|Argg, me as a Pirate|
There are those who hate Halloween and feel it is evil: and then there are those who love it and find it a lot of fun. I’m in the latter group although I don’t celebrate it anymore.
|Three grandchildren now grown up.|
When I was a child we went trick-or-treating for more than one night, and we went in groups without our parents. We didn’t start until we were old enough to go to school and we wore costumes we made. The first night my brother, cousins, neighbor kids and I headed north to hit the houses beyond my grandparents’ farm and several short side streets connected to the road we lived on. The following night we headed south to cover those houses and two more short side streets. When we came home we shared our candy, popcorn balls, homemade cookies or a few apples with our parents and younger siblings until our little sisters were old enough to go with us. As for tricks, as we got older, but not yet teenagers, before Halloween we’d roam through the back yards and toss hard corn kernels at windows sometimes or turn over lawn chairs. Oh, we were daring and brave and naughty. Of course, we were nothing like our older uncles who told tales of turning over an outhouse with a neighbor man in it one night.
|Two of my students - quite scary|
It is thought by some that Halloween originated in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, meaning summer’s end, dating back 2000 years. It was a time when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to frighten away ghosts. People believed supernatural things could happen at this time of the year. The word Halloween, is a contraction of All Hallows Eve meaning the day before All Hallows Day. which came about in the eighth century when Pope Gregory III, declared November 1 to be All Saints Day, a day to honor saints and martyrs. It was followed later by All Souls Day on November 2, to honor all those who had departed this life.
In early Colonial America, Halloween was not practiced in New England because of the rigid Protestant belief that it was an ungodly practice. However, in Maryland and southern colonies people combined beliefs from different European ethnic groups as well as Native American traditions to create an American version of the holiday that grew with parties and games. Things in New England changed in the nineteenth century with the influx of many immigrants from Europe and Halloween became a largely accepted holiday there, too. By the 1920s and 1930s there were Halloween parties, parades and the century old practice of the trick-or-treat tradition revived throughout our country.
|My grandson a few years ago and his younger cousin|
When I had children, I took them trick-or-treating until they were old enough to go in a group of neighborhood kids, usually accompanied by at least one adult. I made many of their costumes once they were in school and Scouts and there were prizes awarded for the costumes. My husband and I hosted an adult Halloween party every year and some of the costumes were amazing. Once when two outhouses arrived, they had a difficult time going down our basement steps to the rec room.
Unfortunately, times have changed. Not too many years ago there were people who hated Halloween, or kids, and tampered with the treats. Not many, but enough so that parents went with their kids and no more were home baked cookies or popcorn balls passed out. Everything was closely checked to see if it had been tampered with. Parents also now worry about sexual predators. There must have been some when we were kids, but no one ever read about it in the paper. Many churches and communities have replaced door to door trick-or-treating with a party in their meeting area. Then there was a contingent of those who thought anything dealing with Halloween was anti-Christ, so many schools no longer have Halloween parties or parades. No excited kids bringing costumes to school to put on after lunch to parade through the halls or towns in their costumes. I was disappointed that I could no longer dress up at least one day a year in a costume. Instead it’s something like an autumn celebration, or whatever generic name they come up with. It wasn’t the same, and even though Halloween celebrations were hectic and often chaotic, I loved the excitement and laughter of the kids.
|Here I'm a nurse leading my students around the playground.|
I don’t decorate my house and I don’t pass out candy on Halloween anymore. I haven’t had a kid dressed up in their costume come to my door in at least ten years now. I live on a rather busy highway with no sidewalks and houses not close together. There are few children living close and those who do go to one of the parties instead, I think. I used to buy candy just in case someone would come; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, a candy I love. But I don’t need to eat a whole bag of them. Even though I hid them away, on stressful days they were there tempting me and my resistance is all too often weak. Maybe I should buy some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups this year. Just in case.
Do you enjoy Halloween? What Halloween memories do you have?