Story of Halloween

Story of Halloween

by Carol Greene, Linda Bronson

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Today, Halloween means ghosts and goblins and trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell. But this holiday began more than 2,000 years ago, and back then Halloween meant something very different. In the beginning, it was a harvest festivalduring which the people of Great Britain, Ireland, and northern France gave thanks for their harvested crops. Over time, Halloween

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Today, Halloween means ghosts and goblins and trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell. But this holiday began more than 2,000 years ago, and back then Halloween meant something very different. In the beginning, it was a harvest festivalduring which the people of Great Britain, Ireland, and northern France gave thanks for their harvested crops. Over time, Halloween took on new meaning, and people believed that elves, spirits, and scary creatures roamed the earth.

Now Halloween is a time for children to dress in costumes and go door to door in search of treats, but some ancient traditions are still part of this festive night. Find out how this spooky celebration became a much anticipated holiday in this charming book by Carol Greene, with illustrations by Linda Bronson.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Story of Halloween by Carol Greene, illus. by Linda Bronson, explains the myriad traditions that helped shape the holiday as we know it, beginning with ancient Celtic and Roman harvest rites then moving on to the tricks, lanterns and disguises first popular in the British Isles that made their way to America. Bronson's windswept, undulating illustrations add a mystical air. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The origins of Halloween traditions are presented here in a lively text with an upbeat tone. Readers will learn about the Celtic year-end harvest celebration that occurred on October 31, the Roman harvest offering of apples and nuts to the goddess Pomona, the importance of All Saints' Day and All Hallows' Eve to those of the Roman Catholic faith, and the English tradition of begging for soul-cakes and making mischief. Greene shows how these traditions and historic events led to the development of the American Halloween. Bronson's stylized illustrations, with unusual perspectives and angles, are a nice complement to the text. Unfortunately, the last page depicts a woman dressed up as a Native American handing out Halloween treats, a stereotype which Native Americans have been protesting for years. This mars an otherwise well-crafted book. A few corny riddles and several ideas for pumpkin art complete the book. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 7 to 10.
—Sharon Salluzzo <%ISBN%>006027946X
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-Beginning with the Celtic feast of Samhain, and continuing through the ages to today's traditions of trick-or-treating and collecting pennies for UNICEF, Greene offers a straightforward and engaging history of Halloween. Throughout the book, she compares the feasts of long ago with traditions today, and along the way explains the origin of bobbing for apples, fortune-telling traditions, jack-o'-lanterns, and Halloween mischief. Pumpkin art and riddles appear at the end. While colorful and appealing, Bronson's full-page illustrations do little to illuminate the text. Despite the abundance of books on this topic, this title offers a great deal of information in an engaging and not overwhelming fashion.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Bonfires and full moons cast elongated, autumnal contact shadows in the glowing, curvy, stylized pictures that decorate this simple history of Halloween and its revelers. Beginning with the ancient Celtic/Druid tradition honoring summer's end, and briefly considering the traditions of the early Romans, the British, the Irish, and Americans, Greene touches on the evolution of some of the customs and conventions of the long-celebrated change-of-seasons festival. Superstition and spirits, pumpkins and pranksters are included in the 18 pages of text, along with three ideas for jack-o'-lanterns and eight riddles, among them: "What is a spook's favorite dessert? I scream." There is no new trick here (except, perhaps, for the author's assertion, unsubstantiated, that what readers may recognize as a lyric from the familiar carol, "Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat . . . " is indeed a traditional English Halloween ditty). It's Bronson's motion-filled, Mir--esque art of purples, oranges, yellows, and greens that's the treat. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.00(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Story of Halloween

By Carol Greene

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2004 Carol Greene
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060279462

Chapter One


Learn to be silent.
Let your
quiet mind
listen and absorb.

(580 B.C. -- 500 B.C.)

A Greek philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras was especially interested in the study of mathematics in relation to weights and measures and to musical theory.

All man's miseries derive from not being
able to sit quietly in a room alone.

Blaise Pasca(1623-1662)

Blaise Pascal was a French philosopher, scientist, mathematician, and writer, whose treatises contributed to the fields of hydraulics and pure geometry.

This is the one time in this collection of great contributors that I have elected to highlight two writers on the same subject. I selected two men whose lives were separated by over two millennia, both of whom in their own times were considered the most knowledgeable in the rational fields of mathematics and science.

Pythagoras, whose writings influenced the thought of Plato and Aristotle, was a major contributor to the development of both mathematics and Western rational philosophy. Blaise Pascal, a famous French mathematician, physicist, andreligious philosopher who lived twenty-two centuries after Pythagoras, is considered one of the original scientific minds. He is responsible for inventing the syringe, the hydraulic press, and the first digital calculator. Pascal's Law of Pressure is still taught in science classes around the world today.

Keeping in mind the left-brained scientific leanings of these two scientists, reread their two quotes. Pascal: "All man's miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone." Pythagoras: "Learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb." They both speak to the importance of silence and the value of meditation in your life, whether you are an accountant or an avatar. They send us a valuable message about a way of being *in life that is not popularly encouraged 'in our culture: that there is tremendous value *in creating alone time *in your life that is spent in silence. If you want to shed your miseries, learn to sit silently in a room alone and meditate.

It has been estimated that the average person has sixty thousand separate thoughts each and every day. The problem with this is that we have the same sixty thousand thoughts today that we had yesterday, and we'll repeat them again tomorrow. Our minds are filled with the same chatter day in and day out. Learning to be quiet and meditate involves figuring out a way to enter the spaces between your thoughts; or the gap, as I call it. In this silent empty space between your thoughts, you can find a sense of total peace' in a realm that is ordinarily unknowable. Here, any illusion of your separateness is shattered. However, if you have sixty thousand separate thoughts in a day, there is literally no time available to enter the space between your thoughts, because there is no space!

Most of us have minds that race full-speed day and night. Our thoughts are a hodgepodge of continuous dialogue about schedules, money worries, sexual fantasies, grocery lists, drapery problems, concern about the children, vacation plans, and on and on like a merry-go-round that never stops. Those sixty thousand thoughts are usually about ordinary daily activities and create a mental pattern that leaves no space for silence.

This pattern reinforces our cultural belief that all gaps in conversation (silence) need to be filled quickly. For many, silence represents an embarrassment and a social defect. Therefore we learn to jump in to fill these spaces, whether or not our filler has any substance. Silent periods in a car or at a dinner are perceived as awkward moments, and good conversationalists know how to get those spaces occupied with some kind of noise.

And so it is with ourselves as well; we have no training in silence, and we see it as unwieldy and confusing. Thus we keep the inner dialogue going just like the outer.Yet it is in that silent place, where our ancient teacher Pythagoras tells us to let our quiet mind listen and absorb, that confusion will disappear and enlightened guidance will come to us. But meditation also affects the quality of our nonsilent activities. The daily practice of meditation is the single thing in my life that gives me a greater sense of well-being, increased energy, higher productivity at a more conscious level, more satisfying relationships, and a closer connection to God.

The mind is like a pond. On the surface you see all the disturbances, yet the surface is only a fraction of the pond. It is in the depth below the surface, where there is stillness, that you will come to know the true essence of the pond, as well as your own mind. By going below the surface, you come to the spaces between your thoughts where you are able to enter the gap. The gap is total emptiness or silence, and it is indivisible. No matter how many times you cut silence in half, you still get silence. This is what is meant by now. Perhaps it is the essence of God, that which cannot be divided from the oneness.

These two pioneering scientists, who are still quoted today in university courses, were studying the nature of the universe. They struggled with the mysteries of energy, pressure, mathematics, space, time, and universal truths. Their message to all of us here is quite simple. If you want to understand the universe, or your own personal universe, if you want to know how it all works, then be quiet and face your fear of sitting in a room alone and going deep within the layers of your own mind...


Excerpted from The Story of Halloween by Carol Greene Copyright © 2004 by Carol Greene. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Author Bio Carol Greene also wrote Baby Jesus, Prince of Peace and a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Ms. Greene lives in St. Louis, MO.

Illustrator BioLeonard Jenkins is a talented new illustrator whose first book, If I Only Had a Horn by Roxanne Orgil, garnered consistent critical acclaim. Mr. Jenkins lives in New York City.

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