Have Fun Writing for Children – Guest Post By Darlene Foster

If you like children and are quite childish, something I´ve often been accused of, then writing for children may seem easy and natural.

I began my love affair with words many years ago. Some of my fondest memories are being read to as a child, visiting the library, and discovering the ability to read by myself. I still have worn copies of favourite childhood books, such as The Bobbsey Twins, Little Women, Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables; and revisit these old friends from time to time. Books and children go together like toast and jam. Recently, one seven-year-old friend said to me, “Who doesn´t like books?” I never show up without books as gifts for my grandchildren. I am known as The Book Grandma.

It´s not surprising that I love writing stories for children.

While writing for children can be fun, it isn´t easy. It requires removing yourself from the adult world and thinking like a twenty-first-century kid (unless you’re writing a historical novel, then a kid from whatever century you are writing about). Fortunately, I like to hang out with kids, listen to the words they use, observe the gestures, the looks, the trends. I also enjoy reading children’s books to see what sparks the interest of today’s young people. Children notice things adults don’t and could care less about things adults think are important. It’s necessary to get into their headspace. And guess what? While I’m writing, I get to be a kid again – and what could be more fun!

Here are a few tips, based on what I’ve learned after writing eight middle-grade books.

  1. Kids like strong main characters, role models. Characters willing to take risks and sometimes mess up, but coming out on top in the end. Keep in mind the characters you liked as a child.
  2. Young people often act childish, but they can also be very mature, especially under pressure.
  3. The hero/heroine can possess extraordinary skills, but they still need to be real so readers can identify with them.
  4. Dialogue moves the story along, breaks up description and gets the reader to know characters better. Each character needs his/her own voice.
  5. Show emotion, don’t tell. This is true in all writing but especially when writing for kids. Instead of writing Jane was homesick, how about, Jane spent a lot of time looking at pictures of her family, often bursting into tears.
  6. Listen to kids talk so you get the lingo right. They are not teenagers so they won’t talk like them, not yet. They often parrot their parents and other adults around them.
  7. Watch movies and TV shows with kids in them, observe how they act and talk.
  8. Be aware that kids speak differently in different parts of the country, and the world.
  9. If you aren’t sure about something, ask a kid. I do this all the time. In fact, I have a street team of young readers from age 7 to 12. They are so helpful. Don’t ask a parent, they are the last to know how their kids talk or act!
  10. Kids are always giving me ideas. I keep a notebook and write down things they say and do, often incorporating these in my stories. They can be so clever too. Often wise beyond their years.

Writing for children is important because I want children to develop the same love of books I had as a child. A love that doesn’t fade with time. Children’s books create lifelong readers; readers who eventually buy adult books.

So if you have been thinking of writing for children, give it a try. Have fun and let yourself be a kid again!

 Thanks, Aurora, for the opportunity to talk about something I’m passionate about. If anyone has questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments.


About Darlene:

Darlene Foster is a Canadian author who has written the popular Amanda Travels series, featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places where she encounters mystery and adventure while learning about another culture. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in various countries. Darlene has won prizes for her short stories and a number of them have been published in anthologies. She has also written a bi-lingual book for English/Spanish readers.

 Darlene grew up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where her love of reading inspired her to travel the world and write stories. Over the years she held wonderful jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, and wrote whenever she had a few spare minutes. She is now retired and has a home in Spain where she writes full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, she likes to spend time with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Her books include Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, Amanda on The Danube: The Sounds of Music, Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, and Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady will be released in the spring of 2021. 


Connect with Darlene:

website http://www.darlenefoster.ca/

Blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/
Twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/darlenefoster
Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/


 

My First Published Character Interview – Simin Arnatt

On December 4, 2015, I was introduced on ‘The Story Reading Ape’s blog to be accepted in his ‘Author’s Hall of Fame’. I’m very grateful he did that and accepted several guest posts since that day. TSRA’s post went viral before my first book in the series ‘Soul Taker’ was published. That day I interviewed one of my characters, Simin Arnatt. She is quite an important character in my series, strong, beautiful, a fighter.

Book Four in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series will be Simin’s story. I decided today to re-publish Simin’s interview here below for you to meet her (or meet her again).

Simin isn’t an easy character, independent, proud, unique, difficult to handle at times. Brace yourself for her arrival…


Interview with Simin Arnatt.

Hello, Simin.

I am honored to be permitted to ask you a few questions and that you agreed to let us know you a little better.

You’re welcome. It is nice to be here. Don’t forget to keep your curiosity under control and we’ll get along well.

I understand. Now let’s start with the beginning. You are beautiful, but unusual. Where were you born?

Thank you so much for the compliment. I am in fact born in England. My mother was English, my father, Persian. I got my parents’ looks, equally from both of them. Only that I look like their negative. (She laughs musically) I got my father’s light skin and my mother’s chocolate hair – and nature switched it and made me.

The contrast is unique, in particular with your dark eyes. You are gorgeous. You look like being in your late twenties the most. May I ask how old you are?

Again thank you for all compliments. As for my age: After I reached my biological limit at the age of 22, I haven’t noticed to age significantly. And that was a long, long time ago. My parents passed away, their bodies turned into dust in the meantime. I did not expect to live this long, but that’s how it is. And no, I won’t tell you my actual age. It will, as so many things about me, remain a secret.

What do you do for a living?

I am something like a “bounty hunter”. I search for individuals on order.

That sounds interesting, can you tell us more? For example: Why do you search for these individuals and who gives you the orders?

I’m sorry. It’s my work, and I do guarantee absolute discretion to my customers.

There is something unusual about you. And you mentioned you are much older than I guessed. Are you human?

Not entirely, no.

But you’re not a vampire?

(Laughs out loudly). No, not at all.

What are you if I may ask?

This will remain a secret

Were you born the way you are?

Yes.

Are you the only one of your kind?

I have never met another in my entire existence. But this doesn’t mean there is nobody else. We just might not have met.

What….

STOP IT!! Enough of that. If you don’t have any other questions.

Is there a man in your life?

N…no.

Your answer came out a little hesitating. Are you sure there is nobody?

Yes.

But you are in love?

(Blushes furiously) I don’t talk about that. This goes too far now. Do you have one more question to ask? Otherwise I…

Yes, please. Is there anything you would like to be able to do? A wish, a dream you have?

I sometimes wish I could fly into heaven, spread my wings, fly above the clouds, and end up where all is love and peace. Away from blood, cruelness, injustice and – Heaven… (her eyes are dreamy)

I’m sorry, but this is it. I consider this interview over. It was a pleasure to be here. All the Best and good luck with your book.

(Originally published December 4, 2015 on The Story Reading Ape’s blog)


Find and buy the first three books in the series here:

https://books2read.com/u/m2roOj

 

 

 

 

 

https://books2read.com/u/mgGGeX

 

 

 

 

 

https://books2read.com/u/3yEx6l

 

Author Spotlight – Chiara Talluto

Welcome! 

Please introduce yourself. 

“I’m not a bestselling author, I’m just a ‘nobody’ who uses storytelling to encourage others to find their purpose and save their souls.”

 Hello, my name is Chiara Talluto. I’m a wife, busy mom, author, and a woman after God’s heart. As I ponder this declaration, I find it more appropriate to claim that I am a woman after God’s heart first. He has given me a gift of writing, and I honor Him through my written works.

People often ask what kind of writing I do. I tell them… I write Inspirational/Christian drama empowering women to discover their faith, use perseverance to overcome adversity, and become heroes of their own destinies. I also write middle-grade fantasy-fairy tales to encourage girls in developing strong morals and values, and to always stand up for what is right.

My family often tells me that I am the Master Storyteller in our household because I have a passion for writing about people who struggle with decisions and conflicts that arise in their lives.

In the last six years, I’ve been blessed to have published four books:  A Christian Romance, Love’s Perfect Surrender, two middle-grade fantasy-fairy tales: Petrella, the Gillian Princess and A Tribute to Tulipia, and an Inspirational fiction, She Made It Matter.

 

  1. When did you start writing?

 During my pre-teens, I began reading. I loved the Nancy Drew series and Hardy Boys books. The library was a couple miles away and I rode my bike to and from almost every day, I couldn’t get enough of the stories. I began keeping a journal at the age of eleven, and soon enough, I began writing poems. My love for the written word was sparked by all that reading. It wasn’t until my late teens that I discovered Danielle Steele novels and began to pen stories of my own. I continued writing longer prose as much as I could during a prosperous career as a Human Resources Recruiter, and then as an Instructional Designer. I received many awards and accolades for my accomplishments, and my work responsibilities grew, but there was something missing. I began to devote less and less time to my joy of writing. And soon, my creativity began to suffer. It wasn’t until after much soul-searching and some tough decision-making that I finally left the corporate world to start writing full-time. That was fifteen years ago. You could say I had a “premature midlife crisis”. Today, I am the CEO of my home, practicing wife to my husband, mommy to our two daughters, and writer of all things that need to be put on paper.

 

  1. What motivates you to write?

 I often tell people I have two addictions: reading and writing. I feel restless and empty when I can’t read fiction, write my deepest thoughts in my journal, or even write down story ideas. Writing calms me, centers me, and provides a healthy outlet for my communication with imaginary friends.

I write for the euphoric desire and need to transfer spiraling thoughts into words that move people emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I love taking everyday life situations and circumstances that people encounter, struggle and conquer, and turn it into creative storylines.

I balance my writing by doing one project at a time. That is, completing that “one” particular project. I can be writing, reading, editing many things at the same time, but once I know what I’m going to do with a writing project, I set a goal to complete it to the end.

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?

Sometimes this is a hard topic to answer. You see, I don’t want to be stuck in any particular genre, but I know my strong Catholic-Christian faith is what drives my writing. God has given me a talent to write and I write what He desires of me.

I never set out to be a writer, or a Christian writer for that matter, it just happened. It’s who I am and who I was meant to be. Writing is my outlet, a spilling of emotions, random thoughts, and imaginary characters that consume my mind twenty-four hours a day. I need to write, just like I need to eat, exercise, and breathe.

 

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

 I enjoy stories about human complexities. I like real-life stories, and have been drawn to writings that have a biblical theme, are motivational, and encouraging. I tell honest and compelling stories. I write relatable tales about ordinary people struggling with extraordinary challenges.

I’ve been told from others…” delve into challenging, emotional topics like miscarriage, adoption, challenged/physical disfigurements, alcoholism, bullying, going against family authority, etc.

My editor says…”tone-setting and picture-perfect.”

I’d like to use my stories to encourage female readers to explore their faith and believe they are worthy of this life to make a difference. Those readers who aren’t afraid to be challenged in everyday life. Those willing to sacrifice for the good of others, those readers who are struggling with life decisions and want to be inspired to change, grow, and leave tire marks. After all, we have just one life to live.

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

 Yes, writer’s block has happened on more than several occasions. Sometimes it lasts for days, other times it lasts for months. What I do is not fret, but immerse myself in other projects, like blog writing, or short stories, writing prompts, and I try to read more. I also carry a notebook wherever I go, you never know when inspiration hits and you have to write it down.

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Keep on reading. Read many different types of books and authors.  See how others weave a tale. Write all the time too. Hone your craft. Make your words and story, yours, and yours alone.  Practice does make progress. And give yourself Grace to stumble because that will make you a better human.

  

  1. Please, tell us about your work.

 Straight from my Press Release:

From the three-time Five Star Readers’ Favorite REVIEW RECIPIENT, Chiara Talluto, author of Love’s Perfect  Surrender, Petrella, the Gillian Princess, and A Tribute To Tulipia, comes the highly anticipated release of She Made It Matter, an inspirational drama.

She Made It Matter is a compelling tale of one woman’s fight to regain sobriety, find salvation, and earn forgiveness after years of guilt from being abandoned by her mother and then losing her brother to cancer, a struggle to vanquish the demons of her past and make her life right again.

This story tackles the difficult subjects of family abandonment, alcohol abuse, and food dependencies; compulsions and addictions caused by the trauma of one’s past.

Amanda Reynolds is vulnerable. Like most humans we err and make mistakes, and harbor grudges and secrets that can create huge reservoirs of pain if not addressed. Amanda is stuck in the past, and stuck in the pain, and the only way to cope with it is alcohol.

WHILE WRITING the story, Chiara thought about her own idols and addictions and how she could break them. She thought about how a person with a perfect life is able to throw it all away over something that consumes their mind and body. She thought about a person who cannot move forward because of horrible past experiences. She pondered the ongoing domestic abuse and abandonment of children in our society. Most importantly, Ms. Talluto thought about the human condition, and the temptations that can lure one in the wrong direction.

Ms. Reynolds has to face her fears and QUASH the demons of her past so that she can live again. It is a daring attempt to confront things head on. But, we are encouraged to know that tough situations don’t last long; BUT tough people do.

… The work ABOUT addiction is heart-breakingly accurate, delivering a realistic emotional quality which both endears Amanda to us as a character and also teaches important real life lessons about the judgments we often place on people who are alcohol dependent… (K.C. Finn from Readers’ Favorite)

… Author Chiara Talluto gives the reader a realistic tale of someone searching for a purpose, for validation that they mean something, that they are worth more than just being left or abandoned… (Michelle Randall from Readers’ Favorite)

She Made It Matter is available in print and electronic editions everywhere books are sold. More information on the author and all her writings can be found at www.chiaratalluto.com.

She Made It Matter Book Jacket Synopsis

 Don’t turn back. Begin anew.

Thirty-six-year-old Amanda Reynolds has it all. She has a loving, successful husband, two beautiful daughters and a perfect, manicured home in a quaint suburb of Chicago.

But demons hide where no one looks and Amanda’s past is full of them—she’s addicted to alcohol. The reasons for her addiction have been buried for years.

One horrifying day, suppressed memories resurface and Amanda drinks herself into a stupor in front of her daughters. Waking up in the hospital, the realization is clear: get clean or lose everything.

Amanda sets off on a daring journey taking her across the US in an attempt to vanquish the demons that have plagued her life.

Will Amanda defeat her alcohol addiction?

Will her family forgive her?

Can she break away from her past, find her self-worth, and restart again?

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!


Connect with the author: 

Website: www.chiaratalluto.com

amazon.com/author/chiaratalluto

http://www.facebook.com/ChiaraTallutoAuthor

Twitter: @ChiaraTalluto

#ReadLocalAuthor –https://hometownreads.com

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Chiara+Talluto

Readers’ Favorite: https://readersfavorite.com/rfreviews/search?search=chiara+talluto

Authorsden: http://www.authorsden.com/chiaratalluto


Chiara’s Book:

Barnes and Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/she-made-it-matter-chiara-talluto/1137747331?ean=9781734823707

 

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/She-Made-Matter-Chiara-Talluto/dp/1734823704/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1602518270&sr=1-1

 

Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1044555

 

 

 

How Authors Can Grow an Audience Before the Book Is Written – Written By Jenn Hanson-dePaula

Jenn Hanson-dePaula writes on ‘Mixtus Media’, her blog, that authors can grow an audience even before their book is written and published. I’m glad I was told that early enough. But many might not know it. Check out her article.


 

When I tell authors that they need to start growing their audience as soon as they start writing their book, they look at me like I’m crazy.

They often reply with, “How can I do that when I don’t even have a book?”

We often just associate marketing with selling our book. But we can’t just appear out of nowhere online and expect people to automatically buy our book. We have to introduce ourselves and lead people to know, like, and trust us and what we have to say.

Modern marketing is simply connecting with people who are interested in the same things that we are interested in. The keyword here is connection. And you don’t need a book to sell in order to do that.

When you can connect with someone as another human being who has similar interests, life experiences, struggles, and hobbies FIRST, they will be much more attentive and receptive to learning more about your book.

When you already have someone’s attention and they know, like, and trust you, your promotions will be much more productive and successful.

So how can authors do that? How can we begin to build an audience even before the book is finished? Here are seven tips to get you started.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Author Spotlight – Kevin Morris

Welcome! 

Please introduce yourself.

I was born in the city of Liverpool on 6 January 1969.

Having attended Saint Vincents School for the Blind in Liverpool, and the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford, I went on to read history and politics at University College of Swansea.

Having graduated with a BA (joint honours) in history and politics, and an MA in political theory, I moved to London in 1994 where I now live and work.

Being blind and unable to read print, I use software called Job Access with Speech (JAWS) which converts text into speech and braille, enabling me to use a Windows laptop. All of my poems are written using JAWS.

When did you start writing?

I began writing seriously in 2012-2013, although I do remember composing a poem entitled “The Snake” whilst at school in Liverpool. I recollect that it began, “slithering through the wet grass comes the snake”.

What motivates you to write?

I enjoy the act of writing (the creation of poems). Indeed I sometimes believe that I have an itch which must be scratched, for when I do not write for a few days I feel a compulsion to put virtual pen to virtual paper.

What genre do you write in, and what made you chose this particular genre?

Most of my writing falls within the genre of poetry. I recollect with great pleasure leafing through works of poetry such as “Palgrave’s Golden Treasury” and “The Oxford Book of English Verse” in the school library. Reading these anthologies kindled in me a love of poetry which has stayed with me ever since, and has grown over the years.

What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

I write for the joy of the craft. I hope also that my poetry gives pleasure to others and perhaps encourages those unfamiliar with poetry to read more poetry. As for dreams, I am delighted that a number of my poems will be published in a forthcoming anthology of verse. Whilst I have, myself published several poetry collections, it is wonderful to know that my poems will appear alongside the work of other poets in an anthology.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block, and if yes, how do you deal with it?

Fortunately I rarely suffer from writer’s block (he says touching wood)! However, when tired I turn off my computer as I know that if I do manage to write, what is written is likely to be of inferior quality.

What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors? 

I would say to new authors “believe in yourself. By all means listen to what others have to say about your work and learn from that. But, ultimately you have to rely on your own judgement. If someone tells you to change something (and you believe that it works as written) then trust your own judgement. Also read widely”.

Please, tell us about your work.

Many of my poems (perhaps the majority) are written in my home which overlooks an historic park in the Upper Norwood area of Greater London. Norwood derives it’s name from The Great North Wood, and is still possessed of many fine trees.

I have written many poems inspired by the area in which I live, including the below poem which is entitled “The Path Through the Woods”:

 

“The path taken less often than I should,

This tranquil place through a nearby wood.

A spot with trees for walls

Where sunlight through the branches falls.

An oasis from the urban din

I find a quiet place within.

An inner space where the heart can be still,

A peaceful spot on this wooded hill.

The path to the road ascends.

A cloud of gloom on me descends.

I must return to this rented land

Where advertising hordings stand.

A world where empty vessels make most noise,

And people play with broken toys.”

—–

(Copyright Kevin Morris – Please respect the author’s right on his own word)


Kevin Morris’ Books:

“The Selected Poems of K Morris”, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WW8WXPP/.

 

 

 

 

 

“Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems”, https://www.amazon.com/Light-Shade-serious-not-poems-ebook/dp/B08B4X3GVX/


Connect with Kevin Morris:

Author website, https://kmorrispoet.com/

Twitter, https://twitter.com/drewdog2060_

Goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6879063.K_Morris

35 Writing Contests in November 2020 – No entry fees – Written By Erica Verrillo…

Erica Verrillo provides us once again with writing contests for the current month. Thank you so much, Erica!


on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity:

This November there are nearly three dozen writing contests calling for every genre and form, from poetry, to creative nonfiction, to completed novels.
Prizes range from $50,000 to publication. None charge entry fees.

Some of these contests have age and geographical restrictions, so read the instructions carefully.

Get Full Details HERE

Is Grammarly Safe For Free And Premium Users? – Written By Derek Haines…

Derek Haines informs us about the safety of Grammarly, a program many of us use to edit our work. Thank you very much, Derek.


on Just Publishing Advice:

There’s no doubt that Grammarly is one of the most popular grammar checkers for writers and bloggers.

But as with all online apps and services available on the Internet, you might have some concerns regarding your privacy and personal data.

Whenever you register and install any app or program on your computer or mobile devices, it’s always worth checking the privacy policy and terms of service.

However, we all know that very few people take the time to do it, so I’ll share my experience with you.

Continue reading HERE

Story Structure: Why Some Stories Fall Apart & Fail to Hook Readers – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb published an article about story structure. She writes as educational and informative as always – and with just as much wit and humor as usual. Thanks for another helpful and funny post, Kristen!


Story structure is a HUGE deal in all stories. The last couple of posts, I’ve mentioned memoirs and how they can utilize a variety of structures. This said, there are so many variegations for the memoir, that I just can’t do them all justice here.

Since I am at least sharp enough to know when to defer to people much smarter than me…AND because I am #1 at HUMBLE…

At the end of the post, I’ll give y’all some links to people who ARE memoir experts and can do a much better job explaining all the structural styles available.

This said, if you’ve read my last two posts The Quest: The Hero’s Journey Meets Memoir and Narrative Style: The Heart of Storytelling we didn’t ONLY talk about memoirs. Rather, we discussed where some fundamentals for writing great memoirs apply across the board to other types of storytelling.

Whether we’re writing a memoir, novel, short story, essay, or even screenplays…structure matters.

If we keep starting out with great ideas that ultimately end up haunting our hard drives unformed and unfinished?

Structure.

Or, maybe we finish books, but no one seems to want to read them. It could be the glut in the market. OR it could be that the core idea is GOLD, but the structure isn’t such that it fully reveals what our story has to offer.

There are many reasons our writing might be stalling, stumbling, fumbling or failing. Yet, in my 20 years editing? It’s almost always, always a problem with story structure.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Happy Halloween 2020

The dark history behind Halloween

(Source: Business Insider.com)

The word ‘Halloween’ was first popularized in a poem.

Scottish poet Robert Burns helped to popularize the word “Halloween” with his 1785 poem of the same name.

So where does the name itself come from? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it’s actually two words smushed together. “Hallow” — or holy person — refers to the saints celebrated on All Saints’ Day, which is November 1. The “een” part of the word is a contraction of “eve” — or evening before.

The day’s morbid traditions go back to ancient times

Historians have linked Halloween to Samhain, the Celtic festival of the summer’s end celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

According to Celtic mythology, the veil between the Otherworld and our world thins during Samhain, making it easier for spirits and the souls of the dead to return.

People would make offerings of food in order to get on the good side of these spirits and departed ancestors, according to the Mirror.

Allhallowtide, which includes All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and the subsequent All Souls’ Day, was initially celebrated in the spring, during the early years of the Church.

Pope Gregory IV switched it to the current date in 837, according to Britannica. His reasons were unclear, although influence from Celtic factions of the church and the fact that it makes sense to commemorate death during the fall are possibilities.

Bobbing for apples used to be more than just a splashy party game.

Halloween has come to be most closely associated with the pumpkin, but apples have played an important role in its history.

After all, apples make numerous appearances in Celtic mythology and are often connected to the Otherworld.

Bobbing for apples remains a popular party game.

The reason? Well, the practice used to be considered a form of divination performed around Halloween, according to NPR. That’s right — people would dunk their heads in a vat of water and try to bite into floating fruit in a quest to figure out their future spouse.

Ladies would mark an apple and toss it into the tub. The thinking was they’d be destined to whoever pulled it out of the water.

Jack-o’-lanterns symbolize a fateful deal with the Devil.

Otherwise, you might end up like Irish folk figure Jack O’Lantern.

Modern day, intricately designed pumpkin creations certainly make for impressive decorations. But back in the day, folks in Ireland dubbed their carved, fiery turnips “jack-o’-lanterns” thanks in part to an ominous legend.

One night, a conniving local drunkard named Jack trapped the Prince of Darkness in a tree by hacking a sign of the cross into the bark. In exchange for letting Satan climb down, Jack had him vow to never claim his soul.

Jack proceeded to act like a jerk his whole life. When he died, he sure as heck was not allowed in heaven. So he tried to return to his old pal, the Devil. But Satan upheld his end of the deal, hurling a piece of coal from hell at the dead man for good measure.

Left without anywhere to go, Jack placed the blazing coal in a turnip to use as a lantern. The dead man then set out, doomed to wander until he can find an eternal resting place.

Trick-or-treating has ancient precedent — but the candy part didn’t come about until much later.

Modern day trick-or-treating is a confluence of various traditions.

Ancient Celts dressed up as evil spirits in order to confuse demons, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

In medieval England, “soulers” would go around begging rich folk for “soul cakes” on Halloween. Instead of threatening to play tricks, however, they’d pray for peoples’ souls in return for the cake, according to “The Compleat Teacher’s Almanack.”

Throughout medieval Europe, mummering — dressing in disguises and visiting neighborhoods while dancing, playing music, and doing tricks — was popular on major feast days.

TIME reported Irish and Scottish immigrants brought “souling” to the States in the 1800s. But modern day trick-or-treating didn’t catch on in the US until the 1920s.

The practice was pretty controversial into the 1950s, though. According to the American Journal of Play’s “Gangsters, Pranksters, and the Invention of Trick-or-Treating,” many adults raised “stern objections” to trick-or-treating over the decades, as it was often viewed as a form of extortion.

The “Bloody Mary” ritual has unclear origins (and various practices).

Late folklorist and UC Berkeley professor Alan Dundes wrote an article titled “Bloody Mary in the Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety” about the various origins and practices of the “Bloody Mary” ritual, also known as “Mary Worth” and “Mary Whales.”

Many versions of the ritual include the elements of a girl peering into a mirror (often in a bathroom), darkness, blood, chanting, and the appearance of the cursed “Mary.”

Black cats have been associated with the supernatural for hundreds of years.

Black cat costumes are particularly popular on Halloween.

“In the Middle Ages, black cats were often portrayed as the famliars of witches, which is likely to be the origin of the distrust with which they are regarded in America, where early Puritan settlers rejected anything associated with the Devil and witch,” Chloe Rhodes wrote in “Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book on Old-fashioned Superstition.”

According to History.com, it was also believed in the Middle Ages that witches transformed into black cats to conceal themselves.


After this interesting and fascinating information about ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ I wish you and your loved ones:

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