Shadows are falling and the October winds are blowing their way to the end of the month when Halloween once again is upon us.  A day when the creepy cast of characters rear their ugly heads and witches take flight on their brooms.  Not to forget the spooks and ghosts coming from the graveyard to SCARE you AHHHHH, BOOOOO.

     Oh come on now, Halloween is not all scary stuff.  It can be lots of fun with dressing up in your favorite ghoulish costume or silly-fun costume and bags of goodies, fun games, yummy jelly apples, candy corn and all types of delicious holiday food.  Oh it's such fun to put your home in the Halloween mood with that Jack-O-Lantern grimacing his face in your window or on your front porch.

     So let the fun begin!  We've got recipes, Halloween's ghoulish facts and stories, crafts,  costume and make-up ideas and much more.  Just click on the links above to go to the sections that peak your interest. 

Origins of Halloween

     Halloween is a festival of Scottish-Irish origin, held on All Hallows Eve, the night of October 31. Elements of the customs connected with Halloween can be traced to a Druid ceremony in pre-Christian times.

     The Celts had festivals for two major gods - a sun god and a god of the dead (called  Samhain), whose festival was held on November 1, the beginning of the Celtic New Year.  The festival of the dead was gradually incorporated into Christian ritual.  In the 9th century a feast in honor of all the saints (All Hallows) was fixed on  November 1, and in the 11th century November 2 was specified as All Souls' Day to honor the souls of the dead, particularly those who had died in the preceding year.

     In Europe, during medieval times and later, elves, fairies, and witches (who occasionally took the shape of cats) were believed to fly on All Hallows Eve, and bonfires were lit to ward off these spirits.  Vestiges of these beliefs and  practices persisted in Scotland and Ireland into recent times.  Halloween was also a time for games and rituals involving methods of foretelling the future.  Through such omens as apple parings thrown over the shoulder or nuts burned in the fire, young people tried to determine their marital prospects.

 

     Halloween traditions were taken by the Scots and Irish to America, where the pumpkin replaced the turnip for carved jack-o-lanterns.  In the late 19th century the Irish belief that the "little people" or fairies, played pranks on Halloween led boys and young men to carry out practical jokes on that night - for example, putting a buggy on a roof or overturning small buildings.  In the 20th century a less destructive practice became customary.  Children dress up in costumes and go from door to door for "trick or treat."  They collect candy or pennies; inhospitable or absent householders may be punished by tricks now customarily mild.