Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Story of Halloween

Halloween, a day of fright, folklore, goblins and above all fun for all those who are of a mind to simply enjoy themselves by letting loose their imagination however many may ask what is the history behind this holiday that has come to be celebrated through out the world? First off all we might ask what are the origins of the name Halloween and what if any meaning does it have?

Regarding the origins of the word Halloween, the answer is a simple one. It all started many centuries ago when there was a Catholic holiday called “All Martyr’s Day”; celebrated on May 13 however it came to be that the date of this holiday was changed to the 1st of November while the name transformed to All Saint’s Day”. This change prompted that October 31, the day before came to be known as “All Hollow’s Evening”. As one can now observe “Halloween” is the short form of these two words, put in to one.

This explains the name Halloween however what about the rest? Where did it came about that people took to putting on customs in an attempt to frighten others? Well the explanation to this lies in Ireland; as it was there and according to the calendar of the Celts that the 1st of November was the first day of the year which made the 31st of October the last day. Tradition had it that on this last day of the year which the Celts referred to as Samhain; the line that separated the living from the dead all but disappeared; making it possible for the souls of the dead to intermingle with the living. However the souls of the dead contacted the living with evil intensions. These being to posses their bodies so they might come back to the world of the living, thus escaping from the spiritual world. It was secure in their believe that ancient Celtics felt the need to put on costumes of fright which they felt would surely ward off those evil spirits which were bound to attempt to posses their bodies.

In a way one could see that this to the Celtics which eventually became a tradition was not really so much a matter of having fun but a form of saving their souls and bodies; therefore it was with this in mind that they also went about their neighborhoods making as much noise as possible. Now in the 21st century, we of course can think of this is as being silly but to the Celts it was anything but as it sometimes happened that after Samhain; a person was even killed by those near him or her who believed the person they were killing was no longer the person they had known but a body inhabited by an evil spirit. Naturally with the passing of the years, faith in the concept that one could have one’s body taken waned and Halloween became a more ceremonial event as well as a joyous one for both children and adults.

Now a days for instance in the United States, Halloween is the second biggest money making holiday. Second only to Christmas as it is during the weeks that lead up to this day that many a person; both very young and not so young go out and purchase a costume in order to attend either a Halloween party or go “trick or treating”. Costumes however are not the only items available to those wishing to spend money on the celebration of Halloween as they may also acquire decorations, games and even foods connected with this day of ghosts and witches. Yes, Halloween even serves for the purpose of selling food products such as cakes and other edible objects which are made with decorations pertaining to this very special day of the year. All of which making Halloween a day which has more to it then just putting on strange clothes.

During the last few years however the fad has lead people away from costumes of freight such as ghosts or vampires and in to more diversified fields such as some of the younger ladies dressing up as princesses while some of the boys do so as action heroes such as Batman. Of course there are those who obtain their ideas for dressing up from history books and become Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington or other such characters whose image has lasted through out the years. I for my part ;if I could find the costume which would make me the character I wish to be? This I can say with all sincerity that I would become Darth Vader or at least for the day that is Halloween. This being the case since I am a huge Star Wars fan.

Halloween in this day and age is celebrated all through out the world and contrary to what many may think it did not start in the United States but in Ireland and it was also there that the idea of bobbing for apples came about as the Romans brought it when they invaded many years later. Another Halloween tradition in the United States is “trick or treating” however this concept is not connected so much with Samhain but with a certain group of people; who during the middle ages performed an act which came to be called “souling”. Souling being where a person would knock on somebody’s door asking for “soul cakes” in exchange for which he or she would say a prayer for the souls of the dead relatives of the one who should be generous enough to give out “soul cakes”. Today however this practice has changed in many ways as it has turned in to children going from door to door saying “trick or treat”; where the person answering the door is confronted with the choice of either giving a treat which might be a sweet or something of the sort or having some dastardly trick played on his home. These tricks however for the most part are harmless and limited to having something written on his or her door with chalk (which can be easily washed away) or some trash being left and rarely if ever go beyond what could be hailed as a prank.
A Halloween Book: How to Haunt a House for Halloween

In conclusion we could say that Halloween is a day that can be celebrated by just about anybody given its not being either a religious holiday nor one connected to patriotism; all of which makes it the ideal international holiday it has become. As for myself personally it has been in the time which I have lived in Poland that I have made every effort to bring the tradition of Halloween not only to my daughter, Paullina but to her friends who last year much to my near shock and that of several of the neighbors went out “trick or treating”. All of which made me see that my efforts to bring the wonder of Halloween to Poland have not been in vain.

Article Source: http://www.articleset.com

Saturday, January 3, 2009

How Did Halloween Start?

Submitted by lillied
Thu, 9 Oct 2008

Have you ever wonder how Halloween got started? The modern holiday of Halloween has its origins in the ancient Gaelic festival known as Samhain. The Festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Halloween started in Ireland,originally it was a pagan festival and then it was brought over to America in the early 1900s.

Halloween started as a pagan celebration in Ireland and Scotland in pre-Christian days, although the modern practice of trick or treat is an entirely American invention.

The other holiday which blended into our modern Halloween, is All Hallows' Eve the Christian holiday to honor the saints. People believed that on this night, witches (in the form of black cats), flew about and ghosts and demons were free to roam the land. It was the night to have your future told or play games like bobbing for apples.
Tom Little''s Great Halloween Scare

Today Halloween has become a time of trick or treating for children. Children dress in their favorite costumes and go from house to house receiving treats. Many adults also like to dress for "Halloween" and enjoy it as much as the children. In the United States, Halloween has really gained in popularity. Not only do children along with their parents go from house to house trick or treating, but many parties are planned around Halloween.

Some symbols of Halloween are witches, black cats, ghosts and goblins, bowls of candy corn, and pumpkins. It is difficult to celebrate Halloween without a carved or painted pumpkin on your porch.Pumpkins have become a symbol of Halloween and many enjoy painting or carving pumpkins. The pumpkin originated in Mexico about 9,000 years ago. It is one of America's oldest known vegetables. Carving a face on a pumpkin and placing a candle inside the carved pumpkin is know as a jack-o-lantern.
A Halloween Book: How to Haunt a House for Halloween

There are many issues involving the celebration of Halloween but it doesn't matter why we celebrate Halloween-it is a fun holiday, and children love having the opportunity to dress up and get lots and lots of candy. Though Halloween might have once had pagan origins, it is primarily a commercial holiday in this day and age. People spend $6.9 billion dollars on Halloween every year, whether it is on candy or decorations. It is a wonderful way to get spooked and have some fun!
For more information on Pumpkin Painting

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Halloween Is In The Air! Six Reasons Why We Love The Scary Season

When the nights begin to draw in and beautiful autumnal reds and browns start to color the trees, it's a sure sign that the season of Halloween is approaching. Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the calendar, and the National Retail Federation's Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, reports that nearly two thirds of consumers expect to celebrate it in 2006.

Halloween has come a long way from its Celtic origins, when the original festival of Samhain took place to mark the passage between the two main seasons, summer and winter. In that ancient culture, the celebration was closely connected with the importance of the harvest and the belief that spirits wandered free at this time of the year.

While supernatural beliefs may no longer play a central role in modern day Halloween celebrations, there are still many colorful traditions and customs that remind us of the legends and rituals of the distant past. The colors and tastes of fall still feature strongly in our Halloween recipes and decorations. Popular pumpkin carving patterns for our nighttime lanterns remind us of the 'sacred fires' of the Celtic tribes. And spooky homemade costumes bring to mind superstitions about mischievous fairies and sprites.

The Halloween spirit thrives in part because each successive generation finds new ways to re-invent its traditions and adapt them to its own sense of fun. Here are six ways to explain why this ancient celebration finds itself on a 21st century roll:

* It's a holiday that everyone can take part in, young and old.

* It's pretty: decked with the rich colors of fall, Halloween is a treat for the senses and brings the sights and smells of harvest time to the fore

* Everyone enjoys an excuse to dress up -- and these days, the 'horror' theme is only one of several ideas that inspire inventive costumes and disguises. You can find an elaborate outfit for sale or hire, re-purpose that wacky gear you found at the consignment store or fashion your own unique costume based on an everyday item from your closet.

* Formality and complicated entertaining goes out of the window at Halloween, when the guests are likely to arrive in weird or comic apparel and finger food or buffet menus are the order of the day.

* This holiday brings out the hidden artist in us all, as imaginative craft projects go into making invitations and decorations and filling every creepy nook and cranny of the Haunted House.

* The season fosters community spirit as neighbors prepare for the first trick-or-treaters and get together for parties with friends and family.

The spirit of the old traditions lives on in the heritage, folklore and celebrations of Halloween: a modern take on an ancient festival.

About the Author:
Have you started planning your Halloween party yet? Are you on the lookout for good ideas for Halloween costumes?

Find the ingredients for a great Halloween celebration: http://HalloweenHour.com

Monday, November 24, 2008

Halloween Decorations and Costumes

When is the best time to begin your search for Halloween decorations and costumes? The answer is as soon as you can. Today, you can begin at the end of summer if you use the internet instead of relying on your local stores. Halloween is a fun and spooky night that everyone can enjoy, however, if you wait until the day before time to go trick or treating, your kids may not find a costume they want as the store sells out quickly of the most popular costumes. However, online you can find costumes all year long and decide months in advance and then order in time to receive all the costumes you need for the entire family.

When it comes to decorations, you should look and see if you have any left from last year and then add to these. Creating a spooky and fun yard and home for Halloween is just as much for the adults as it is the kids. You can find such things as doormats that make spooky sounds, tapes of all kinds of scary sounds, zombies for the front yard, moving hands, and more. The possibilities are endless as long as you have the imagination to transform your yard and home to the spookiest in the neighborhood.

Once again, we must look at the costumes as these are really the most important part of Halloween. Each person can be any character they desire. You can create any type of Halloween party and go back in time to the early 1800’s, the 1960’s and the Hippie generation, or even create a party with a scary theme such as a crypt or graveyard. What about turning your entire yard or party room into Dracula’s Den? Of course, the way you decorate and what you wear depends on whether you will have children or adults at your party.

If you are searching for costumes, you have to choose the costumes for their ages. For babies you can choose such costumes as kitty, elephant, pumpkin, lamb, and monkey. Toddler costumes are the most popular list are ballerinas, Spiderman, Pikachu, Minnie Mouse, and Mickey Mouse. As the children grow so do the costumes they wish to wear. You can find all kinds of costumes for the older children such as animals, Hannah Montana, Princess, aliens, and ninja warriors.

Teens of course, would not want to wear any of the above, as they would certainly say, "those are for kids". Teen girls would prefer such Halloween costumes as Elizabeth Pirate, Devil Fairy, or Genie Princes, whereas the teen boys are sure to want such Halloween costumes as Ghost Rider, Davy Jones, Sir Peter the Knight of Wolfsbane, and Jack Sparrow.

Of course, teens may wish to create their own unique Halloween costume and add a wig, especially the girls. Some of the wigs they may desire include China Doll, Angel, Long Punk, or Elvira.

Remember, Halloween is a night of fun, enjoy it, it only comes once a year.

Chad Hosrtman is an expert on Halloween and all great costumes available. To learn more about the great costumes available visit Halloween Costume, Toddler Costumes, and Baby Halloween Costumes.

Article Source: http://www.ArticleBiz.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

Need a novel idea for Halloween costumes? By : Tom Johnson Tom Johnson

What to wear for Halloween

We all know that Halloween is one of the best holidays on the world’s calendar today. What is better than getting all dressed up and going trick or treating with a few friends? There is even nothing wrong with going trick or treat way into you adulthood. It is fun and there is nothing to change that, especially when you have a really big selection of costume to choose from, and that is from any costume rental store anywhere in any neighborhood. Just think about all the things you wanted to be as a child, or things that you child wants to be, better yet, think of all the things you kids watch on television today. Yes, there is a costume for everything you watch on TV these days, The Simpson, Superman, Spiderman, Hulk costumes, Jetson costumes, Flash Gordon costumes, and you will even find costume from Desperate Housewives in some stores. That is how popular Halloween is becoming; you can find anything you want. And the beauty of the whole thing is that if you really cannot find a costume in a store, you can make one yourself.

If you want the twist on a costume, let’s take the Jetson Halloween costume for instance. If you plan a personal costume party, say for you and your partner, you could get the exclusive types of Jane Jetson costumes, with it’s oh so very sexy lingerie bottoms and corset like top, you will keep your partner begging for more till the very end. For the male going for the masculine look you could opt for the George Jetson costume and really bring it home. The female could also go for the sexy lady Jane Jetson costume and bring sexy back in a little black number that will be a sin to wear out in public.

Putting the sexy Jetson costume aside, there are plenty of costumes to choose from, as we all know, the Jetson was an animated TV series that everyone loved, almost as much as The Simpsons. So you will know that there will not just be one type of costume of the shelf, so the embarrassment of pitching up to a costume party in the same Jetson costume as someone else is well, not very likely. You could choose from Jetson at the beach, Jetson in bed, Jetson at work, Jetson at play, Jetson on the sports field, and so many more. so manke a difference at the next office costume party, try out something hip, new and trendy, something that all the young people will admire and know, and something sets your apart from all the silly farts in your office building. Why not set yourself apart from the rest we are all unique, just like that Jetson costume you will be wearing next year. If it is not an office party you are going to, then make a statement at the next neighborhood Halloween party, or even just as you and your friends go trick or treating.

Article Source: http://articlestoreprint.com

Information about the Author:
Tom Johnson is author of this article on Jetsons Costume. Find more information about Jetsons Costume here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Halloween Safety Is Always A Concern

No holiday conjures up all of America's deepest darkest fears more than Halloween. There are many sources of Halloween terror, such as razor blades in apples, cyanide in Pixie Stix, needles in Snickers bars, sex predators lurking in dark doorways, psychos with chainsaws and kidnappers in parked vans. While the vast majority of Halloween horror stories are exaggerated and unfounded, the real dangers are fires, hand injuries caused by carving pumpkins and traffic accidents.

Since the 1970s, Halloween safety has focused on the fear of contaminated candy. In 1970, 5-year-old Kevin Toson died from a heroin overdose. A few days later, officials found that the boy hadn't eaten heroin-laced candy, as originally believed. Rather, he had accidentally gotten into his uncle's heroin stash and the family had sprinkled heroin in the boy's candy afterwards to protect the uncle.

Similarly, in 1974, 8-year-old Timothy Mark O'Bryan died from cyanide poisoned Pixie Stix in Houston, Texas. However, upon closer inspection, detectives found that the boy had in fact been poisoned by his own father. Even though these poisonings were far from random, parents still feared for their kids' safety amid the Halloween fun.

Even though there are many urban legends surrounding Halloween, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, on average,four children are struck and killed by cars each October 31st, which is four times the fatality rate on any other night. The statistics do not even include accidents that occur in driveways or on sidewalks, so the numbers are suspected to be higher.

Experts say kids in dark costumes and vision-obscuring Halloween masks dashing through the streets for delicious Halloween candy is a recipe for disaster. To protect the kids, costumes and candy bags should have bright reflecting tape on them, parents should accompany little ones and older kids should be given the pre-trick-or-treating huddle to discuss serious safety rules. Kids should be told not to run, to stay together at crosswalks and to carry a flashlight.

While the real danger of Halloween has been largely exaggerated, the urban legends and myths should not diminish the very real fears. From 1996-1998, there were 15,500 fires from October 30th - November 1st, causing 45 deaths, 175 injuries and $92 million in losses, reports the National Fire Protection Association.

They say that arson activity is 10% higher around Halloween, and there is the additional danger from unwatched jack-o-lanterns. To stay safe, parents should make sure their Halloween decorations (like dry corn stalks) are away from electrical outlets or live flames, with pumpkins illuminated by flashlights or bulbs rather than candles. Additionally, all kids costumes should be made of flame retardant materials.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fancy dress party costumes and where they came from

October 28, 2008

People setting up a party will often invite guests to come dressed up as a particular character. This may have evolved from Venice during Casanova’s time in Italy where even today, dressing up on Mardi Gras is a celebrated event.

The range of costumes now available shows the recent surge in popularity in dressing up for a party, particularly at Halloween time. It’s not just kids that like to dress up.

On themes from history , Mardi Gras is one of the biggest.For this event costumes can be very lavish and you can indulge, if price is not a problem. If not then a face mask will at least get you into the party.

Halloween is almost completely devoted to the love of costumes. From the youngest to the oldest, there are costumes available to fit. When you see outfits for your pet dog, you know that we are in the grip of a new trend in dressing up.

When I was young the only costumes we would dress up in was as a vampire or a ghost. But today, if I were still a child, I’d probably go for spiderman or superman. Of course I want to identify with that last big block buster I loved.

Other holidays have elements of costumes involved in them. People dress up as elves or Santa for Christmas, and occasionally show the holy family in a recreation of the night Jesus was born. You may see a leprechaun, or the Easter Bunny at the mall during the month prior to their specific holiday.

Costume design is being taken to a new level, far from the traditional themes we have come to expect. Cosplay is fast becoming the costume trend influenced heavily by video game characters. Contestants create their costume based on their selected character and stand before a judging panel to assess their accuracy and interpretation of the character.

So we see that today’s costume and fancy dress industry has taken on a new life. It harnesses characters from the past and includes influences form the computer game- playing generation to offer a very diverse range to choose from . Whatever event you may be planning or gift you are thinking of purchasing, the choice is greater than ever. Fast online access to buy further drives the industry.

Celebrate Halloween - Hardcover

Celebrate Halloween - Hardcover

This informative series provides evocative photography and story–telling about celebrations worldwide.