Posts Tagged "halloween"

Happy Halloween and the Origin of Jack-o’-Lanterns

Dear Kid,


It is the wonderful time of year when ghosts can be friendly, princesses roam the streets, and candy has no calories.

College Jack-o'-lantern barfing. DearKidLoveMom.comUnless you’re in college in which case ghosts are ghosts, princesses roam the streets, and beer has no calories.

Meanwhile, you’ve probably been wondering about jack-o’-lanterns. Fear not, kiddo, I am here to provide answers.

Once upon a time, there was a man named Stingy Jack. Jack was a big drinker (did I mention this is an Irish folk tale?), and one day S.J. was out drinking with the Devil. Being a bit devilish himself, Stingy Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks. Once the Devil was money, S.J. put the coin into his pocket with a silver cross (to prevent the Devil from un-coining himself).

Fast forward to the negotiation part of the story and Jack promised to free the Devil if he (the Devil) wouldn’t bother him (Jack) for a year and if he (the Devil) agreed that if Jack died he (the Devil) could never clam his (Jack’s) soul.

Deal. (The Devil was not big on being a coin.)

In this story, the Devil wasn’t particular smart and allowed himself to be tricked again by Stingy Jack but that part isn’t very interesting so we’re skipping it.

Eventually, Stingy Jack died. S.J. wasn’t on the guest list for heaven, but the Devil had promised not to take him to hell. Dilemma. Jack was sent to wander around on earth with only a burning coal for light. He (Stingy Jack) put the coal into a turnip as a lantern, which in one fell swoop saved his hands from burning and turned Stingy Jack into Jack of the Lantern or Jack o’ Lantern.

Hence and therefore, the Irish carved scary faced into turnips, beets, potatoes, and the occasional rutabaga to scare off Stingy Jack (or other wandering spirits).

One wonders at the logic of this since it’s not entirely obvious that a person who drank with and outwitted the Devil twice would be the least intimidated by a carved vegetable.

Happy Halloween!

Love, Mom

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The Importance of Scary Movies

Dear Kid,

Happy Halloween! DearKidLoveMom.comIt’s that time of year.

The time of year when—if you don’t like scary movies—you have to be very careful about randomly searching for something to watch on TV.

It’s the Halloween-y time of year when the people in charge of deciding what to put on the airwaves cablewaves love their jobs because it’s easy. Late October? Roll out the Halloween movies! Let there be scary!

Zombies? Bring ‘em on. Crazy people killing crazy people? Add them to the schedule. Ability to market “shock and terrify”? Bring on the advertising!

And those of us who are not fans of terror? Beware the ads, beware the commercials, beware the sneak previews, and mostly beware of channel surfing.

On the other hand, if you love scary movies, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something to watch.

I was going to make you a list of the best scary movies, but then I saw some of the titles and the movie posters and I decided if I ever want to sleep again maybe making a scary movie list wasn’t such a good idea.

I’ll stick with happy little ghosts and cheerful pumpkins and candy.

Love, Mom

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Pumpkin Carving

Dear Kid,

Are you going to carve a pumpkin this year?

I haven’t decided either. But in the “better spend some time surfing the internet for ideas I’ll never carve rather than dusting something” vein, I took a quick look for jack-o’-inspiration.

Four hours later, I feel completely inadequate.

It is amazing how many people spend time (lots of time) and talent (lots of talent) carving pumpkins. That’s not a slam—I’m impressed. If I had their talent I might do the same thing (oh, who am I kidding).

Once I had my fill of complicated and intricate pumpkin carving voyeurism (did I mention the 7 hours of web surfing?), I moved on to the Easy Options Category.

I found the traditional jack-o-lanterns, less traditional jack-o-sparrows, happy faces, sad faces, scary faces (extra points for the one where the carver used toothpicks as jagged teeth), political figures (very unrealistic since they are silent), a minion (yes, might be my personal fave), college logos, college mascots (not sure they fall in the easy category), abstract designs (just punch a bunch of holes), and billions and billions more.

It is not easy to live up to internet expectations of pumpkin carving. Even squirrels are in the pumpkin carving game.

Fortunately, I don’t give a fig about the internet’s expectations of my pumpkin carving abilities.

Because there is no way I can compete with a squirrel.

Love, Mom

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Puppy Conversations | Discussing Halloween

Dear Kid,

It’s almost Halloween. Actually, I’m pretty sure you’ve already had one Halloween weekend but maybe not. Or maybe you get a second one.

Halloween Trick or Treat DearKidLoveMom.comI decided I’d better have a conversation with the Puppy about the approaching festivities.

Me: Friday is Halloween
Puppy: And I will howl
Me: You will not howl
Puppy: You said it was Howloween! And I’m very good at howling
Me: No howling
Puppy: This is going to be confusing, isn’t it?
Me: Lots of children will knock on our door
Puppy: And I will bark
Me: That’s what I wanted to talk to you about
Puppy: You finally want to learn how to bark?
Me: Not exactly. I don’t want you to bark
Puppy: Do you see anyone else around here who is going to do the barking? I will bark
Me: I don’t think barking is necessary
Puppy: Barking is ALWAYS necessary!!!
Me: But these are friendly children
Puppy: They will come inside and play?
Me: No. They will say Trick or Treat
Puppy: That doesn’t sound friendly. I will bark
Me: No barking. When they say Trick or Treat we will give them candy
Puppy: And then they will come in and play?
Me: No, then they will leave
Puppy: Let me get this straight. No howling, no barking, no playing, but they get treats?
Me: Right
Puppy: And then they just leave?
Me: Right
Puppy: That is ridiculous
Me: That is Halloween
Puppy: Mom?
Me: Yes, pumpkin?
Puppy: Trick or treat
Me: You need a treat?
Puppy: I think I do
Me: Come on, good boy, let’s get you a treat
Puppy: A Treat!! A Treat!!! I love Treats!!!
Me: Here you go, sweetie
Puppy: Mom?
Me: Yes, baby?
Puppy: I’m still going to bark
Me: I was pretty sure you would
Puppy: And you love me anyway
Me: I absolutely love you anyway
Puppy: Enough for another treat?
Me: No more treats
Puppy: Sigh

Love, Mom

For more puppy conversations see

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October Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of

Dear Kid,

October (which starts tomorrow in case you haven’t been paying attention) is a month full of excellent reasons to celebrate.

Not only do we have pretty much every sport imaginable (not sure when the curling season begins and ends), but we have holidays. And not just Halloween (brought to you by the color orange and lots of Oompa Loompas).

October Holidays. Who thinks of these things? DearKidLoveMom.comTomorrow (10/1) is World Vegetarian Day. Pat a cow, chomp a carrot, and you can also celebrate National Vegetarian Month (which is weird because it’s also Eat Country Ham Month and Seafood Month).

It’s Cookie Month, Clergy Appreciation Month (woot!), and National Popcorn Popping Month.

The 2nd is Name Your Car Day (I tell you this in Ernest), the 6th is Mad Hatter Day, and the 11th is Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day. Someone please remind me to check with Human Resources to see what our policy is on this.

The 9th is Moldy Cheese Day (don’t want to miss that one), the 12th is Old Farmer’s Day (presumably these are the people making moldy cheese), and the 10th is World Egg Day and National Angel Food Cake Day. The 14th is National Dessert Day (take two helpings—they’re small). The 20th is Brandied Fruit Day. I didn’t know there was enough brandied fruit in the world to have a day of its own.

The 12th is also Moment of Frustration Day and the 13th is International Skeptics Day. The 22nd is National Nut Day (I leave it to you to determine which kind of nut). You can also decide for yourself what is meant by National Mole Day (the 23rd).

The 17th is Wear Something Gaudy Day, the 21st is Babbling Day (which your sister celebrates every day) as well as Count Your Buttons Day (who does that?), and the 23rd is TV Talk Show Host Day.

The 26th is Mother-in-Law Day and National Mincemeat Day (am I the only one who thinks that is hilarious?), and the 29th is Hermit Day (someone please explain to me how Hermits need a day).

October is also Sarcastic Month which seems like an appropriate response to some of these Important Holidays.

Love, Mom

We can also make it “Like” DearKidLoveMom Month if you’d like–and that’s a holiday that’s fun and easy to celebrate!

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