A Few of My Favorite Things with Katina Holland

Treats for your Tricksters


Oh my!  I am so incredibly excited!  Today is the day! The fundraiser for the Herman Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund is here!  If you have ever wanted to try some of my sweets, this is your chance or if you have tried them already then you know to stop and get some before they are gone!  Today, we have bags of goodies at the Okmulgee Times office at 320 W 6th St.  We have bags of peanut butter, sugar and chocolate chip cookies.  3 cookies per bag for $2.  We have bags of peanut butter balls.  5 balls for $2.  I also made cupcakes.  We have boxes of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla cupcakes.  They are $6 per box.  We can only accept cash or check, however so make sure you come prepared. We will deliver goodies in the morning if you order $20 or more and if you are in town.  Feel free to call us at 918-756-3600.  I have baked up a storm all week to provide a variety of options for you but it is first come, first served.  Please stop by early and see me and I hope you will buy a bag/box of goodies to help support the scholarship given to a deserving student in May.  I am tired but I hope to see many people from the community show up to visit us!  Plus it’s Homecoming for the Okmulgee Bulldogs. The parade starts at 3:30.  While you are visiting us, you can watch the parade from any sidewalk downtown.

It’s October!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and it’s right around the corner.  I know Halloween is cause for concern for some, but Halloween is not about devil worship and evil.  Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they believed the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future.  To celebrate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes and masks to hide themselves from the earth roaming ghosts and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

In 1000 A.D., the church would make November 1 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It is widely believed that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. It was eventually renamed All Saints Day. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Halloween started small in America and soon became something that was more unique.  As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Natives meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing. It was a day to celebrate and honor the dead and the harvest that had just been completed. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

It wasn’t until America was flooded with new immigrants that Halloween really took hold. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland’s potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts and pranks. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.  By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a community centered holiday with parades and town wide parties.  By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young.  A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow to this day.  People everywhere of all ages celebrate Halloween with trick or treating, festivals, parties and, of course, costumes.  

This week, I am going to share some fun and easy treats to get the kids in the Halloween spirit.  Most of these don’t require any cooking and just a little time to put together.  I am going to leave quantities off this week for the most part.  These you are going to do based on how many you want. So if you want a whole package of something made into spiders go for it!  If you only want a few bones, that’s ok too.  Make them based on your time and needs.  Make your grocery list and meet me in the kitchen for some Halloween fun treats your kids will love.



Crème filled sandwich cookies (how many you want to make will determine how many you need) Use a colored crème for even more festive spiders!

Black string licorice

Mini M&M’s

Chocolate frosting

For each cookie, cut 8 licorice strings to desired lengths for spider’s legs.  Insert 4 pieces into the filling on each side of cookie.  Place two small drops of frosting on the top of the cookie and place an M&M on each drop for the eyes. 

Note: You can easily make ‘hairy’ spiders by coating the top of the cookie completely with frosting, placing your eyes and then completely covering with chocolate sprinkles for extra fun!

Don’t like cookies?  Take some melted chocolate and drop chow mien noodles into it.  Stir well and drop by clumps onto parchment paper.  Add the M&M’s or even red hots immediately before the chocolate sets up.  You can also maneuver the noodles while the chocolate is still wet to give it legs or fangs!  Have fun with it! And voila! Spider!



Pretzel sticks, of varying lengths

Mini Marshmallows

White chocolate melting wafers

Melt the chocolate wafers in a melting pot or double broiler.  If you don’t have either, you can melt in the microwave in a small bowl, but you have to be super careful with it.  If chocolate is cooked too long it will turn into a solid mass that is no good.  Honestly, if you can, go out to Wal-Mart and buy a small chocolate melting pot.  They are relatively inexpensive and nice to have on hand for when you want chocolate covered strawberries, shaped truffles or peanut butter balls and for the most part it keeps the chocolate from burning.  Take each pretzel stick and place a mini marshmallow on each end.  Lay out a strip of parchment paper.  Dip each pretzel stick into the melted chocolate. Tap lightly on the edge of the pot to remove excess chocolate and lay out on the parchment paper to dry.  


Monster Faces

Large apples, quartered

Peanut butter

Sunflower seeds

Strawberries, sliced

Raisins--these are for the eyes. You can buy candy eyes from Walmart or use M&M’s or something similar instead of the raisins if your kids won’t eat raisins. 

Cut a spot out of each quarter of apple for the mouth.  Get creative and have fun. They don’t have to all be the same either, just make sure they are big enough to add the rest of the ingredients.  Coat the inside of the ‘mouth’ with peanut butter.  Line the individual sunflower seeds along the top cut for the teeth, usually about 4 will fit.  Place a sliced strawberry for the tongue.  


Hot Cocoa with Floating Eyeballs

Large marshmallows

Black licorice, cut into small pieces (any small black candy would work here as long as you can insert it into the marshmallows)

2 quarts milk

1 cup powdered cocoa mix

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, if desired go with a flavored chocolate chip-they have mint, caramel and cherry you can try!

Make slit into each large marshmallow.  Insert licorice pieces into slit in each marshmallow.  Combine milk and drink mix in medium saucepan.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chips are melted and milk is heated through.  Fill mugs with hot cocoa and add at least two eyeballs to each mug.  Serve immediately.  

Recipe adapted from Frightfully Fun Halloween Crafts and Cooking


Spider Web Eggs


1 cup frozen cherries or blueberries-really any fruit will work here as long as it has a bright, colorful juice

Place eggs in a single layer in deep sided saucepan.  Cover with water and add cherries.  You don’t have to do it this way.  Adding the cherries here makes a natural coloring by juicing the cherries.  If you would rather use a food safe paste or gel coloring you can do that as well.  That would only need to be added to the water after you crack the eggs and not at this step.  Bring to a boil.  When water comes to a full rolling boil, turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon remove the eggs from the liquid and place on a hand towel.   Use a wooden spoon and lightly crack the eggs.  The more cracks the more spider webs.  Transfer cracked eggs to a bowl and cover with the cherry liquid they were boiled in.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Remove shells to reveal spider web designs. 


Fly in My Ice Ghoul-ade

Raisins, dried Craisins would also work here or something similar

2 pks unsweetened grape Kool-Aid

1 pk unsweetened orange Kool-Aid

2 cups sugar

3 quarts cold water

1 liter cold ginger ale

At least one day before needing your drink, fill ice cube tray with water and drop a raisin in each cube.  Freeze solid.  If you want crystal clear ice, boil your water and allow to cool before filling ice cube tray.  You can also freeze some of your Kool-Aid mixture as ice cubes.  This will keep it from diluting as it melts.  However, you will need to go with something lighter in color as your fly or you won’t be able to see it.  Try golden raisins instead if you want to go this route. Mix Kool-Aid with sugar and water and stir well.  Add ginger ale and mix again.  Serve in glasses with 1-2 ice cubes. 

Recipe from Ghoulish Goodies cookbook.




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