Halloween. That one little word inspires the imagination with images of ghosts, goblins, candy, and maybe even a prank or two. What was once a pagan holiday honoring the dead has become a national day for dressing in costume and gorging oneself on candy. And while the malls and supermarkets have been prepping you (not so subtly) for the big day since August, chances are your house is not yet decked for the spooky holiday. From “cute” to the “downright creepy,” if you are looking for a little All Hallows Eve inspiration this season, check out these fun facts and ideas to get those creative juices flowing and your little ghosts howling with glee.
Most people agree that Halloween started in Ireland as a pagan holiday honoring the dead. November 1st was the beginning of their new year, and on October 31, all the spirits of those who died that year would rise up and roam the night. The people would wear costumes and masks so that the spirits wouldn’t be able to pick out the mortals, and that way would not harm those still living. Jack-o-lanterns were originally made from turnips, and were set out, with little treats inside, as offerings to appease the spirits.
This eventually turned from a Druid holiday to a time of silly fun and parties that we know today. Halloween is second only to Christmas in spending; that’s a lot of candy and decorations!
While decoration trends change from year to year, there are some classics that are must-haves, like pumpkins. While jack-o-lanterns may have started out as turnips, pumpkins soon took over the role of protecting us against the spirits roaming the world, and now no house looks complete without a few pumpkins in attendance. Whether carved into a scary face, or decorated with paints, ribbons, or lights, pumpkins are a Halloween staple.
If you want to keep with tradition, then all things ghosts, ghouls, and graveyards are also an essential to have. Tombstones, skeletons, spiders, bats, and monsters all fit into the mix. They can range from “cute” to “absolutely terrifying”, it’s up to you. A few ghosts and spiders will complete the ensemble, as will anything orange and black. Orange has come to symbolize the end of the harvest, while black brings in death, spirits, and ghouls.
Treats, along with your decorations, are an essential part of your Halloween experience. Cakes covered in spiders, cupcakes that look like witches, and cookies shaped like spiders or tombstones are always a great hit. You can go for a more spooky feel by serving any number of foods as bugs, worms, spiders or maggots, or as random body parts—eyeballs, fingers, toes, bones, or internal organs.
Whether you go for fun and cute or creepy and terrifying, Halloween is a great time for kids of all ages. Enjoy braving the one night of the year when spirits of the past roam our world!
Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose pride and joy is her family. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves being outdoors, playing sports, and writing anything from plumbers in Vancouver to candy makers in San Francisco.