Happy Halloween!


Today is one of the happiest days for children and adults, outside of Christmas and birthdays. Or at least that’s my opinion.  I’m fortunate to share my blog with Fellow Filly Shanna Hatfield.  I’m going to blog about some history and fun facts; before turning it over to Shanna to tell you a little about her special Pumpkins Cookies, yummy!

To my surprise, Halloween has roots in age-old European traditions. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.  In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Around the world, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

In the late 1800’s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide Halloween parties as the featured entertainment. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration.  In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats.

Thus, a new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion, yes with a “B”, annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you all about how Halloween traditions fit in with young women identifying their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday…with luck by next Halloween…be married. In the 18th century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.

Another fascinating tradition was when young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; and, some also tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water.

One of the beloved events is our church’s Trunk or Treat which is a safe and fun environment for kids to go trick or treating out of the trunk of member’s cars in the parking lot. It’s open to the public, not just the youth of our home church.

I’m happy to have Shanna Hatfield chiming in with one of her favorite Halloween treats.

“I’m a pumpkin fanatic! The fascination with pumpkin treats started with my aunt’s decadent pumpkin roll and ends with pumpkin pie (which I would eat any time of year). This recipe for pumpkin cookies is a fast, easy way to satisfy a pumpkin craving… and a sweet tooth! Happy Haunting!”

From Shanna Hatfield, USA Today Bestselling Author

Pumpkin Cookies

1 box of spice cake mix

1 small can of pumpkin pie filling

1 cup cream cheese frosting

toppings (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake mix and pumpkin until thoroughly blended.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment and drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the cookie sheet.

Bake about ten minutes, until the cookies are just set, but not yet starting to brown.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Warm cream cheese frosting in the microwave for about 12 seconds, or until thin enough to pour. Drizzle over cookies. Top with toffee bits, cinnamon, sprinkles or candied nuts if you want to get all fancy-pants (which I generally do).


Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

To one lucky reader who leaves a comment, I will give away a copy

of any of my eBooks from Amazon!  Happy Holiday, Phyliss


And, thank you, Shanna, for sharing your recipe with us. 






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25 thoughts on “Happy Halloween!”

    • Hi MH, sorry for the late start; particularly, when your comment was posted at 4:21 a.m.! I’m glad you like the recipe. I appreciate Shanna chiming in and sharing her cookie recipe with us. I thought the traditions were cute. I’d not heard of most of them. Hope you and yours have a wonderful day. Hugs, Phyliss

  1. I enjoyed reading the history of Halloween through the centuries. And I’m so thankful for that delicious sounding and quick recipe. Guess what I’ll be making after I run to the store for the spice cake mix. 🙂

    • Hi Carol, hope you got your spice cake mix and have gotten a taste of Shanna’s wonderful cookies. Many of the fun traditions of Halloween were unknown to me…like peeling an apple and throwing the peel over a ladies’ shoulder. I thought that was cute. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Hope you and yours have a great Halloween; and let me know how the cookies tasted. I know they are really really good. Hugs, Phyliss

  2. Happy Halloween Phyliss and Shanna. Loved the blog I learned so much about Halloween I did. It know. Oh those cookies look delish. Thanks for the recipe.
    Love you both. May you not get spooked today.

    • Hi my friend, Tonya. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. It was fun reading about some of the old traditions. Doesn’t Shanna’s cookies look delish???? I appreciate her chiming in and helping me out with a great holiday recipe. Happy Halloween to you and yours Tonya. I’ve got my Halloween T-shirt on and could only find one of my orange “BOO” earrings, so I have it on along with a black hoop on the other ear. That outta spook some kids. Love you and look forward to seeing your after the first of the year. Hugs, Phyliss

  3. Recipe sounds delish I am one of the everything pumpkin spice lovers of this time of year. I have pumpkin spice creamer in my coffee right this minute

    • Hi Glenda, my friend. No doubt Shanna’s recipe is a big hit. I’m glad she joined me today. I use French Vanilla in my coffee but am tempted to go to the store and get some Pumpkins Spice. I wonder if my “office runner ie: my DH) might go!!!! Happy Halloween to you and yours, Hugs, Phyliss

  4. I love the blog, learning history about a day mist of us no nothing about the orgins. And live the cookie recipe.

    • Thanks for dropping by the Corral on today’s holiday and reading our blog. I enjoyed learning about the history of Halloween and there was so much I had to leave out. Of course, I love research. Made me want to write a short story about Halloween in the mid 1800s. Enjoy the cookies, and I thank Shanna so much for chipping in and sharing the recipe for everyone’s enjoyment. Big hugs and Happy Holiday, Phyliss

  5. I knew Samhain was one of four parts of the Celtic year, but I thought it had to do with harvest time and was wondering why it came before Thanksgiving, or harvest-based festivals. I think I found the answer–given by Sir James G. Fraser in his groundbreaking “Golden Bough.”

    Samhain was the beginning of winter in ancient times (Nov 1), and he wrote that this goes back to a time when the Gaels were pastoral herding people and not farmers. So the year was divided into the times when their cattle were brought back from upland pastures for the winter (Nov 1). (May 1 was Beltane when the cattle were driven to the upland pastures.)

    Of course these are “our” dates since we’re talking when the year was measured by the position of the sun, not dates (and even before our current Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar in 1752, and the Julian calendar replaced the Roman calendar which was based on the moon and not the sun.)

    Time for me to re-read my one-volume abridged Golden Bough, I guess–and certainly not the 12-volume set from the early 1900s that a dear friend gave me a l-o-n-g time ago. What a gift! What a friend!

    • Hi Eliza, thanks for dropping by and sharing some of the history behind Halloween that I didn’t have room to write about. My biggest surprise was that it originated and evolved over so many centuries. I really though it was only three or four centuries old. Thank you so much for giving some of the history I did not. Abridged is good, as are CliffsNotes. (Okay, for you teachers and wordsmiths out there, CliffNotes is the correct spelling of what I learned in school from my daughters as Cliff’s Notes. There’s a very interesting history behind the purchase of Cliff’s Notes and trademarked as CliffNotes. Smiles to all you all.) Back to Eliza, a true friend will always remember you with a book. Thanks for leaving such an interesting comment. Hugs and happy holiday, Phyliss

    • Thanks Janine, for stopping by and reading our post. It was fun to write and needless to say, Shanna’s recipe added the icing on the cake … oops, icing on the cookies. Hope you have a wonderful holiday. Hugs, Phyliss

  6. Hello. Just woke up , drinking coffee. Wishing I had one of those awesome looking cookies to go with it.. Thanks for the knowledge on Halloween stuff I never knew about……?

    • Thanks, Tonya. It’s cold and windy here and I’m afraid it’ll slow down the Trick or Treater’s, but we do a lot of Trunk or Treat activities at the churches, so the kids can still have fun. I’m ready for a hot cup of coffee and wish I’d made some of Shanna’s cookies, too. Hope you have a wonderful evening. Hugs, Phyliss

  7. Happy Halloween, Phyliss! Love your blog. Very interesting. Those traditions were really crazy but to young, fanciful girls I’m sure they made perfect sense. Those would be fun to put into a story. And Shanna’s cookies! Wish I had some.

    • Hi my fellow filly, Linda. Thanks for dropping by. I really enjoyed putting the blog together. There were so many different stories/traditions that I couldn’t even begin to use very many of them. Dang, I hoped you were writing to say you’d made Shanna’s cookies! Her recipe is a sure winner with the readers. I can hardly wait to make some myself. Happy Halloween, my friend. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Colleen, thanks for dropping by. I truly appreciate Shanna sharing her cookie recipe with our readers. It sounds wonderful and look even better. Happy Halloween, my friend! Phylss

  8. I knew a good bit about the history of Halloween, but there were still bits here I didn’t know. Fun post, Phyliss. And Shanna, those cookies sound delish! I love, love, love pumpkin-flavored stuff.

    • Hi Trish, my fellow filly friend. There was so much history behind Halloween that it was kinda hard to just hit the high notes. Very interesting holiday. I love research, so it was truly a fun post. I appreciate Shanna so much for letting me include her cookie recipe, which looks and sounds super, super good. It’s a super hit with our readers! I love pumpkin, too. Happy holiday and a big hugs, Phylss

  9. I had not heard of the Halloween traditions relating to young women. Most interesting. As for the cookies, just what I like. An easy recipe to fix and they sound good. Thanks for both.

  10. Phyllis, thank you for the “Halloween history lesson”. I married an Irishman and knew some of what you talked about but having it all put together was awesome. History was one of my favorite subjects in high school and college. Thank you again, it was awesome

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