Oct. 31: Halloween, Books for Treats, Mount Rushmore Completion, National Candy Apple Day


If you could mix up Roman Catholic, Celtic, pre-Christian, Gaelic and Wiccan traditions, add a healthy dose of American consumerism and stir them together in large black cauldron you’d get something that dresses up to look like Halloween. The holiday celebrated on Oct. 31 means different things to many people. The date has been celebrated as the eve before the Roman Catholic feast day, All Saints Day.

In pre-Christian times Celtic communities held mystical ceremonies to honor the sun god at the end of the Celtic year, or Samhain. Today Pagans celebrate Samhain, marking the Feast of the Dead, according to BBC.

Halloween cannot be fully celebrated with one holiday. Other holidays celebrated on Oct. 31 include:

* Beggar’s Night. Costumed people knock on neighbors’ and beg for treats.

* Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Because trick-or-treating is a popular custom on Halloween and it’s National UNICEF Day, combining the two makes sense.

* National Knock-Knock Day. Halloween gives us what we all really want: an answer to the question, “Who’s there?” Share your best knock-knock jokes on Oct. 31.

Books for Treats

Trick kids this Halloween by feeding their minds. Drop “gently read” books into their treat bags instead of candy. The organizers behind Books for Treats Day encourage you to feed kids’ minds.

* Give away used books purchased by the bag from a local library book sale.

* Host a Halloween book trading event and serve healthy treats.

* Don’t worry, the kids will still have plenty of candy since “Americans spend $950 million on Halloween candy, and that 20 million pounds of candy corn alone is purchased” according to Books for Treats.

National Candy Apple Day

Coating fruit in honey was an ancient preservation method. Apples coated in toffee dates back to the 19th century according to Food Timeline. If you’ve already made your apple pies and apple sauce celebrate National Candy Apple Day by making treats. Make sweet Cinnamon Candied Apples or spice up dinner with a side dish, Candied Sweet Potatoes with Apples.

70th Anniversary: Mount Rushmore Completion

The national monument celebrated in films like Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” turns 70 on Oct. 31. Seventy years ago the finishing touches were put on the familiar presidential sculpture. Quick, can you name the four men represented in the memorial?

* The 60-foot sculpture depicts George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

* The monument cost $989,992.32 and took 14 years to build.

* Jefferson was originally on “Washington’s right side. After 18 months of carving the figure of Jefferson had to be blasted off the mountain and restarted on Washington’s left side” according to the National Park Service.

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