Halloween is a mere eleven days away (WOW!), which means kids across the country are getting their costumes ready, deciding whether they want to be a witch or a ninja….or a super hero complete with invisibility powers. Adults are planning parties and buying mountains of candy to hand out to all those eager kids. Pumpkins are being carved and scary movies are being watched…..haunted houses are popping up all across town, just waiting for anxious visitors to discover what is lurking within. All these fun traditions got me thinking, “How did Halloween start? Where did it originate?” So I investigated….or rather, I googled. Here is what I discovered.
Halloween dates back to the Celts, who celebrated their New Years Eve on October 31st. They wore costumes and made bonfires in hopes that the New Year would bring them good luck. Costumes? I think we’re on the right track here….later on, some hundreds of years later, the Romans introduced their own version of these festivities and appropriately called it All-Hallows Eve, which eventually morphed in Halloween.
So what about carving pumpkins? The Irish have that covered. The Irish have a folk tale about a man named Stingy Jack, who roamed the earth with only a burning coal in a carved out turnip for light (aka, a lantern). Eventually, turnips and potatoes turned up in the windows of Ireland homes with creepy faces carved on them representing Stingy Jack (Jack O’Lantern later become his new name, after ‘Jack with his lantern’). When the Irish immigrated to America they brought this fun tradition along with them and started carving pumpkins instead of turnips and potatoes. Thank goodness for this turn of events….turnips and potatoes would not be very fun to carve or place out on your front porch as decoration….and would probably end up missing courtesy of some crafty neighborhood raccoons.
Anyway, finally we get to the tradition of Trick-or-Treating. As a kid I remember Halloween being almost as exciting as Christmas. What kid doesn’t love dressing up, collecting a giant bag of candy like it’s their job, all while getting to stay up late and then eating candy for days and days? Sounds like a pretty sweet gig to me. I digress. The phrase ‘Trick or Treat!’ is a shortened version of “Give me a treat, or I’ll wreak havoc on your homestead!” Ok, maybe not quite that harsh, but you get the idea….children have been dishing out these empty threats since the late 1950’s as part of perhaps the most popular of Halloween traditions.
However you celebrate (or don’t celebrate) Halloween, have fun and be safe this year. And please…if you and/or your kiddos decide to dress up in costume, share your photos with us on our Facebook page. We (especially I) would L-O-V-E to see them!
P.S. Speaking of candy (that seems call my name as I’m doing my grocery shopping from 4 aisles away), I wonder what the most popular Halloween candy is? Chocolate something? Fruity goodness? As for me…I love chocolate. Twix, Reeses, Junior Mints….mmm, forget about it! They would not last long in my house. What is your favorite candy? Leave us a comment below with your fav.