Ghostly greetings to you and carved pumpkins and treats—Halloween is on the way; what else is there to be? Fall is finally here, and window shops are showing all the costumes that are designed to scare in a fake fright known as Halloween.
It is only days to Halloween, and families are competing to have the spookiest decoration to go with the creepy mood, and children are at the doors, shouting trick or treat! This is what Halloween is about.
If you have not witnessed this holiday before, this article will give you a glimpse into the “witchful” thinking of Halloweeners. So, enter if you dare!
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Something Celtic about Halloween!
You will be surprised to know that almost every aspect of Halloween has Celtic origins, particularly their harvest celebrations.
The Celts celebrated Samhain, a festival that marked the beginning of winter and the end of the harvest season. Back then, they believed that the boundary between the living and the dead got blurred on the night of 31 October. And so, spirits could return to Earth and roam freely.
To ward off these spirits, the Celts carved faces into turnips and other root vegetables, placing candles inside to create a ghostly glow —that’s called pumpkin carving. Another way to keep the evil spirit away was by dressing in costumes, which is part of the Halloween celebrations nowadays.
To appease these spirits, the Celts would set out offerings of food and light bonfires. Today, this is called trick or treating.
When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, ’tis near Halloween.Author Unknown
How Was the Word Halloween Coined?
Wonder from where did this word come? Well, the term “Halloween” is a contracted form of the phrase “All Hallows’ Eve,” which refers to the night before All Saints’ Day, a Christian holiday dedicated to honouring saints and martyrs.
As Christianity spread, the Church sought to Christianise many pagan festivals, and Samhain was no exception. All Saints’ Day was established on 1 November to honour saints and martyrs, while All Souls’ Day, on 2 November, was dedicated to praying for the souls of the departed.
Carved Pumpkins & Haunted Homes
Like turkey is to Thanksgiving, so pumpkins are to Halloween. However, pumpkins are not used to feed when it is All Hallows’ Eve. Pumpkins are selling high as the countdown starts on 31 October, and people are busy carving out their ghost-like faces to scare the evil spirits. Yes, you got that correct —pumpkins are used to scare!
Pumpkin carving is a beloved tradition that has become synonymous with Halloween and involves transforming an ordinary pumpkin into a delightful or eerie work of art, typically featuring a frightening or whimsical face illuminated from within by a flickering candle or electric light that casts chilling shadows in the dark.
A carved pumpkin is the most iconic Halloween decoration, and it is known as a jack-o’-lantern. Well, home decoration is an integral part of this night, but there is more to do than just carve a pumpkin.
“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”William Shakespeare, Macbeth: A classic quote that evokes the witchy and mysterious atmosphere of Halloween.
People adorn their houses with spooky decorations, offering thrill-seekers a chance to experience simulated scares and supernatural encounters. The eerie ambience created by these decorations adds to the Halloween atmosphere and sets the stage for a night full of freaking fun.
Halloween decorations come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of macabre humour. Some enthusiasts go all out by transforming their homes into haunted houses, using scary soundtracks, fog machines, and lifelike props, such as skeletons, coffins, and gravestones.
Seeking an immersive Halloween experience, some homeowners just resort to hanging ghostly figures and skeletal ghouls from trees and porches. Swaying in the wind, such ethereal decorations can send shivers down the spines of passersby.
Life-sized witches stirring bubbling caldrons or riding a broomstick, as well as artificial spider webs draped over doorways, add to the sinister aura.
Dress Up to Freak Them Out!
One of the most iconic aspects of Halloween is the tradition of dressing up in costumes. People of all ages get creative and transform themselves into all sorts of characters, creatures, and monsters.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, costumes for this night were designed to add emphasis on spooky and strange themes. Costumes now take on a broader range of inspirations.
Some of the popular costume ideas include vampires and zombies, the classic monsters that are. People might as well dress up like witches with a hat, a wizard robe, and, of course, not forgetting the broomstick!
Film enthusiasts dress up like iconic movie characters, such as The Wizard of Oz. And others just pay homage to historical personalities, like Cleopatra, by mimicking their appearance.
You would be surprised if you saw people in animal costumes. Yes, people can go that far, showing up like cats, dogs and even pandas! Outfits of fairy tale characters, such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, are also trendy among children.
Halloween costumes offer a unique opportunity for self-expression and creativity. They allow people to temporarily step into a different identity, unleashing their inner child and embracing a sense of playfulness.
“Halloween is not only about putting on a costume, but it’s about finding the imagination and costume within ourselves.”Elvis Duran
Makeup & Face Painting
Halloween costumes often feature elaborate makeup, which adds a vibrant and creative dimension to the overall look. Face painting offers Halloweeners an excellent opportunity to wear their favourite character or theme.
The possibilities are endless, from classic Halloween figures like witches, vampires, and zombies to more unique and imaginative ideas. You can even complement that with appropriate accessories. The combination of a well-executed face paint design and a matching outfit can make your Halloween look genuinely remarkable.
All you have to do is just set free your inner artist and let your face become the canvas for your Halloween masterpiece!
Knock, Knock: Trick or Treat!
“Trick or treat, give me something good to eat, give me candy, give me cake, give me something sweet to take!”
One of the most cherished traditions among children during Halloween is to go trick or treating. Well, it is primarily children, but sometimes adults join in, embracing their inner ghouls and goblins as they go door-to-door in search of delicious treats.
Kids get dressed in costumes and knock on the doors of their neighbours to ask for candy. The phrase “trick or treat” is such a playful threat, implying that if treats are not provided, a trick may be played on the homeowner.
Children have their bags full of sugary treasures, which is actually a very good treat for them. In medieval Europe, this practice was common among poor children, who would go door-to-door to offer prayers for the dead in return for “soul cakes” and other gifts. This tradition eventually merged with the Celtic Samhain festivities and transformed into the trick-or-treating we know today.
Halloween Night Parties
Some people go the extra mile in their holiday festivities by holding parties that usually feature costume contests. Guests know before they go that homeowners would probably have eerie decorations, spooky-themed foods and drinks, and games like apple bobbing and mummy wrapping.
Halloween parties offer the best spooky setting for friends and family to come together and enjoy each other’s company in a festive atmosphere.
One of the earliest recorded instances of a Halloween party took place in the late 19th century when Irish immigrants hosted small gatherings in their homes. These parties featured apple-bobbing, fortune-telling, and the telling of ghost stories.
The Good Side of the Scary Night
Over time, Halloween evolved into a more lighthearted holiday. So, whether you’re carving pumpkins, donning a costume, or simply enjoying the sight of horrific decorations, Halloween offers a unique opportunity to escape from the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary for a night of festive fun.
This holiday provides an opportunity for communities to connect, share stories, and revel in the joy of the season. This timeless tradition will continue to bring a little magic and mystery into our lives for years to come.
Halloween reminds us of the beauty of embracing the unknown and facing our fears in a safe and playful manner. And, of course, it satisfies our sweet tooth with an abundance of candy!