Halloween Pumpkin Fun for Everyone



scary pumpkinAny discussion of pumpkins, especially in October, wouldn’t be complete without a reference or two to jack-o-lanterns.

Some kids embrace Halloween in all its eerie glory: ghosts, goblins, witches and jack-o-lanterns grinning in the night.

Others find the spookiness of the holiday a bit intimidating.

And some, let’s face it, find the whole idea of Halloween just plain shiver-in-your-shoes scary!

Linda Williams’ book, reviewed below, is great for any kid at Halloween, either as a read-aloud or an early reader–but it’s especially good for timid kids who spook easily. And even the most fearful of preschoolers won’t find anything scary about the pumpkin nursery-rhyme song that follows. For older kids (who wouldn’t admit to being scared of anything, even if they were), the origami jack-o-lantern instructional video at the end of this post is a fun Halloween activity.

Choose whatever best suits the age level and/or interests of your child, and have a little pumpkin fun!


Little Old LadyThe Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd (2002)

In this book, one of my favorites for Halloween, the word “Halloween” is never even mentioned. In fact, the story is a clever reworking of an old folktale I remember from my childhood, in which a ghostly body appears bit by bit out of nowhere. Instead of dwelling on the inherent scariness of the situation, Williams and Lloyd use humor, wordplay and repetition, and colorful, folk art-style illustrations to move the story along to its funny and satisfying conclusion.

Your timid child will love the little old lady’s fearless words (“Get out of my way! I’m not afraid of you!”) and her cleverness as she finds the perfect way to deal with the lively pieces of clothing and the giant pumpkin head chasing her through the forest. In addition, the fun use of language makes this book a wonderful read-aloud both for families and the classroom. Ages 4-7.


Your pre-schoolers will memorize this catchy song faster than a pumpkin falling off a gate!


All you need for this simple activity is orange origami paper and a clever kid.

Yours Spookily–

Barbara Jean the Story Queen

Healthy Food

Public domain pumpkin photo courtesy Petr Kratochvil, publicdomainpictures.net. Videos used under license from creative commons.org. Book cover image: amazon.



First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a chef. I’m not even a mom. What I know about healthy food and healthy eating I’ve learned by reading and doing, just like you.

What I am is a children’s book author. A Story Queen! My area of expertise is FUN. In the last dozen years, I’ve written a number of entertaining, award-winning picture books–about monsters, cats, Disney princesses–and veggies, of all things. 

I’m big on imagination. Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli encourages kids (the way my dad encouraged my siblings and me) to think of broccoli as crunchy, munchy, fun-to-eat trees. Once Upon a Parsnip is a fairytale rematch between Little Red Riding Hood (a vegetarian) and the Big Bad Wolf (NOT a vegetarian). Scary fun!

On the surface, neither of my veggie books is really about healthy eating–they’re just plain fun. But the fun is subversive: both books introduce and normalize the idea of eating healthy, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. (Never underestimate the power of fun to get your kids to try something new!)

My goal in these pages is to find and share fun ways to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to children and to normalize healthy foods and healthy eating in their experience. My means is to expose them–through you, their parents and caregivers–to food-friendly books, videos, downloadable and printable posters and coloring pages, hands-on activities and kid-friendly recipes. Anything that equates healthy food and FUN!

I’m here for you–to help you make healthy eating feel as natural to your children as breathing.

Because healthy food and healthy fun make healthy kids. And that’s something all of us can get behind.


Barbara Jean Hicks, a.k.a. “The Story Queen”

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To purchase signed, personalized copies of my picture books, visit the “Books” page on my website.  To contact me about my well regarded young author presentations for schools, or for other enquiries, send an email from the “Contact” page at barbarajeanhicks.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

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