Friday, October 9, 2020

Spooky Facts

Halloween is steeped in legend and tradition. Story has it that a man named Stingy Jack was thirsty, but didn’t have enough money to pay for a soda (yep, like any folktale, the teller gets to choose the details). Anyway, Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks. Then Jack then put the Devil-coin into his pocket, along with a silver cross that kept the Devil from transforming back. He tricked the Devil a few more times, and each time he made the Devil promise to never claim his soul. So when Jack died, he wasn’t fit for heaven, but couldn’t go the other way. So he ended up roaming Earth with only a burning coal to light his way. He put the coal into a turnip to serve as a lantern. From then on, he became “Jack o’ Lantern.” To this day, people carve scary faces into turnips, beets, potatoes – even pumpkins – to scare away scary Jack and any other spirits of the night.

Weird But True Halloween: 300 Spooky Facts to Scare You Silly
by  Julie Beer and Michelle Harris
208 pages; ages 8-12
National Geographic Children’s Books, 2020

Unlike Irish folklore, this book is filled with facts. Three hundred freaky stats, tidbits, and trivia about Halloween. Did you know that there is an underwater pumpkin carving contest? Or that the U.S. Defense Department has a zombie apocalypse plan? That there are more Halloween emojis than there are states in the US of A?

I’ll bet you didn’t know that Halloween is also National Knock-Knock Joke Day. So if you’re feeling too old to dress up in costume and beg for treats, you can knock on your neighbors’ doors and share a good joke.

Knock Knock!
Who’s there?
Ice Cream.
Ice cream who?
Ice cream every time I see a ghost!

Your Turn:

Get ready for Halloween by digging up a few of your own facts and legends. Here’s one place to find some, and here’s another

When you do carve your pumpkin, save the seeds for roasting. Here’s how.

Make up your own Knock-Knock Jokes to tell when you head out on Halloween night. Who knows? You might start a new tradition in your neighborhood.

Thanks for dropping by today. On Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. Interesting folklore and other tidbits. And why am I not surprised that our DD has a zombie apocalypse plan, given our current administration? But I'm a huge fan of roasting pumpkin seeds. I do, however, boil them first. It makes them super crunchy!

  2. Sounds like a great book for kids and adults who love Halloween. I bet I'd learn a lot about the folklore behind the holiday.

  3. I enjoyed this one too. So much I didn't know about the iconic date! Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

  4. Nat Geo books are the best! We always enjoy them. And this one sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Haven't seen this book, but it sounds like a really fun/scary book for Halloween. Wish my grandkids were old enough. Thanks for sharing -- as I love National Geographic books.

  6. I just love books like this. I keep them handy to pop open randomly to read the fun, short pieces. Thanks for your thoughts.

  7. I've never heard that story about "Jack"—that's so neat! This sounds like an awesome book—many years ago, I actually read a bunch of books in the Weird But True series (I think it was 1-5 and Ultimate Weird But True), so I know this series is excellent! I had no idea there was an underwater pumpkin carving contest—do the pumpkins get soggy? Thanks for the great review!

  8. Kids just love facts! I can really see the appeal with this one. It sounds like a lot of fun.

  9. This sounds like a great autumn book to add to the list. Thanks for the post.