Celebrating a Merry (Not Scary) Halloween

One of the things I enjoy most about being a parent is the opportunity to relive all of my favorite memories from my own childhood.  When I think about “Halloween pasts,” I remember how much excitement I felt about choosing my costume and going trick-or-treating with my cousins.  Each week I religiously read TV Guide to see when “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” was going to air and marked my calendar so I’d be sure not to miss it.  And Halloween preparations also meant my mom and I would be busy in the kitchen.

Making “Great Pumpkin Cookies” became an annual tradition.  This tradition lives on, and this week my son spent some time after school baking up these delicious holiday treats in my mom’s kitchen. Because they’re as fun to eat as they are to make, we’d like to share our treasured recipe with you.  I’m also including the “Charlie Brown theme song” in case you need a little background music as you bake.

What are your family’s Halloween traditions?

P.S.  While the cookies are baking, your aspiring artists can try their hand at making jack-o-lantern or Frankenstein luminaries.  This also makes a great “rainy day” activity.  Check out this Website for more ideas to fight boredom when kids are stuck inside:  http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/bored.htm#in



  • Glass jar of any size
  • Paint brush or 1” foam brush
  • Tissue paper, cut into approximately ½” wide strips
  • Black and white construction paper (other colors as desired)
  • Paper maché paste or wallpaper paste
  • Electric candle


Coat the jar with paste and smooth on tissue paper.  Don’t worry about making all of the strips nice and neat; it actually makes a neat effect when strips are placed every which way.  Cut out eyes, nose and mouth; adhere to jar with another coat of paste.  Put on one final coat of paste, making sure all of the tissue strips are covered.  You’ll see that we also used a glue gun to adhere bolts to Frankenstein’s head.  Last fall my daughter and I made jack-o-lantern luminaries.  For directions on how to make these, click here: http://www.craftideas.info/html/recycled_jar_pumpkin_b.html

Great Pumpkin Cookies



  • 4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. quick or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1, 16-oz. can of solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 c. real semi-sweet chocolate morsels or raisins
  • Assorted icing, candies, raisins or nuts.



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, oats, soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
  3. Cream butter; gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Alternate additions of dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Stir in chocolate morsels (or raisins).
  7. For each cookie, drop ¼ cup dough onto lightly greased cookie sheet; spread into pumpkin shape using a thin metal spatula.
  8. Add a bit more dough to form stem.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until cookies are firm and lightly browned.
  10. Remove from cookie sheets; cool on racks.
  11. Decorate using icing or peanut butter to affix assorted candies, rains or nuts.

NOTE:  Dough may be frozen in an air-tight container.  Thaw in refrigerator and bake as directed.


Yields about 32 large cookies.