Tag Archives: Halloween

Chef Joey has a baby girl – GiGi! And she loves pumpkins! … Edith, too! …plus: a recipe!

Behold the great pumpkin!

By Edith Morgan

What a wonderful coincidence that Halloween comes just at the time when pumpkins (and apples and squash and all the great fall fruits and vegetables) are ripe in our fields! And that pumpkins figure so prominently in our festivities!

Maybe the “Great Pumpkin” did not make an appearance for Charlie Brown this year, but we all have an opportunity to have our own great pumpkins between Halloween and Thanksgiving. And there is so much that can be done with pumpkins! There is no part of these great … are they vegetables or fruits? … no matter, they can be used in so many ways: as “objets d’arts,” as well as vegetable dishes, as soups, or in various desserts. And no part of the pumpkin needs to be wasted. (Any left-over bits are great in the compost heap.)

So, get out and buy several pumpkins! Have a decorating session with the family: paint the outside or gently carve designs into it, dress it up and display it for your “trick-or-treaters.” Once you have cut into it, of course, it won’t last very long. Clean out the interior, clean off the seeds, and roast them. You can use a variety of your favorite flavorings for your pumpkin seeds, either sweet (sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.) or salty (soaked in soy sauce, various flavorings, etc – whatever your taste dictates).

There are so many recipes around for pies and custard that I will not detail them here. Soups of pureed pumpkin can be either sweetened with honey, cinnamon and/or nutmeg or combined with chicken stock and other pureed vegetables. Give vent to your creative urges and puree together different flavors.

At our home we enjoy combinations of diced carrots, squash and pumpkin baked with a topping of mini marsmallows. The wonderful golden/orange color of this dish is yummy and looks great next to the green and red of a fresh salad and tomato … I have found the microwave to be of great help in cutting down on cooking time for all these dishes. I pre-soften the veggies and then combine them as I choose.

Pumpkin flavoring at this time of year can be found in just about anything, not just the traditional pie, but in muffins, cupcakes, breads, cakes, puddings, sorbets, and I suppose we could figure out some sort of candy or gum.

And even the traditional chocolate Oreo cookie, at your local supermarket, has a pumpkin filling this time of year! Wonders will never cease!

Because of its dual role as vegetable and fruit, you can get really creative with pumpkin. I haven’t tried to make pumpkin fries, but I imagine one of you out there among the more daring will try it! So, let yourself go, use up the whole pumpkin and enjoy all its different gifts – you can’t go wrong!

Happy Halloween!




Pumpkin Soup

For the Shell:

Extra-virgin olive oil sufficient to oil a baking sheet and the outside of the pumpkin (approximately 2-4 Tbsp.)
1 medium squat cooking pumpkin
1 tsp. sea salt

For the Soup:

4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 green onions, tops included, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 green chili pepper, chopped
6 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup plain soy milk
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup cooked wild rice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped

For the Shell:

• Preheat the oven to 325°F.
• Lightly oil a baking sheet.
• Clean the pumpkin thoroughly and pat dry.
• Cut around the stem to make a lid. Scoop out the seeds and the stringy fibers.
• Lightly oil the pumpkin inside and out and sprinkle the inside with the salt.
• Place the pumpkin and the lid on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until slightly soft. (An overbaked shell will not support the weight of the soup, so underbaking is preferred.)
• Remove from the oven and cool.
• Gently scoop some of the soft pumpkin from the wall and the lid, being careful not to puncture the shell. Set the shell aside.
• Purée the pumpkin meat. Set aside.

For the Soup:

• In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, celery, and chili pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
• Add the stock, 2 cups of the reserved pumpkin purée, the bay leaf, and the cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Remove the bay leaf. Add the soy milk and the cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
• Stir in the rice and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
• Add the salt and the pepper.

To Serve:

• Ladle the hot soup into the pumpkin shell.
• Garnish with the parsley and replace the lid.
• Serve hot.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Stay safe, trick or treaters!



Yesterday, while driving through Piedmont, we saw a mom and her little boy (and their dog) making their way home from a neighborhood Halloween party. Mom was shy when it came to accommodating this shutter-bug, but her little boy adjusted his skeleton mask and crossed his arms and stood with a purposeful-ness before the Chandler Elementary School playground that was … endearing. He let us take his picture for quite a few seconds and maintained his spooky stance all the while. In silence. Not a word spoken to me or Mom as he stayed in ghoulish character. Go, Piedmont boy, go!!! – R. Tirella
From the Worcester Police Department: Halloween Safety Tips for Kids and Adults

As kids prepare to put on their costumes and roam from house to house Saturday night, parents and neighbors should keep in mind that their presence on the road and around homes requires additional caution.

To help make Halloween activities safer, whether you’re going door-to-door, driving or passing out treats at home, keep these tips in mind:

*Be a safe pedestrian – look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks. Never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.

*Costumes should be white or light colored to keep children visible at night. Reflective patches or strips also help with visibility.

*Pay close attention when driving.

*Stay in your own neighborhood and only go to houses that have porch lights on.

*Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups with a trusted adult.

*Do not enter any homes at which you’re trick-or-treating.

*Avoid masks or accessories that obstruct or block vision.

*Never accept rides from strangers.

*Adults should inspect candy before eating.

*Carry flashlights on the trick or treating route.

*Make sure the path to your home is well lit for trick or treaters.

*Always walk and don’t run from house to house.

It is recommended that the hours of this event be held from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM.



They’re located at 1329 Main St., Worcester, and open 7 days a week, until 7 p.m. pics: R. Tirella



OK, so a bongo drum isn’t exactly a fall fashion accessory, but I fell in love with it!

Keep your cat indoors on Halloween! … and all year round!

By Alisa Mullins
When my mom was a little girl, she had a favorite black cat named Midnight. He was one of more than a dozen former strays who had wandered into the family’s life, drawn by the abundance of cat food that was always set out on the front porch. Occasionally, one of the cats would mysteriously disappear, and my mom and her sister would comfort themselves with the unlikely scenario that the cat had “run away.”
But when Mom’s favorite, Midnight, went missing on Halloween, she knew in her bones that something terrible had happened to him. She searched for him for days, but it was no use—he was already dead. She finally found his body under the front porch. He had been tortured—probably by neighborhood boys up to “mischief”—and had dragged himself home to die. My mom learned a valuable lesson that day, and when she grew up, the handsome brown tabby our family adopted was kept indoors at all times.
Nowadays, most guardians know to keep their cats—especially black ones—inside on Halloween. Many animal shelters refuse to allow the adoption of black cats in the days preceding it, for fear that cruel people would acquire them with the intent to do them harm.
But the danger doesn’t pass once the last Twizzler has been handed out to the last Elsa or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
Cats who are allowed to roam outside unattended are in danger every day of the year. The threats range from speeding cars and spilled antifreeze to stray dogs and cruel people who don’t like cats digging in their gardens or sitting on their cars. Recently, a Mississippi woman posted a photo on her Facebook page of a cat she had allegedly burned, threatening to “burn them one by one if I have to.”
Even in this day and age, there are people who think killing cats is “fun.” They brag and even laugh about it. They use cats for target practice, shooting at free-roaming cats as if they were clay pigeons rather than living, feeling beings. Just a few recent cases include cats who were shot with guns or crossbows in Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. A cat in Massachusetts who was shot with a steel broadhead arrow (designed to inflict the maximum damage) was so badly injured that he had to be euthanized. He was just a year old.
In fact, the average lifespan of a cat who goes outside is just 2 to 5 years, a fraction of the 14-year average lifespan of an indoor cat.
Today’s concrete jungles are far too dangerous for such vulnerable little beings. Don’t learn a tragic lesson at your cat’s expense: Keep your cat indoors where it’s safe—on Halloween and every other day of the year.

Cool Halloween props, costumes and more at Unique Finds antique and vintage gifts shop ….

… 1329 Main St., Worcester. Open SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, until 7 p.m.



Worked on my pups’ Halloween get-ups this morning:
Jett was having none if it!
– pics+text: Rosalie Tirella


By Gordon T. Davis

A girl dressed up in a KKK costume during a Halloween event at Worcester Technical High School on October 30, 2014.  This is the same high school that President Obama honored and attended its graduation ceremony in Spring 2014. Her dressing in the Kluxer robes and hood caused much upset in the Worcester and Boston areas. There was a report of it on the Boston TV.

The girl technically did not violate any policies as the Halloween event costumes were to depict great villains. Admittedly, the Ku Klux Klan is a great villain, guilty of murder and terrorism. Their klaverns are still on the Southern Poverty Center’s list of hate and terrorist groups. The very image of them is offensive to most people in Worcester and Boston areas.

I spent a good part of my adult life fighting against the Kluxers and the Nazis; we opposed the Nazis’ use of the Worcester Public Library as a meeting location.  So I think I can speak with some experience. The girl in the KKK costume is a child who followed school policy that was not at all clear. The school policy was confusing and it is that policy that needs correcting and not the child. When the policy is clear then the children will have the guidance they need to make good decisions. Children cannot be expected to make nuanced decisions between what is bad and what is offensive without guidance from adults. It is the school authorities who should have known better, albeit knowledge that was hard to obtain beforehand. The School Department’s policy on anti-racism and anti-discrimination is not well known to the public and there should be some discussion with the public about it.

The policy for great villains or heroes should be clarified to exclude characters that might be offensive. Of course this is a restriction of expression, but there are times political correctness makes good policy.

When my kids went to public school Halloween costume events occurred in elementary school, not in high school. My own memories were that it was fun dressing up for grammar school events. I wanted to be more mature in high school and dress the part, if only to impress the girls. Perhaps there should be restrictions on Halloween costume events in high schools.

The Worcester Public School is run by Dr. Boone who has shown competence in matters such as this. I sometimes think that she does not do as much as she wants, because of local politics. I do think that she will have an honest review of the Worcester School Department’s policy as was promised in its press release. I hope Dr. Boone does not wait for things to blow over without doing this review. I also hope she makes it and all policy changes public.  The girl in the KKK costume was a preventable event and I hope the School Department finds the right policy to ensure no further embarrassment to the students,  itself and to the City.

Halloween is just 3 days away! Let’s look at this “spooktacular” day’s origins …

CAM00454By Chef Joey

Well, it’s that time of year again!  This, of course, can mean a plethora of things: Beautiful leaves, cold-, or like this year, warm-weather spurts.  With Columbus Day behind us, we look forward to events like Halloween, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving … dare I mention the “Holiday Season” that launches that Friday?

Let’s go to a fun spot!! Mine is Halloween! I threw parties back in the 80’s with DJ’s prizes galore, and every year they got bigger and bigger and more creative.  I used to transform my house into Kansas corn fields, of the Sputter Inn from Moby Dick.  I had carnivals, pirate themes, even ancient Rome … so much fun.  Then there are the creative costumes:  I had a swarm of Bees – Do Bees, Don’t Bees, Spelling Bees – even one with “Double D’s.” Memories for a lifetime.

So I know what you’re thinking … What’s Halloween really about?  Glad you asked!  It’s a centuries-old tradition that was originally called Allhallowtide, basically encompassing the Western Christian observances of All Hallows’ Eve (Hallowe’en), All Saints’ Day (All Hallows’) and All Souls’ Day, which last from October 31 to November 2 every year.   Allhallowtide is a time to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints.  The word Allhallowtide was first used in 1471, and is derived from two words: the Old English word halig, meaning saint, and the word tide, meaning time or season Oh Yuletide! DUH.

So real old stuff here, folks, and our now a days Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (Nov 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (Nov. 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.

The custom of wearing costumes and masks at Halloween goes back to Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the evil spirits or placate them, in Scotland for instance where the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white.  Go back to the late 1800’s where this was  called “Guising” – this practice was recorded in 1895, where masqueraders in disguise were carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.

The practice of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, reported children going “guising” around the neighborhood.

The term “Trick-or-Treat” has traces back to 1927, Aland just about all pre-1940 uses of the term “trick-or-treat” are from the western United States and Canada.   Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, but was seriously stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947.

Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given that year in the October 1947 issues of the children’s magazines Jack and Jill and Children’s Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948.  Trick-or-treating was depicted in the Peanuts comic strip for the first time in 1951. So all this made the custom become firmly established in popular culture by 1952.

Although some popular histories of Halloween have characterized trick-or-treating as an adult invention to rechannel Halloween activities away from vandalism, there are very few records supporting it.  Back in the late 40’s children often had to explain the tradition of trick-or-treating to baffled parents, not the other way around.  Post war was tricky too – some families looked at it like extortion, and others were embarrassed to be “begging.”

Well it took off!! The National Confectioners Association reports that there will be $2.5 billion made in candy sales this year!! Statistically, it is people 60 and older passing out the candy.  In addition, shoppers in the Midwest will hand out more candy than any other region, as 79 percent plan to par take in the activity compared with 76 percent in the south, 74 percent in the west and 71 percent in the northeast, according to the Association. IBISWorld estimates retailers will rake in $7.6 billion from the spooky holiday this year, with $1.4 billion going to adult costumes alone!

Well, there you have it, folks!  Insight on Halloween and its origins.  No matter how you celebrate, do it responsibly – and take lots of pictures!!  For some really neat Halloween snacks for parties visit:  http://www.picshunger.com/pictures/halloween-snacks – lots of easy ideas and healthy things to make!