Back on Track

New reviews coming soon! I'll be importing my work from the past two years, but in the meantime,
I'm reclaiming my small place on the web.

Sunday, October 1, 2000

Non-Fiction/Spirituality Review

Halloween: Customs, Recipes & Spells
by Silver RavenWolf
ISBN-10: 1567187196
Review by Heather Froeschl

Have you ever wondered where the idea of Halloween came from? This topic has been one of heated argument and probably will continue to be, unless more people read this complete guide to the holiday and understand what it is all about. Long before the now popular Trick or Treating, Celtic peoples celebrated Samhain, a Summers end festival, and more importantly, the Celtic New Year. Samhain does not refer to any god or deity but it was a day to remember those loved ones who were departed.

Samhain - Halloween has a very long history and this title truly illustrates it very well. These lessons have been debated for centuries and never before have I found a more thorough lesson plan. Todays traditions may seem nonsensical and unconnected to true meaning at first glance, but in reality we have held true to many Celtic practices. This would surprise many a Halloween protestor!

Unraveled here are the mysteries of the backgrounds of Jack-o-lanterns, trick or treating, bonfires, scarecrows, costumes, and such. The light is shined on the many myths and superstitions that surround the holiday as well, such as the dreaded, or cherished, black cat, ghosts, witches, werewolves, vampires and bats.

Understand the holiday and all of its components and you will enjoy it all the more. Spark up your celebrations with traditional corn husk doll making, tasty festive treats and maybe a "trick" or two, like pumpkin seed divinations. A very special section that I personally enjoyed is the chapter on getting back to one of the original meanings of the day - honoring our deceased loved ones.

This well researched, inclusive book is a must for any parent with children who want to know why we carve pumpkins, dress up as ghosts and hand candy out to the neighborhood. What American child hasn't wondered these things? Here are your answers! Not just for parents, this title will entertain, and bestow knowledge to any individual who has ever pondered these same things. Poems and greeting card verse, dispersed throughout are a delightful addition to this resource, while the list of those wrongfully condemned at the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 proves that ignorance is a dangerous thing that needs remedy. "Halloween..." is a delicious dose of that remedy.