2016-10-26 / Editorials

The Spirit Of Halloween

Halloween originated with the Gaelic people, as Samhain, the Celtic word for November, and heralded the beginning of cold, long nights. A major pagan holiday, it was adopted into the Roman Catholic Church as the night before All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd, thus making October 31st All Hallow’s Eve. With the darkness of fall comes the apparent death of vegetation, and naturally thoughts turn to the end, and of those already departed. But since at least pagan times, we lifted our spirits by making it a time of creating light, with bonfires, and making light, with mumming and guising. We placated the spirits and welcomed the dear departed who drew near, as the veil between the living and the dead was believed to grow thin, with offerings of the bounteous harvest of food. We lit candles to calm ourselves, and placed them within the bowels of a decoratively carved, wizened turnip (no pumpkins in Europe back then). Using costumes to blend in with the emerging spooks, we went door to door, reciting verses in exchange for food, and indulging in mischief if spurned (costumes making it that much easier to play tricks with impunity if treats were not forthcoming). We pretty much have continued those traditions to this day.

Halloween has always been, and we feel should continue to be, about fun and families, for children and adults to enjoy, a time to get creative with costume ideas for yourself, for your kids or your nieces/nephews/neighbors’ children and even for your fur babies – there are parades for all to admire the humorous or spooky handiwork; for those not textile/makeup inclined, there are of course ready-made costumes and pumpkin kits with stickers. You can still be creative with the ready-made costumes by spending the night “in character.” Plan fun parties or visit haunted houses; decorate, buy candies for trick-or-treaters, carve pumpkins, bake pies, tell spooky stories and dig up those crazy old scary records (or just find them on YouTube/iTunes). Have a Happy Halloween!

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