It’s here! That dark, spirited time of year when we the living, honour the dead. Children squeal as they collect candy, parties are plentiful and communities band together. Neighbours we don’t see all year get a little friendlier and we are entertained by tiny people theatrically dressed on our doorstep. And then some…
History: It all began in the 9th century with a Celtic Festival “Samhain” where the dead returned as ghosts. Samhain was renamed All Saints Day, then AllHallowTide and eventually Halloween. The souls of the dead were said to revisit their homes seeking hospitality on this night. Places were set by the fire to welcome them. In 19th century Ireland, candles would be lit and prayers formally offered for the souls. Throughout Ireland and Britain, the household festivities included rituals and games intended to foretell one’s future, especially regarding death and marriage. (one in the same, no?)
It was not until mass Irish and Scottish immigration in the 19th century that Halloween became a major holiday in North America. The highly commercialized Halloween we know and love today — what with jack-o’-lanterns, trick-or-treating and imaginative costumes, was popularized in America and then proliferated globally through TV and film. A cool 6 Billion is spent each year on candy and costumes combined surpassing Christmas sales. (contemplating a change of career)
Not every country celebrates though those who do, take it very seriously.
In Ireland/Scotland it’s colossal – they refer to Halloween (Samhain) as “a hangover from their Celtic past.”
The occasion is used as an opportunity rid of their junk accumulated over the year. Kids pushing shopping carts knock on doors looking for anything flammable to burn on the mammoth street bonfires. (and they don’t get arrested! Whoot!)
To that, add the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival. This renowned annual event in Derry has been called Europe’s biggest and best Halloween festival. Celebrating its 30th birthday in 2016, this year’s theme is ‘Out of this World in the City of Bones.’ With live music, storytelling, street performances and markets, a ‘supernatural animation trail’ along the city walls, the four-day event culminates in Europe’s largest Halloween street carnival.
Oak Bay Firefighters in Victoria B.C. put on an extensive fire show. Who other than firefighters to create the biggest annual Halloween Bonfire in Canada? The celebration includes a costume parade for children, entertainment and donated food and beverage. (again – no arrests)
Denmark celebrates “Fastelavn“. Donning costumes, they go from door to door trick or treat but also sing! For years, ‘Hit the Cat off the Barrel’ has been the most popular Halloween game. Back in the day, an actual cat was placed in the barrel and it was hit until the cat fell out! (perfectly acceptable then so – you guessed it – no arrests) These days, the cat is painted on the barrel and candy lies within. It is hit with a stick until the treats fall out. They then crown a Prince (first one to make a hole) King (she/he who gets the candy out) & Queen (whomever hits the final piece of barrel from the rope).
‘round Here @ Home
We revel in it. Halloween meals & baked goods, theme decorating and crazy behaviour. Big, juicy spiders & ominous crows perch on the huge dead tree branch I hauled in the house (without getting arrested) and frightening décor replace flowers and candles.
The young guns still get excited to dress up and step out to the many soirees of the season. One such costume stands out. SpongeBob Square Pants (2005-2010) RIP buddy.
Yes, this was his final walk of fame. After 5 years of use and abuse, he was in rough shape – held together with bits of tape and glue. We put him out on the curb for garbage pick up that year. It almost caused several traffic accidents resulting in well, somebody getting arrested?
My eldest was in grade 4 and needed a costume for the parade and subsequent contest – As per usual, I left it until the day before. We were big fans of SpongeBob and had a dishwasher box in the basement. AHA! I went to the dollar store and bought construction paper thinking – ‘how hard can this be?’ Hard it was – I pulled an all nighter to get ‘er done. The ‘Bob won 1st place for both sons at their schools and was quite a hit trick or treating! Every dude and dad went nuts for the Sponge. Each time we arrived at a house with stairs I had to lift ‘Bob and child up each step. If, heaven forbid I lagged behind, the outcome was a clumsy scene of flailing of arms + legs, a muffled curse word and candy flying through the air. We still laugh about it today.
This year, we hit up the local Big Box Halloween Store where he selected an Inmate Costume. (insert Mother Cringe here – cuz that would mean he’d been arrested!?) There is a section in the store of monstrosities that took me 15 minutes to conjure up the nerve to enter. Truly messed up stuff. I love it. Hate it. Love it!
This li’l pumpkin head (the orange one) has been with us for time. Check out the adoration in my sons’ eyes when he came home to find it. 10 years later he still cracks a smile when I bring him up from storage –
Now that the fellas are older, I like to do more ‘pretty’ around the house. (ok – in my room only – jeesh) These pumpkins ganged in a corner do the trick. Easy peasy too!
And finally! These are chilling, spooky and eerie things I’ll be adding now that the offspring are less likely to be traumatized. THE DRESS – puts a whole new spin on ‘skeletons in the closet’ don’tcha think? She’s a Man-eater! All you need is a mannequin (check); wedding dress from a Thrift Shop (check); spot light (check) and hands. (Off to the nearest Dollar Store)
I just love this one. Super easy to do. You can use a doll or a Styrofoam hat head for a more realistic size. Here’s a link with instructions: http://www.ehow.com/how_12340607_diy-ghost-face-picture-frame.html
Sick! Dope! Coolest of the season this year. I can think of a few people I’d like to take a shot
at of for this project.
“Head In A Jar” – Here’s the link:
A vintage lamp and doll make for an creepy light fixture. Just make sure you use the proper bulb as not to burn a hole in her head, set the place on fire and … yep – get arrested.
I can’t even find the words. Walking Dead Barbie. Or bored housewife. You decide. I would say so much more but then…. you know. (Possibly handcuffed) Just get yourself some white spray paint and pastels. Use them as voodoo dolls of your favourite lady people in your town. 😀
(I’m 75% sure I’d be 100% burned at the stake.) muuuaaaahhhh.
Happy Hallowe’en! ¬GET YOUR FREAK ON!¬