Sunday, October 30, 2011

10/31 Ghosts, Goblins and Spooks

By Diane Forrest,

I can't remember any Halloween costume I wore grow up as a kid.  I guess because back then they were these ugly little things you stepped into and they tied in the neck in the back.  I do remember the candy though; I mean who can forget free chocolate?   I do remember my son's costumes though, because I made each one.  He was a pumpkin one year, a clown, Peter Pan, and Dracula.  His last year he was a mime, but he could never master the not talking part.

At my church, we celebrate a family festival.  This is a fun safe place to take kids and play little games to win prizes and candy.  There are several different booths, a cake walk, hay ride, candy apples and everything in between.  This year they are going to perform little skits along the path of the hay ride, should be an exciting time.

Another fun activity during Halloween is visiting a haunted house.  Many organizations will decorate an abandoned home and charge admission for you to walk through and have the devil scared out of you.  Many area business will offer candy to dressed up youngsters, and some restaurants will offer free or discounted hot dogs and burgers on Halloween night.  Have you ever wondered how Halloween got started?

During the 10th and 11th century the Catholic Church in Scotland began to practice All Hallows Day (Also known as All Saint's Day or Hallowmas) on November 1. The tradition is to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives.  The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve. The people would gather in front of a blessed bonfire and would sing, dance and listen to the stories that were told during the celebration. At the end of the evening, each person would take some of the bonfire home to relight their heart fire in hopes of ensuring good fortune to their home and family for the coming year. It is said that if your hearth fire would not light from the sacred bonfire, misfortune, even death, would befall someone in the house that very year.

By the 19th century, most of the religious aspects of the Halloween celebration had dwindled away and it was mostly a secular holiday, a gathering of community with only some of the remnants of the past clinging to it like the cobwebs of a haunted house. People would still dress up in costume, but less for the original reason of confusing the dead and more for just plain entertainment and fun.

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In some parts of Scotland children still go guising. In this custom the child performs some sort of trick, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, to earn their treats

Beware of the ghosts, goblins and spooks that are lurking in your neighborhood tonight, make sure you have plenty of candy on hand, so you won't get any tricks played on you. 

We hope you have a safe and successful Halloween!

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