Halloween: history and reality


I looked up the history of Halloween 1)  to let my granddaughters know how it started 2) to find out a few of the lesser known facts and 3) for a blog post. What I found was old stuff for some, but maybe something new to you.

Note: Most of this is based on this site: http://bit.ly/1LiHWJT {Hey, I found it on the internet–and on an established, respected site (History.com)–so it must be true. Right?}

1) Halloween (according to some) started out as Samhain, a Celtic celebration where folks dressed up in costumes, lit bonfires to scare off roaming ghosts, told fortunes, and did other auld time fun stuff.spectre in tree

2) Others say that it was the dark side’s response to All Saints Day, a holy day set aside by Catholics to honor saints, martyrs and other special folk. If All Saints Day was November 1st, the evil spirits wanted to strut their stuff and cause havoc the night before, on October 31st (All Hallows Eve). Or so I was told as a child (a long, long, very long time ago).
And of course, the Romans. They influenced so much…

3) Halloween (could have) started as the combination of two ancient Roman festivals. One was Feralia, a celebration in late October to honor the passing of the dead; the other, for Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. Rites were modified for the Celtic regions where a portion of the year’s harvest was set outside as a distraction so bad spirits would leave those in the house alone!

Roman conquests, Celtic migrations, and general population emigrations over the centuries have made Halloween what it is today. Hmm, I wonder what it will be like in another century!?

A century or ten later, it’s so much different. Here’s what my granddaughters, and many others, believe Halloween is.

1) It’s the day when you get dressed up and try to have the craziest or cleverest costume and make-up ever! Or at least better than the next guy or kid.

2) It’s when you get lots of candy. One way or another; either through begging, attending a party, or intimidating a younger kid, you can eat all the sweets you can lay your chocolate-sticky hands on.

3) It’s the time of year when you and (hopefully, the family) can decorate the house and maybe the yard with spooky stuff. Just a note. Off-the-shelf items should just be a starting point. Detached arm or foot? Make sure you put pink polish on the nails! Manicure modified missing appendageHalloween graveyard picker

My little heiress loves to play with her fake spiders and hang out with disassembled skeletons in the pseudo graveyard built by her older sister. Ew!

Now, remember to grab a book (or an e-reader) and have it on hand for those dull times in-between the trick or treaters.

Or just turn off all the lights, pretend no one is home, and read in peace.


Here’s a book I suggest: Naked in the Winter Wind  Naked in the Winter Wind

Halloween 2012.
Sweet little old lady meets Leonardo da Vinci the elder and another strange man. A slow fall off a steep cliff and she’s changed forever.

Find out more with look inside the book: http://amzn.to/1j3QtxY

Dani Haviland, author
The Fairies Saga


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About Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.  View website

3 Replies to “Halloween: history and reality”

  1. Ghosts and goblins and princesses and faeries. I much prefer our version of Halloween 🙂 There’s nothing better than watching kids faces light up with excitement when you open the door with a bowl full of treats 🙂

  2. I didn’t know all that good stuff about Halloween, Dani. Thanks for sharing. When we were little, it was about who got to where mom’s or dad’s old clothes, grab a pillowcase and hit as many houses on the streets nearby as you can before the eight o’clock curfew. And….my parents believed in hoarding the goodies and passing it out a little at a time so we gorged ourselves before showing them our stash 🙂

  3. Halloween is such fun! Very fun BLOG post – and I already have Naked in the Winter Wind! I’l be reading it soon. I love Dani Haviland!

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