Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

What greeted the Trick or Treaters at our house tonight.

Greetings All:

Halloween is just about over.  The trick or treaters have come and gone and the required candy sort from the kids has been done.  I only pilfered one Heath bite-size bar.  Then again, there is still plenty of candy left.  We had rain here so that put a damper (pun intended) on the foot traffic.  I was impressed to see the older kids out collecting cans for the Student Hunger Drive.  They each got an extra Kit Kat bar.

I think there should be a code of honor with Halloween candy and it should go like this:  If you have the means, then don't buy different candy to give out than what you will eat at home.  Here's an example:  Don't buy a bag of Tootsie Rolls to give out and save the Hershey's for yourself. 

As I write this, I have to think about what do people do who are on fixed incomes?  Do they have to keep their lights off?  Do they use money that should go towards the power bill?  When I think about such things I add to the list of things to be grateful for, that I can buy candy, the good stuff.

It is fun to watch kids in their costumes.  It seems that the store-bought route is not as popular, especially with the older kids.  I gave one kid an extra piece of candy for an especially elaborate costume that I think was a zombie.  Whatever it was, it was the best one I saw all night.

I don't remember the last year I "dressed up" for Halloween.  It was probably in 6th or 7th grade.  That is when you are crossing the street from Kid Street to Adolescent Avenue.  Anything that is remotely uncool, they were to be avoided. 

Somewhere in a photo album is a picture of me when I was either 3 or 4 years old.  I was a knight with a cardboard shield wrapped in aluminum foil and cardboard sword.  My mom had made made a "suit of armor" from fabric and it was great.  That was pretty good.  Then, when I was a baby, I was a lion or something.  When my oldest daughter was born, she wore it.  We have a photo of that in an album and one of these days, I will get around to scanning those photos.  In the meantime, memories will do.

Halloween has become an American ritual (and a pretty fun one at that) but no blog post of mine would be complete without some historical reference, so here goes.  Halloween has roots back to ancient times with different cultural references throughout time.  Being half-Irish, I was glad to learn that there is an Irish-Celtic connection.

Here's a bit of history from our friends at Wikipedia:

"In modern Ireland, Scotland, Mann and Wales, the festival included mumming and guising,[43] the latter of which goes back at least as far as the 16th century.[44] This involved people going house-to-house in costume (or in disguise), usually reciting verses or songs in exchange for food.[43] It may have come from the Christian custom of souling (see below) or it may have a Gaelic folk origin, with the costumes being a means of imitating, or disguising oneself from, the Aos Sí. In Scotland, youths went house-to-house on 31 October with masked, painted or blackened faces, often threatening to do mischief if they were not welcomed.[43] F. Marian McNeill suggests the ancient festival included people in costume representing the spirits, and that faces were marked (or blackened) with ashes taken from the sacred bonfire.[44] In parts of Wales, men went about dressed as fearsome beings called gwrachod.[43] In the late 19th and early 20th century, young people in Glamorgan and Orkney dressed as the opposite gender.[43] In parts of southern Ireland, the guisers included a hobby horse. A man dressed as a Láir Bhán (white mare) led youths house-to-house reciting verses—some of which had pagan overtones—in exchange for food. If the household donated food it could expect good fortune from the 'Muck Olla'; not doing so would bring misfortune.[45][46] Elsewhere in Europe, mumming and hobby horses were part of other yearly festivals. However, in the Celtic-speaking regions they were "particularly appropriate to a night upon which supernatural beings were said to be abroad and could be imitated or warded off by human wanderers".[43] As early as the 18th century, "imitating malignant spirits" led to playing pranks in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.[43] Wearing costumes at Halloween spread to England in the 20th century, as did the custom of playing pranks.[43] The "traditional illumination for guisers or pranksters abroad on the night in some places was provided by turnips or mangel wurzels, hollowed out to act as lanterns and often carved with grotesque faces to represent spirits or goblins".[43] These were common in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands in 19th century,[43] as well as in Somerset (see Punkie Night). In the 20th century they spread to other parts of England and became generally known as jack-o'-lanterns.[43] "

Here's a description of the painting below and a poem that went with it:

"Snap-Apple Night, painted by Irish artist Daniel Maclise in 1833.

It was inspired by a Halloween party he attended in Blarney, Ireland, in 1832. The caption in the first exhibit catalogue:

There Peggy was dancing with Dan While Maureen the lead was melting, To prove how their fortunes ran With the Cards could Nancy dealt in; There was Kate, and her sweet-heart Will, In nuts their true-love burning, And poor Norah, though smiling still She'd missed the snap-apple turning.
On the Festival of Hallow Eve."

See above citation, public domain

That picture above looks like it was a great party.  I've been to a couple of good Halloween parties myself, but that was many moons ago and for another blog post.  Perhaps next Halloween.  As far this one is concerned, it is almost in the books.  There are the memories, and of course, this...

Part of our leftover stash

I shudder to think how long this will last. 

Be well my friends, and be sure to floss tonight!


No comments:

Post a Comment