Wednesday is Halloween, the day when people tend to forget about who they are and focus on what is unreal or imaginary. It’s a great break from politics and with the election only a week away, "trick or treat" has never sounded better. Halloween is thought to have originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in) which marked the end of the summer harvest season and the start of the cold, dark winter. It was believed that the night before the new year, the boundary before the dead and the living was blurred. As such, October 31 became the night of Samhain when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to the dead.
Today’s American Halloween traditions dates back to early All Souls’ Day Parades in England in which the poor would beg for food and families would give out deserts called “soul cakes” in exchange for the promise of praying for the family’s dead relatives. For those that plan on celebrating Halloween, here are some of the most common themes of Halloween.
People will use any excuse they can to throw a party. If you are planning on throwing a party or a small get-together with a few friends, don’t forget the games! Usually people dress up in a costume for a Halloween party, sometimes even having contests and prizes for the best costume. Party themes are usually meant to be spooky in the spirit of Halloween, though some choose to go with a specific theme such as monsters or vampires. There are plenty of ideas out there to help one have a fun party, if they choose.
Candy confectioners love this time of year, as candy sales are higher than any other time during the year. According to Bundle, American consumers buy nearly 600 million tons of candy every Halloween making for a $1.9 billion haul or $44 per household. That’s quite a bit of candy for just one night. According to a TIME survey, 65% of American children love Halloween, mostly because they enjoy dressing up and getting candy. For those with children, candy is an important part of Halloween even if most of them know it is still bad for them. Those that want to do more with the candy can take part in the Halloween Candy Buyback Program, which is a program in cooperation with dentists which sends candy to troops overseas in the form of care packages and as a bonus toothbrush and toothpaste sets are also sent.
Halloween is a creepy night that relies on ghost stories or other superstitious tales for entertainment. As history.com points out, when the concept of Halloween first began with the Celts and the end of summer, places were left at the dinner table and treats left on doorsteps to help people find their way back to the spirit world. Today’s Halloween superstitions are much darker, with ghosts and spirits depicted as scary and sometimes demonic. In 18th century Ireland, one story was that a matchmaking cook would place a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween hoping to bring true love to whoever found it. Another story went if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made from an assortment of nuts, she would dream about her future husband. It is interesting to look at the different superstitions from the past compared with those of today.
There is plenty of spooky music which can be played on Halloween to get one into the spirit. Today, most people enjoy playing any type of music at parties but there are creepy song choices out there for those who are interested. Here 10 songs which are sure to be a hit, whether you are at a party or just want to enjoy Halloween night.
1. Thriller — Michael Jackson
2. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
3. This is Halloween — The Nightmare Before Christmas
4. Somebody’s Watching Me — Rockwell
6. Cuckoo — Adam Lambert
7. Zombie — Family Force 5
8. The Kill (Bury Me) — Thirty Seconds to Mars
9. Radioactive — Imagine Dragons
10. Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites — Skrillex (Skrillex is good for the creepy factor).
For those in the Northeast dealing with Hurricane Sandy, I hope that you are able to get through this storm. I pray for those that have lost loved ones and homes. Stay safe.