It will be spooky by the end of October with ghoulish glowing Jacko lanterns, repulsive-looking sweets, and fearsome masks and disguises especially with Halloween creeping up on 31st.
Where Does the Name Come From?
The word Halloween comes from the English name All Hallows Eve, which refers to the Catholic holiday, All Saints Day. On November 1st, 835 CE the holiday was introduced to commemorate deceased saints and martyrs.
However, the custom dates back more than 2000 years ago. On November 1st, the Celtic feast of Samhain marked the beginning of winter and the Celtic New Year. It was believed that the night before, the border between the realms of the living and the dead was blurred, allowing the spirits to walk the earth. Therefore, people would set up lights and food for their ancestors’ return. At some point, they became afraid of the spirits. They began disguising themselves with creepy masks and costumes to scare them off.
The Jack-O’-Lantern: Synonym for Halloween
The Jack-O’-Lantern plays an important role in Halloween. In the US and Europe, pumpkins are hollowed out, carved, and a candle is placed inside. This tradition stems from the Irish legend of Jack Oldfield, a blacksmith who had betrayed the devil. The flickering light of the Jack-o-Lantern symbolizes his ghostly soul. After his betrayal, he was denied passage into hell and through the gates of heaven. His soul was doomed to wander forever between heaven and hell. Out of pity, the devil gave him a hollow turnip as a lantern. Jack Oldfield became Jack-O’-Lantern. The creepy carved grimaces are used to ward off evil spirits.
Pumpkin Carving Basics
What is the best way to create a magnificent Jack o’ Lantern?
- cut a lid out of the pumpkin with a large, sharp knife at the top
- make the cut at an angle in the direction of the center so that a supporting surface is created and the lid cannot fall inwards
- leave the stem on the top of the pumpkin, it will later serve as handle
- next, hollow out the pumpkin with a big spoon. When finished the pumpkin should be about 1” thick
- draw your design either freehand or with a stencil on the pumpkin using a water-soluble pencil
- cut out the lines with a sharp kitchen knife or a cutter
Tip: Before cutting, puncture the lines with a thick needle or a drill bit to make it easier to cut them out of the hard shell.
Trick or Treat?
It’s not Halloween without sweets! However, their appearance may deter you. You’ll have to choose between rubber eyes, arachnids, severed fingers, and slimy worms. Adding to the horror are meringue spirits, skull cakes, and witch muffins. As soon as the sun goes down on Halloween, children go door to door and demand “trick or treat”. If the little monsters are left empty-handed, the inhabitants of the house may be threatened with pranks in retaliation.
The act of trick or treating began over a thousand years ago in Wales. In the Welsh tradition of “Cennad y Meirw”, the poorer parishioners would wear masks and move from house to house to collect food for the return of their deceased relatives. They wore masks that represented the deceased and used the disguise to not to be recognized by evil spirits. If they were denied food by the homeowners, they would vandalize the people’s home or possessions.
Our Suggestions for Fun Halloween Decorations
Nowadays fun is the most important thing. The pumpkin dishes, disguises and decoration ideas around Halloween have become more and more funny and fancy. Here are a few suggestions for décor at your horror party:
- Huge pumpkin scarecrows on your front porch
- Instead of inside, on top: use a pumpkin as a candle holder
- Stencil a gold leaf on a pumpkin
- Cow, cat or hedgehog – make funny animals out of pumpkins
- Impressive Etagere from thick pumpkins for the sweets
- Door wreath made of decorative pumpkins
- For the Halloween party: use a decorative pumpkin with name tag instead of a place card
- Why always orange: Paint it any color you choose – pink, white, or black
So perfectly equipped everything is perfectly prepared. Now Halloween can come!