THE WITCH by Jack Prelutsky
She comes by night, in fearsome flight
In garments black as pitch,
the queen of doom upon her broom,
the wild and wicked witch,
a crackling crone with brittle bones
and dessicated limbs,
two evil eyes with warts and sties
and bags about the rims,
a dangling nose, ten twisted toes
and fold of shriveled skin,
cracked and chipped and crackled lips
that frame a toothless grin.
She hurtles by, she sweeps the sky
and hurls a piercing screech.
As she swoops past, a spell is cast
on all her curses reach.
Take care to hide when the wild witch rides
to shriek her evil spell.
What she may do with a word or two
is much too grim to tell.
One of the best-known symbols of Hallowe'en is the turnip or pumpkin lantern. In Scotland, what are called turnips are what we call swedes.
No-one really knows when the tradition of making these lanterns began, but it is believed that their origins go back for thousands of years.
It is known that the ancient Celts regarded the human head as a charm against evil. Lanterns, carved in the form of heads were probably used by the Celtic Druids at their special Festival of the Dead as a guard against evil spirits and to welcome the souls of loved ones as they revisited at that time.
It is widely believed that in much later times the face-lanterns were meant to frighten away any witches who might ride by at Hallowe'en on their way back from their meeting with the Devil.
In ancient times the apple was thought of as a holy or magical fruit.
A Norse legend tells of how the gods kept their health and youth by eating the apples from the garden of Asgard, their home in the sky.
The Celt believed in a paradise where apple trees carried fragrant blossom and ripe fruit at one and same time.
A well-known Hallowe'en game is ducking or 'bobbing' for apples, where some apples are floated in a large tub or bowl of water and players take it in turns to try to pick up and apple from the water using only their teeth.
Apples are very good to eat at this time of year as they have just been harvested from the trees.