Halloween Book-tackular!
Gift Guide 2015 Day 1: Holiday Books

Humbug Witch

by Lorna Balian

 Humbug Witch is the story of a witch and her cat Fred. She looks like a witch should, and acts like a witch should, but her spells and potions just won't work! Can you guess why? Read the story to discover the reason she struggles with her witching duties.

Sometimes things aren't what always what they seem, and many things at Halloween that may initially seems scary are just make-believe and all in fun. Lorna Balian's expressive use of text and illustrations add to the mystery and delight of this not-so-scary and oh-so-enjoyable Halloween book. This story will tickle the funny bones of trick or treaters of all ages!

In this Issue


Costume Collage



As young readers discover as they finish Humbug Witch, the little girl is no witch at all; it is simply a fun Halloween costume. Invite young readers to see themselves transformed with a magical costume of their own design but using scraps of this and that to create a fun costume collage. 

Does your young reader have trouble deciding on only one Halloween costume? This is the perfect activity to let young imaginations run wild with possibilities, and actually see their ideas come to life. Just like you believe the little girl is a real witch, young readers will actually see themselves transformed into what they have only imagined. 

While this is a perfect activity for October, young readers can use their imaginations to transform themselves any time of year. 

Costume Collage


  • Full body image of your young reader printed on card stock
  • Catalogus or magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Construction paper
  • Stickers
  • Markers
  1. Take a picture of your young reader if necessary and print out on an 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of cardstock, so the image is large enough for your young reader to add costume details. 
  2. What costume will your young reader create? Invite your young reader to go through catalogs and magazines, cutting out images of clothing or textures to create the costume.  You can also use construction paper to create the whole costume or certain elements. 
  3. Glue the pieces to the photo to construct the costume. Add stickers and other Halloween elements with markers. 

You may also enjoy: Imagine If Portraits, Magnificent Hats! Mural


Watch and Enjoy

We love this short Disney cartoon featuring Witch Hazel, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and Donald Duck. Trick or treat!


Magic Potion Stew


Just like the little witch's magic potion, you can dump "all the very best things" in your "very best kettle" and make a batch of Magic Potion Stew. 

Magic Potion Stew

Adapted from Black Bean 'n' Pumpkin Chili


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup witches teeth (about 1 onion, chopped)
  • 1 cup dragon scales (about 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can swamp sludge (diced tomatoes in tomato juice)
  • 1 15 ounce can jack-o'-lantern stew starter (pumpkin)
  • 2 cups spider eggs (beans, white, black, or garbanzo)
  • 3 cups dried bats (bow tie pasta)
  • 4 cup swamp water (tomato juice)
  • Magic spices
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Spiderwebs for topping (shredded mozzarella cheese)
  1. In your "very best kettle," heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin and stir for 30 seconds. 
  2. Add the remaining ingredients (except the mozzarella) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the pasta is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Towards the end, the stew will bubble and splatter, so be careful!
  3. Serve topped with spiderwebs!


You May Also Enjoy: Pumpkin-Peanut Butter SoupButton Soup

To go with your Magic Potion Stew: Snackin' BonesA Batty Good Snack, and Magic Wish Cookies


Explore our Not-so-Scary Halloween Pinterest Board for more festive ideas!


More from Off the Shelf

One Year Ago: Rattlebone Rock

Two Years Ago: Wobble the Witch Cat

Three Years Ago: Moonlight: The Halloween Cat

Four Years Ago:  Big Pumpkin

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