Halloween by Mona Risk

Did you know that one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween?  Yes, October is the cruelest month for our molar teeth. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.

 

It is hard to imagine that 100 years ago, Halloween looked quite different from the candy debauch of today.

Halloween origin: Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.

 

History of Halloween: At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

The seemingly timeless custom of trick-or-treating is actually a quite recent American invention. The ritual of costumes, doorbell-ringing, and expectation of booty appeared for the first time in different locations throughout the country in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

It wasn’t until the late 1940s that trick-or-treating became widespread on a national scale. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow.

Decorating the house inside and out is part of what makes this holiday so much fun with gargoyles, demons, and zombies; or spiders and bats, or anything that can make your visitors scream.

My grandchildren are turning their beautiful front-yard into a scary graveyard with skulls, skeletons, insects and rodents that give their grandmother–poor me–the fright of my life. Of course, the louder I scream, the harder these scamps laugh. Planning and designing the Halloween costumes start at the beginning of October.

 

 

Next Friday happens to be a Friday the Thirteen. My grandchildren will wear their costumes and invite their friends for a carving and painting of pumpkins.

 

 

 

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Have a spooky and fun —>>