All About Halloween |

The One Source for All Things Halloween

Archive for the ‘Traditions of Halloween’ Category

Halloween Stories

Posted by admin On May - 18 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Halloween Stories


Halloween stories may be based on ancient legends or come from a contemporary writer’s imagination.  Several basic premises are the favorite of moviemakers since movies were made, and first and foremost is things that go bump in the night.  This can be ghosts, aliens, haunted houses, witches or demons knocking on the door — anything that starts out as unknown and often, scary.  Edgar Allan Poe was the avowed master of the scary horror story.  Alfred Hitchcock was the master moviemaker using dark psychology to scare us.


Black and white movies were popular for horror in the 1950s but then came the chance to scare people even more with lots of blood and gore in full color.  And boy, did moviemakers start to get into all of the blood and gore of Halloween and other sub-genre films.  Every year filmmakers think up additional ways to scare people, whether it’s scarecrows that come to life and then kill everyone who visits the creepy, old farmhouse stuck in a lonely field — to people who enter a haunted house at their own risk and end up in the morning scared to death.  You’d think they’d get a clue when the dark and discordant music was cued up.


Vampire movies are still a favorite and the old silent film , Nosferatu, is still around.  Storytellers are constantly coming up with new ways to figure our who’s a vampire or not, and various ways to kill them.  Usually the undead win in the end and isn’t it always the case that the beautiful young woman, perhaps a boyfriend or two, and the old sheriff are the only ones to survive?  Sometimes a virus causes everyone to turn into vampires, or zombies.  They’re another favorite for Halloween movies and also costumes.


Reanimated people are scary and that’s why zombies and vampires always do well on Halloween.  Wizards and witches are associated with Halloween because of all of the spells and magic and both good and evil happening then.  People can be even more scared when the horror of it all is created within their own imaginations, as in reading a book.  Humans are capable of making everything seem real, or indeed, become real, within themselves and as seeded by a great storyteller.  Stephen King excels at this, As does Dean Koontz and others.  If someone wishes to read a Halloween story, then there are many in local libraries, on the Internet for download, or even borrowed from a friend.


An old tradition with stories is passed on in a circle around campfires or when a parent reads to a child.  This is how the history of ancient peoples came down through the generations, both before writing was invented, as well as to our modern day.  Campfires (or fire pits in a contemporary backyard) are wonderful places to tell scary stories about Halloween on a cool autumn night, round about October 31st.  Kids may be listening as they lay down in a pup tent, shadows dancing on the walls of the canvas or nylon, and making the story even scarier.


Halloween stories may be told to and be suitable for even young children, along with any age including older kids, adults, teenagers and even grandpa and grandma.  The latter may have a few good stories to tell the grandkids themselves, and these could have been in the family for generations.  If you are outside telling Halloween stories or inside watching Halloween movies, then don’t forget those snacks.  Popcorn is always good, and marshmallow/graham cracker/chocolate combos melted over the flames are even better.  Watch out for marshmallows, as they can get very hot inside.


Traditions of Halloween

Posted by admin On May - 17 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Traditions of Halloween

Celtic people are responsible for the core of Halloween, as it was first celebrated in their traditions and folklore. They formed a society about 800 BC. Celts were located in the UK, part of Turkey (rather odd!) and a lot of Western Europe. They held a big party close to the end of October which was called Samhain. This was to recognize the end of Summer and the harvest, no doubt. Celts thought that the connection and separation between the real world and the world of the dead and spirits, was thin at this time of year. Friends and relatives returned for a short stay and often in the form of a black cat, which is why that symbol can still represent Halloween.

After harvest, food was offered to the gods. Almost like a modern food drive, they went door to door for food donations, which they then gave to the deities. Young people from that time asked for kindling and firewood for a bonfire, which they made on top of a hill. This tradition of going from door to door may have been the root for trick or treating. Sacred bonfires were often lit during Samhain, in order to honor the Celtic gods. An ember was kept from the bonfire and villagers would light their own fires when they returned home.

A gourd or turnip was used to carry the ember as it would be sheltered from the wind and not burn the wet gourd or turnip pulp. Evil spirits dwelled amongst the Celts, or so they thought, so on a long dark walk home they would disguise themselves in costumes and also scare away the spirits by carving fierce faces on the ember holders. This also carries through to today with lit pumpkins and costumes. Pumpkins are considerably easier to carve than a small turnip or beetroot or gourd.

Neopagans and wiccans continue to celebrate Samhain to this day as they base a lot of their faith on the ancient Celts. Some traditions were based on the Celtic ones but some have evolved from other sources. The Jack O’Lantern came from a 17th century Irish folktale. The devil took pity on a departed soul who was not allowed into either heaven or hell, and gave him a burning coal to light his way as he wandered around the globe. This Jack took to carrying the ember in a partially eaten turnip.

Apples have been associated with goddesses for a long time, as they were with Adam & Eve, There association with immortality, knowledge and resurrection has made them an icon. A five-pointed star is revealed if an apple is sliced through its equator. A pentagram came from this symbol, it’s thought. The latter is a goddess symbol for Gypsies, ancient Egyptians and Celts, and contemporary Wiccans and others. Bobbing for apples and trying to grab a dangling apple was a game for singles who, if they grabbed an apple, were said to be in line for a marriage proposal.

If someone peeled an apple in front of a mirror lit with candles (one would hope that they’d keep their eyes on the knife!), then an image of a future spouse was supposed to appear. If the peeler could make a long string of peel then this was said to “guestimate” how long a person would live. On All Souls Day, Christians from Europe would go door to door asking for currant buns or soul cakes. If they got any, they’d pray for the homeowner’s relatives.

All Hallow’s Eve was the original name for Halloween. This meant the evening right before All Saints Day. Hallow meant saint in old English and the phrase was eventually shortened to Halloween.