On the night of October 31st, the Celts who lived 2,000 years ago, celebrated their new year’s eve. They were living in the area now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France. New Year’s on November 1st marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. This time of the year was often associated with death of all things, including humans.
Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
Halloween as we know it today is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we celebrate today. The practice of wearing costumes dates back to Celtic days as they believed if you dressed up to hide your identity it would allow you to to ward off roaming ghosts.
In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation, becoming a more secular community-based children’s holiday. Although the superstitions and beliefs surrounding Halloween may have evolved over the years, we still look forward to Halloween, to the children wearing costumes and the date that neighbors greet one and other as they usher their children from door to door for treats. I must admit, this is about the only night of the year when I see neighbors out walking with their children.
The practice of carving Jack O’Lanterns actually originated in Ireland, but they were not the carved pumpkins commonly used today; the original Jack O’Lanterns were carved from large turnips or potatoes. When Irish immigrants arrived in America they brought the tradition with them, but soon discovered that the American pumpkin was larger and easier to carve, and a new Halloween tradition was born. Jack O’Lanterns are still one of my favorite things about Halloween. I have a difficult enough time getting a good face on a pumpkin and can only imagine what my turnip or potato face would look like!
Pumpkins are actually fruits. It is thought that pumpkins have been growing in the Western Hemisphere for more than 5,000 years. The largest pumpkin ever recorded weighed 1,689 pounds and was grown in the state of Rhode Island. Who would have known! In the US alone over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are harvested annually.
One forth of all candy sold in the United States is purchased for Halloween. Candy prices are high enough that it is really good that this holiday only occurs once a year! I was in shock at the candy counter when making my purchase this year. And how does one ever know how much to buy? Obviously, we must buy what we like to eat because there will always be left overs. I do make sure to buy only a couple of days before Halloween to avoid eating too much!
This year, as I hand out candy to the little ones accompanied by parents, I plan to give the parents a Parker’s Climb Brochure to let them know about our fundraiser! Cannot waste a single opportunity to get the word out!!
It is a beautiful day in sunny south Florida and it is going to be a perfect night for the kids to trick or treat! Kids are going to have a ball because it will be cool enough they will not melt in their costumes! We never had to worry about that when I was growing up – in fact it was quite the opposite. I remember many a cold Halloween in Indiana – and shortly after snow would begin to fall! It truly is the end of summer and the beginning of a long cold winter. That is for most of you folks – to us Floridian’s, this is when we welcome the best season of the year, bring on those temperatures below 85 degrees!
I hope you all have a fabulous Halloween with lots of little cuties showing up at the door hollering “Trick or Treat! Geoff and I wish you a Happy Halloween!