Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Celebrate Halloween with Pumpkins, Costumes and Candy

Celebrate Halloween with Pumpkins, Costumes and Candy

Deborah Heiligman
For ages 6 to 9
National Geographic, 2007   ISBN: 978-1426301209

Long before people went out trick-or-treating and going to spooky parties, the Celts in Ireland, Scotland, and England celebrated a very imported holiday called Samhain around October 31st. On this day they would light fires to help the dead to make the journey between this world and the next. Many hundreds of years later the Pope named the day All Hallows Eve which came to be called Halloween. Christians wanted Halloween to be a holy night but many of the Celtic traditions remained and over the years new ones were added. People began to put food out for ghosts and other frightening creatures, and dressing up in costumes became commonplace. Children began to offer to play tricks or to beg for treats.

These days Halloween traditions and harvest festivals are often tied together. Thus many families go to a pumpkin patch to pick their Halloween pumpkin. Then, just before the creepy night, they carve their pumpkins, they decorate their houses, they choose their costumes, and they get their trick-or-treat candy ready.

Finally on Halloween itself we go trick-or-treating and many of us go to parties as well. Often we play games that we only play at this time of year.

In this excellent “Holidays around the World” title Deborah Heiligman gives her readers a fascinating history of one of America’s favorite holidays. Many children will be surprised to find that Halloween has such an ancient past. In addition to the main text with its full color annotated photographs, there is a “More about Halloween” section at the back of the book. This includes instructions on how to play Snap-Apple, a recipe for Spooky Graveyard Cake, and information about The Day of the Dead.