Well, it’s that time of year again! This, of course, can mean a plethora of things: Beautiful leaves, cold-, or like this year, warm-weather spurts. With Columbus Day behind us, we look forward to events like Halloween, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving … dare I mention the “Holiday Season” that launches that Friday?
Let’s go to a fun spot!! Mine is Halloween! I threw parties back in the 80’s with DJ’s prizes galore, and every year they got bigger and bigger and more creative. I used to transform my house into Kansas corn fields, of the Sputter Inn from Moby Dick. I had carnivals, pirate themes, even ancient Rome … so much fun. Then there are the creative costumes: I had a swarm of Bees – Do Bees, Don’t Bees, Spelling Bees – even one with “Double D’s.” Memories for a lifetime.
So I know what you’re thinking … What’s Halloween really about? Glad you asked! It’s a centuries-old tradition that was originally called Allhallowtide, basically encompassing the Western Christian observances of All Hallows’ Eve (Hallowe’en), All Saints’ Day (All Hallows’) and All Souls’ Day, which last from October 31 to November 2 every year. Allhallowtide is a time to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints. The word Allhallowtide was first used in 1471, and is derived from two words: the Old English word halig, meaning saint, and the word tide, meaning time or season Oh Yuletide! DUH.
So real old stuff here, folks, and our now a days Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (Nov 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (Nov. 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.
The custom of wearing costumes and masks at Halloween goes back to Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the evil spirits or placate them, in Scotland for instance where the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white. Go back to the late 1800’s where this was called “Guising” – this practice was recorded in 1895, where masqueraders in disguise were carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.
The practice of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, reported children going “guising” around the neighborhood.
The term “Trick-or-Treat” has traces back to 1927, Aland just about all pre-1940 uses of the term “trick-or-treat” are from the western United States and Canada. Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, but was seriously stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947.
Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given that year in the October 1947 issues of the children’s magazines Jack and Jill and Children’s Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948. Trick-or-treating was depicted in the Peanuts comic strip for the first time in 1951. So all this made the custom become firmly established in popular culture by 1952.
Although some popular histories of Halloween have characterized trick-or-treating as an adult invention to rechannel Halloween activities away from vandalism, there are very few records supporting it. Back in the late 40’s children often had to explain the tradition of trick-or-treating to baffled parents, not the other way around. Post war was tricky too – some families looked at it like extortion, and others were embarrassed to be “begging.”
Well it took off!! The National Confectioners Association reports that there will be $2.5 billion made in candy sales this year!! Statistically, it is people 60 and older passing out the candy. In addition, shoppers in the Midwest will hand out more candy than any other region, as 79 percent plan to par take in the activity compared with 76 percent in the south, 74 percent in the west and 71 percent in the northeast, according to the Association. IBISWorld estimates retailers will rake in $7.6 billion from the spooky holiday this year, with $1.4 billion going to adult costumes alone!
Well, there you have it, folks! Insight on Halloween and its origins. No matter how you celebrate, do it responsibly – and take lots of pictures!! For some really neat Halloween snacks for parties visit: http://www.picshunger.com/pictures/halloween-snacks – lots of easy ideas and healthy things to make!