Some historians have explored the origins of Halloween and note that while “some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, they feel it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain (sow-an), and means roughly “summer’s end”. The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half”, and is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year”.
The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm.
Halloween costumes are traditionally modeled after monsters such as ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Over time, the costume selection extended to include popular characters from fiction, celebrities, and generic archetypes such as ninjas and princesses. As children come to your house this Sunday evening, enjoy the many costumes you will see and give a treat!!
Halloween Party Tips!
- Add to your table decor by using a pumpkin to hold your vegetables. Cut a pumpkin almost in half, cutting the top in a jagged edge design. Clean it out and dry well. Display carrots, celery, broccoli, etc. in the pumpkin bowl. Cut the top off a smaller pumpkin to use as a bowl for vegetable dip.
- Take clear food handling gloves (non latex gloves) and fill with water. Freeze overnight. Remove the material and add the icy hands to your punch bowl!
- To be the scariest looking house on the block, put a strobe light in the window. The effect from the outside looks like lightning and will bring all the neighbourhood kids to your door!
- Do you like glow sticks? Purchase a bunch at your local dollar store and attach some to your child’s costume so they can be seen in the dark. Or, fill black balloons with helium and attach a long string or fishing line (so it is not visible). Then tie on a glow stick somewhere on the string/line. Secure the string somewhere on the ground and let it float over your house for an eerie look. (FYI: It is not safe for nature to release helium balloons into the sky and St. Catharines by-laws do not permit it.)