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 —>>

Food Allergies and Halloween

HalloweencatpumpkinIt’s Halloween and all around you children and adults alike are worrying about what they’ll be and what they’ll do on Halloween.

For many Halloween is the favorite holiday of the year. The chance to create an alter ego and project a persona different than what you normally have, is something we all like to do at times. Frozen remains a firm favorite for Halloween, along with Marvel Superheroes such as Batman and Iron man. Fairy tale characters such as Cinderella and the Little Mermaid remain popular.

For children with food allergies or medical conditions trick or treating can be a minefield. It’s hard enough for adults to realize they need to curb their diet due to medical reasons. It’s even more difficult for children. Yet the candy handed out on Halloween can send a normal child into sugar shock, never mind a diabetic.

How as a parent, family member or friend do you negotiate your way through this minefield while allowing your children to enjoy Halloween? Having faced this situation with my own son when he was younger I know it’s not easy. I also know even children with no underlying health issues are being gently lured into giving up their Halloween candy.

Many parents are ‘buying back’ the Halloween candy in exchange for a toy at the toy store of their choice. Your child has still been able to participate freely but he’s able to trade his candy for a toy of his choice. If this is your child or a family friend you can also make sure there’s a special Halloween treat which may or may not have candy in it for him.

Not being able to participate in Halloween or a special event the same way other children can is hard. But focusing more on what your child can have or do, rather than what they can’t is key. That worked best when my son had gluten allergies and will hopefully make for a fun filled Halloween for you and your children.