By Martha B.

Days are getting shorter! Weather is getting cooler! Leaves are turning color! Halloween will soon be here! Halloween is a favorite holiday for children and adults alike as it gives us all a chance to wear a costume to pretend that we are something different than we really are. Here are three suggestions for what fun you can have in preparing for Halloween.

Read a scary story

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” first published in 1820, is one of the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity, especially during Halloween. It tells the story of a man who is pursued by a Headless Horseman one dark night. The Headless Horseman carries a pumpkin which is carved into a face. The story is best read aloud and is suitable for adults and children alike. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is in the public domain and is available here courtesy of the Gutenberg Project:


Turn a pumpkin into a Jack O’Lantern

Whether you get your pumpkin from a local Pumpkin Farm or purchase it at the grocery store, it is always fun turning the pumpkin into a Jack O’Lantern. Traditionally, in preparation for Halloween, children would be encouraged to draw a scary face on the surface of the pumpkin, after which an adult would carefully carve out a lid and the face with a sharp knife according to their children’s design. Together they would scoop out the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin and roast them for an extra treat. On Halloween evening they would then put a candle or electric light into the pumpkin to make it glow. How scary! As a modern adaptation, some people these days choose to make fancy designs on their pumpkins. You can find many ideas on the internet. Some of the designs even do not involve carving the pumpkin. Here is an easy recipe for toasting the seeds:

Please note that Halloween pumpkins are not suitable for eating. If you want to eat pumpkin in a pie or other treat, please buy a “pie pumpkin”.


Prepare your Costumes 

Costumes can be simple or elaborate. They can be scary or beautiful. If your children are going out trick or treating after dark, you will need to make sure that they will be warm enough and safe. Avoid masks that limit their vision and costumes that are dark in color. Make sure that they carry a flashlight. In preparing YOUR costume for the October International Day, you will find that many women choose to wear their national dress, others come as witches, princesses, or movie characters. Feel free to use your imagination or just come “as yourself”! One thing is sure, everyone (even those who are not princesses) will “have a ball!”