for the safety of food-sensitive children and a way to allow all to fully participate and enjoy the fun of Halloween and trick-or-treating.

Prompted by childhood food allergies, the Teal Pumpkin Project is a worldwide movement to create a safer, healthier, and happy Halloween experience for all children, including those with food allergies, which can be life-altering and life-threatening. One in thirteen children suffers from some sort of food allergy today.  Among the project’s goals is to raise awareness of food allergies and to promote inclusion for all little trick-or-treaters during the Halloween season.

Halloween can be an especially challenging time for children, parents, and families managing food allergies on a daily basis. Many “mini” or “fun-sized” treats are not labeled with food ingredients and/or contain different ingredients than their full-sized counterparts, making managing for parents even more difficult.

The goal is to offer non-food treats for children dealing with allergies, as well as others for whom candy treats may not be an option. The whole purpose is not only food safety for those with allergies but also kindness and inclusion. Small children confronted with allergy issues will be delighted to receive a small non-food, non-threatening treat alternative, while other children can still receive traditional Halloween treats. No one left out of the fun. That’s the Little Red Bear way!


Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is easy.

  • Simply provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.
  • Place a Teal Pumpkin (‘teal’ is the chosen color of Food Allergy Awareness) in front of your home to indicate that you have non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters, or in lieu of a Teal Pumpkin, a sign or poster placed on your door or window.

Where do I get a Teal Pumpkin to put on my front porch?

  • Obtaining a Teal Pumpkin for Halloween is fairly simple — paint your own!  Grab some teal paint and make it a family project. If you have children of your own, it will be a wonderful learning opportunity to involve them to help educate and raise their awareness of food allergy issues. Perhaps they have friends who are affected by allergies, making it even more personal and beneficial to be included in the process.
  • If you cannot paint a pumpkin yourself, no worries. Teal pumpkins should hopefully be available for purchase both online and in local shopping outlets. As the movement continues to grow each year, they will become readily available.
  • If painting is not an option and teal pumpkins are not available in your local stores, all you really need to do is display a sign or teal pumpkin printout at your door or in a window, letting everyone know that you have non-food treats available. Tap on the image on the right to download the sign and print out a copy for your home. Participating is as simple as that.

What are acceptable Non-Food Treats?

  • Children love to do artwork — Pencils, Pens, Crayons, Markers, Stencils!
  • Children love to do artwork outdoors — Sidewalk Chalk!
  • Children love to blow bubbles — Bubble Blowers!
  • Halloween Erasers and Pencil Toppers are really cool.
  • Children love to remind us that they are around — Whistles, Kazoos, Clappers, and Noisemakers (parents will love you!)
  •  Bouncy Balls (small children never have enough bouncy balls!)
  • Glow Sticks!
  • Small Stuffed Animals!
  • Jumping Ropes!
  • Paddle Balls!
  • Stickers!
  • Small Playing Cards and Games!
  • Finger Puppets and Novelty Toys!
  • Simple Bracelets, Wrist Bands, and Necklaces!
  • Mini Yo-Yo’s or Slinkies!
  • Mini Wooden Airplanes!
  • And of course, the perennial Halloween favorite — Fake Dracula Teeth!
  • Note — When selecting non-food items, it is best to omit moldable clays which may contain wheat products, and to steer away from any items made of or containing latex, for those latex-sensitive individuals.

A quick trip to the local dollar or discount store should provide all you need, and may very likely be cheaper than high-priced candy these days, keeping in mind that if you do go the non-food treat route only one in thirteen children will be seeking the non-food treats, so not talking about a great deal of items. Just enough to include a little something for everyone. Time spent in making an extra trip each Halloween will be more than offset by the warm feeling of knowing that you are doing something not only nice but also beneficial for the kids, and by the smiles and happiness of those receiving your special treat items on Halloween night.


This year, Little Red Bear and I urge you to join us in taking the pledge —


If you would like to learn more about food allergies and The Teal Pumpkin Project simply tap the link to visit the Food Allergy Research & Education page, where more suggestions for non-food treats and other ways to participate and help the movement are available. You can also read more about How The Teal Pumpkin Project Began.

Here is a resource site for downloadable Free Signs, Flyers & More!

Thanks always for visiting with us.  We hope that you will join Little Red Bear and me in The Teal Pumpkin Project and helping to make this a safe, healthy, and enjoyable Halloween — for Everyone! — Jim (and Red!)


“Thank God for little children; when our skies turn cold and gray, They come as sunshine to our hearts, and charm our cares away.” – Frances Watkins Harper

“He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.” –  Thomas Carlyle


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

                 “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”             — Sitting Bull (Hunkpapa Lakota)


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.” – Richard L. Evans

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” –  John F. Kennedy



For Our New Visitors Wondering — 

“Who is Little Red Bear?”

 Meet Little Red Bear and His Friends in this short introduction to the stories —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”



 

“Little Red Bear’s — Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes Special II”

Welcome to Little Red Bear’s special “Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes — Volume  II.”

Last year’s Halloween Treat Recipes were so well received that Little Red Bear felt we should do it again. If you missed last year’s “Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes”, simply tap here to find more fun Halloween recipes and ideas!


It’s Autumn and October,

Frightful things will soon be waking,

Rising from restless graveyard slumbers,

Craving tasty treats left for their taking!

So gather ye ‘round for recipes,

See what kitchen witches have in store,

‘Tis time to fire up kettles and cauldrons,

Ere hungry ghosts and ghouls be at the door!


Trust us. Being fans of eggs best used in omelets and toilet paper best stored in the linen closet and not on trees, it’s best to be prepared when little goblins come knocking on Halloween.

Some little treat and candy-craving spirits handle disappointment better than others. And you really do not want to be in the position of having to hand out pennies.

Or rocks.  Always try to avoid being in the position of having to resort to handing out rocks. Even if they are the fancy painted ones going around so popularly nowadays. No rocks.  Treats are always well received.



Accordingly then, here is an assortment of Halloween goodies to appease both adult partygoers and those wandering little treat-seekers that come knocking at the door on Halloween night.  Simply tap on either the link or image to find a recipe.

Proceed on, stirring spoon and bowl in hand if you have the courage, for spookily delightful Halloween recipes unearthed by Little Red Bear and his friends.


Halloween Ghost Pancakes

How to start a Halloween morning?  With Ghost Pancakes, of course! Featuring orange pancakes, a special dark chocolate ganache, and whipped cream ghosts.

Halloween Ghost Pancakes by The Novice Chef


Screaming Chocolate Pretzels

These chocolate-covered pretzels will be “howling” for attention at your Halloween party this year!

Screaming Chocolate Pretzels by Fun 365 Oriental Trading


Rice Krispie Treat Monsters

These cute little Rice Krispie Treat Monsters will be a colorful fun favorite for little ones and perfectly sized for small hands!

Rice Krispie Treat Monsters by “One Little Project At A Time”


Apple Pie Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples were a Halloween staple growing up in the midwest years ago. This recipe takes them to a whole new Apple Pie level for the Autumn Season, beginning with a caramel coating covered by a luscious layer of white chocolate, then rolled in a Cinnamon-Sugar mixture and drizzled with more white chocolate!  If caramel apples were a treat years ago, then this new version is treat-a-licious!

Apple Pie Caramel Apples by Leigh Anne Wilkes , “Your Homebased Mom”


Reese’s Peanut Butter Captain Crunch Bars

Made with peanut butter, marshmallows, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Captain Crunch cereal, topped with Reese’s Peanut Butter Pieces.  I love Halloween!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Captain Crunch Bars by This Is Not Diet Food


Everyone loves Halloween for different reasons. For me, the approach of Halloween each year ushers in the arrival of Candy Corn Season!  Like the poor little innocent but polarizing Peeps at Easter, varying opinions aside, I am an unapologetic lover of Candy Corn, and here are three Candy Corn inspired recipes for you too, if so inclined.

Candy Corn Swirled Fudge

If Michelangelo could have found Candy Corn Swirled Marble similar to this gorgeous fudge, just think of the masterpieces he could have created. As it is, we still have the fudge, and that works for me!

Candy Corn Swirled Fudge by The Café Sucre Farine

Candy Corn Poke Cake

Made in a 9″ x 13″ sheet cake pan, this simple but beautiful cake will serve many and is certain to be a talked about highlight of any Halloween event! Keep the recipe handy for when guests inquire.

Candy Corn Poke Cake by Wine and Glue

Candy Corn Jello

Candy Corn Jello?  Oh, someone pinch me — I must be dreaming!

Candy Corn Jello by Cincy Shopper


Peeping Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cute little Chocolate Chip Sandwich Monster Cookies for little ghosts and goblins!

Peeping Chocolate Chip Cookies by Cadbury Kitchen


Pumpkin Blondies

If you have been patiently waiting for a Pumpkin related recipe, your time has come! Pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice baked into a blondie bar for Autumn get-togethers and Halloween treats! Don’t you just love Autumn?

Pumpkin Blondies by Cookies & Cups


Witch’s Brew Brownies

If we have Blondies, then the Brownies cannot be far behind! Add all sorts of spooky and leftover candy toppings to these brownies to make them extra special.

Witch’s Brew Brownies by Home Made Interest


Great Pumpkin Cake

Everyone who follows me on Facebook and other sites knows that I am a life-long fan of the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles Schulz, featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, and the gang.

And of course, Linus, who each year spends Halloween night in a pumpkin patch foregoing trick or treating with his friends to await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, who arises each year from the most sincere pumpkin patch to then fly around handing out toys to sincere and believing children on Halloween. It goes without saying that Linus is the only one who believes in the Great Pumpkin, yet remains steadfast in his beliefs and undaunted in his support, despite the withering criticism of others.

So, how could we not share a Great Pumpkin Cake for faithful Linus and Halloween this year?!?  Hint — You will need your most sincere fluted tube pan for this one!

Great Pumpkin Cake by Kraft Recipes


Brownie Cupcakes

With a brownie bottom and orange cake mix layer, these colorful cupcakes will be a Halloween party treat!  Be sure to add a candy pumpkin or sprinkles on top!

Brownie Cupcakes by Two Sisters Crafting


Boozy Pumpkin Milkshake

No longer the sole domain of youngsters, it seems that each year an increasing number of adults from all age groups seek to reclaim Halloween celebrations and fun.  The treats may have taken on a new flavor or two over the years, however.  Here is a little something for the older treat-seekers.  One may find several other party ideas on this site, as well. Just please remember to celebrate responsibly.

Boozy Pumpkin Milkshake by Wine and Glue


Halloween Trifle

As we have endeavored to point out, Hungry Halloween Spirits and Goblins are certainly nothing to be trifled with. Unless your trifle happens to contain a number of Halloween goodies inside it, of course!

Halloween Trifle by Dancing Through The Rain


Thank You for visiting with us!  Please feel to share this special Halloween post and our site with friends and family for their Halloween fun.

When out this Halloween, please remember to celebrate safely, drive carefully in neighborhoods, and watch for little ones on the roadways who most likely will not be watching out for you while rushing to the next candy stop.

And remember, if you happen across an unattended broomstick on Halloween, just leave it be.  We’ll talk more about that another time in our upcoming “Interview With A Witch”. Until then, just ignore the broom and pass on by.  Witches are not fond of walking, and we’ll simply leave it at that for now. Watch for the interview here soon!

Also please keep an eye out for our upcoming “Autumn Recipes” special soon, along with another fun little poem this week. Follow the blog now to be notified of every new post in your email box. Never any Spam. Little Red Bear only likes his Spam from the little can, never in the mail.

Happy Halloween to everyone!  Fire up the wood stoves and let the holiday candy and treat making begin! — Jim (and Red!)          


                                            “Halloween isn’t just about candies and treats.                                               No, wait — of course, it is.” — Little Red Bear

“A candy a day keeps the monsters under the bed away.” — Cinnamon Charlie


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.” — Erma Bombeck


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, last month we were able to donate six print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to a Senior Citizens Library and Residents!

Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“If you are out of treats, I would prefer cash.” — Slick the Weasel

“Keep calm, Trick or Treat, and carry on.” – Oliver Wendell Ghostbody



For Our New Readers Wondering — 

“Who is Little Red Bear?”

 Meet Little Red Bear and His Friends in this short introduction to the stories —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”



 

Happy Halloween! — A Nostalgic Look Back at Trick or Treating in Days of Yore

Happy Halloween!

          It’s that magical time of the year, when little ghosts and goblins appear.                                       Scampering up and down the streets, scurrying around with bags of treats.                     Trick or treating back when I was eight; oh, the candy bars then were truly great!

Halloween has changed much over the years. Halloween Trick or Treating in my neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri growing up in the 1950’s and early 60’s  frequently featured homemade baked goods like cookies, cupcakes, brownies, Rice Krispie treats, homemade popcorn balls, and more —  all carefully bundled in plastic wrap. Homemade candied apples were a real treat, along with homemade taffy and fudge at some homes.

And every year — without fail — a few slices of cake wrapped in plastic wrap which always seemed to find their way to the bottom of the treat bag to inevitably end up smashed flat or crumbled before I got home. But cake crumbs are cake nonetheless, so nothing ever went to waste.

Cupcakes, cookies, and brownies always seemed to survive better in the bag than a slice of cake for some reason. Despite being young, even then I appreciated the all-day effort of having baked and decorated what had to be several handmade cakes for slicing, wrapping, and handing out on Halloween night, and knew their hearts were in the right place with it all. But still find myself asking and wondering to this day — really, what were those folks thinking to hand out a wrapped slice of cake for a treat bag?

Appearing a few decades ahead of their time perhaps, there were also a few health conscious homes in the neighborhood who handed out fresh apples along with the occasional orange, banana, or assorted nuts tossed into the bag. We politely said “thank you”, never wanting ungratefulness to poison the well for next year in case they came to their senses at some point, but shaking our heads leaving just the same.

Older folks were known for frequently giving out pennies and other loose change, along with an occasional pencil or two. I always just figured they were older and not able to travel to the store easily to stock up on the really good stuff, but trying as best they could, nevertheless. And that was good enough for us, with “old people” perhaps more highly regarded and respected in those days. We don’t hear the term “hardening of the arteries” much anymore. I think that’s because the medical and drug folks can all charge more for terms like “arteriosclerosis” and “atherosclerosis” because it sounds much more serious. But, may be wrong. Getting back to Halloween, then.

Bubble Gum, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Wax Bottles,  Caramels, Jaw Breakers (always a favorite of mine!), Sugar Daddies, Jelly Beans, Candy Corn, Boston Baked Beans, Milk Duds, Caramels, Saf-T-Pop Suckers with their looped handles, Circus Peanuts, Licorice, and boxes of Cracker Jacks helped fill out the treat bag. Red Spanish Peanuts were popular, too.  Many of the items simply tossed loose and unwrapped into the bag, of course. Individually wrapped packages were only just beginning to come onto the scene at the time.

Some folks didn’t bother with the process of making a popcorn ball, choosing instead to merely wrap the loose popcorn in plastic wrap gathered and tied with a twisty tie. I usually jammed those into a side pocket for a handy street snack along the way later. It was good because it was both filling and wouldn’t sticky-up your hands like candy.

All of this, and of course not to leave out the truly treasured and most sought-after Halloween prize — Candy Bars!  There were only two sizes of candy bars generally available at that time — ‘Full Size’ and the larger “I May Need Help Carrying This One Home Size”.

Some homes offered cold apple cider to refresh on an occasionally warm evening, or hot chocolate in paper cups on especially chilly nights.  Every home seemed warm and welcoming, and homes without a front porch light on to welcome and light the way for visitors were rare indeed.

Growing up in the Midwest, Halloween nights could and did vary from warm to chilly to bone-shivering cold. Nobody under the age of adult ever wanted to cover their costume with a raincoat or parka!

I remember trick or treating in the snow twice. How could one forget something so truly magical as that? And recall more than a few rainy nights in the time when trick or treat bags were truly paper bags in every sense of the word, long before plastic bags and plastic tote pumpkins arrived on the scene. More than a few friends had the bottom burst on a rain-soaked bag, dumping all of their Halloween treasures on the wet sidewalk.

Fortunately, I escaped that calamitous fate thru the years, likely due in no small part to my beloved Mother making me carry an umbrella with me, no doubt. Carefully tilted to protect the treat bag held high and dry, naturally.

It almost goes without saying that every stop required us to actually come inside the house and perform in the living room — tell a joke, tell a story, sing a song, dance, do a trick, stand on our head, or do “something” to earn our Treats. Unearned giveaways were rare. Somersaults were always a big hit for the littlest kids to do.

A good costume got you in the door, but that alone would not fill the treat bag. We were all expected to work for our candy and treats, patiently standing in line awaiting our turn to perform. With only three channels on the black and white television sets and dodgy reception most times, a steady line of kids performing was great entertainment rivaling and surpassing anything on the TV for the night. So, entertain we did. Milton Berle and Jack Benny would have to wait for their turns that night, too.

“Knock Knock” jokes, while usually not earning the highest performance awards of a candy bar, were always reliable in a pinch to rescue the situation when the strange kid in front of you stole your best joke or trick, so the astute Trick or Treater always kept a few entertaining jokes in reserve just in case.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Orange.
Orange who?
Orange you going to give me some candy?

Although that particular little diddy ran the risk of getting you an orange instead of a Baby Ruth.

But a good “Knock Knock” joke could usually be relied upon to be rewarded with at least a popcorn ball.  If the household had just heard the same joke three times before you arrived, you were probably doomed for pennies, though. And maybe a short lecture about coming better prepared next year.

And it did happen occasionally, as hot new jokes seemed to cycle thru the neighborhood in a given year —“Better tell me another one son, or it’s three pennies for you.  I just heard that one five times before you got here!  What else you got in your trick bag?”

Holiday- Halloween- Art 4

Trick or Treating done correctly was literally a performance art, requiring hours and hours of pre-planning, preparation, and dedication.  And on Halloween night, it was a process that could not be rushed if anticipated rewards were to be realized.  A good performance took both time and commitment to the craft.  On a successful night, multiple stops home might be needed to offload full bags and then head back out for more.  Candy bars being the truly sought-after prize, of course!

It was good to work together, not only in your group so everyone had their own unique performance art for the night, but also coordinating with other groups on the street, as it could save a lot of walking and shoe leather. We never realized at the time that Halloween night was a great exercise in developing teamwork skills.

“Don’t bother stopping here, Jim.  Old lady Jones is already out of candy and dumped pennies in our bags.  But the Haskins has still got Snickers I heard.”

Forewarned, time could be saved by heading only towards the high rollers still handing out candy bars and cupcakes.  By 6:45, everybody on the street knew which house was giving out what, which naturally led to candy bar homes running out before the Bazooka Gum, safety suckers, and fruit houses.

When you spied groups of kids running towards a particular house, you knew to hurry there next.  When you saw kids walking down the driveway shaking their sacks and hearing “thump, thump, thump,” you knew they’d been fruited.  So unless really hungry for an apple, best to pass that one by and come back later.  Chances were pretty good they’d still be open for business at nine.

Can’t speak for others, but on a few occasions, I was treated with Silver Dollars. Honest-to-goodness, better-than-Musketeers, real Silver Dollars!  Sometimes it was wise not to be “too” disguised when visiting favorite neighbors, or those you had helped with summer yard work or fall leaf-raking.

But that was without a doubt at the same time both the awesomest and bothersomest treat one could receive, being simply too special to spend and convert to candy.  Gather enough pennies and nickles from the bottom of the bag and you could quickly convert that into cool, hard, candy. Not so with silver dollars. That just never seemed right to even consider doing.

I still have Halloween silver dollars stashed safely away in the back of a dresser drawer tucked beneath layers of underwear for safekeeping. Back in the day, no self-respecting burglar (or sister) would think of rummaging thru someone’s underwear drawer for loot.  The same silver dollars still tucked safely away from years ago I should perhaps add, not the same underwear, of course. Just, to be clear on that point.

It probably goes without saying, but that stashing away part never would have happened with a Three Musketeers.

Holiday- Halloween- Art 7

Costumes were usually homemade, wholly or at least partly by the kids themselves. Big-footed clowns, cowboys and Lone Rangers with masks, knights with aluminum foil helmets carrying cardboard or wooden swords and shields, Indians in feathers and war paint, policemen, miniature firefighters, princesses with capes and crowns, angels with halos and wings, red-caped devils complete with garden pitchforks, army soldiers in their fathers’ oversized WWII and Korean War gear and helmets, scarecrows stuffed with straw, and ugly-nosed, warty witches with brooms.  A few Tinmen from Oz here and there,  but that was a hard costume to pull off without a lot of help from parents.

Along with many a hobo, most patterned after Red Skelton’s famous “Freddie the Freeloader” character at the time. It was a fun costume which I employed a few times, raiding Dad’s closet for over-sized, baggy clothes, and a hat. He never would part with one of his cigars in order to pull off the complete ensemble look, though.

All accompanied by the predictable number of white-sheeted ghosts floating over the sidewalks, of course.  Skeletons were fairly rare in those days because that was mostly a store-bought costume that neither kids nor parents wanted to admit to having to resort to, as everyone took pride in their self-made costumery.

We talked about them a lot in name but no one ever really knew what a Goblin was to make a costume for it.  It was just a creature of myth and folklore that we did not want to run into on the street that night because chances were pretty good it wouldn’t be a kid in a costume.  Ghosts with eye holes were generally considered pretty safe to approach, though.

Clearly the most outstanding costume I remember was when the older, bigger, “I’m-better-than-you-are” neighbor kid across the street’s father made him the scariest and true-to-life realistic Headless Horseman costume since Ichabod Crane galloped on a plow horse thru Sleepy Hollow, complete with fake dripping blood around the collar and a glowing pumpkin carried on a stick for his head.

Apparently, his dad had worked on the Headless Horseman costume all summer in the garage, keeping it a secret from the neighborhood.  Yeah, every block had one of those kids.  Looking back on it now, he rather sadly always went out on Halloween as a group of one, by himself with his father in tow, helping to carry the bags of candy his son accumulated along the way. Yes — bags — plural. My father was at home, warm and dry, being entertained by endless troops of kids in the living room. His father was serving as a pack mule in the cold and wet. He only needed the costume, he was already doing all the work.

Sometimes I wondered if the Headless Horseman might have been happier in a white sheet running along with the rest of the neighborhood candy scroungers.  It was hard to tell, even back then, if a jerk was alone because he was a jerk or if he was a jerk because he was alone.  Whichever, receiving double rations and more from almost every house, the Headless Horseman made a record haul of candy that year that no one ever came close to matching and that we never heard the end of.

Runner-up for the best-ever costume was the same kid the year before, a square-headed Frankenstein costume his dad whipped up complete with bolts coming out of his neck and walking on platform shoes and getting double-treated again.  Jerk.

Stampa

Trick or Treating certainly isn’t anything like it used to be.  Many more costumes come off racks in the store or delivered straight to the door from online ordering rather than pridefully homemade nowadays. The only Super Heroes in our minds back then were the parents giving out candy bars on the block.

Kids in our neighborhood now look at you like you have worms crawling out of your ears (which might actually be a good look for Halloween) if you ask them to do anything beyond hold their bag open to toss the candy inside. Forget the carefully staged and choreographed song and dance numbers in the living room. Some don’t even hold the bag open, expecting you to bend over and do that, too.

And regrettably, there are all the safety issues that never even crossed anyone’s mind in our time. Carrying a flashlight in order to “see and be seen” was all we were warned about. X-rays weren’t for candy. They were for broken bones when you missed the last porch step in the dark.

Most curious of all, candy now comes in the “Fun Sized” version, which try as I might, I still don’t see much fun in it. Talk about the ultimate Halloween trick!

Times change. But the Halloween magic of little children trick or treating doesn’t, and they aren’t seeing the night thru our memories, busily having fun and making memories of their own.  Want to make a special memory for a little princess or cowboy?  Give them a full-sized candy bar and watch their eyes light up!  Although, you better be prepared for the onslaught up the driveway when the word hits the street!  Some things never change.


Here are a few Halloween Safety Tips and Guidelines from the National Safety Council to help keep your children and little neighborhood trick-or-treaters safe on Halloween night.


Happy Halloween!  Here’s hoping full-sized candy bars and overflowing treat bags for everyone!  Please keep an eye out for the little Trick or Treaters in the streets, keep the front porch light on, and remember to “Scare Safe!”

Thanks as always for stopping by for a visit and spending part of your day with us! Little Red Bear and I are off now to work on our costumes. Think I’ll be a cowboy this year. I was going to go as an author, but Little Red Bear quickly pointed out that I masquerade as a writer every day so should try something different for Halloween.  Yeah, that kind of took the fun out of that one, so a cowboy it is.

Happy Halloween!  — Jim (and Red!)


“Every pumpkin knows that a Smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks!”

“A full bag, tired feet, dry socks, and sticky fingers meant it was a Happy Halloween.”– JRM


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly, Multi-generational Stories and Fun for All Ages!
~ About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends ~

“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.” — Erma Bombeck

This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.

A Halloween Special — “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

Dusting off a longtime favorite to help set the mood for Halloween weekend.

There are many works of literature and poetry that have stuck with me as favorites over the years, long after being required to dissect, analyze, and memorize them for literature classes in school some years ago.  Now, they may simply be enjoyed as entertainment on their own merits as originally intended by the authors.

One such piece is Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, a very appropriate share as we approach Halloween.  This narrative poem was originally attributed to Poe in the ‘New York Evening Mirror’ on January 29, 1845.

Though not bringing much financial benefit in and of itself, “The Raven” served to make Poe very popular in his time.  The poem remains one of the most well-liked poems ever written, and always one of my personal favorites.  Frequently associated with Halloween now, the poem features a distraught lover sadly lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore, on a bleak December night.  He is visited by a talking raven, and the poem follows his slow descent into madness.

As Poe stated of himself — “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”

Here then, for your Halloween festivities — “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe . . . .


“THE RAVEN”

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, 

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— 

    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, 

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. 

“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— 

            Only this and nothing more.” 

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; 

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. 

    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow 

    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— 

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore— 

            Nameless here for evermore. 

    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain 

Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; 

    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating 

    “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door— 

Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;— 

            This it is and nothing more.” 

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, 

“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; 

    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, 

    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, 

That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;— 

            Darkness there and nothing more. 

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, 

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; 

    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, 

    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?” 

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”— 

            Merely this and nothing more. 

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, 

Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. 

    “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice; 

      Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore— 

Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;— 

            ’Tis the wind and nothing more!” 

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, 

In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; 

    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; 

    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door— 

Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door— 

            Perched, and sat, and nothing more. 

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, 

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, 

“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, 

Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore— 

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” 

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” 

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, 

Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; 

    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being 

    Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door— 

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, 

            With such name as “Nevermore.” 

    But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only 

That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. 

    Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered— 

    Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before— 

On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.” 

            Then the bird said “Nevermore.” 

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, 

“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store 

    Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster 

    Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore— 

Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore 

            Of ‘Never—nevermore’.” 

    But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling, 

Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door; 

    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking 

    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore— 

What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore 

            Meant in croaking “Nevermore.” 

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing 

To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core; 

    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining 

    On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er, 

But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er, 

            She shall press, ah, nevermore! 

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer 

Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. 

    “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee 

    Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore; 

Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!” 

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” 

    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!— 

Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, 

    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted— 

    On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore— 

Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!” 

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” 

    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil! 

By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore— 

    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, 

    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore— 

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.” 

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” 

    “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting— 

“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! 

    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! 

    Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door! 

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” 

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” 

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting 

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; 

    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, 

    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; 

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor 

            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

By — Edgar Allan Poe


One of my favorite renditions of “The Raven” was performed by James Earl Jones on “The Simpsons” first “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween Special, on October 25, 1990, also a true classic in its own rite!


Thanks as always for visiting!  Wishing everyone a fun, but safe Halloween, because —  we’re never quite sure who may be rapping on the door.

Rapping, tapping, tapping, rapping on our door, bearing frightful tricks of yore.

Or perhaps, should we then choose to open it — Nevermore?  — Jim  (and Red!)


         “I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.”          — Edgar Allan Poe

 “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real, too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”   — Stephen King


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly, Multi-generational Stories and Fun for All Ages!
~ About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends ~

                 “Our feet are planted in the real world, but we dance with Angels and Ghosts.”          — John Cameron Mitchell


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary  . . . ” — Edgar Allan Poe


 

“Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes — Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes Special!”

Welcome to Little Red Bear’s special Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes!

We thought it good to share Halloween recipes now to give you ample time to assemble ingredients and get treats made up and ready for parties and trick or treaters.  Because by the time you hear hooves and feet dashing up the street —  it’s too late. And then a ghoulish trick may be your fate . . . .

It’s Autumn and October,

Scary things will soon be waking,

Rising from tortured, restless slumber,

To find what treats we have been making!

So gather ‘round for recipes,

Come in to see what we have in store,

It’s time to head into the kitchen,

Before hungry ghosts and ghouls are at the door!

The recipe for Caramel Apple Bread Pudding seemed to garner the most oohs and ahhs last week. Take a look by tapping on the link if you missed it.

If you are new to our Sunday morning recipe sharing and missed the first Little Red Bear Recipes Post explaining what we are doing, simply tap on the link to check it out.

We have a good assortment of Halloween inspired treats and goodies picked out this week for you, so grab your apron and let’s get started.  “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble,” as William Shakespeare put it.  Let’s get stirring, shall we?


Halloween Cupcakes

This recipe features five easy decorating ideas to make special cupcakes for coming Halloween parties and events.

Halloween Cupcakes Recipe


Rice Krispie Treat Pumpkins

Rice Krispie Treats are one of my favorite things, so making them up with the Mini Rollo stem and green M&M leaf is perfect for a Halloween party.

Rice Krispie Treat Pumpkins Recipe


Jack Skellington Oreo Pops

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a favorite movie here, so these Jack Skellington Oreo Pops are a sure hit. If you cannot find the special Halloween Oreos, any will do.  But the Halloween orange middles would be a fun surprise for little ones when biting into them.

Jack Skellington Oreo Pops Recipe


Halloween Candy Corn Fudge

Sharing two Halloween Candy Corn Fudge Recipes, one including the special Fall M&Ms for an added chocolate flavor, and the other cut into realistic little Candy Corn shapes for fun. Little Red Bear liked one — I liked the other — sharing them both!

Candy Corn M&M White Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Easy Candy Corn Fudge Recipe


Ghost Popcorn Balls

I honestly do not remember how many popcorn balls that I received trick or treating over the years, back in the day. But I know for a fact that none of them looked this cool.

Ghost Popcorn Balls Recipe


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ghosts

These are just too cute (and delicious!) for Halloween guests to leave out. And as a bonus, there are links to Halloween Eyeballs and Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats included at the bottom of the recipe, as well.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ghosts Recipe


Ghost Pretzels

These yummy little pretzel treats are so easy to prepare and cool looking for Halloween parties.  Better make a bunch and then watch them disappear!

Ghost Pretzels Recipe


Paranormal Pretzel Cookies

While in the snack aisle of the grocery store picking up a bag of mini pretzels for the Ghost Pretzels, pick up a bag of the little square pretzels to make up these ghostly-themed chocolate chip cookies, too. Mini pretzels dipped in white chocolate riding on a chocolate chip cookie.  Guaranteed to warm the hearts of little ghouls and goblins!

Paranormal Pretzel Cookies Recipe


Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Treats

Doing a two-fer here.  Both recipes feature Creamy Smooth Peanut Butter as the main ingredient, one to make delightful little Pumpkin Bites and the other to make really scary looking Zombie Eyeballs for teen boys and those that are into that sort of thing. You could do the Pumpkin Bites for Thanksgiving, just as easily. Not so sure about the eyeballs.

No Bake Peanut Butter Pumpkin  Bites Recipe

Peanut Butter Zombie Eyeballs Recipe


Halloween Harvest Hash Chex Mix

We always make up a Chex Party Mix for Christmas and New Years, and love the idea of this Halloween mix with not only my favorite Candy Corn, Candy Pumpkins, and Reese’s Pieces treats added, but also incorporating a brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract mixture to flavor it all with.  Oh, we are definitely going to need to find some bigger snack bowls this year!

Halloween Harvest Hash Chex Mix Recipe


Halloween Swirl Cream Cheese Brownies

That title about says it all — a dark chocolate brownie covered by a layer of orange cheesecake. All swirled together to make it look spooky for Halloween.  It’s always good to have some special treats for the grown-ups, as well.

Halloween Swirl Cream Cheese Brownies Recipe


Halloween Marshmallow Pops

Little Red Bear thinks these Halloween Marshmallow Pops are the coolest things for a Halloween party or get-together!  Easy to prepare and fun.  Please note that the recipe calls for the large size, Campfire Giant Roasting Marshmallows.  You could use regular ones, too. They would just be smaller, of course.

Halloween Marshmallow Pops Recipe


Halloween Spider Cookies

This delightful Halloween treat is a peanut butter cookie with a Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on top, decorated with candy eyes and melted chocolate for the legs. Little Red Bear reminds — each spider has eight legs.  If you just make six legs then it’s technically an insect.  And who wants to eat a bug for Halloween?  Well, zombies maybe.  But who really wants those fellas hanging around?  Be safe — eight legs.

Halloween Spider Cookies Recipe


If you enjoy these weekly recipe features, please tap the Like button below and feel free to Comment and let us know, and we will be on the lookout for more interesting and fun recipes to share with you each Sunday morning as we go along.

And remember, all of these recipes are added each week to our “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes” board on Pinterest for you to access anytime and find those from previous weeks if you missed them.  I invite you to follow and check out my other Pinterest boards while there, including the Halloween Recipes & Ideas Board for many other great treats and decoration ideas.


Family Time is the Best Time!

Trick or Treating is not the same as when we did it as small kids years ago. With a small group of close friends, we would head out together as it was beginning to get dark like a band of tiny pirates with the whole subdivision lying ahead of us to plunder and loot for goodies.

Homemade treats were the norm then, coming home with bags of homemade cupcakes, brownies, cookies, popcorn balls, caramel apples, loose candies tossed into our bags, and more. And slices of cake wrapped in plastic wrap. Those never survived the trip home intact and I wondered then and still do what those people were thinking. But, cake crumbs are cake nonetheless, so nothing ever went to waste!

Pre-packaged candy bars were rare, and treasured! And then there were the helpful grandparent types handing out apples, oranges, bananas, and pennies. And an occasional pencil, believe it or not.

So much has changed. We liked to imagine spooky dangers lurking around every corner, and never thought of them being real or having to go thru and inspect our treats for hidden hazards, or to have them x-rayed. The only reason we dumped our trick or treat bag goodies on the floor upon our return home was to let our parents have a chance to grab some and share in the bounty. On a good night and in fair weather, we sometimes came home, unloaded a heavy bag and headed right back out the door again for more!  After 3rd grade or so, we never felt the need to have our parents accompany us for safety.

But as I said, times change. All of the treats above are clearly for home parties and family in today’s world, not intended to be distributed at the door any longer.

Here is an informational link to the National Safety Council’s Halloween Safety Tips and Guidelines for children and motorists, alike.   Have a wonderful Halloween, keeping yourselves and the little ones safe this year. Remember — Scare Safe!

“There is little in life that could not benefit from a little Love, a little Time, and a Stick of Butter.”


Thanks as always for spending part of your day with us! We hope you enjoyed the special Spooktacularly Good Halloween Treats this week and would be honored if you recommended our site and pages to friends and family.  Little Red Bear and I look forward to your visits here, and hope that in our own way we help to make your day special, too!

We’ll be back next Sunday morning with more of Red’s selected special recipes for Autumn, so be sure to subscribe in the top right column and follow along to be notified of every new post.

Wishing everyone a beautiful coming week. The leaves here should soon be changing colors, maybe they already are in your area. Speaking of changing,  dare to change a life. Be the reason someone smiles this week! You may even end up changing your own.   – Jim (and Red!)


“No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family.”

“A full bag, tired feet, dry socks, and sticky fingers meant it was a Happy Halloween.”– JRM


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly, Multi-generational Stories and Fun for All Ages!
~ About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends ~

“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.” — Erma Bombeck

This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.


Sunday Family-Pumpkin-Costume-Prepare for Halloween Day!

Happy Sunday Family Day — the day before Halloween!  Do you have the pumpkins carved and costumes ready?  Today is the day to get the kids together and prepare  for the big day.  The little Trick-or-Treaters are anxious to get started!

Via 6sqft.com

Carving pumpkins in our day was a much simpler task.  Two large triangles for the eyes.  A smaller triangle for the nose.  And a big mouth with as many or few teeth as the artist spirit called for.  Some years I went with a lot of teeth, sharp and pointy, interlocking in a scissors bite like a Great White Shark. Frightfully scary. Other years, my pumpkin friend took on a much more simple look with just a few, broad, flat teeth in a wide, friendly, beckoning and happy smile.  It all depended on the seasonal mood, I suppose.

Nowadays it can be much more complicated, with traceable designs that are very intricate and complex, truly raising the bar on skill, talent, perseverance and Pumpkin Art in general.

It seems important to mention, whether you go “old school” or “new school” with your Jack O’Lantern designs, safety is paramount when working with children and little carvers, and close supervision required around sharp tools and knives.  A small hand is no match for a paring knife.

And for heaven’s sake, please do not toss away the seeds!  Pumpkin seeds are a healthy, nutritious snack and unbelievably tasty when made at home.  If you have never made them yourself before, trust me — roasted pumpkin seeds are quick, easy to prepare, and delicious!  Here is my favorite way to prepare them, plain and simple.

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

1 cup Pumpkin Seeds, 1 teaspoon safflower or canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce or salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and paprika to taste.

Carefully clean any pumpkin pulp from the seeds and wash them if necessary.  Brush oil on a rimmed baking sheet, place the seeds on the sheet, spread out evenly, and roast in a 350°F oven until they begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes or so.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to evenly coat the seeds.  Continue baking until the seeds are crispy, about another 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on not to burn.  This method can be used to roast any squash family seeds for snacks. (Adapted from the “Vegetarian Times Cookbook”, 1984)

Here are some more links to my Autumn Board on Pinterest for more adventurous ways to prepare them —  Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Cinnamon and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in Six Different Flavors.

How about the costumes for the little ones?  All set?  How about one for yourself, either greeting neighborhood Trick-or-Treaters at the door or at a party?  I do not recall ever wearing a “store-bought” costume when I was little.  All of my mine and my friends’ were homemade.  At the time when Walt Disney’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was new and all the rage, the boy across the street’s father made him a Headless Horseman outfit one year.  Needless to say, he had to pull a wagon to haul home all the treats he received in the neighborhood for that one!

When all else failed and we did not have a costume prepared ahead of time, the last minute fall back for all of our group was the never-fail “Hobo” outfit.  Grab up some baggy clothes and suspenders from Dad (or Mom, depending), tie a rope around your waist to hold up the pants in case the suspenders snapped, grab one of Dad’s old hats, smear some coffee grounds (and once outside and out of parents’ sight — real dirt) on your face and you were set.  One of Dad’s big red, work handkerchiefs tied to a stick over the shoulder completed the outfit.  Pick out an old pillowcase to carry home the loot and out the door we went, flashlight and high hopes in hand.

Back in the day, the practice of Trick-or-Treating was much safer in every respect than it has become now.  Parents only accompanied the very smallest kids, and the rest of us were on our own to go as far as our legs and the weather would allow.  I remember Trick-or-Treating in the snow one year — 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri.  I was only going on five at the time, but memories like that tend to stick with you.

Treats into the bag included apples, oranges, and bananas.  Homemade treats like cookies, cupcakes, slices of cake, candy apples and popcorn balls rounded out the list.  I never did get a slice of cake home in one piece though, and always really wondered what was on that lady’s mind with that, to be honest. But we all gave her credit for trying.  And I have never known the kid who would toss away a piece of perfectly good smashed cake and crumbs, anyway.

Some homes tossed coins into your bag, ranging from a few pennies to a by-gosh, honest-to-goodness Silver Dollar.  But those were admittedly rare and given only by neighbors who recognized and thought very highly of you, of course.  It goes without saying, that the most sought-after and coveted treat prize was a Candy Bar.  And that was before some silly-head invented “Fun Size.”  Seriously?   Fun size?  I have never really seen ‘loads of fun’ in a bite-sized candy bar, myself.

Anyway, ‘fun sized’ aside,  wishing everyone a ‘Full Sized’ safe and fun Halloween!  Make today a family day carving the Jack O’Lanterns, getting costumes and make-ups assembled, and getting everything ready for the big night.  And for goodness sake — make up some Pumpkin Seeds for a real treat.  The family will thank you.

And I thank you as always for visiting!  Family time.  It’s the best time. — Jim   (and Red!)

A Princess and Lava Girl Amongst the Pumpkins by Charles Morris.

A Princess and Lava Girl Amongst the Pumpkins by Charles Morris Photography.

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

 

 

Trick or Treating in Days of Yore — Cookies, Cupcakes, Candies & More!

Halloween has changed much over the years.  Halloween Trick or Treating in my neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri growing up in the 50’s and early 60’s  frequently featured homemade baked goods like cookies, cupcakes, brownies, Rice Krispie treats, popcorn balls and more —  all carefully wrapped in cellophane, along with  apples, candied apples, homemade taffy, the occasional orange, banana and assorted nuts, and lots of pennies and other loose change. Some homes offered apple cider to refresh, or hot chocolate on especially chilly nights.  Bubble Gum, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Wax Bottles,  Caramels, Jaw Breakers (always a favorite of mine!), Sugar Daddies, jelly beans, candy corn, Milk Duds, suckers and boxes of Cracker Jacks helped fill out the treat bag.  Not to mention the truly treasured prize, of course — candy bars.  There were only two sizes of candy bars then — ‘Full Size’ and the ‘I Need Help Carrying This One Home Size’.

Of course, every stop required us to come inside the house and perform in the living room — tell a joke, tell a story, sing a song, dance, do a trick or do “something” to earn our Treats.  Somersaults were always a big hit for the littlest kids to do. We had to work for our candy and treats.  “Knock Knock” jokes, while usually not earning the highest performance awards of a candy bar, were always reliable in a pinch to rescue the situation when the strange kid in front of you stole your best joke or trick, so the astute Trick or Treater always kept a few in reserve just in case.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Orange.
Orange who?
Orange you going to give me some candy?

Although that particular one did run the risk of getting you an orange instead of a Baby Ruth.  But a good “Knock Knock” joke could usually be relied on to be rewarded with at least a popcorn ball.  If the household had just heard the same joke three times before you arrived, you were probably doomed for pennies, though.  And it did happen occasionally, as hot new jokes seemed to cycle thru the neighborhood in a given year.  “Better tell me another one son, or it’s three pennies for you.  I just heard that one five times before you got here!  What else you got in your trick bag?”

Holiday- Halloween- Art 4

Trick or Treating done correctly was literally a performance art, requiring lots of pre-planning, preparation and dedication.  And on Halloween night, it was a process that could not be rushed if anticipated rewards were to be realized.  A good performance took both time and dedication to the craft.  On a successful night, multiple stops home might be needed to offload full bags and then head back out for more.  Candy bars were the real sought after prize, of course!

It was good to work together, not only in your group so everyone had their own unique performance art for the night, but also coordinating with other groups on the street, as it could save a lot of time.  “Don’t bother stopping here, Jim.  Old lady Jones is already out of candy and dumped pennies in our bags.  Haskins has still got Snickers.”  Forewarned, time could be saved to head towards the high rollers still handing out candy bars and cupcakes.  By 6:30, everybody on the street knew which house was giving out what, which naturally led to candy bar homes running out before the Bazooka Gum, safety suckers and fruit houses.  When you spied groups of kids running towards a particular house, you knew to hurry there next.  When you saw kids walking down the driveway shaking their sacks and hearing “thump, thump, thump,” you knew they’d been fruited.  So unless really hungry for an apple, best to pass that one by and come back later.  Chances were pretty good they’d still be open for business at nine.

Can’t speak for others, but on a few occasions I was treated with Silver Dollars.  Honest-to-goodness, better-than-Musketeers Silver Dollars!   Which was without a doubt at the same time the awesomest but bothersomest treat one could receive, being simply too special to spend and convert to candy.  I still have them in the back of a drawer tucked beneath underwear for safekeeping.  Same silver dollars, not the same underwear, of course.

Holiday- Halloween- Art 7

Costumes were usually homemade, wholly or at least partly made by the kids themselves.  Big-footed clowns, cowboys and Lone Rangers with masks, knights with aluminum foil helmets carrying cardboard or wooden swords and shields, Indians in feathers and war paint, policemen, miniature firefighters, princesses, angels, red caped devils complete with garden pitchforks, army soldiers in their fathers’ oversized WWII and Korean War gear, scarecrows stuffed with straw, and ugly-nosed witches with brooms.  A few Tinmen but that was a hard costume to pull off without a lot of help from parents.  Along with many a hobo, most patterned after Red Skelton’s famous “Freddie the Freeloader” character at the time.  And the obligate number of white-sheeted ghosts floating over the sidewalks, of course.  Skeletons were fairly rare in those days, because that was mostly a store-bought costume that neither kids nor parents wanted to admit to having to resort to.  We talked about them a lot in name, but no one ever knew what a Goblin really was to make a costume for it.  It was just a creature of myth and folklore that we did not want to run into on the street that night, because chances were good it wouldn’t be a kid in a costume.  Ghosts with eye holes were generally considered pretty safe to approach, though.

Clearly the most outstanding costume I remember was when the older, bigger and “I’m-better-than-you-are” neighbor kid across the street’s father made him the scariest and true-to-life realistic Headless Horseman costume since Ichabod Crane galloped on a plow horse thru Sleepy Hollow, complete with dripping blood around the collar and a glowing pumpkin carried on a stick for his head.  Apparently, his dad had worked on it all summer in the garage, keeping it a secret from the neighborhood.  Yeah, every block had one of those kids.  Looking back on it now, he rather sadly always went out on Halloween as a group of one, by himself with his father in tow.  Sometimes I wondered if he might have been happier in a white sheet with the rest of the neighborhood candy scroungers.  It was hard to tell, even back then, if a jerk was alone because he was a jerk or a jerk because he was alone.  Whichever, receiving double rations from almost every house, the Headless Horseman made a record haul of candy that year that no one ever came close to matching and that we never heard the end of!  Runner up for best-ever costume was the same kid the year before, a square-headed Frankenstein costume his dad whipped up complete with bolts coming out of his neck and walking on platform shoes and getting double-treated again.  Jerk.

Stampa

Trick or Treating certainly isn’t anything like it used to be.  Many more costumes come off racks in the store rather than homemade with love nowadays.  Kids in our neighborhood look at you like you have worms crawling out of your ears (which might actually be a good look for Halloween) if you ask them to do anything beyond hold their bag open to toss the candy inside.  Some don’t even hold the bag open, expecting you to bend over and do that, too.  And regrettably, there are all the safety issues that never crossed anyone’s mind in our time.  And most curious of all, candy now comes in “Fun Sized”, which try as I might I still don’t see much fun in it.

Times change.   But the little kids trick or treating aren’t seeing the night thru our memories, and are busily having fun and making memories of their own.  Want to make a special memory for a little princess or cowboy?  Give them a full sized candy bar and watch their eyes light up!  Although, you better be prepared for the onslaught up the driveway when the word hits the street!  Some things never change.

Happy Halloween to everyone!  Please keep an eye out for the little Trick or Treaters in the streets and keep everybody safe.  Thanks as always for stopping by for a visit! — Jim (and Red!)

Holiday- Halloween- Art 7

For some more reading fun, check out “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” on Amazon.   Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Adventures and Fun for All Ages!