Wednesday is Halloween — the night when the dead and the living dead walk among us, as well as a few clowns and cheerleaders and cute little bunny rabbits. But where did all this start, and why? Was it to get a few candy bars?
After a quick search, I found that celebrating on October 31st dates back well over 1000 years — wow! — and I thought it was all about who got the most and best candy! Originally, it was the time of the year when the harvest was brought in with summer’s end and people readied for the “darker” or “dead” part of the year — winter.
In Ireland, people celebrated a festival named Samhain (pronounced SAH-win or SOW-in) when they believed, according to Wikipedia, “it was a time when the ‘door’ to the Otherworld opened enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings such as fairies, to come into our world.” Hey, some of those souls could be macabre, so people would dress in costumes so they (the living) would blend in with the dead souls and not have mischief done to them. Superstitions anyone!
The entire idea is also religious in origin. I was raised that it was the eve of All Saints Day. That is correct also, and it is one explanation for the dispensing of food to those who ring your doorbell. According to Wikipedia there was ringing of bells on this day for the souls in purgatory (which is not recognized any longer) and poor children (why is always the poor that go around and beg?) would go door-to-door asking for cakes to pray for the souls in purgatory.
Here, in America, Halloween was not introduced until the Irish and Scottish immigrated in the 19th century, and it was not until the 1900s that “trick-or-treating” took hold in our society when those who asked for treats would first have to perform a “trick”, such as sing or tell a ghost story.
So, today, as we venture out of our house with our costumes and masks firmly attached, you never know if that Frankenstein, or Count Dracula or one of those walking dead may indeed be from “the other side”. And, as far as the treats, I think I’ll have those who ask for a treat to tell me a story first. That is, if they will want to come close to the mummy —- hahahahahaha!!!!