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Halloween

Pumpkin Carving

We’re in the thick of the fall season and Halloween is here. Sure, dressing up in a costume and trick-or-treating s fun, but another beloved Halloween pastime is pumpkin carving. For those new to carving fun jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, here are some helpful tips.

Choose The Right Tools
A knife or an exacto knife should suffice, depending on the intricacy of your design. But remember to always cut away from yourself and keep your fingers out of the way.

Use A Spoon
First, use your hands to scoop out the slimy pulp and seeds. Once most of it is out, go back in with a spoon to scrape the sides of the pumpkin in an effort to get the last bit of seeds out. This, in turn, makes it easier to carve.

Cut The Lid At An Angle
To prevent the lid from falling through, cut it at a 45 degree angle and angle inwards. This creates a resting spot for the lid.

Trace The Pattern
For intricate designs, use a ballpoint pen to trace the design using transfer paper (face down) onto your pumpkin.

Make Use Of Scraps
You can use the scraps you cut out of the pumpkin to further decorate it. Consider a bow, a tongue, or even numbers for the year.

Roast Those Seeds
Separate the seeds from the slimy strings by using a strainer and rinsing them under room temperature water. Once separated, dry the seeds and then roast them in your oven for a tasty snack.

Who’s carving pumpkins this Halloween? Share your own carving tips and tricks with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Why not pay us a visit before you head out for your Halloween festivities? Don’t forget – we are now open until 7pm on weekdays, and you can also get our food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS.

How The World Celebrates Halloween

Aside from costumes and trick-or-treating, you may have your own traditions that you partake in to celebrate Halloween. See how your own compare to the Halloween (and Halloween-like) traditions celebrated around the world.

Samhain – Ireland & Scotland
Samhain, or Samhuinn (end of the light half of the year) is a festival that took place thousands of years ago and is a major influence (along with ancient Celtic and Pagan rituals) on modern Halloween. Today, Ireland and Scotland celebrate Halloween with bonfires, games, and traditional foods like barmbrack, an Irish fruitcake that contains coins, buttons, and rings for fortunetelling. For example, rings mean marriage while coins mean wealth in the upcoming year.

Día de los Muertos – Mexico
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated from November 1-2 in Mexico and parts of Latin America. The purpose of Día de los Muertos is to honor those who have passed away and it is believed that the Gates of Heaven open up at midnight on October 31 for the souls of children to return to Earth and be reunited with their families for 24 hours. November 2 is when the souls of adults come down from heaven to join in the festivities.

In-home altars full of fruit, peanuts, turkey, soda, hot chocolate, water, stacks of tortillas and a special holiday bread called pan de muerto (bread of the dead) are left as offerings for weary ghosts. Families also leave out toys and candy for the souls of children, while cigarettes and shots of mescal are left for the adult souls.

Day Of Dracula – Romania
Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes’ alleged home at Bran Castle In Transylvania, Romania, is a travel hot spot for Halloween. Numerous guides and travel packages in Romania that offer tours and parties at Count Dracula’s castle for Halloween.

Kawasaki Halloween Parade – Japan
Celebrated for the past 21 years, the Kawasaki Halloween Parade is a coveted event with strict guidelines and standards. Those who want to participate must apply for entry two months before the parade begins. However, this has no negative bearing on turnout, as nearly 4000 costumed individuals take part in the festive parade.

Pangangaluluwa – The Philippines
This Filipino tradition calls for children to go door to door (often in costumes) to sing and ask for prayers for those stuck in purgatory. Although traditional trick-or-treating has taken over, some towns are trying to revive Pangangaluluwa to keep the tradition alive and as a local fundraiser.

The Hungry Ghost Festival – Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, they celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month (around mid-August to mid-September). Several parts of East Asia believe that spirits get restless around this time of year and begin to roam the world. The festival is part of a larger month-long celebration and its purpose is to “feed” these wandering spirits with food and money needed for the afterlife.

Pitru Paksha – India
Many people in India celebrate Pitru Paksha, which takes places for 16 days during the second Paksha of the Hindu lunar month Bhadrapada. Hindus believe that when a person dies, Yama (the Hindu god of death) takes his or her soul to purgatory, where they’ll find their last three generations of family. During Pitru Paksha, the souls are briefly allowed to return to Earth and be with their families.

The ritual of Shraddha, which includes a fire ritual, must be performed to ensure their family’s place in the afterlife. If not, the soul will wander the Earth for eternity. During Pitru Paksha, food is offered to the dead, such as kheer (sweet rice and milk), lapsi (a sweet porridge), rice, lentils, spring beans, and pumpkins, which are cooked in silver or copper pots and served on banana leaves.

Dzień Zaduszny – Poland
Early November in Poland sees an increase in visits to the cemetery, as many are visiting the graves of family and loved ones. Dzień Zaduszny is akin to All Souls’ Day for Catholics in the country. It is celebrated with candles, flowers, and an offering of prayers for departed relatives. On the second day, people attend a requiem mass for the souls of the dead.

Awuru Odo Festival – Nigeria
This festival lasts up to six months and marks the return of deceased friends and family members back to the living. It is celebrated with feasts, music, and masks before the dead return to the spirit world. While it is an important ritual, the Awuru Odo Festival happens once every two years, when it is believed the spirits will return to Earth.

Pchum Ben – Cambodia
Buddhist families gather at the end of September to the middle of October to celebrate Pchum Ben, a religious holiday to celebrate the dead (and also the elderly). People offer foods like sweet sticky rice and beans wrapped in banana leaves, and visit temples to offer up baskets of flowers as a way to pay respect to their deceased ancestors.

Ognissanti – Italy
Ognissanti, also known as All Saints’ Day, is a national holiday in Italy. Officially on November 1, festivities usually begin a couple days prior, when people start leaving fresh flowers (usually chrysanthemums) on the graves of departed loved ones and complete strangers. Cemeteries are transformed into beautiful displays of colors. Another way they pay tribute to the departed is by placing a red candle in the window at sunset, and they set a place at the table for those spirits they hope will pay a visit.

All Saints’ Day & All Souls’ Day – Worldwide
Many Catholics around the world celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on November 1 and 2 respectively. It is the annual time to honor the lives of the saints who died for their Catholic beliefs, as well as the souls of dead family members. In observance, people go to mass and visit the graves of their loved ones. In Germany, they have their own tradition to go along with this holiday: They hide their kitchen knives so that returning spirits won’t be harmed accidentally, nor use the knives to harm the living.

Share your own beloved and favorite Halloween traditions with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli and let us prepare a yummy meal for you! We’re open for breakfast and lunch weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.

The History Of Trick-Or-Treating

Halloween is fast approaching, which means it’s time for costumes, candy, and trick-or-treating. It’s likely that we have all been trick-or-treating at some point in our lives, whether we were the kids going door to door, or the adults passing out treats. But do you know where the tradition of trick-or-treating came from?

Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated on October 31. The Celts lived in what is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, some 2,000 years ago. They believed that on the night of October 31, the ghosts of the dead returned to Earth, so people would gather to light bonfires and offer sacrifices to honor the deceased. Some villagers would even dress like ghosts and demons and perform tricks in exchange for food or drinks. This practice was called mumming, and is thought to be a precursor to trick-or-treating.

In England in 1000 A.D., All Souls’ Day (November 2) celebrations involved an act called souling. Poor people would visit the homes of wealthier families and receive pastries called soul cakes in exchange for a promise of prayer for the souls of their deceased relatives. Later, children adopted this tradition and would go door to door asking for gifts like food or money. Souling is also believed to be an earlier form of trick-or-treating.

In Scotland and Ireland, they had guising. Young people would dress up in costume and visit different households to sing a song, recite a poem, or tell a joke. This was their way of performing a “trick” before they received treats, such as fruit, nuts or coins.

Yet another example is the British tradition of celebrating Guy Fawkes Night (or Bonfire Night). This night celebrates the prevention of the Gunpowder Plot, which was an attempt to blow up the parliament. Fawkes was one of the conspirators that was caught and executed on November 5, 1606. On that day, children wear masks, carry effigies, and beg for pennies.

The popularity of Halloween was spurred by the influx of new immigrants to the US in the mid 19th century. In the early 20th century, Irish and Scottish communities began souling and guising in the US. But it wasn’t until decades later that trick-or-treating became the standard practice for celebrating Halloween.

This Halloween, rather than tricking you, we’d like to treat you! Visit us on Saturday October 31, 2015 for some yummy sandwiches and we’ll treat you to a free Pistachio cookie! We’ll be open from 10:30am-4:30pm so you can fuel up before you go trick-or-treating. Visit our Promotions page to learn more about our Halloween special and our other promotions.

Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, LinkedIn, and Pinterest – we would love to see how you will be celebrating Halloween this year!