Monday, October 17, 2011

Hallowe'en: I'm Only In It For the Candy!

"From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties.  And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!" -Old Cornish prayer
{I love this vintage Hallowe'en Pary invitation}

Me and my youngest went and picked out our family pumpkins this morning at the local produce stand.  We only picked out pumpkins we felt sorry for... mis-shapen, warts, and discolored.  We've started a tradition of leaving the perfect pumpkins for other families.  I think our little mother load of ghoulish, garrish gourds will make for some of our greatest creations yet when we set the carving knives to work. 
{The proud pumpkin carvers. Mine is the white ghosty gourd.}
{Using power tools to carve... it's the easiest, quickest way to get the job done with less mess.
Here, I'm using a handheld jig-saw.}

I have to admit, Halloween is not my favorite holiday.  I'm only in it for the candy! The mom tax... the kit-kat bars and the almond joys.  (My kids know not to come home until they have scored an almond joy.)
{most years I dress up as a witch, sometimes just the hat...}

Have you ever wondered where Halloween came from?
Here's what I've found about it's history, in a nutshell:
*The holiday comes down to us from the ancient pre-Christian Celtic festival of Samhain, which was held on October 31, the last autumn night before the cold and barrenness of winter.  The Celtic high priests (or Druids) believed the Lord of the Dead ruled and that the super-natural world drew closer to the physical world.  weird. and not a little bit scary....

When Christianity arrived to Ireland, the church attempted to transform the paganism into remembrances of the good who had died by fixing two important church feast days near Sanhain: All Saints' Day (on November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). But old rituals, especially those that speak to the fears and fantasies of our inner life, are hard to eliminate.
When the Irish migrated to America in huge numbers, they brought their All Hallows' Eve (hallow is the Old English word for "saint") customs with them, trading in their lighted turnips for jack-o-lanterns carved out of pumpkins.  The night lost all of its sinister connotations and became a time for fun and frolic.
*(source: Sarah Ban Breathnach's 'Mrs. Sharp's Traditions')
{another vintage illustration I adore of Halloween from yester year.}

How do you keep Hallowe'en sane at your house?  We aren't into the death, blood, grim reaper stuff that Halloween has turned into these days.  But we are into homemade donuts, hot apple cider, grandma Fern's best chili ever, and pumpkin pie.  If you have a tradition that you enjoy, share it with me, I love to hear how people celebrate with their families!