Scary! Best Halloween Travel, Recipes, Books, and More

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Scary! Best Halloween Travel, Recipes, Books, and More

Can't get enough Halloween goodness? I can't, either (or of those giant bags of candy we're supposed to hand out to trick or treaters...). I've gathered some great articles from our site and the sites of several of our editors - all great writers with spooky things to share.

Get ready to eat well, learn about Halloween, travel to see spooky things all around the world, read, listen, and get spooked out...

Scary! Best Halloween Travel, Recipes, Books, and More. No Tricks, Just Halloween Treats

St. John's Haunted Hike master Dale Jarvis

Eat:

Halloween Treats Inspired by Roald Dahl

“Treats were an essential part of Roald’s life—never too many, never too few, and always perfectly timed.” So says Felicity Dahl, Roald’s widow and the compiler of recipes inspired by his popular children’s books. The Revolting Recipes taps into the same whimsical, mischievousness that draws readers into Dahl’s stories—but you can literally eat his words with this cookbook.

Since it’s October—and Halloween just begs for you to create something crazy in the kitchen with your kids—I thought I’d share some ideas from Dahl’s cookbook.

Halloween Treats Inspired by Roald Dahl. From Scary! Best Halloween Travel, Recipes, Books, and More. No Tricks, Just Halloween Treats

Ichabod Crane’s Halloween Candy Cookies

I retold the story of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow to my kids as we made these Halloween cookies that would certainly satisfy Ichabod’s desire for rich, indulgent food (although Mr. Headless certainly would have a tough time gulping these down). We unwrapped a pile of chocolate Halloween candy and then chopped them to put into the chocolate cookie mix.

While you mix and bake your cookies, I highly recommend listening to the Bing Crosby song about the Headless Horseman, which was also included in the Disney film.

Ichabod Crane’s Halloween Candy Cookies

Halloween Memories and Donut Muffins

This recipe captures all the flavors of fall, with some Halloween sweetness mixed in. These muffins taste almost like donuts but without the oily after taste from frying. Plus, they absolutely beg for your kids to get involved with rolling the muffins in toppings.

Halloween Memories and Donut Muffins

Halloween Rodent Ragu

Going for a gross-out dinner this Halloween? Break out the meatball mix, then.

Rat meatballs on plate

Rat meatballs on plate 

This recipe didn’t start out as a Halloween meal. See, I had this great idea a few years ago that we’d study a different animal for two weeks at a time. To finish off our studies we’d have a meal where we focused on whatever animal the kids chose and we’d talk about what we learned. Well, the first animal my kids chose was a snake. I can’t remember what the kids learned about snakes–nope, what I remember is that my husband had this great idea to fashion meatball mix into rodents for our big meal. Now, we make these meatball rats to top spaghetti for Halloween each year.

Spider cupcakes and more Halloween goodies - ideas if you’re planning your own monster bash

Our house was full of princesses, fairies, and a vampire this weekend. My youngest planned out her own Halloween party, from sending out the invitations to planning games and setting up a spook alley. My assignment was to take care of food (yes!). I had planned a dramatic spread of various creepy crawies. But after failing in my original cupcake idea I took my daughter’s lead and kept things simple.

The key: labeling your food with gross names and letting the kids take it from there. They were adding mustard to their mummy dogs, saying, “What should we call this?” “Ghost boogers,” said one (probably my daughter). “Or Goblin drool?”

Spider cupcakes and more Halloween goodies - ideas if you’re planning your own monster bash

Ghost brownies - here’s how to create a 3-D Halloween scene

Let the Halloween cooking…begin! I’ve just been waiting to start posting fun spooky recipes. I’ll have more all week (taffy tongues are up next). But I wanted to start with this recipe that’s easy to pull together fast. AND kids can help you with every step.

Ghost brownies - here’s how to create a 3-D Halloween scene

 

Learn:

Test your Halloween IQ

If you’ve ever wondered about holiday’s origins or when trick-or-treating first got its start, I’ve got a quiz to test your Halloween IQ. The answers may surprise you—and your little goblins.

Test your Halloween IQ

 

Travel:

Spooky Stories on St. John's Haunted Hike

Murder. Innocence and guilt. Justice. Ghosts. Vengeance.

The Ghosties and Ghoulies Haunted Hike in St. John's, Newfoundland, shared all that and more.

Spooky Stories on St. John's Haunted Hike

Scary Places

I’ve been to a few scary places while traveling–most of them because I got lost and wandered where I should not be. But today I’m thinking about scary places that people plan travel to–in Phoenix, Mansfield Ohio, and New Orleans.

Scary Places

A Hawaiian Halloween

In a way, I’m glad I live on an island in the middle of nowhere; the chances of my Christmas being ruined by some creepy skeleton is slimmer than those mainlanders. Though I don’t know what it is about Hawaii. Halloween is not a big part of the culture. It’s an up with the sun down with the sun community. My street come Halloween is pretty dull. Finding places to have a spooky night can be tough. Lucky for my family and me, we know the best neighborhood on the windward side of Oahu for a classic Halloween experience.

A Hawaiian Halloween

Do You Dare? Visit These Spooky Prisons on Halloween?

Prisons are not nice places. (duh!) Really old spooky prisons are really not nice places.  So if you want to get a little shiver up your spine, check out these three prisons...

Do You Dare? Visit These Spooky Prisons on Halloween?

Postcard: The Hudson Valley

Little did I know the Hudson Valley has a lot more going on than foliage, though it is easy to see why that is a big draw. The Hudson Valley is spectacular any time of year, but mother nature really does a nice job of decorating with autumn color. It's also the location of THE Sleepy Hollow Cemetery...

THE Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Postcard from the Chapel of Bones, Portugal

The entrance to the room is chilling, a welcoming escape from the sweltering heat outside. An imposing archway is inscribed with the rhyme Nós ossos que aqui estamos, pelos vossos esperamo, and the walls of the chapel can be seen beyond. As you step into the dimly lit space, and see the macabre contents, it is surprising that you do not faint dead away. How ironic that I chose to use this particular phrase...

Postcard from the Chapel of Bones, Portugal

A Robert Burns Halloween

Hallowe’en has a long history, marking the end of the year of the ancient Celtic calendar. In these beliefs, this night was a special time, when witches of all sorts walked and played freely. Later, Christianity wrapped it in All Hallow’s Eve (or All Saints). Either way, Halloween is a celebration of harvest festivals and festivals honoring the dead. While many of us carve jack o’lanterns, bob for apples, and go trick or treating, you might consider including storytelling in your Halloween activities.

A Robert Burns Halloween

My Favorite “Dead and Breakfasts” - Great places to sleep with a ghost

I’ve been a collector of ghost stories from inns and B&Bs for quite some time now.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that approximately 20-percent of inns and B&Bs are haunted, according to a survey of innkeepers from BedandBreakfast.com  Many historic homes have plenty of spirits lingering in hallways and guestrooms, making themselves at home in their former homes, or should we say former haunts?

My Favorite “Dead and Breakfasts” - Great places to sleep with a ghost

Twisted: The Creepy Catacombs of Paris

Let me begin my story by saying that I have a really odd younger sister. So, we were in the most beautiful city ever: Paris. And what did she want to do? Go visit the Catacombs of Paris.

Basically, the Catacombs are an underground graveyard with over 1.6 million skeletons, 63 feet below the surface. In the 17th century, Paris had a very big problem: all the cemeteries became overcrowded with bodies, and people were running out of space to bury the dead. The city was unsanitary to live in with all the dead rotting bodies. In the late 17th century, a police lieutenant had the idea to use the empty underground tunnels to put the bones in. The procedure of moving the bodies took several years. That is how the Catacombs began.

Twisted: The Creepy Catacombs of Paris

Catacombs to Die For!

Feeling our way through darkened passages, surrounded by nothing but bones, left us anxiously awaiting fresh air. The tunnels seemed never-ending! We kept walking, more bones appearing on either side of the tunnel. Around every corner, a new surprise would pop up and startle us.

Walking deeper into the tunnel, we would get the feeling that we were being watched. We could feel the presence of the lost souls all around us. It began to get colder as we went deeper in. The group that we had come in with had dispersed, and we were all alone.

Catacombs to Die For!

Rimas’ Lab

Rimas is an interesting man, and I am glad to see that he has come to meet us. Yesterday while we were having dinner at his house in Lithuania, he invited us to come and have a look around his prosectorium (lab where he dissects bodies) in the Vilnius University. He had served us delicious soup that tasted sweet but a little tangy, and the taste is still lingering in my mouth even now, the next morning. I am excited because Rimas is more than an ordinary archaeologist; he is a forensic archaeologist! In other words, he can look at a human bone, and say how old the person was, how he died, and many other facts. I talk to him for a bit, and then he leads us inside to his prosectorium (A.K.A. lab).

As we walk into the hallway leading to his lab, I see the walls filled with shelves containing big glass jars. As I look into the big bottles, I recognize different human organs filled with dyes. Also, floating in the vile liquid, there are disembodied deformed heads, their noses twisted and their skin a sickly green. Their weeping eyes stare at me blankly. My nose wrinkles with the smell of vinegar.

Rimas’ Lab

Take a Spooky Haunted Hike with the Calithumpians in Fredericton, New Brunswick

Do you love haunted hikes? I both love them and get scared, which I guess is a sign of their greatness. Whilst in Fredericton, New Brunswick this summer, the Calithumpians took us all around town and scared and creeped us out - with spooky stories of history, mayhem, and murder. A graveyard was visited (holy smokes!). The actors, all students, were extraordinary at bringing history to life. Take a look at some of the scenes we saw as we meandered through Fredericton...

Take a Spooky Haunted Hike with the Calithumpians in Fredericton, New Brunswick

 

Read:

Halloween reads to go along with treats

Yesterday I kept a room of 22 costumed 2nd graders in my daughter’s class transfixed for a whole ten minutes.

And this was after their school Halloween parade and after they’d exhausted all the games we’d planned for the in-room party and while they were eating cupcakes, grapes, and caramel-dipped apple slices. (Well, I guess the cupcakes helped keep their mouths a little occupied.)

Such is the power of a good children’s picture book–there were several parents that even stopped cleaning up tables to listen and look at the pictures.

Halloween reads to go along with treats

A Halloween Tale: Living the Legend of Sleepy Hollow

A headless horseman, riding through the night; the disappearance of the schoolteacher; the tale of unrequited love – all these come together in the classic and much-beloved story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Beautifully written by Washington Irving, this short story is a creepy tale, one that sneaks up on the reader and lodges in the memory, several turns of phrase coming back at you at odd times throughout your life.

The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane, Painting by John Quidor, 1858, Smithsonian Museum of American Art. From Google Art Project.

The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane, Painting by John Quidor, 1858, Smithsonian Museum of American Art. From Google Art Project.

Haunted Michigan

Haunted Michigan is filled with true ghost stories in Michigan. I was completely amazed at the depth of research - and proof - that this book contains.

We were lucky enough to talk with author Rev. Hunter...here's what a bit of what he had to say (read the full interview for chilling details):

What fun would it be to read about haunted places and not be able to experience some of them for yourself? Some of the places were rather benign in their hauntings, and others were downright frightening. I have enough material for several more books, and my publisher is after me to write them, but I just haven't had the time, although my investigations continue.

Haunted Michigan

Too SCARED To Read These for Halloween?

If you are not ready for Halloween, yet, it is certainly not the fault of A Traveler’s Library.  We’ve conspired to give you all the ghoulish and ghostly ideas you could possibly use. We’ve done everything but make your costume for you, and you might get some ideas from the photos.

 Too SCARED To Read These for Halloween?

 

Music:

Ghosts and stories

Halloween is coming up, and it is certainly a time of year when imagination, shared or individual, plays a part. Someone asked me the other day if I knew any songs about ghosts.

Ghosts and stories.

 

 

 

Happy Halloween! 

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Wandering Educators and of the sites referenced.

This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2017

 

 

 

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