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A Cold and Blustery Fall Day – Halloween

October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Origins of Halloween (Excerpt from the University at Albany, SUNY)

The Druids celebrated this holiday “with a great fire festival to encourage the dimming Sun not to vanish” and people “danced round bonfires to keep evil spirits away, but left their doors open in hopes that the kind spirits of loved ones might join them around their hearths”. On this night, “divination was thought to be more effective than any other time, so methods were derived to ascertain who might marry, what great person might be born, who might rise to prominence, or who might die” (Chamberlain). Also during the celebration, the Celts “wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes”. Crops were burned and animals were sacrificed (The History Channel Exhibits- The History of Halloween). The spirits were believed to be either “entertained by the living”, or to “find a body to possess for the incoming year”. This all gives reasons as to why “dressing up like witches, ghosts and goblins, villagers could avoid being possessed.” (Navarro ) …

Halloween came to the United States when European immigrants “brought their varied Halloween customs with them”. In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants including the Irish fleeing from the potato famine in Ireland in 1846. By combining Irish and English traditions, Americans began the “trick-or-treat” tradition. In the later 1800’s the holiday became more centered on community and in the 1920’s and 1930’s, Halloween became “a secular, but community-centered holiday”. In the 1950’s leaders changed Halloween as a holiday aimed at the young to limit vandalism. This all led to what Halloween actually is like today. (The History Channel Exhibits: The History of Halloween)

Personal Thoughts on Halloween:

Today is truly a fall day.  It’s cold and cloudy with a hint of sun peeking through the clouds.  Perfect for all Hallows Eve I suppose.  Though I guess I am confused any more is today really Halloween?  The commercialism of this holiday has basically made me lost.  Half of the people I know were discussing trick or treating last night.  Do people even really trick or treat anymore?  Even as a child I was perplexed by the concept of trick or treating.  Why go around to other houses begging for candy when frankly you could stay at home where it was warm, dry, and friendly and have all the candy you liked sitting right next to you in a large bowl?  When given the option between going out trick or treating or staying home to hand out candy with my family, I always chose the latter.  Perhaps I was a bit of a dull child.  I had a great imagination and loved playing dress up, but why limit myself to one night of the year, when I could do that any time?  I’m still like that.  I gorge myself on candy whenever I choose, not just one day in October and well I wear a costume everyday of the year.  What is my costume you ask?  That of a woman with a cheerful disposition perfectly happy with her lot in life.

I do love all things horror and I can’t wait to have kids and see the joy on their faces when they get to pick their next Halloween costume.  My two young nieces (ages 3 and 8 ) looked absolutely ghoulish in their witch and vampire costumes and I could tell they have been having so much fun getting dressed up and making grown ups give them candy.  I never really did go trick or treating as a child and this is something I do regret.  Halloween is a great day for watching tv marathons of “scary” movies and it used to be a tradition for me to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show every single Halloween.  My traditions are becoming limited.  I don’t have TV this year so no marathons and no Rocky Horror, unless I download it on Netflix.  I definitely don’t care about costumes.  Aside from my perpetual costume of life, I don’t wear one for this holiday.  I just don’t care enough to.  Maybe just for the hell of it I’ll make my cat’s wear one.

I Hate Halloween

I love Halloween

An aside about work

On a positive note Thanksgiving is around the corner and that means time off from work …which is AWESOME. This is especially good,  since I spent all day yesterday working after an entirely boring work week of no real work to do.  It doesn’t seem fair that I can be bored all during my prescribed 40 hour work week schedule, but then be forced to work overtime.  …sigh… I suppose this is how life goes in the real world.

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