Trick or Treat
Time to think about carving pumpkins and what you want to be on that special night. You have one chance a year to become anyone in the world. That's not what Halloween was really about.
Halloween, also known as "All Hallows Eve", is a holiday that is associated with death and the supernatural. It is observed on October 31 in North America as well as some parts of Western Europe. Halloween falls on the eve of All Saints' Day, a Roman Catholic holiday. All Saints' Day was originally a pagan celebration of the dead and later became recognized in the Catholic church as a day to honor Christian Saints. Halloween is also associated with The Day Of The Dead, a Mexican holiday that coincides with all Saints' Day. During this celebration, Mexicans fill their homes with skeleton decorations, festive food, and later visit the graves of their deceased ancestors.
How did Halloween start? According to ancient Celtic tradition, Halloween (known to the Celts as Samhain) was a holiday of festivities to honor the end of a productive harvest season. This custom begins at sundown on October 31 and is celebrated long into the early hours of the following morning. According to the pagan Celtic religion of Druidism, those who died the past year would roam the earth on the night of Samhain. The Celtic people would appease these spirits with offerings of food and drink. At the same time, other Celts honored powerful deities by burning bonfires atop sacred hills. Sometimes, they went so far as to sacrifice animals or human beings during their ceremony.
Many Halloween festivities originate from folklore and pagan traditions. Supernatural forces and spirits of the dead all come to life on this hauntingly glorious day. Halloween decorations are often images of pumpkins, witches, black cats, ghosts, werewolves, vampires, bats and other associated paranormal.
Dressing up in costume one day a year to "become" whoever they desire is ritual-like tradition is considered to be harmless and fun. The more classical costumes are that of witches and ghosts.Trick-or-treating" became part of Halloween tradition in which children traveled from house to house soliciting candy from neighbors. The term "trick-or-treat" resorts back to the original idea that if a treat is not given to the person who asks, then a devious (but harmless) trick will be played on the unwilling participant. Due to its increasing acts of crime, many people now give Halloween parties to replace this holiday custom.
Halloween is overall, a deliciously splendid holiday celebration where people feel free to reveal a deeper (sometimes playfully darker) side to themselves in the midst of others. "Spirits" come out to play, fun-filled festivities are prevalent, everyone can be "anyone" and the occult is magically acceptable to all beings at least for one day. The Mardi Gras in New Orleans is like Halloween with their use of costumes and festive parites where anyone can be someone other than themself.
Decorate for a Halloween Party
1. Put your guest in a party mood with an festive well decorated front yard entrance. Arrange a family of pumpkins sitting on a bench or on lawn chairs set up in your front yard. Decorate the pumpkins with painted faces, wigs and hats. Use festive and colorful clothing for their bodies and stuff them with plastic bags filled with newspapers. Get a bail of hay from a local gardening or feed store and use that as a backdrop, a place to sit scary decoarations on or just as a decorative effect for the fall season. Make a scarecrow or other figures and use the hay as a stuffing in the clothes. PLease no candles or open flames near the hay.
2. Hang a seasonal wreath or swag on the front door. The arrangement can be simple autumn leaves in fall colors, Indian corn tied together, or, for a more dramatic look, a wreath lit in the center with a battery-operated jack-o-lantern. For another welcoming touch, greet your guests with a seasonal doormat shaped like a pumpkin, ghost, or witch.
3. Illuminate trees in your front lawn so they sparkle with garlands of Halloween-themed lights from pumpkins to witches or ghosts. Position black cats on metal stakes around the trees and on the walkway leading up to your house. Get white paper bags and tea candles. Line the walkway with them and light the tea candles in the bag. The effect is great.
4. Turn the front yard into a spooky cemetery by erecting several tombstones on the lawn made from plywood or foam board painted gray. Add funny epitaphs to the tombstones under headings such as Count Dracula, the Mummy, the Werewolf of London and Frankenstein. For an even scarier effect, place a tub of dry ice behind a tombstone in the middle of the cemetery so it gives off a cloud of white smoke.
Decorating the Inside of the house
1. To create mood lighting, hang strings of orange and black bulbs around the house and glow-in-the-dark skeletons. Place decorative Halloween candles throughout the party scene.
2. Surprise your guests by suspending bats and spiders from the ceiling on fishing tackle line so they appear to be flying through the air. You can make the bats and spiders with felt or paper mache.
3. Decorate the windows of your home with stained glass pumpkins and other Halloween figures made from construction paper. Have scary music palying as they enter. Special effects can be purchased to make sound effects like creaky doors when they open. Todays assortment of mechanical figures available can really add to the event but the real excitement is in the atmoasphere you create with props and decorations.
4. Everyone loves candy on Halloween so arrange sweets in themed bowls. Don't forget the candy apples. Specialty molds that look like body parts can be made with Jello and really look authentic when done right. Try to get bowls and plates that go along with Hallowen color schemes.