When witches go riding

And black cats are seen

The moon laughs and whispers

‘tis near Halloween

There is a chill in the air, pumpkins on display and Halloween decorations and candy are filling the shelves in all the stores. Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays. Apparently I am in the minority with my thoughts.

• Halloween is the second-most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first. People spend as much as over $2.5 billion during Halloween on candies, costumes, decorations and parties. Candy alone is $2 billion.

• Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.

• Orange is the favorite color for pumpkins. There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with orange.

• Pumpkins also come in white, blue and green — great for unique monster carvings.

• Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters. Snickers is the top chocolate treat.

• Samhainophobia is an intense fear of Halloween.

• Pumpkins and beets served as the original jack-o’-lantern.

• Pumpkins originated in Central America. When Europeans arrived in the New World, they found pumpkins plentiful and used in cooking by Native Americans. They took seeds back to Europe where they quickly became popular.

• Growing pumpkins is a big-time hobby. Top prize money for the biggest giant pumpkin is as much as $25,000 at fall festivals.

• Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead instead of Halloween.

This week I have some Halloween treats you can share with friends, family, co-workers and ghosts and goblins who visit on Halloween night. Hope you enjoy them. Thanks for reading.

SCARED SILLY SNACK MIX

2 (24-ounce) bags autumn mix candy

2 (1-pound) bags Reese’s pieces

2 (1-pound) bags candied orange slices

1 (16-ounce) box Cheese Nips

1 (12-ounce) box malted milk balls

4 cups chocolate covered pretzels

4 cups white chocolate covered pretzels

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Gently toss to mix. Store in an airtight container.

CRAZY CANDY MIX

5 (3.5-ounce) boxes chocolate covered raisins

1 (16-ounce) jar dry-roasted peanuts

1 (15-ounce) box raisins

1 (15-ounce) bag pretzel sticks

1 (13-ounce) bag M&M’s

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss gently. Store in an airtight container.

HALLOWEEN TRASH MIX

1 box Corn Chex cereal

1 box Wheat Chex cereal

½ box rice Chex

½ box Honeycomb cereal

1 bag small pretzels

1 small box Cheese Nips

1 cup pecans

2/3 cup butter

2 teaspoons garlic powder

8 packets of Sweet ‘N Low

5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Candy corn and candy pumpkins

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Mix cereals, pretzels, crackers and pecans in a large cookie sheet or baking pan. Melt butter, and add garlic powder, sweetener and Worcestershire sauce. Stir thoroughly. Pour over cereal mixture, and stir to make sure to coat thoroughly. Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, stirring ever 20 minutes. Let cool thoroughly. Mix in candy corn and candy pumpkins. Store in an airtight container.

• Contact Lee Ann Flemming at lafkitchen@hughes.net.

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