Trick or Treat
All Hallows Eve – love, love, love!! Halloween has always been one of my favourite ‘holidays’, with the exception of Christmas, of course – presents trump candy!
Anyway, personally being one of those people that love watching scary movies all alone, past midnight, with all lights off, a bowl of popcorn and the blankets pulled all the way over my head, because obviously if some supernatural being was going to pop out of nowhere my flimsy blanket would be all the protection I would need, duh, Halloween is a natural fit.
When I was younger Halloween was all about costumes and candy, still kind of is, however the concept behind All Hallows Eve has always been of interest to me and I have always been interested in the traditions behind it, such as carving Jack-o’-lanterns, games like bobbing for apples and Halloween costumes.
Below are a few of my favourite tidbits about Halloween that I thought you might find interesting –
Bobbing for Apples
In ancient times, the apple was viewed as a sacred fruit that could be used to predict the future. Bobbing for apples is one of the traditional games used for fortune-telling on Halloween night. It was believed that the first person to pluck an apple from the water-filled bucket without using their hands would be the first to marry.
If the bobber lucked out and caught an apple on the first try, it meant that they would experience true love, while those who got an apple after many tries would be fickle in their romantic endeavors. Another myth was that if a girl put her bobbed apple under her pillow on Halloween night, she would dream about her future husband.
Trick-Or-Treating in Costumes
In olden times, it was believed that during Samhain (summer’s end), the veil between our world and the spirit world was thinnest, and that the ghosts of the deceased could mingle with the living. The superstition was that the visiting ghosts could disguise themselves in human form, such as a beggar, and knock on your door during Samhain asking for money or food. If you turned them away empty-handed, you risked receiving the wrath of the spirit and being cursed or haunted. Another myth was that dressing up as a ghoul would fool the evil spirits into thinking that you were one of them so that they would not try to take your soul.
The witch’s broomstick is another superstition that has its roots in medieval myths. The elderly, introverted women that were accused of witchcraft were often poor and could not afford horses, so they navigated through the woods on foot with the help of walking sticks, which were sometimes substituted by brooms.
A fun fall activity, carving Jack-o’-lanterns actually has its roots in a sinister, tragic fable. Celtic folklore tells the tale of a drunken farmer named Jack who tricked the devil, but his trickery resulted in him being turned away from both the gates of heaven and hell after he died. Having no choice but to wander around the darkness of purgatory, Jack made a lantern from a turnip and a burning lump of coal that the devil had tossed him from hell. Jack, the story goes, used the lantern to guide his lost soul; as such, the Celts believed that placing Jack-o’-lanterns outside would help guide lost spirits home when they wander the streets on Halloween.