By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.’
I wanted to begin with a spooky quote, so you can get into the mood for this one. Are you scared yet?
As I already wrote, I am obsessed with Halloween. Over the past few years, me and my friends have created our own Halloween traditions. We get together, we dress up, take silly spooky pictures, over-eat and get tipsy. It’s my not-so-secret plan to add a ritualistic Thriller flash mob to the festivities in the coming years.
My Octobers consist of the following: pumpkins, Halloween-themed movies, TV shows and music, a desperate attempt to tone down my enthusiasm as I plan my costume, makeup and decorations, a very sad bank account as I pour my money into anything that feeds my Halloween addiction, pumpkin spice in and on everything, and the religious act of making myself look as ugly and gross as humanly possible! I don’t just dress up… we have Farsang for that. I. Go. All. Out.
Because I know you looove my quotes… ‘You’ve probably wondered where holidays come from. If you haven’t, I’d say it’s time you began.’
Many historians claim that our modern-day Halloween stems from Samhain, an ancient Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season. Since I’m not a historian and definitely don’t want to give you a history lesson, I will leave you with this link and tell you about how some of our most beloved Halloween traditions came to be.
Bobbing for apples
Apparently, the peeps of old had no regard for their Halloween makeup and hair (is vanity a new thing?) and bobbed for apples on Halloween night. Apples are placed in a tub of water, then heads (attached to living bodies) are also placed in said water and the owners of these heads try to bite into the floating fruits.
What might seem like pointless makeup destruction today actually had meaning a few (okay, a lot of) centuries ago.
Bobbing for apples was a form of telling the future. Different versions of the tradition existed, but either way, depending on which apple you bit into or after how many tries, or if you were the first, determined whom you might have a romantic future with or what kind of a future that would be.
Since nowadays mostly kids bob for apples, it’s just a fun party game, and seeing as it’s 2020, well you know, germs.
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As you already know, there are many versions of this tradition around the world. People go from door-to-door and they want something. They either sing or recite poetry for it or threaten to trick you. Everyone loves freebies, right?
What we know as today’s trick-or-treating has a lot of earlier versions.
Ancient Celts dressed up as demons to ward off evil spirits, the logic being that if demons think that the guised folks are one of them, they would leave them alone.
In medieval England, ‘soulers’ would go around begging rich folks for food, but instead of tricks, they offered to pray for the souls of their recently departed.
In Scotland and Ireland, young people did what was called ‘guising’, dressing up in costumes and singing songs, telling jokes or reciting poems in exchange for treats that typically consisted of fruits, nuts or coins.
Jack-’o-lanterns (carving pumpkins)
Pinterest is chock-full of amazing and creative ideas on ways to carve your pumpkins. You can go with a simple classic or if you have the time and talent, you can create actual works of art out of the poor orange veg.
The origin of this one is Irish and a bit disturbing. One night, a drunkard named Jack met the Devil and trapped him in a tree by hacking a sign of a cross into the bark. He let the Prince of Darkness (not to be confused with Ozzy) go free on one condition: that he (Lucifer) would never claim Jack’s soul.
Business went on as usual, but when Jack died, he wasn’t allowed in Heaven, as it appears he wasn’t the nicest of people. Seeing as old Beelzebub held up his end of the deal (if you can’t trust the Devil, who can you trust, really?), he wouldn’t take old Jack either, and underlined that statement by throwing a piece of burning coal at Jack. (I never said he was a mature fellow.)
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So Jack, doomed to wander for a final resting place, carved out a turnip and placed the piece of coal inside it to use as a lantern on his journey.
People started carving scary faces into turnips and potatoes and placing them in windows and in front of doors to ward off malicious spirits such as Jack. As this tradition was brought to America, they worked with what they had: pumpkins.
I personally love this one and carve at least two pumpkins every year. Nothing fancy, just cute or scary faces. Don’t let the grossness of having to cut through the skin scare you, it’s part of the fun. Some gory black metal music goes well with this activity.