Wednesday, October 26, 2016


    When the moon is full it is said that the canine shape shifters prowl the night seeking new prey! Gypsies around the world tell folktales that warn about the anthropomorphic wolf-men cursed to endure a life of transmutation when the moon is full, becoming a predatory killer until the sun rises.
    Are these half-human, half-wolf "monsters" real, or are they a figment of our imagination, that people ages ago created to explain shadows in the night? Could these shape shifters actually exist? Perhaps Hollywood has instilled a false memory and predisposition for beings of the night, like vampires, zombies and werewolves. Maybe latent fear of the unknown drives the human mind to justify their fear of the dark by creating and believing in strange and bizarre creatures.
     Then it may also be true-werewolves may be more than mythical creatures in stories told by many people with roots that run deep in the old country of their origin. The gypsies may tell tales embellished by years of remembering, but based upon a truth shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

Common Beliefs About Werewolves
  1. The modern day name may come from the Old English "wer-wolf" (where 'wer' means 'man).
  2. Then again the name could come from the Norse legends about the 'berserkers'. who were crazed warriors that dressed as wolves when they savagely raided and pillaged villages in the northern land or Europe.
  3. One more good possibility could be it came from the word "warg-wolf". another name of Norse origin which denotes a rogue or lone wolf type of character prone to stalk their prey before dealing the death blow.
  4. Were-wolves eyebrows come together and there is no skin space between them.
  5. It is said by some that they have "bristles" under their tongue.
  6. When they are in the wolf form they have no tail, keep their human eyes and can speak in human language,not just canine woofs and howls.
  7. When they shift into wolf mode they are said to have super strength and extremely sensitive senses, such as sight and scent.
  8. It is reported in Europe in the 1700's that werewolves would dig up freshly buried corpses to eat.
  9. Scandinavian were-wolves were reported as being old women with poison claws that could paralyze children with their glaring eyes.
  10. The curse which transforms a person into a werewolf is often seen as occurring from a evil allegiance or by being bit or scratched by one who is a werewolf. It has also been deemed by many cultures as being a "divine punishment". During the dark era of the Middle Ages the Catholic Church investigated excommunicated priests who were accused of becoming werewolves.
  11. Taking an oath with Satan or powers of evil is usually the reported path to becoming a werewolf and transformation from bites is rarely a recorded occurrence in historical writings.
  12. The fact that they can be killed by silver bullets is a modern movie generated folk factoid. All tales about werewolves prior to the late 1800's do not talk about silver as a protector from the creatures.
  13. Religious holy water or icons (such as a crucifix) do not keep them away.
  14. Items that will protect you from a werewolf are garland of fresh rye, mistletoe and garlic cloves.
  15. Some modern day researchers believe that werewolves were real people afflicted with a medical condition called hypertrichosis. This is a hereditary disease that caused extreme hair growth all over the body, especially on the face and hands.


The Raven

The Crow

   Raven are the largest members of the crow family, so it's only natural that the two species look similarly.  Ravens are clearly spotted when they are next to crows by their sheer body size.  But ravens and crows do not always conveniently stand next to each other when a human observer is trying to identify them.  Then, the observer has to look at other features on the bird.

The Crow

   A Note On Species Differential
   There are several species of ravens, but the most familiar species is Corvus corax, or the common raven.  Unfortunately, this species is not so common now due to hunting and habitat loss.  Other species of ravens in the world do share similar characteristics, including a mostly black body.  There are raven species that have dark brown feathers or white marks on the back of their necks.  Also there are dozens of species of crows in the world.  Many of these species come in other colors, making it easy to distinguish them from ravens.  But sometimes, a species like the carrion crow  comes in an all-black sub-species.  Then, there are species like the American crow that are also all black, no matter what their age, sex or subspecies.

Beak Shape
   Crows have a basic long spear-like beak shape that's similar to many other species of songbirds.  Ravens have vastly different bill shapes than crows.  They almost seem grotesque in comparison.  If looking at the bill profile, it seems to curve upwards into a shape that bird watchers call "hooked".  One species in Africa, the thick-billed raven has a bill so large that it almost looks like a second head.
   Some species like the common raven and the Australian raven will also have feathers on the part of the bill closest to the head.  In comparison, a crow's bill will be feather-free.  Some species of crows will have a small but prominent hook at the very end of the top half of the beak.  In the thick-billed raven, this tip is white while the rest of the beak is black,  however you have to get pretty close in order to see that.

The Raven

Tail Shape
   The only way to see the tail shape of the bird properly is to see the bird in flight.  Since it flies by so fast, just look at the basic shape the silhouette of the tail creates.  In many all-black crow species, this tail shape is triangular.  But in ravens, the shape is usually more like a wedge.

   Although individual birds vary, in general ravens are much shyer than crows.  However, juvenile ravens have often been observed behaving as bold as crows while their elders admonish them from their hiding places.


   Because of the long and storied history of Halloween, there are many Vintage Halloween traditions that have been associated with the holiday for many years. Halloween, or All Hallows Eve  as was called long ago, has a very special history all its own. The many vintage Halloween customs set this Halloween apart from many other special occasions. The origins of many vintage Halloween traditions are both very colorful and diverse. What we know as modern day Halloween traditions and festivities are rooted in the Vintage Halloween traditions from the original All Hallows Eve  celebrations from centuries long ago.   All Hallows Eve actually evolved from an even older tradition. The pagan festivial, Samhain, was celebrated by ancient Celtic people for many years before it evolved into All Hallows Eve. When Celtic immigrants began entering North America in large numbers during the 19th Century, they brought the


 tradition of Samhain with them, thus laying the groundwork for many of the vintage Halloween customs that are still with us today.    Samhain traditions included dressing up in animal costumes and going door to door in search of a feast. This of course, is the vintage Halloween precursor to what we now call trick-or-treating.  With time, the Samhain celebration evolved into what we know of as All Hallows Eve during the19th century.     The origin of the name All Hallows Eve refers to the timing of Halloween, which is the day before All Hallows Day, now commonly referred to as All Saints Day. All saints day is religious holy day, set aside to honor the saints. All Hallows Eve is now referred to as All Souls day, Which is a day set aside to honor the souls of the departed.    The supernatural aspects of Halloween are strongly rooted in vintage Halloween customs and traditions. The association of ghosts and other supernatural elements with Halloween are rooted in the vintage Halloween beliefs that stem from beliefs about what happens in the supernatural world on the day set aside to honor those who have passed into the next life. Many people believed that All Hallows Eve was the

 one night when ghosts come in contact with the world of the living. In light of this belief, a ghost costumemay just be the best selection to honor vintage Halloween traditions in the modern world.   As time went by, All Hallows Eve evolved into what we now know as Halloween. During the evolution of Halloween from its ancient beginnings to modern day Halloween, the celebration was actually known by several other names. Vintage Halloween names include Hallowe’en, which is a contraction of All-hallow-even, which represents, of course All Hallows Eve. Of course, today, the celebration is referred to simply as Halloween.    The next time you are enjoying a Halloween party, haunted house, or candy obtained through trick-or-treating, remind  yourself that in continuing to observe the traditions of Halloween in the modern world, you are also paying tribute to vintage Halloween celebrations of centuries past.   While you don’t have to know the history of  Halloween to enjoy the many fun and exciting events associated with modern day Halloween celebrations, it is very interesting to look at the long and storied origins of the vintage Halloween traditions that we still enjoy today.


 Bonn Pchum Ben is the festival held for commemoration of the spirits of the dead. The highlight is on the 15th day of the waxing moon during the tenth month of the Khmer calendar, called Pheaktrobotr.
   The festival does not just begin and end on one day. In fact, it lasts 15 days, each of which is called a day of Kan Ben. A Ben is an offering. The word of Ben is derived from Sanskrit pinda, or balls of rice to be offered to the souls of the dead.During the first 14 days, people take turns offering food to the monks of their local pagoda in the hope that their offering will reach the souls of their ancestors by virtue of the monks’ sermons.

Ancient traditions

   Inscriptions in stone left by King Yaçovarman (889-910) tell us that he built numerous monasteries during that period, and that pinda were offered on a monthly basis, not only to “abandoned souls” – souls with no family to make offerings to them – but also to souls of combatants who had died for their country.

Rich and poor

   The present-day Ben are balls of glutinous rice, cooked in coconut milk and mixed with various ingredients according to local customs. The way a Ben is held also differs slightly from locality to locality.
   The final day of Pchum Ben is the most important for all followers. On this day, at every pagoda around the country, the mass collection of offerings (Bens) is dedicated to the souls of ancestors.

   If this duty is ignored, it is believed that the soul is cursed and will haunt the neglectful descendents for the rest of the year.
  In the early morning of the last day of the Pchum Ben Festival, visitors can join the throngs at the pagodas and take photos of local people of all ages in traditional costume. Women especially, don their best traditional dress, and come wearing their silk, embroidered blouses and scarves, bearing offerings, candles and incense.
   Num Onsam and sweet Num Korm (steamed cakes wrapped in banana leaves) are taken to pagodas during the festival to share among participants. Num Onsam is a kind of cylindrical cake of glutinous rice wrapped around a mixture of pork, salt and other ingredients. Num Korm is shaped like a pyramid and made of rice-flour and filled with a coconut and palm sugar mixture.

   Money offered to monks goes towards the construction or renovation of temples and community development such as the construction of bridges and schools, tree planting, or as donations to needy families.
   Khmers believe that fraternal feelings are fostered with the exchange of food and Num Onsam and Num Korm cakes. This ensures that visitors to any pagoda during the Pchum Ben festival will be warmly welcomed and invited to taste these cakes and enjoy the festivities.
   Urns of ancestors placed at the temples are cleaned and taken to a main prayer room. Names of ancestors are listed and invited to in the celebrations, if they do not receive an invite they are unable to receive offerings. At the end of the day participants will join the monks in prayer and chanting in the main prayer room called a ‘viheara’.

   Prior to the midday sun, candles and incense sticks are lit and the food preparations are given the monks. The invitation list with names of ancestors are read out loud and then burned. This ritual is performed to allow the ancestral souls to where their families are. It is said to that families then come together to celebrate and commemorate life. After eating the wonderful foods prepared, the monks pray and shower holy water over families and their ancestors. This time is a spiritual time of remembrance and to receive good karma that the ancestors are said to bring them with them.
   On the last day of Pchum Ben, the above ceremony is performed on a larger and grander scale. The importance of the last day is centred around those souls who may have bad karma, Priad spirits, as this is the only day that they may receive offerings and it’s said that they could benefit from the good karma going around. It is believed that Priads are afraid of light and will only connect with their living relatives during the darkest day of this lunar cycle, the day of Pchum Ben and receive prayers and offerings.

  Reincarnation is deeply enrooted in Cambodian and Buddhist culture, and Pchum Ben is a time of reunion, remembrance and celebration. When families have the opportunity to show appreciation for one's ancestors and show their love for them. The offerings of food and good karma may aid lost souls and guide them back into the cycle of reincarnation. If ancestors are reincarnated, their second chance is to collect good karma for themselves and nurture a peaceful inner spirit this is the final blessing living relatives wish for their ancestors.

Sues’day Bonn Pchum Ben…!!!

Monday, October 24, 2016


   Take some dead body parts. Stitch them together. Add one mad scientist,
and toss in a lightning bolt for good measure. What do you get? The Frankenstein
monster! Alternately portrayed as both mindless killer and a misunderstood gentle giant, the Frankenstein monster is a classic Halloween creep. Learn more about him with these 13 freaky facts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  1. The young Mary Godwin, later wed to poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen.
  2. As a house guest of Lord Byron, Mary Shelley was invited to participate in a challenge. Byron, Shelley, and the other guests set about writing the most frightening story they could. Shelley won, she claimed that her inspiration came from a vision she'd had, wherein a pale student of science knelt over a body which he had just imbued with artificial life.
  3. Doctor Victor Frankenstein is the name of the mad scientist character who created the monster and gave it life.
  4. Frankenstein is a German name meaning, "stone of the Franks."
  5. Victor Frankenstein was based on a real person. Johann Konrad Dippel, who was a physician and mad scientist obsessed with creating life through scientific means. His birthplace? Castle Frankenstein, near Darmstadt, Germany.The name Frankenstein is commonly, but incorrectly used to describe the monster itself. Throughout the novel, Dr. Frankenstein refers to his creation as "devil", "fiend", and other venomous epithets-but the creature is never given a proper name.


  1. Frankenstein was released anonymously in 1818, and was originally sub-titles: The Modern Prometheus. Both Frankenstein and the Prometheus tale serve as warning against too-high aspirations.
  2. The Frankenstein monster first appeared on film in Edison Studios' Frankenstein of 1910.
  3. Universal Studios' Frankenstein was released in 1931. Actor Boris Karloff played the role of the creature. Bela Logosi was initially offered the role, but refused.
  4. The Frankenstein movies paves the way for many sequels, including Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, and Ghost of Frankenstein. Some notable Frankenstein parodies include Young Frankenstein, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which features Doctor Frank N. Furter.


  1. The Frankenstein monster makes a modern screen appearance in 1994's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, where he is portrayed by Robert De Niro. The monster is also featured in 2004's Van Helsing.
  2. Herman Munster, cosmetically based on Frankenstein's monster, was the father of a nice, if creepy, family in the television series The Munsters.
  3. In 2006, horror writer Dean Kootz penned a series of novels that reimagine the Frankenstein story in present-day New Orleans.


  The Autumn season brings with it the cool air, pumpkins, the color changing in the leaves and most of all the fun! Who can resist a fun fall festival or parade. Below are some fall parades that will be going on in the U.S. Have fun.

The Village Halloween Parade In Manhattan, New York

    With 53 Bands of Different Types of Music, Dancers and Artists, The Village Halloween Parade in Manhattan is said to be the most outrageous and most colorful Halloween parties in the United States. This parade has everything you would think a Halloween parade would have. Everything from huge paper-mâché puppets, jugglers, stilt walkers and break dancers and one of the hugest crowd of onlookers possible leading up in the millions. The parade takes place on October 31st at 7pm in Greenwich Village, along 6th Ave from Spring Street to 22nd Street.

New Orleans Halloween Parade ~ Krewe of Boo

    The Krewe of Boo in New Orleans is a Voodoo themed Halloween Parade that happens in the French Quarter. Come see a cast of scary creatures along with the Voodoo Queen herself, Marie Laveau that will highlight the New Orleans' Krewe of Boo. The parade pays homage to the history and culture of New Orleans Unlike carnival parades, this one is a fund raiser for the city's first emergency responders, especially those who served in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The parade is on October 30th, at 6pm, starting at Elysian Fields and Decatur and down to Canal Street and Convention Center Boulevard.

Toms River Halloween Parade

    Toms River New Jersey is having their 73rd Toms River Halloween Parade. Sponsored by the Toms River Fire Dept. Toms River claims this to be the 2nd largest Halloween parade in the US with everything from simple masks to full blown fire-breathing floats.
   With some 6,000 participants and 100,000 spectators, it is sure to be a wild evening. The parade takes place on October 30th at 7pm.

The Anaheim Fall Festival and Parade

    The Anaheim Ca. Halloween parade takes place in Downtown Anaheim on October 30th. They are in their 74th year and they don't plan to slow down. This festival will have everything from a pancake breakfast, games, to costume contests and of course the Halloween parade. The fun starts at 11am and goes until 5pm. The parade will be at noon and will start at Harbor Blvd.

Salem Mass. Haunted Happenings

    How complete would Halloween be to visit Salem Massachusetts. Salem is full of haunting history, and every year starting in October through to Halloween night there are several events, festivals and parades that go on in this city. Some of the haunting events that are fun for kids and adults are:
    Fright Nights at the Witches Cottage, Tricks, Treats and Treasures, Spirit ways: A Night in Besieged Salem Village, Spirits of the Gables, Legacy of the Hanging Judge, Halloween Extravaganza at Vic's Boathouse, Ghost & Legends Trolley Tour and so much more.


America has a fascination with famous celebrities.  America has a captivation with ghosts and ghost stories as well.  So it's just natural that, even after a superstar dies, we're not ready to let go of them.  Maybe they're not ready to move onto the Next World either.  If you want to know where you may get a glimpse of your favorite star, find out about there famous celebrities who still haunt America.

Mariyln Monroe


   While at her home, this "sex goddess" from the 1950's, took an overdose of sleeping pills on August 4, 1962.  She lapsed into a coma, and never regained consciousness.  Marilyn Monroe was pronounced dead on August 5, 1962.
   Today, her ghost is said to still haunt the Brentwood house where she died at.  You can still see Marilyn Monroe's image in a mirror at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard too.  Monroe often stayed at that hotel when her career was its hottest.  The full-length mirror used to be located in her suite by the swimming pool.  It's since been moved to the lobby where people report seeing her image in it.

Lucille Ball

   Another one of the famous celebrities who still haunts America is the beloved Lucille Ball.  This comedic actress starred in numerous films, as well as in her own successful TV show, "I Love Lucy", in the 1950's.  Ball was 77 years old when she died on April 26, 1989 during surgery. 
   Ever since then, the ghost of Lucille Ball reportedly haunts her former home at 100 North Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, California.  There are accounts of strange happenings in the home, such as broken windows, haunting voices and furniture and other items moving around the house.

Orson Welles

   Orson Welles will long be remembered as one of the most talented writers,  actors and producers in Hollywood history.  His brilliant career ended when the portly man died from a heart attack in his home in Hollywood, California on October 10, 1985.  Welles was 70 years old.
   If you visit Sweet Lady Jane's Restaurant in Los Angeles, you might get to see Orson Welles, a famous celebrity who still haunts America.  During his life, the 8360 Melrose Avenue address belonged to a restaurant called "Ma Maison".  The eatery was known for its tasty food and its rich desserts.  Welles enjoyed fine dining and he often ate there.  He even had a favorite table.
   It's believed the ghost of Orson Welles has been seen sitting at that same table after his death.  Along with eating fine foods, he had a passion for brandy and cigars.  Some of the restaurant staff and customers have reported smelling brandy  and cigar smoke when he's been seen.


   Born "Walter Valentino Liberace", but known as simply "Liberace" by his adoring fans, this famous celebrity died on February 4, 1987.  He was 68 years old.  Liberace was known for his remarkable piano talents.  He will also be remembered as the man who loved to dazzle his audiences with the numerous diamonds he wore.
   Since Liberace's death, his ghost has been reported to have taken up residence at Caruccio's Tivoli Gardens.  He had owned the restaurant, and had a private lounge there he entertained his dearest friends.  The ghostly reportings include bottles that fall over, restroom locks that mysteriously lock and unlock, and unexplained power outages.  One year on May 16th, the electricity at the restaurant suddenly shut off.  The story goes that nothing could be found wrong with it.  Finally, one of the staff realized it was Liberace's birthday.  They wished him a "Happy Birthday", and the power was restored.

Harry Houdini

   During his life, Harry Houdini was Known as a top-rate magician and escape artist.  But, on October 31, 1926, this famous celebrity wasn't able to escape the final grips of death...or did he?  Houdini had a keen interest in the occult.  Before he died, he promised his wife Bess he would come back from "the other side" and contact her.
   Today, the ghost of Harry Houdini can reportedly be seen haunting the property which is located at 2398 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in  Hollywood.  This address is where his house was formerly located.  The house burned down in 1959.

John Lennon

  Singer/songwriter  John Lennon is another famous celebrity who still haunts America.  Up to his death, this former "Beatle" made his home at The Dakota Building, 1 West 72nd Street, in New York City.  On December 8, 1980, a crazed fan named Mark Chapman shot Lennon to death as he was walking into the apartment building.
   Since that time, it's reported that John Lennon's ghost can be seen walking up and down the halls of the building.



The next couple of weeks before Halloween, don't cuddle up with a book and read some kind of romance novel!   Go down to your video store, redbox rental unit or dig out one of these from your collection of movies (you do have your own stash of scary Halloween movies, don't you?).  Grab one of these and pop it in the dvd player, make some popcorn, grab some snacks (some Reese's chocolate), and a soda or two and sit back in your favorite chair or on the sofa and get ready to be entertained (or if you haven't seen them before, I hope they scare you so much that you sleep with the lights on!). Here's my top thirteen favorite scary and not so scary movies, not in any order, for this Halloween season!


30 Days of Night 

   This 2007 vampire tale has a strong story and excellent acting.  The set design is beautifully done and very realistic.  It takes place in Alaska during the time when the sun doesn't shine.  Based on the 30 Days of Night  comic books, there are some scary scenes in the film as the vampires descend on the little town.


The Ring

   A remake of the Japanese movie Ringu, The Ring is one of the top Halloween movies that may not scare you if you see it a second time,  but it will most certainly scare you the first time around. 


The Grudge

   A remake of the Japanese movie Ju-on, which is also extremely good, The Grudge is often criticized for not being as good as the Japanese version.  It does a great job of staying true to the Japanese style of horror. 


Dawn of the Dead

   (The 2004 remake)-This one is scarier than the original 1978 zombie movie, but not as scary as the first zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead, also directed by George Romero.  Dawn of the Dead, the remake, is in color and it starts out with a bang right away.  The zombies move fast and the scenes are terrifying.  The music used in the movie, such as Johnny Cash's The Man Comes Around in the opening scene, is perfect.


The Descent

   The Decent was a different movie because there were only women in the movie.  This group of women decide to go exploring in a cavern.  The trip goes horribly wrong from the beginning when there is a rock slide and their entrance is blocked.  So the only was out, they think, is to go deeper into the cave.  Wouldn't be scary without some humans that evolved into blood thirsty creatures.  These creatures stalk the women in the pitch black cavern and pick them off one by one.  These aren't the wimpy screaming women you are used to; they give these monsters a run for their money


The Strangers

   This movie was scary.  What makes it particularly scary is knowing it was based on a true story.  This young couple returns to their remote summer house in the woods in the early hours of the morning.  Strange noises begin and knocks on the door.  Then people with cartoon masks begin appearing in the yard and in the windows.  Then the couple is terrorized throughout the night by the two women and one man in the masks.  Then they get into the house and that's when the violence starts.  When the young couple asks why the three bad people are doing this to them, and one of them says, "because you were home".



   A newscaster and her cameraman are shadowing a fire department for a weekend.  The fireman are called to an apartment complex for an emergency and the newscaster follows.  Quickly thereafter, the police show up and then chaos begins.  Nobody is allowed out of the building.  Police and sharp shooters won't allow anyone to enter or exit the building, not even the police.  Then things go down hill.  Screams come from the upstairs and a bloody deranged woman attacks a firefighter, ripping out his jugular vein.  people become infected and chase, bit and kill the people i the building.  This movie will have you on the edge of your seat from all of the attacks.  You will wonder if you would rather take your chance with the sharp shooters outside or being eaten by what's in the building!


Jeepers Creepers 2

   A winged creature goes on his 23 day feeding frenzy.  He comes to life every 21 years to feed.  He picks his victims by their scent.  If its something on you that he likes he'll take it out of your body.


The Thing

   No other horror movie scared me more as a kid than John Carpenter's 1982 thriller/horror movie, The Thing.  This time it is a shape shifting alien that is doling out the carnage, and it is doing so in particularly gruesome ways.


The Nightmare Before Christmas

   One of my favorite movies by Tim Burton.  Not everything has to scary to watch during Halloween. This is a good movie for the whole family, and if you ever get a chance to go to Disneyland during the Halloween season, go take the Haunted Mansion ride.  It's decorated as The Nightmare Before Christmas and is pretty cool, even while you're waiting in line to get into it, there's alot of great looking decorations.


Sleepy Hollow (1999)

   Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to  investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.  This is another Tim Burton film, and is very enjoyable to watch.  I wouldn't recommend it for younger kids, there are some scary parts plus the decapitations of heads flying around.


Beetle Juice

   This film was one of the better films of the 80's.  Tim Burton directed this one also.  This is a great family film that is good any time of the year.


Trick 'r Treat

   Trick 'r Treat is a collection of creepy stories that mixes fun with fear, candy with poison, and laughter with screams.  In the tradition of Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt comes four interwoven tales set on Halloween night; A high school principal who moonlights as a vicious serial killer; A young virgin whose quest for that special someone takes a gruesome turn; A group of teens who carry out a cruel prank with disastrous consequences; And a cantankerous old man who battles a mischievous trick-or-treating demon.

Friday, October 21, 2016



   Halloween, as we know it has been a tradition in our country for many years, but have you ever wondered where it came from?  The Celts, or people from and around Ireland, the United Kingdom and Northern France around 2000 years ago had their new year as November the 1st.  So that meant  the end of the year for them, the time when the harvest was over and the start of the long cold winter was October 31st.  Due to the facts that many people died in the winter, and the living world and the dead opened up.  On this day the dead could invade the world of the living and priests would be able to predict the future and talk to the dead more easily.  They would dress up and at a large central bonfire, pay homage to their Celtic deities, sacrificing animals to the gods.  They would also try to tell each others fortunes while dressed up in costumes of animal skins and heads.

  These festivals of sorts was known as Samhain (pronounced sow-in).
   Later on after the area has been conquered by the Romans, they combined two Roman holidays with the Celtic one, this occurred over a 400 year period that the Romans occupied the area.  Feralia, was the Roman day that they commemorated the passing of the dead,  it was held in Late October.   The other was to honor Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees.  The symbol of Pomona is the apple, the origin of our present day bobbing for apples.

Pomona, the Goddess of Fruit and Trees

   In the 7th century, after Christianity had spread into the Celtic lands, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1st as All Saints' Day, a day to honor saints and martyrs.  The celebrations were call All-Hallows or All-Hallowmas and the night before became All-Hallows Eve, eventually becoming our Halloween.


Pope Boniface IV


   Trick or Treating has it's origins in a tradition in England, called the All Souls' Day parade.  During the festivities of the day, the poor would beg for food from the residents and those better off.  They would be given soul cakes, little pastries and were asked to pray for the souls of the relatives of the ones who gave the cakes away.  The practice which was sanctioned by the church as a replacement for the ancient practice of leaving out food and wine for the roaming spirits, was soon referred to as "going-a-souling".  Children soon took this practice up, leaving it to kids, to get food, ale and money from neighbors.  
   Wearing costumes come from both Celtic and European heritage, dressing up was thought to make the wearer unrecognizable to the ghosts of the dead.  The dead would confuse them with other spirits, and to further protect themselves, people would leave bowls of food outside their doors to appease the ghosts.  When immigrants came to America, the tradition continued with a few twists, adding mostly due to the varying beliefs of the groups in different areas and with different religious convictions.  The merging of separate groups of religion, nationality and even Native American traditions changed the All-Hallows Eve into more of a party for the harvests of the year and a celebration to honor the dead.

   At the turn of the century,in the1900's, the government and newspapers encouraged people to have more of a celebration and less of the ghoulish and frightening aspect of Halloween.  Parades and festivities were encouraged and over the years a national holiday emerged.  Sometime between 1920 and 1950 the tradition of trick or treating was revived. Thought of as a way for the whole community to share the holiday traditions.


      The Jack O'Lantern got it's origin from a popular tale from Ireland.  The story goes that a man named Jack was very stingy, an old miserable drunk who liked to play tricks.  One day he even played a trick on the Devil.   He got him to climb a tree and when the Devil was up in the tree he placed crosses all around the tree, the Devil could not get down.  Jack made the Devil promise that when he died, the Devil would not take his soul.  The Devil promised, and years later when Jack died, the Devil kept his promise.  After Jack was denied entry to Heaven for his miserable life and mean tricks, he met the Devil in Hell where the Devil told him he could not enter.  Jack was now scared, he would forever walk the dark areas between Heaven and Hell.  The Devil gave him an ember from the fires of Hell to light his way.  Jack put it in a hollowed out Turnip, which he always carried as it was his favorite food.  In Ireland, the Irish would place a candle in hollowed out turnips, gourds, rutabagas, potatoes and even beets to ward off stingy Jack.  When Irish immigrants arrived in America, they discovered the pumpkin, and found it could be hollowed out and carved much easier than the smaller vegetables.


    We get both the tradition of pumpkin carving and pumpkin pie from Native Americans.  The Native Americans used it as a food staple, before the first settlers in America knew about  the pumpkin.  They got this plant from South and central America, where seeds have been found dating back thousands of years.  The immigrants who arrived, soon used the pumpkin in many dishes including one that they would scoop out the seeds and pulp from inside of it and bake it with milk, honey and spices and then eat it, thus the pumpkin pie was born.


    Most of our traditions of Halloween do not come from America at all.  They all have their origins from European countries in both religious and spiritual beliefs.  The day of Halloween is not just about the dead or pranks to pull on other people but about the end of the harvest and the warm part of the year coming to an end.  The remembering and honoring the dead is not done by any one nationality or people, but by many.  Most people in one way or another honor and remember the people they have loved and knew on this day.  Halloween is a day that we can celebrate the people of the past and help to keep their memories alive.