A Howling Halloween History

Old Farmer's Almanac for KidsWho doesn’t love Halloween – it’s one of my favorite holidays – and sometimes I do get a little carried away with decorations.  Every year I re-read the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and remember the spooky tales my elementary school principal would tell us during a special assembly….so here are some fun facts to share with the kids about Halloween from The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids Volume 4available now from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

A Howling History of October 31

Centuries ago, this was a 2-day celebration that marked the end of harvesttime and the beginning of the new year.


  • At night, people put food outside on the doorstep for evil spirits who might otherwise play a trick on them. People wore costumes outdoors at night and made lots of noise to scare away evil spirits.
  • “Witch” originally meant “wise one.” People thought that witches told fortunes and flew out of chimneys on broomsticks.
  • Ancient Romans bobbled for apples, believing that the first person to catch an apple with his or her teeth would be the first to marry in the new year.
  • In ancient Ireland, people carved faces in turnips and potatoes and beets—not pumpkins.
  • “Trick or treating” dates from the Middle Ages, when rich people gave poor people “soul cakes” (baked goods) if they promised to pray for the giver’s dead family members.

Yummy Cookie Critters



Black licorice, cut into 1-inch-long pieces

Chocolate sandwich cookies

Chocolate frosting

Miniature chocolate-coated candies


Take six to eight pieces of licorice (depending on the size of the cookies) and push them into the sides of each cookie. Dab a small amount of chocolate frosting on two miniature chocolate-coated candies and stick them on the cookie to look like eyes. MAKES 1 CRITTER PER COOKIE.


Be sure to check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids Volume 4 available at Amazon.com for more cool kid stuff.