Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The witching hour is almost upon us – from spider biscuits to mini-mummy hot dogs Stacia Briggs plans a frightfully good Halloween.
• Halloween is one of the world’s oldest festivals, dating back thousands of years - the ancient Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1 which marked the end of the season of the sun and the beginning of the season of darkness.
• They believed that on New Year’s Eve, Samhain, the Lord of the Dead, would call up the spirits of the dead and they would take the form of animals, especially black cats.
• Modern Halloween takes inspiration from the Celt festival, Roman traditions and the Catholic All Souls Day.
• October 31 became known as All Hallow’s Even because it was the day before All Hallows, this became shortened to All Hallow’s Eve, which became Halloween.
• It’s said that to meet a witch you need to put your clothes on inside out, walk backwards on Halloween night and at midnight, a witch will appear!
• Although generally believed to be an American invention, “trick or treating” actually originated in Britain. It can be traced back to the celebration of All Soul’s Day when the poor would go begging and people would give them special treats called soulcakes.
• Around 99 per cent of pumpkins marketed domestically are used as Jack o’ lanterns at Halloween.
• In the United States, around 86 per cent of Americans decorate their homes for Halloween which is the second biggest festival in America after Christmas.
• The record for the fastest pumpkin carver in the world is Jerry Ayers of Baltimore, Ohio. He carved a pumpkin in just 37 seconds!
1) Make your own mini-mummy hot dogs by taking thin strips of puff pastry and wrapping round bite-size frankenfurter sausages or normal sausages and baking in the oven. Remember to give your hotdog ‘mummy’ a gap where you can add ketchup or mustard for ‘eyes’.
2) Surprisingly realistic severed fingers can be made using cheese strings. Cut each string in half and use the flat side of a knife to add knuckle marks. Fingernails can be added by shaving a little bit of cheese from one end of the cheese string and then using ketchup to attach a slivered almond.
3) Use Halloween biscuit cutters to make bite-size sandwiches.
4) Using bread dough – your own or ready-made – form a series of strips and then use scissors to snip the ends into two pieces to create a bone shape. Glaze with beaten egg and then sprinkle with garlic powder or parmesan cheese and then serve with a ‘bloody’ spicy tomato dip.
5) Biscuits can easily be transformed into spiders by sandwiching them together with buttercream and adding shoestring liquorice to form the legs. Pipe on some eyes or stick Smarties on with icing.