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The Thread

Halloween Tricks and Treats

Halloween, often thought of as a family-friendly commercial holiday that originated in America, can actually be traced back to Britain over 2000 years ago. In fact, the first reference to Halloween can be found with the Celts – they believed that on Samhain (the night before their New Year on November 1st), the dead would return to the land of the living as ghosts. To ward them away, families would leave food and drink on their doorsteps and don masks and costumes in order to move unnoticed amongst the spirits at night.

Over time and through the emergence of faith, Samhain became known as All Saints Day with the night before referred to as all Hallows Eve, later shortened to Halloween. Meanwhile, the traditions that we have come to associate with modern-day Halloween first took shape in the middle ages. In a practice known as ‘souling’, the poor would receive food in return for prayers for the benefactor’s deceased family members, whilst young folk would dress up and ask for food in return for jokes and poetry.

These customs, now known as ‘trick or treating’, travelled to America in the 19th Century with the migration of British immigrants and are still carried out once a year. In celebration of Halloween next week, we’ve come up with some of our favourite tasty treats and ghastly tricks for you to enjoy with your families!

Halloween Treats

Freaky Frankenstein

In a transparent glass bowl make a trifle adding green food colouring to the custard. Replace the whipped cream on top of the trifle with crushed Oreo biscuits and green shoelace sweets. Next, take a washable felt-tip and draw the face of Frankenstein’s monster onto the side of the bowl…coupled with the gory green contents of the bowl, you’ll have a perfectly spooky face of Frankenstein’s monster!

Scare the Kids

Cook some spaghetti and leave it to cool, mix in tomato ketchup and a tin of whole tomatoes. Transfer the spaghetti mixture to a deep dish with a handful of well wrapped sweets; secure a black cloth over the top with an elastic band or strip of ribbon and cut a small slit big enough for a child (or adults) hand to fit through without seeing what’s inside. Sit back and giggle as unsuspecting victims think they’re foraging for treats amongst maggots and worms.

Filled baby Jack-o lanterns.

Wash a thick-skinned orange or munchkin pumpkin and make a small circle on top like you would when carving a pumpkin, carefully hollow it out using a spoon then, using a black pen, draw a face on the side. Taking a small sharp knife cut along the black pen marks, with a wet cloth clean the insides and fill with wrapped sweets, pop the lid back on and ‘hey presto!’…A mini candy filled Jack-o lanterns.

Jack-o Lanterns

Now we all know It’s hard enough to encourage children to eat fruit at the best of times but, as their pockets full up with sweets and treats collected from friendly neighbours, it becomes even more difficult on Halloween. Our next set of creepy ideas give you a great way to disguise fruit and reduce the risk of an inevitable sugar rush.

Ghostly Bananas

Simply peel a banana and cut it in half, melt some chocolate (milk or plain works best) dip a cocktail stick in the melted chocolate and use the tip to draw ghostly eyes and mouth on the banana, adding a cake pop stick to the bottom. Place in a cool place until the chocolate hardens and serve.

Mini pumpkin!

Peel citrus fruits such as mandarins, satsumas and clementines, and add green shoestring sweets to mimic a wild mess of vines. Use melted chocolate paint ghastly or ghoulish faces on one side to complete the miniature jack-o lantern effect.

Autumn Pumpkin

6. Keep your furry friends well fed

If you have summer plants that produce seeds or berries, such as sun flowers or black-eyed Susans, don’t cut down the dead stalks as they are perfect natural bird feeders for the winter. Why not attach bird feeders to bare tree branches for the blackbirds, song thrushes, robins and starlings that may visit your garden from cooler climes such as Scandinavia or Eastern Europe.

Monster teeth

Cut an apple into 8 even slices making sure to leave the skin on and divide into 4 piles of 2, next thinly spread peanut butter or melted chocolate on one side of each of the pieces (like a layer of glue). Taking mini white marshmallows sandwich them between the two slices of apple to give the effect of an open mouth.

Whether you decide to dress up to the nines or you’re simply there for supervision, make this Halloween one to remember with these fantastically fun ideas. Happy Halloween!

About 'The Thread'

Here at Cotton Traders, we like to do things a little differently. Our reputation has been built on outstanding quality, a sense of community and keeping our customers interests at heart. The Thread is just that – a space for sharing things we know our customers enjoy, whether it’s travel, eating, staying active and healthy or enjoying sneak-peeks behind-the-scenes at Cotton Traders.

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•  Winter 2013

•  Autumn 2013