Ooo it’s Nearly Halloween!

In my opinion Halloween is one of the most fun days of the year and I’m sure most kids will agree. It gives them the chance to go wild dressing up, including some super face painting, carve pumpkins and scare the living daylights out of their neighbourhood by trick or treating. But this tradition is not a tradition at all really. It’s an import from the USA, isn’t it?

Well, that’s what I thought, but it seems that these traditions migrated to the US with the immigrant population. For example, originally in Ireland, turnips were used at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used pumpkins instead – they are larger and softer, so easier to carve. And, history shows that dressing up – known as guising in Scotland and Ireland – was recorded as far back as 1895 in Scotland, but not recorded until 1911 in the USA. So, I stand corrected.

Anyway, how do you celebrate Halloween at your nursery? I think cooking with kids is great, it teaches them all manner of useful skills. On Great British Chefs they cite research showing that kids who are welcomed into the kitchen are ‘less fussy and eat more healthily. They’re also more likely to try new foods, and learn about the provenance of food and about waste and how to reduce it.’ And, they list 16 benefits cooking can have for kids – it’s pretty impressive.

So, what’s this got to do with Halloween? Well, there’s a traditional and, thankfully, rather simple, recipe you could make with the kids for Halloween called Soul Cakes. These are small, biscuit-like ‘cakes’ with a hint of spice – they sound delicious! And Recipe Wise have a great recipe for traditional Soul Cakes. Along with the cakes goes a song, and we all know the benefits of singing for kids, so why not have a go with your class? The words to the song are easy and it can be sung in a round. The lyrics vary slightly depending on where you look, but essentially go something like this:

A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!

Please good Missis, a soul-cake!

An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,

Any good thing to make us all merry.

One for Peter, two for Paul

Three for Him who made us all.

And, to put it to what’s believed to be the traditional music have a look here.

So, all in all, making soul cakes is a super learning experience for the kids, plus you get to eat the lovely warm, crisp soul cakes at the end of the process!

Do let us know if you choose to make them and don’t forget, we have all the protective equipment, aprons, table cloths and so on, that you’ll need. Have fun!

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