Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Fun Facts

Halloween Strange Facts

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Always loved it as a kid. Getting dressed up and getting candy. I still enjoy both of these, and now I get to celebrate my wedding anniversary every year on Halloween.

There are many traditions that are associated with Halloween. It has been around for nearly 6,000 years, and it has changed quite a bit through the years. But some customs have remained.

For example, the colors orange and black are widely associated with Halloween. Orange represents fall and the harvest. Black represents darkness and death. Halloween used to be the end of summer/harvest bash known as Samhain(pronounced sow-in). For the Celtics, it marked the end of the year. They believed that spirits roamed the earth that night, and they would leave food and treats out for the ghouls, goblins, and spirits. Later it was adapted that they would dress as ghouls and goblins themselves so they could be in disguise when the “spirits” came.

With Christian influence, the holiday was somewhat combined with All Hallows Day(All Saints Day) and All Souls Day. Halloween is short for All Hallows Eve. On these days, poverty-stricken adults and children would go door to door singing and dancing for money or food. It became the custom of giving of treats on Halloween.

When Irish immigrants arrived in the United States they brought their traditions. Of course, things done here were molded and changed to more of what we are familiar with today. Pumpkins were carved instead of turnips for jack o lanterns. Children started going door to door dressed in costumes during Halloween and not the poor. There was more of a cause for fun and celebrations instead of spooky superstitions.

However, there was still mischief going on by young hoodlums and pranksters. They would vandalize property or steal on Halloween. This was handled by coming up with the phrase “Trick or Treat”.  Officials proposed this would help with the kids misbehaving if they were offered a treat. Some people were upset by this action, feeling as if they were being held over a barrel. Give treats or get tricked so to speak. But more kids began going and the tradition spread and stayed.

Anoka, Minnesota was one of the first cities to have a Halloween Celebration. They held a carnival, parade, and a costume and house decorating contest. They claim to be the “Halloween Capital of the world”. This reminds me of a town I lived in right here in Illinois, called Sycamore. Every year they have a very similar event. It was so fun living there at this time of year. The old Victorian houses looked amazing decorated.

Sadly, however, some people do use this time to do bad deeds. I can remember when I was a kid and hearing on the news to take you candy to the hospital to have it inspected. Or for parents to be sure to check out the candy before your kids eat it. I was so shocked. I didn’t realize how bad people could really be until that moment. Fortunately, there are few documented cases of this but it is always good to lean on the side of precaution. One great way of inspecting your kid's candy is taking a bite of everything. Also, you should take half, you earned it! Walking or driving around all night, and you shopped for or made the costume.

All kidding aside, take the candy to the hospital if you need to, only go to well-lit houses, and/or people you know. Having a party for the kids and giving them as much candy as they would have gotten trick or treating, they won’t even miss going door to door. Be safe and have fun. Use sidewalks where you can. Carry a flashlight or use glow sticks so cars can see you.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to take my kids around Metamora and Germantown Hills for trick or treating. Some blocks give out full-size candy bars! I am not saying where, but it is a tradition to hit that block in our family. (Thanks, guys you know who you are!) We also have a tradition of Great Pumpkin Night, where we get together and have a big carving party. How do you celebrate Halloween? Comment below.

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