Gone are the days when children would dress up in their parents' clothing and meet on the corner to plan their trick-or-treating routes. Some of my friends would be so done up that they could only be identified by their voices. Neighbors would put on their porch lights, while we trick or treaters used flashlights to navigate the pathways. I knew where the best candy would be and I knew the houses where we should have marked their doors but dared not.
When I became a parent, my children would go out for the evening and it was a bit different than it was in my day. Parents would drive the kids around to selected homes for a night of fun.
I love to see the scary decorations and find that even adults are dressing up, still wanting to be "young at heart."
I have narrowed down the bags of candy I will give out to trick or treaters and the dishes I will cook as I enjoy this scary day, which is the true beginning to the holiday seasons -- the countdown to everything that is merry and bright.
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BAKED YELLOW SQUASH WITH ONIONS
2 pounds yellow squash
2 large sweet onions
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter for greasing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim ends of yellow squash and slice into 1/4-inch slices. Cut away tops and bottoms of onions, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Use a paper towel dabbed with butter to lightly grease bottom and sides of baking dish.
In small bowl, combine butter, sugar, salt and pepper. Drizzle butter mixture over squash and onions. Cover and bake for about 1 hour. Serve immediately.
"Southern Plantation Cooking," by Mary Gunderson (2000)
HALLOWEEN JELLO SALAD
1 6-ounce package orange gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 pint orange sherbet
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
2 bananas, sliced
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; add sherbet. Whip with rotary beater until light and fluffy. Add mandarin oranges, pineapple and bananas. Mix. Chill until firm.
From Cheryl Sajagara, professional home economist
PUMPKIN SPICE COOKIES
Makes: 9 dozen
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup shortening
2 eggs. well beaten
1 large can pumpkin
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups sifted flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups raisins
1 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cream together sugar and shortening. Add eggs, pumpkin and baking soda. Mix in all remaining ingredients and stir well. Drop from teaspoon onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
"Super Market Cook Book, " by Edith Barber (1940)
Makes: 6 servings
1 8-to-10 pound pumpkin
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon mixed Italian herbs
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 cups tomato juice
3 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 pound green beans, cut up
1 cup uncooked rice
Wash pumpkin, cut off tip, scrape out seeds and discard. Cook ground beef slightly, drain off fat; add onion, garlic, and saute slightly. Add seasonings and tomato juice and heat. Mix with uncooked rice.
Shred cabbage and cut green beans. Layer 1/3 each of the cabbage, green beans, rice and meat mixture in the pumpkin. Repeat layers and replace lid. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours our until done. (Pumpkin is done when it is soft when pierced with a fork.)
Slice and serve with tossed green and corn bread.
From Alice Mittermiller, professional home economist