Saturday, October 30, 2010

Getting to the Heart of Halloween

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There’s nothing quite like a fresh, homemade donut on a chilly autumn morning with a cup of tea or hot cider. Even better? One that’s chock full of quintessential autumn ingredients like pumpkin, walnuts, maple, cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves.

This year for Halloween, our parish youth group is hosting an “alternative Halloween” since Halloween falls on a Sunday and (let’s face it) the teens really are too old to go trick-or-treating. (Just don’t tell them I told you!)

As part of the festivities, a couple of friends and I fried up 60 donuts plus donut holes for our teens. Some of them, we will serve on a platter. Some of them will be strung up with twine for Donuts-on-a-String, and the teens will take turns trying to eat their entire dangling donut no-handed without letting it fall to the ground! And the remainder of the donuts will be packaged up to be given out as Soul Cakes at the end of the night.

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Soul Cakes are a British tradition, dating from the days when children and the poor would go a-souling. Travelling from door to door, they would beg of the kind residents

Soul, Soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
three for Him what made us all!

They would then be given a baked or fried treat. In exchange, they would agree to say a prayer for the repose of the soul of one of the baker’s deceased loved ones. Our Soul Cakes will be given in honor of my father.

I’d love to send each and every one of you, my readers, one of these delicious donuts, but I don’t know that they’d travel that well. Instead, enjoy the pictures; perhaps try the recipes (here and here), and if you find the time, say a little prayer for my father’s soul, won’t you?

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And, isn’t that what this holiday is truly all about? Good, seasonal food. Friendly faces. Honoring our beloved dead. And prayer. Who said Halloween ever had to be anything but holy and wholesome? The one thing it probably isn’t is healthy. But, to everything—including indulging in scrumptious, sugary, fried dough—there is a season.

1 comment:

  1. The donuts look delicious, and the whole day sounds like a wonderful event! I had never heard of soul cakes before--wouldn't it be lovely if children collected prayer petitions as well as candy when trick-or-treating? Will be keeping your father in my prayers these next few days.

    *amy :)

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