26 October 2015

Samhain/Halloween Reading for the Family 2

This was originally published as a Sunday Stew article. You can view it here.
I thought that I would also publish it here because the original Samhain/Halloween Reading is a pretty popular post. You can view it here

Collecting children’s books is a personal hobby of mine. Some favorites are about witches, magic, or Halloween. I like to have a wide variety, and I also try to collect each one of a series. Sometimes that is easier as a thought than actuality, because the older books are hard to come by. I like to collect favorite books that I enjoyed from my childhood as well as finding new favorites. I do have grandchildren, so when they visit I love to read and share my books with them.

I’ve compiled a list of fun reads today. I wouldn’t really call them educational, with the exception of the first one; it touches on the history of Halloween in a simplified manner.

Some of these will have to be found as used books on Amazon or Ebay. Finding new versions is possible, but it could be expensive.

Some of these aren’t specifically Halloween stories, but are good reads nonetheless.

Let’s Find Out About Halloween by Paulette Cooper published in 1972, has delightful artwork by Errol Le Cain. It takes the reader through Halloween beginning with trick-or-treating. The origins of Halloween are told, as well as beliefs from other countries, in a simplified manner. Its main focus is on the modern childhood celebration of Halloween. 

Old Black Witch by Wende and Harry Devlin (illustrator) first published in 1963. Nicky and his mother are looking for an old house to buy and turn into a tearoom in New England. They purchase Old Witch’s home and end up letting her live in the attic and make blueberry pancakes for the tearoom. Old Witch saves the day by turning some burglars into frogs. BONUS: you get the recipe for blueberry pancakes on the back of the book.

A Very Scary Witch Story by Joanne Barkan, Illustrated by Jody Wheeler, 1992. The illustrations contain pictures that glow in the dark, so it’s helpful if you read this one by flashlight.  We first purchased this book when my daughter was in Kindergarten through one of the Scholastic magazines. The story is all about a young witch named Wisp. She wants to be able to go to the Witch’s Ball on Halloween night like her older sisters, but she has never flown a broom and her sisters tell her that she can’t go until she can do so. After her sisters leave for the ball Wisp is determined to get there. The story is all about the young witch’s perilous flight to the ball. TIP: If you are unable to get the glow-in-the-dark pictures to work, put the book in the freezer for 30 minutes. The freezer activates the glow.

The Magic Porridge Pot written and illustrated by Paul Galdone, published in 1976. A poor child and her mother are starving. One morning the child goes into the woods to look for nuts and berries and she begins crying because of her situation. An old woman appears and gives her a magic pot, with specific instructions for starting and stopping the pot. The girl runs home to her mother with the pot and tells her story about the old woman and instructions. They use the pot and are finally able to eat. The mother forgets how to stop the pot and one day she creates food chaos for the village with the pot. It does end happily, however. 

The Witch Who Lives Down The Hall by Donna Guthrie, Illustrated by Amy Schwartz, published in 1985. A cute little story about a boy who is unsure of his neighbor, Ms. McWee. He says that she is a nice lady with a cranky cat.  There are things about her that make him unsure, however,  like her reading club and the yoga that she practices. It goes on to explain each reason that makes him believe that she is a witch. It ends with him going to her home on Halloween night and deciding that it’s okay to have a neighbor that is a witch. 

The Little Witch’s Halloween Book written and illustrated by Linda Glovach, published in 1975. There is a whole series of Little Witch books, having 14 in all. The Halloween book is chock full of goodies. There are cards and decorations, parties and celebrations, and trick or treat. The sections include crafts, recipes, and games.

Little Owl’s Night written and illustrated by Divya Srinivasan, published as a boardbook edition in 2013. This is the boardbook edition that I have. I’m going to say that it is one of the best books that I’ve ever bought my grandchildren. It reads like a bedtime meditation. The illustrations are delightful. The story is about everything that Little Owl encounters during his nighttime flying.

Countdown To Halloween written and illustrated by Patricia Reeder Eubank, 2015. This is seriously my favorite board book! The illustrations are so pleasant! Little Kitty is excited every day for Halloween to come. He asks each of his friends in turn how many days and the book is the countdown to Halloween and the friends that he encounters. 

I do hope that you have enjoyed the selections for Halloween reading this year. Have a blessed and happy Samhain.


06 October 2015

Sharing a friend's blog

I would like to point you all toward my beautiful friend Sharon's blog. She is sharing a picture of a spirit board on this one. Yes, I did paint it, isn't it beautiful? It was a custom order and it now lives in England! I have art living in another country! How cool is that?

Anyway, go look at Sharon's blog. :)

Sharon's Blog

Halloween Movies For Families

I get really sick of the lineups that networks show for Halloween. Can someone please tell me how The Hunger Games has anything to do with Halloween and why is it included in a Halloween lineup?

No. Just no.

I don't even consider the Harry Potter movies as part of a Halloween lineup. I just....don't. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Harry Potter series, but it just doesn't belong as a Halloween lineup movie series......to me.

But anyway, here is a list for your family that I consider to be a good list for some family Halloween movie time. I had a childhood in the 70's, so this list is going to reflect that a little.......okay, a lot. The 70's were the best, you know.

I'm going to start my list off with Child of Glass by Disney 1978. Growing up, this was one of my favorite movies. It took forever for this to be released on DVD, you can now find it at Amazon.
The basis book for this movie is "The Ghost Belonged To Me" by Richard Peck, for those of you that enjoy a good read, as well.

A family moves into a new home. The son is quickly befriended by a girl's ghost and he has to solve this riddle:

"Sleeping lies the murdered lass,
Vainly cries the child of glass,
When the two shall be as one,
The spirit's journey will be done."

Throw in his neighbor Blossom and good murder mystery and you have a Disney classic.


The next movie is also Disney, The Watcher In The Woods. The basis for this movie is "The Watcher In The Woods" by Florence Engel Randall.

Another move into a new home and another ghost. Moving into new homes makes for creeptastickness.

This is another one for the kids in the family. It's the creepy without the gore. Again, this one also has a book and it's by Ray Bradbury, "Something Wicked This Way Comes"

For the younger kids this should always be on your list of shows to watch. This is a classic and one of my childhood favorites.

Another book by Ray Bradbury was made into a Halloween special. The Halloween Tree is one of our family favorites. The cartoon follows the book pretty closely, but every family should read the short story. It's a great read for the Halloween season.

This TV special is made of cheesy goodness. Featuring Uncle Arthur from Bewitched and adding into the cauldron stars from that time, including KISS, Witchie Poo, Donnie and Marie, and Margaret Hamilton in her witch outfit from The Wizard of Oz! 

Oh my stars, it's perfection!

Speaking of Uncle Arthur.....ANY of the Bewitched Halloween shows make for a good laugh. 

There's "The Witches Are Out" from Season 1. Samantha and Endora protest the use of the "stereotypical hag witch" for the use of candy sales.

"Trick Or Treat" Season 2 Endora does not like the fact that Darrin wants Samantha to stay at home to entertain during Halloween and she causes him to turn into a werewolf. 

"Twitch Or Treat" Season 3 Endora and Uncle Arthur have fun at a Halloween party thrown at Samantha's.

"The Safe and Sane Halloween" Season 4 This is the one with Tabitha and trick-or-treating with the storybook goblins.
"To Trick Or Treat or Not To Trick Or Treat" Season 6 Endora turns Darrin into a stereotypical witch.

Disney's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" 

The Witches, based of the book of the same name by Roald Dahl. This movie has magic by Jim Henson and Angelica Huston as the Grand High Witch. That's really all that needs to be said.

Lloyd Alexander wrote a series called the Chronicles of Prydain and the second novel in the series is "The Black Cauldron". Disney made it into a cartoon movie (loosely based) in 1985. An evil king wants to rule the world using a cauldron, and a young pig keeper wants to prevent that from happening, so he sets out to destroy the cauldron.

No Halloween family movie night would be complete without this one. Hocus Pocus has captured everything in this movie, all the colors and sights of the season wrapped up neatly with magic cast by 3 witches running amok. 

Casper, based on the cartoon character, Casper The Friendly Ghost, it's a delightful movie with Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman. I really enjoy this movie, it has a great storyline, characters, and sets.

The Worst Witch is a book series by Jill Murphy and it's brought to life by The Worst Witch movie with Fairuza Balk as Mildred Hubble, the Worst Witch. It also has Charlotte Rae and Tim Curry. This is THE witch school before Hogwarts was known by all mankind. Let me tell you, I do get a just a bit annoyed by the screaming scene, but it's a great movie and deserves it's place in a Halloween lineup.

Ah, the Grinch. Doesn't he deserve to have a place on this list? Yes, he most certainly does. But wait, he had his very own Halloween special! This is not How the Grinch Stole Christmas, this is Halloween is Grinch Night! 

Scary Godmother is a book series too! Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson, is about a funky fairy witch saving the Halloween day! 

Scary Godmother Halloween Spooktacular and Scary Godmother The Revenge of Jimmy

Halloween Spooktacular

The Revenge of Jimmy

Every list needs Halloweentown. All of them are great, but the first is my favorite. 

Halloween ends with a bang on Monster house. This is one of our favorites!

Geena Davis, Wynona Ryder, and Alec Baldwin with Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice and you have one of the best movies EVER. 

Another Tim Burton that I like better than The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Corpse Bride. 

Before there was the CGI Frankenweenie, there was Frankenweenie with Shelley Duvall.

This one is a Rankin/Bass classic!

Halloween With The New Addams Family

This one seems a bit creepier and was suggested by my friend James. I would suggest it for the older kids in the family. I can't wait to watch it. Thanks James!

This one was also suggested by my friend, James. I look forward to watching this one, as well. After reading the description, I would also suggest this one for the older kids.


I had another friend suggest the Goosebumps series and movies. I agree! Just enough for a good fright, but not too much to scare the pants off of a child.

That's it for the list....so far. If you have any suggestions for non-gory Halloween shows or movies, please feel free to comment!

Bright Blessings,