The Great Pumpkin is coming; have fun this Halloween

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Great Pumpkin is Coming!

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”

Have you ever wondered about Charlie Brown’s favorite “symbol” for this time of year?

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The symbol of Halloween and favorite pie of Thanksgiving, the “pumpkin,” is a trademark of American autumn, recalling the original partnership forged between the Mayflower Pilgrims and the Native Americans who helped them survive their early years.

In fact, even the word “pumpkin” itself has American roots. Colonial Americans coined the word as a modification of the English word “pompion,” which itself had evolved through French from a Greek word for “large melon.”

In the first American pumpkin pies, the pumpkin was not in the pie at all. Rather, it was the pie.  American colonists cut open the top of the pumpkin, removed the seeds and pulp, and filled the inside with milk, spices and honey. The whole thing was then baked in embers.

The tradition of the Jack-O-Lantern dates to an Irish legend about a man named Jack, who tricked a spirit into climbing a tree, then trapped him there. Jack’s eternal punishment was to wander the earth finding his way with the aid of a glowing ember placed in a hollowed-out- turnip. After the Irish brought this tradition with them to America, the more easily hollowed pumpkin replaced the turnip as the vessel of choice for the Jack-O-Lantern.

Source: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

Fall Festivals and Fun

The approach of fall means cooler weather and that means outdoor festivals, carnivals, rodeos and other fun activities

If your family plans to join the fun at the fall festivals or go trick-or-treating on Halloween, remember that…

Children should:

• Eat a small snack before going trick or treating

• Cross only at corners

• Never cross between parked cars

• Be aware of cars that may be turning into or backing out of driveways

• Never go into a stranger’s houses or apartments

Parents should:

• Know the route their children will be taking

• Make sure children are accompanied by an adult

• Instruct children not to eat treats until parents have inspected them.

As a reminder, if your children will be in costumes, keep these safety tips from the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in mind. Decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights. Bags should be light colored or also decorated with reflected tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycles and sporting goods stores.  Costumes should be short enough so that children won’t trip and fall.

Children should wear well-fitting sturdy shoes, and tie hats and scarves securely to prevent it from slipping over their eyes.

FACETS – 2016 Fall Edition (September/October)
Cheesy Pumpkin Mac

Prep: 30 Minutes Bake 35 minutes Makes 8 servings

Nonstick cooking spray

1 16-ounce package dry rotini pasta

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

2 cups reduced-fat milk (2%)

5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

1-teaspoon salt

½-teaspoon ground white pepper

¼-teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 8-ounce packages shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (4-cupsP

½-cup panko

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Lightly coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Cook rotini according to package directions. Drain. Spread half of the mixture evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat layers. Sprinkle panko over pasta mixture. Bake, uncovered, about 35 minutes or until top is lightly browned and mixture is heated through. Source:; Facets: Fall Edition (September/October 2017)