Wishing you a Happy Halloween, from our family to yours…
With Halloween just around the corner and trick or treating in Carlisle, PA happening tonight (Thursday evening), we thought it would be fun to include a little trick or treating history for you! Trick or Treating is actually a long and honored tradition dating back thousands of years.
Well, the antecedent to it did. During times of famine, disease, and such, people often wore masks to frighten off the evil spirits they believed responsible for these disasters. Samhain (Sow-en), you may recall from an earlier post, is where our modern Halloween comes from. It celebrates the abundant harvest, and signals the end of the growing time. That also meant colder weather was approaching. Well, ghosts being cold by nature, would do their best to trick people into letting them get closer to the fires. So, people were very careful to wear masks in that season.
The custom of trick of treating began with 19th century souling. On All Souls Day,November 2nd, early Christian beggars would walk through the neighborhood, begging soul cakes. A soul cake received was a promise to pray for the dead, and so each one represented a soul released from Purgatory. Fast forward to around the 18th century, and the beggars become children and the treats become nuts, fruits, and buns. Fast forward a little more and the candy companies get into the act and thus the beginnings of what we see now.
We’ll post a recipe for Soul Cakes soon! Enjoy Trick or Treating tonight and be sure to stay safe. Here are some Trick or Treating safety tips for you.
This is the last weekend of our October Open House, so be sure to come by if you’re in the area. Today and tomorrow – the 22nd and 23rd – you can still pick your own gourds for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Also, on Saturday, we are giving wagon rides and tours of our plant. There will also be another great sale and a bonfire in the evening! It’ll be accompanied by an auction and – you’ll love this – live music! Click here for all the details.
Coming up very soon, another look at the progress of the gourds we are drying and documenting for you!
Photos from our Create Your Own Jack O’Lantern event…
Time for another bit of Halloween history. We mentioned before that the whole idea of the Jack o’ Lantern comes from a story about a guy called Stingy Jack and a rather absurd devil. What happened was this guy Jack was having a drink with the devil. Being a stingy fellow, Jack didn’t want to pay for the drinks. So he talked the devil into turning himself into a coin to pay for them with. For some reason, the devil thought this was a good idea and did so. Small wonder that Jack did not use it to pay the tab. He put it in his pocket, which also contained a silver cross, which kept the devil from resuming his proper form. Jack agreed to release the devil only upon obtaining his promise that should Jack die in the next year, the devil would not claim his soul.
A year later, Jack again tricks this pathetic devil into climbing a tree to pick some fruit. While he is up there, Jack carves a cross in the tree so the devil cannot come down out of the tree. This time the deal is Jack will release the devil upon the devil’s promise of not claiming his soul, this time for 10 years.
Well, Jack does die within those 10 years. The devil, who apparently has quite a lot of integrity, honors his word and does not claim his soul. God, however, won’t let this guy into his place for obvious reasons. Having nowhere to go, Jack is condemned to wander the earth forever, with only a coal to light his way. He put the coal in a hollowed-out turnip. So, the term Jack o’ Lantern doesn’t actually refer to to pumpkin at all, but to the guy carrying it. But no one seems to worry about the details of myths too much. Which is a good thing, or we might be tempted to ask
why the devil was having a drink with Jack in the first place or how that bar tab ever was paid.
So, now you know. By the way, we’ve got some pretty cool Jack o’ Lanterns you might want to check out.
Hello, everyone. First, just a reminder about this weekend’s Open House activities. You can always pick your own pumpkin or gourd, but this is the second weekend for our Create Your Own Jack-O’-Lantern activities. You pick the gourd, your draw the design, and our artists carve it on your gourd for you. You can enter your creation in our contest, if you like. Maybe yours will be the one chosen to be in our new catalog! Click here for more information.
We’re starting a project on our blog. We’ve talked about drying, cleaning, and crafting a gourd, and we will continue to do that. But now we’ve got a couple that you can go through the process with us, step by step. On the right
are two gourds, a martin and a gooseneck. What is in front of them for scale is the case from an audio cassette tape (Remember those?). They’re just off the farm and we are beginning the process of drying them. As we’ve suggested you do, we have them set up off the ground. It will not hurt them to sit directly on the ground, it just slows the drying process. Periodically throughout the winter, we’ll check back on these and show you the gourds at the various stages of drying.
If your weather is anything like ours right now, it’s beautiful out and a perfect week to pick a pumpkin and create a Jack-O’-Lantern.
Hey there, everybody. We just want to remind you about all the fun activities going on at Meadowbrooke Gourds during our Open House all during the month of October. Every weekend has something for everyone and great family adventures. First of all, throughout the month, weekdays as well as weekends, you can pick your own pumpkin and ornamental gourds. These can make beautiful centerpieces and other decorations for the season. Read all about our pumpkin patch in this previous post.
Starting tomorrow – Oct. 1st & 2nd – is our much anticipated Oops! Sale. You’ll get fantastic discounts on our beautiful gourds that have minor flaws and defects. (Many flaws you won’t even be able to tell, but they didn’t make our standards to be on the shelf.) This weekend and the 30th we have Gourd Painting classes as well!
Discover the artist in you on the second and third weekends – Oct. 8th & 9th and Oct. 15th & 16th – when you draw a design and we carve that exact drawing on a gourd to create your own unique Jack-o’-Lantern. And here’s something special: At least one of the best of these will be featured in our 2011 catalog! Your design may be sold nation-wide!
October 22nd & 23rd we will offer tours of or farm, Wagon Rides, and a special Customer Appreciation Sale. You’ll get 25% off anything in our retail store. Perhaps best of all is the bonfire on Saturday evening, featuring live music, an auction, and FREE hotdogs and soda. Download the flier so you know what’s going on when. We’ll remind you, too, as each weekend approaches. If you’re not already a member of our Facebook Fan Page, we will be updating with pictures from our open house events! We are also running a Facebook contest throughout the month of October.
We hope to see you this weekend!
October is so filled with activities for us here at Meadowbrooke Gourds and all of them are great family activities! Here are a couple highlights of what’s going on…
As part of our Fall Open House events, the first is our Oops! Sale on October 1st and 2nd, a Friday and Saturday. It’s just what you’re probably thinking it is, items that have a
flaw so small you might not even notice it. But we do, so we won’t sell it as first quality. We know many people who are familiar with us wait all year for this sale, so if you’re interested, it only happens twice a year!
We have painting classes on those days, too. Class sizes are always limited, so signing up as soon as possible will ensure your spot!
The following two weekends are Create-your-Own Jack O’Lantern events! You draw it and we’ll carve it into the gourd for you! Yours may even be judged the best, and you’ll appear in our 2011 catalog!
There are wagon rides, tours, auctions, live music, and various other activities throughout the month, and we’ll remind you of them as they get closer. Be sure to “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to stay updated with our latest events and gourds. Fall is one of our favorite times of the year and we hope to see you out at the farm at one of our events!
It’s time to start getting excited about pumpkins again! Fall decorating is not complete without pumpkins! Not to mention, Halloween will be upon us sooner than you think, and we all need our jack o’ lanterns to scare away the restless spirits that prowl the night on All Hallows Eve. The holiday has a truly fascinating history, and we will share some of that with you, but first things first. You’ve got to get your pumpkin.
For the first time, this year we are offering you the chance to pick your own pumpkin!
And you won’t be picking from pumpkins piled up on tables and in boxes. You’ll go out into our pumpkin patch and pick one right off the vine. You can combine trips and pick a pumpkin at our Oops! Sale the first weekend in October.
The 2nd and 3rd weekends of the Open House would be perfect, too, since they’re Create your Own Jack o’ Lantern weekends. Of course, those jack o’ lanterns will be made from dried gourds, like the martin and the bottle gourds, but still…
And you can’t beat the prices! They’ll run about $1–6. Get each of your kids their own pumpkin! Get one for the dog, too.
Meet Mr. Bones! Bones, to his friends, Bones the Skeleton. He is out August Product of the Month since we’re gearing up for fall. After the heat we’ve been experiencing theses past few weeks in Central PA, the coming of fall will be a welcomed change. We just can’t wait to see pumpkins and fall decorations popping up!
Our cheerful and not at all scary skeleton stands a proud 11” tall and a sturdy 5” in diameter as he smiles his ghoulish though still not at all scary smile. And look: He’s lit up! A lot of his friends in our Fall collection are lit up, too, like jack-o-lanterns, witches, scarecrows and lots more. And you know how so many toys say “batteries not included”? Well the light mechanism and the bulb are included.
So, visit to our web site and take a better look at our August Product of the Month, Mr. Bones, and all his friends.