One of my favorite animated films of all time is the mid-century classic Disney's The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. I love it for so many reasons: its adaptation of classic literature, the charm of the animation and music (Bing Crosby!), the perfect narration by two distinctive voices. When it comes to Halloween, we can have no better story than that of Ichabod, Brom Bones, and the Headless Horseman. It is so special that even the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World gives subtle nods to the film in the park – hefty waffles and homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches are legendary at the Sleepy Hollow snack shoppe. Bump it up a notch to the special ticketed event, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom, and you can see the Headless Horseman trot down the parade route in spectacular, spooky fashion. But if you can't attend this event every year, here are five ways to celebrate Halloween with “fiendish glee” at home.
1. WATCH THE MOVIE – For when the hour grew late, Van Tassel would call on his guests to tell him ghostly tales of Halloween. Newly released on Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital HD, the DVD includes a digital storybook of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Serve up this easy popcorn snack with a cup of apple cider on the side for your movie night.
ICHABOD'S TRAIL MIX
Like all easy snack mixes, this one is really adaptable to taste and diet, so substitute as you like. Simply combine ingredients in the largest bowl you can find. Adjust how much you use of each ingredient based on personal preference and quantity desired. Below, I have tweaked the autumn snack I have been making my kids for over ten years in honor of my favorite spooky story. Ichabod's Trail Mix includes apple chips for the autumn harvest; hearty oatmeal clusters for a schoolmaster's sustenance; and chocolate bits to honor the sweet lassies. And of course, candy pumpkins to represent that scary guy.
- large bag of popcorn
- 1 lb. bag of pretzel sticks
- 1 box of granola cluster cereal
- 1 bag of apple chips
- M&M's or choclate chips (I used orange and brown M&M's)
- 1 bag of candy pumpkins
2. READ THE BOOK / LISTEN TO THE STORY – Brom knew there was no more firm, potent believer in spooks and goblins than Ichabod Crane. The short story by Washington Irving titled “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” recounts the tale of Ichabod and the Headless Horseman in beautiful prose, establishing it as a classic piece in American Literature. Get reacquainted with the original via book form, or download a wonderfully narrated, unabridged version of Irving's story FOR FREE, on Audible (download to the Kindle Fire or to the Audible app). The narration is done by none other than Tom Mison, the British actor who plays Ichabod in the FOX television series Sleepy Hollow. His period-appropriate accent is swoon worthy!
3. MAKE A WREATH – Once inside the murky glen, Ichabod's anxiety increased one-hundredfold. The forest seemed to close in behind him. Every small detail of Brom's awful story returned to haunt his recollection. Last year, as I was walking in the craft store contemplating supplies for new fall wreaths I was making, I came across some artificial cattails that instantly reminded me of the scene in the film when Ichabod is reacting to every sound in the woods on his way home that fateful Halloween night. As his imagination is running away with him, he comes to the realization that what he perceived as a threat was really only the thumping of cattails against a log. Poor Ichabod, he has no idea what's about to happen. Mini jack o'lanterns, scratchy twigs, smashed pumpkins, a small stack of schoolbooks, and paper cabbages made from dollar bills would all work as Sleepy Hollow inspired decor.
4. INSPIRE YOUR WARDROBE – Ghosts are bad, but the one that's cursed is the Headless Horseman, he's the worst. That's right, he's a fright on Halloween night! Leslie Kay of DisneyBound has created a few outfits that are inspired by the Headless Horseman and Ichabod. I would love to see some ideas for Katrina Van Tassel and Brom Bones (hint hint, Ms. Kay). And now I need to go buy a pair of tall black boots!
5. COOK UP A MEAL – For it behooved him to keep on good terms with his pupils. Especially if their mothers happened to be good cooks. It is not lost on most viewers that Ichabod has an appetite that is truly a bottomless pit. The Disney animators really play this character trait up in a fun way. Clearly the guy has a high metabolism! Check out Oh My Disney's post from last year, a review of the film with a foodie perspective. If you want to take it a step further, read this sweet remembrance of the film by Elena Parker, who cleverly writes about various Dinner & A Movie ideas. Then, get to cooking in your kitchen. The recipes look delicious, especially if you are an apple cider fan like me. Use pewter serving pieces, candlelight, and creepy storytelling for bonus points.
If you have never seen The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, get thee to the local library or to your nearest retailer to obtain a copy and watch asap. It is a treasured classic that continues to delight Disney fans 65 years later. If you should try any of the ideas listed above – or have new suggestions – please share them in the comments below, I would love to hear from Ichabod and Headless Horseman fans! With a hip-hip, and a clippity-clop, he's out looking for a head to swap. So don't try to figure out a plan…you can't reason with a headless man!
A scrapbooker and collector since childhood and long time fan of Disney parks and media, Beth ventures into the blogging world at Any Happy Little Thoughts where she shares her approach for preserving personal Disney memories, one story at a time.