Halloween can be a great time of year to have a little fun around the farm – and in the farm newspaper. This autumn, we decided to get creative and come up with some spooky, silly stories to share with you.


Safeguarding your cattle from zombies

Country Folks celebrates Halloween with spooky stories

by Lenore Raven

Halloween, a night of ghouls and ghosts, isn’t just a time for humans to revel in the supernatural; it can also pose a threat to our four-legged friends on the farm. On All Hallows’ Eve, when the moon casts an eerie glow over the countryside and the undead wander the land, it’s crucial for farmers to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of their livestock, particularly cattle.

  1. Reinforcing the Perimeter: Protecting your cows from Halloween zombies begins with shoring up your farm’s defenses. Consider constructing a formidable fence made of hay bales. These make an excellent, temporary barrier that can deter unwanted visitors. Adding flashing solar-powered lights along the perimeter can further discourage any nocturnal intruders.
  2. Comfort & Distraction: Calm cows are less likely to become agitated in the presence of eerie sights and sounds. To create a soothing environment, adorn the cow barn with Halloween-themed decorations, including friendly scarecrows and colorful ribbons. Playing soft, comforting music in the background can help mask unsettling noises from outside.
  3. Night Watch Duties: Establishing a rotation of night watch duties is imperative. Assign individuals to patrol the farm’s perimeter throughout the night, armed with flashlights and walkie-talkies. This ensures that someone is always vigilant and can quickly alert others in case of zombie sightings.
  4. Zombie Repellent Measures: As a final layer of defense, prepare buckets of garlic water and chili pepper spray. Zombies are known to dislike the pungent aroma of garlic, and the spicy spray acts as a deterrent. Sprinkle these mixtures liberally around the fence line to create a barrier that zombies will be hesitant to breach.

Halloween night can be transformed into a haven of warmth and security for your cows with these precautions. When implemented properly, the decorations, flashing lights and repellent measures will work in unison to safeguard your livestock.

As we approach Halloween each year, let us remember the valuable lessons of rural resilience, unity and innovation. By sharing these insights and staying vigilant, farmers can continue to safeguard their livelihoods and maintain the safety of their cattle on All Hallows’ Eve.


Sleepy Hollow Farmers Market vexed by vandalism

Whoever is vandalizing the TaSH, they seem to be going after larger pieces of produce – such as these pumpkins.

by D. Baron Samedi

A rash of thefts has left those at the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (TaSH) Farmers Market scratching their heads.

“It’s the oddest thing. Someone’s swiped all of our vendors’ lettuce and cabbage,” said Ike A. Bodd, president of the TaSH – although he was quick to point out that he considers himself less of a boss and more of a teacher to those at the market. “And when I say all, I mean all of it, like every head.”

The mayhem doesn’t end there either.

“All we have left of our broccoli and cauliflower are the stalks!” Bodd exclaimed. “This seemed more like vandalism than theft. Why wouldn’t they take the whole thing? It’s like they chopped the heads off of the vegetables just for spite.”

Bodd lamented that the mess of stalks scattered about the property has made a lot of extra work for the market’s custodian Erving. “Erving’s washing a ton,” he noted.

Reports of some youths recently seen nearby driving a conversion camper covered in fringy fabric and dangling ornaments have led some to suspect that these might be the culprits.

Bodd, however, was not convinced.

“What, that van … tassel thing? I don’t buy it,” he said. “I think I caught a glimpse of the guy.”

He described someone he saw at the edge of the market one day. “I think he was some extreme environmentalist, you know, one of those anti-car people, as he was on horseback,” Bodd said. “I’m also pretty sure I heard some German coming from him. So I think what we’re dealing with is some European radical here.”

Asked if he could work with a police sketch artist, Bodd doubted he could help.

“I mean, his back was to me. I couldn’t see anything close to a face.”


Jackfruit-o’-lanterns fall flat in their Halloween 2023 debut

by Maria Laveau

The jackfruit, a tropically grown “superfood” that’s been climbing in popularity among those looking to vary their diets, has proponents who decided on a new approach to reach more Americans this autumn.

“People love jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween,” said Jackfruit Checkoff President Thomas Black, “so we thought ‘Why not try to promote the fruit by asking people to carve jackfruit-o’-lanterns?’”

It seemed like an innovate way to utilize the fruit, seeing as they bear the largest tree fruit in the world – some reaching up to 120 pounds and 35 inches long. The shape can be a little more oblong than a typically round pumpkin, but they also grow on long, thick stems. Even the hard shell seemed to make them suitable for carving and using for spooky displays.

However, the fruits consist of a fibrous, whitish core about two to four inches thick. Radiating from this core are many four-inch-long individual fruits. Scooping out the inside of a jackfruit is difficult, to say the least.

The pulp is enveloped by many narrow strands of fiber which run between the shell and the core of the fruit and are firmly attached to it. When cut, the core secretes a sticky, milky liquid which can be difficult to remove from the skin, even with soap and water.

As part of the pilot project, families from throughout the Country Folks region were sent large jackfruits to carve and decorate with. The Nicholsons, in North Carolina, did not heed the cautionary literature that came with their fruit and both parents and their two sons ended up having to use heavy-duty cleansers to get the sticky stuff from their hands and arms.

The Kerouacs in Burlington, VT, did slightly better but the jackfruit’s greenish-brown shell “just didn’t have the same holiday appeal,” lamented mom of three Jacqueline.

Black of the jackfruit Checkoff is undeterred. “It’s all good,” he said. “We’ll figure it out. Our goal is to make jackfruit as tied to Halloween as cranberries are to Thanksgiving.”