Happy Horse Halloween!

Halloween Recipes, headless horseman, horse, or pumpkin treat recipes, Halloween lore has included horses and riders throughout the centuries.


Horses permeate all aspects of our lives, and Halloween is no different.  What would a holiday be without including our beloved four-legged friends?!

How involved horse owners become when it comes to this fall festivity surprises even me!   Of course, like most everything else in 2020, there are few to no large events due to the pandemic – including the one held every year in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  

Yes, there is a Sleepy Hollow, New York, also the resting place of Washington Irving, author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  Written in 1820, the story centers around Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman’s escapades of terror while riding horseback, holding his head under his arm.  

Since then, the tale morphed into other literature and film works, including the Disney cartoon The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and the 1999 film Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp.  

However, decapitated horse riders appear in folklore worldwide and have existed since the Middle Ages. 

 One such character is the Irish legend of Dullahan (or Dulachan), a wicked fairy who rides a horse, also carrying his head under his arm.   Along with his head, he brandishes a whip made from a dead human’s spine.  Legend says that when the Dullahan stops riding, someone dies.  The Dullahan calls out a name, and another one bites the dust.  Also in Irish lore is a headless driver of a black carriage, the Coiste Bodhar.  

Then there is the Scottish tale of a headless horseman named Ewen who lost his head in a battle of clans at Glen Cainnir on Mull’s Isle.  In this case, both horse and rider are headless and continue to haunt the locale.

The English, not to be outdone the Irish or Scots, have a 14th-century poem, “Gawain and the Green Knight”.  After being beheaded by Gawain, The Green Knight rides from the hall with one hand holding his head up and challenges Gawain to meet him a year later.  

No matter where you live globally, the mythical headless horsemen ride into the darkness, especially at Halloween.  And while not all horse owners are headless during Halloween festivities, it makes for a good story. 

Those who are just looking to have fun will turn their steeds into everything from cats to reindeer to zebras.  They will make pumpkin treats for their horses and themselves.  They will all become party animals and enjoy the one night of the year they can be anyone or anything without raising eyebrows.  

So this Halloween, if events are out of the question –carve a pumpkin, check out the recipe for the horse pumpkin treats shown below, or check out the 1999 movie previously mentioned, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci (view the trailer at Movie Clips Classic Trailers). 

Most of all, have fun with your horse! Happy Halloween from HRL!


Hauntingly yummy, it’s scary how fast these will disappear!


  • 4 cups whole oats

  • 1 can pumpkin

  • 2 cups of water

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 ¾ cup wheat flour

  • 3 Tsp cinnamon

  • ¼ cup molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients and set aside; mix the pumpkin, water, and molasses.  Combine dry ingredients with pumpkin mixture and then drop spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until done.

Cool and then share with your equine friend! 

Barb currently resides in Central Florida with her three horses; when she’s not writing or riding for HRL, she loves to read and travel. horseandriderliving@gmail.com