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Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols
     

Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols

by Edna Barth
 

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What were jack-o'-lanterns carved from before Europeans discovered pumpkins growing in the New World? Where did we get the idea that witches can fly on broomsticks? The amazing stories behind these and other familiar Halloween symbols can be found far back in history...and in the pages of this entertaining book.

Overview

What were jack-o'-lanterns carved from before Europeans discovered pumpkins growing in the New World? Where did we get the idea that witches can fly on broomsticks? The amazing stories behind these and other familiar Halloween symbols can be found far back in history...and in the pages of this entertaining book.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Each fall, we are delighted by glowing orange jack-o-lanterns, dancing skeletons, arching black cats and wicked-faced witches. Children and children at heart adorn masks and creepy costumes while trick-or-treating. For most of us, these traditions have been around as long as we can remember. But where did Halloween come from and how have we come to celebrate it in this way? This fascinating book ventures back two thousand years and more in order to discover Halloween's origins across cultures and generations. Are goblins real, for instance? It is said that during the Stone Age, a small, dark skinned people lived in forests in low, turf-roofed huts. Their swiftness and seeming ability to vanish into thin air earned them the reputation of being evil fairies. And what about witches? Witches can be traced back to not only the days of sorcery and magic potions, but also to cave paintings made by magicians of Europe twenty thousand years ago! Spanning many generations and beliefs, the witch and her "familiars," such as black cats, owls, toads and spiders, account for endless stories of mystery and mishap. For many ghosts have also earned their place in Halloween folklore. Years ago, however, the Scotch, Irish and English believed that the disembodied souls of the dead returned home on Halloween night looking for warmth and cheer. To ensure against angry ghosts stealing the harvest, killing livestock or kidnapping children, folks provided a bountiful spread and a warm fire every year on this night. These tales and many others bring us to a well-rounded understanding of the beliefs, rituals and cultures which have shaped one of America's most playful holidays. Halloween activities included.1972, Houghton Mifflin, and $6.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Leslie Julian

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780808545873
Publisher:
San Val, Incorporated
Publication date:
10/28/1999
Product dimensions:
7.08(w) x 10.26(h) x 0.49(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

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Meet the Author


Ursula Arndt has illustrated a number of popular children's books, including the six holiday titles written by Edna Barth for Clarion. She is now retired and lives in Germany.

The late Edna Barth worked as a librarian, a teacher, and an editor of books for young people before becoming the author of many well-known books for children.

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