Believe it or not, it is possible to have a healthy Halloween.

Halloween might be synonymous with sugary sweets and dietary disasters, but it doesn’t have to be. To that end, the Jan Power’s Farmer’s Markets — a Brisbane institution if there ever was one — have brewed up a fresh-from-the-farm shopping list for (relatively) healthy Halloween revelry.

Sammy Power — daughter of founder Jan Power, and the current holder of the reins at the markets — has put together the list, and says the roots of Halloween come directly from the dirt.

“While the origins of Halloween come from ancient pagan rituals and our All Saints Day, the more well-known American harvest festivals were a precursor to what we cite now as the modern Halloween. There’s so much ancient ritual attributed to some of our greatest super-foods, including varieties of pumpkin, turnip, sweet potato, nuts, apple and kale.”

Here’s what Sam reckons you need to stock up on.

Apples

Get frighteningly festive with Apples. They are a big part of Halloween and Celtic folk used them in their Halloween divination games for centuries.

  • Just add water and you can recreate Apple Bobbing and Snap Apple games (tie the player’s hands behind his back and have him try to bite this forbidden fruit suspended from a string).
  • Make toffee apples, apple pie and apple cakes (also known as Halloween Soul Cake) and apple chutney for the Halloween spread.

Pumpkin

Then there’s the tale of the carved pumpkin and a bloke called Jack — whom the Irish have put claim to first, of course. A perennial trickster who was denied entrance into both heaven and hell, the devil grudgingly tossed Jack a fiery coal and he caught it in a hollowed pumpkin, which would light his night-walk on earth until Judgement Day.

  • As a sidenote, carved pumpkin Jack-o’lanterns are seldom eaten, the smaller species of pumpkin are far tastier for a devilish pumpkin pie – think Queensland Blue, Butternut and Jap. There’s large, ready-to-carve Jack-o’lanterns a-plenty at the markets!
  • Don’t forget pumpkin bread, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin chutney.

Kale

Not just the latest of the superfoods — also a food fortune teller. Every Halloween in Scotland, young people were blindfolded into the garden to pull kale stalks. Later by the crackling fireplace, the plants are ‘read’ for revealing signs of the future wife or husband – short and stunted, tall and healthy, withered and old, and so on. The amount of earth clinging to the root of the Kale was believed to indicate the amount of dowry the player could expect from a mate.

Nuts

Used for magic since Roman times, some Celts believed nuts were such powerful sorcerers that they called their October 31st celebration Nut Crack Night.

Walnuts were popular in early divination games and the most well-known game of all went as follows: Two nuts were named, each for a potential lover, and put on a grate in the fire. She who wanted to know the future watched and waited. If a nut burned true and steady it indicated the lover would have a faithful nature; if it popped in the heat, it indicated the man was not to be trusted.

Many of the stallholders selling these superstitious superfoods at the markets this weekend will be donning their scariest Halloween costumes, and there’s bound to be a bubbling cauldron or two to get you in the mood.

The last Jan Power’s Farmers Markets before Halloween will be held at the Bridge End of Queen St Mall this Wednesday from 10am to 6pm.

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