Halloween is celebrated on October 31st of each year.
It is a tradition which originated from the Samhain.
This was an ancient Celtic festival celebrated from October 31st to November 1st.
It is the celebration to welcome in the harvest and to ring in the dark half of the year, known to us as winter.
Celts believed that the barrier between the spirit world and the physical world would break down during this time.
Demons would then be able to enter the physical world and cause them turmoil and mayhem.
The night before All Saints Day was known as the Hallows Eve, now it is known as Halloween.
Ancestors could pay a visit during this time as well.
They also feared that demons and spirits would walk among them and they would have spells and curses cast upon them.
Because of this, the Celts would dress up as animals and monsters so the fairies and spirits would not abduct them.
As well, they believed that this would hold curses at bay.
All Saints Day
In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III proclaimed November 1st as a day to honor all saints. Now referred to as All Saints Day.
There were already days to celebrate individual saints and it was decided that a day should be set aside to remember all of the saints throughout Christian history.
So it was decided that this day would be called All Saints Day.
Our Halloween activities today are immersed in many of the ancient traditions.
The Celts wore costumes as we now do.
The Druids built huge sacred bonfires and we also celebrate with bonfires.
The Halloween tradition of confronting the dead led to the custom of telling scary stories about them.
This tradition soon evolved into the telling of tales about ghosts, spirits and zombies. The scarier that the stories were, the better they were to tell on a dark and spooky night.
These stories brought about the creation of scary costumes. And they were downright wicked and scary.
Ghosts, goblins, monsters and witches became a common site at Halloween.
Compared to the ancient times the costumes we wear today are certainly much more elaborate.
Because of the evolution of fabrics and materials the possibilities for realistic costumes today are endless. Make your own with a pinch of creativity and a lot of imagination.
Add to them a mask and you can be delightfully frightful!
However, not all costumes are meant to frighten.
Some of them are just downright “too cute”. From princesses and fairies to puppies and cats. They can be as cute or as frightful as you dare!
Homemade costumes are easy and inexpenisve to make,
Make them with some closet finds and some imagination.
Add accessories from the dollar store and the thrift stores. Find toy guns and swords right in your child’s toybox.
Accessorize your costume with hair and hats and belts and scarves.
Add some makeup and fake blood to add that realistic touch .
Crafty people can and do spend much time designing and putting together their own costumes.
Elaborate costume parties and contests are held in virtually all communities.
The Origin Of The Pumpkin
The pumpkin symbolizes the harvests and the crops of the fall season.
The origin of the carved pumpkin comes from an Irish myth and they chose pumpkins to carve because they were their most plentiful crop.
It is told that Stingy Jack tricked the devil for monetary gain.
Because of this when Stingy Jack died God refused to let him enter into Heaven and the Devil refused his entrance into Hell.
Alas, Stingy Jack was banished from both Heaven and Hell and to left roam the earth for eternity. Wow, nothing like feeling wanted!
Because of this legend the Irish immigrants in America started to carve scary faces into the pumpkins and then setting the pumpkins outside. They had high hopes of scaring away the spirit of Stingy Jack.
Halloween Pumpkin carving
In fact pumpkin carving has become an art form. Contests are held across the country for the best carved and the best decorated pumpkins. Hours have been spent at intricately carving these orange delights and turning them into masterpieces and then displaying them for all to see.
In the United States alone more than 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin are sold each year. With the majority of these being sold at Halloween. Imagine! And that’s just one country. Think about how many pumpkins are used at Halloween across the continent.
It is a night of fun and festivities. The carving of the pumpkin is sometimes a family event where different members of the family carve the different facial features
Mom does an eye and dad does the teeth and so on.
Pumpkin guts are used for pies and the seeds are salted and then toasted for an after school snack.
The Jack O Lantern
The Irish immigrants also added some candles to light up the inside of the pumpkin. With the hopes that this would make it look more frightful.
They now had carved pumpkins with eerie faces and with the ability to glow in the dark night.
Surely, this would keep Stingy Jack’s spirit at bay and keep them safe! Thus came the term Jack O Lantern.
What is the difference between a pumpkin and a Jack O Lantern?
Jack O lantern is the term for a carved pumpkin, while an uncarved pumpkin is just a pumpkin. Nevertheless, a pumpkin by any other name is still a pumpkin!
Halloween pumpkins are the ultimate symbol of Halloween!
It just wouldn’t be the same without these glowing beauties to light up our way on Hallows Eve.
Trick or Treat! Its Halloween
It is believed that trick or treating came from the terms guising or mumming.
Trick or treating is a custom that was recognized in England, Scotland and Ireland.
This custom involved dressing in a costume and then singing, dancing, doing tricks or telling a story in exchange for a sweet treat.
Early treats consisted mostly of fruits and nuts.
Inexpensive everyday foods were used for handouts at Halloween.
Thanks to the modern day retailers and the manufacturers we now have a myriad of Halloween treats.
There are chocolates and lollipops and candies and they are all neatly packaged and they are ready for the Halloween season.
Set up in basements, offices, halls and schools visiting a haunted houses is often a Halloween dare!
They are carefully prepared for Halloween night and you will often hear some eerie music and frightful screams coming from within them.
Entering a haunted house at least once in the season is another Halloween tradition.
Many of them are very elaborate and come complete with screaming ghouls and walking zombies.
They add some fun and fright to your Halloween night and help to make it a night to remember.
Good or Evil?
Halloween is not all good and it is not all evil. It all depends on your perception of it.
There are so many any aspects of Halloween that are meant to invoke fear in us.
However, in ancient times instilling fear was directed at spirits. It was done merely in an effort to ward away evil spirits and keep themselves safe.
The feeling of fear then served a particular purpose.
Halloween is now seen as a night of fun and games and festivities.
It is a night when you can be deliberately frightful.
Bonfires are lit and treats are then readied to handout to the little goblins, witches and princesses.
Costumes and makeup are put on and the night is now ready to begin.
Both children and adults look forward to this evening where they can dress up in their costumes and wear the absurd makeup or creepy masks and be free spirits.
They can tell the scary stories and play some eerie music.
Halloween has become a family event and it is well is another multi million dollar retail event!
“Where there is no imagination, there is no horror”
~Arthur Conan Doyle