tricks or treats

i know you’ve been wondering why i’m holding out on you. you’ve been dying to see THAT photo and i haven’t shown it yet. but this season i waited til the setting was absolutely finished and perfect before i took it for you. and you will not be disappointed.

and that day came on sunday, the day that our city has trick-or-treating (please don’t ask; i have no idea why trick-or-treating does not happen ON halloween).

anyway, i give you

our neighbor has truly outdone himself this time; just look at that ghostly skeleton up on the flagpole. trust me, that took several days of outdoor work and many buckets of flour-and-water paste. i got to watch it from my office window. let’s walk in for a closer view (though even at that, you won’t get the benefit of the flashing lights and the flying bats powered by remote battery packs.

from The Writer’s Almanac for October 31, 2007

It’s Halloween, one of the oldest holidays in the Western European tradition, invented by the Celts, who believed Halloween was the day of the year when spirits, ghosts, faeries, and goblins walked the earth. The tradition of dressing up and getting candy probably started with the Celts as well. Historians believe that they dressed up as ghost and goblins to scare away the spirits, and they would put food and wine on their doorstep for the spirits of family members who had come back to visit the home.

Pope Gregory III turned Halloween into a Christian holiday in the eighth century, and people were encouraged to dress up as saints and give food to the poor. But when Irish Catholics brought the Celtic traditions to the United States, Halloween became a holiday for them to let off steam by pulling pranks, hoisting wagons onto barn roofs, releasing cows from their pastures, and committing all kinds of mischief involving outhouses. Treats evolved as a way to bribe the vandals and protect homes.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Halloween became a holiday for children. In 1920, the Ladies’ Home Journal made the first known reference to children going door to door for candy, and by the 1950s it was a universal practice in this country. By the end of the 20th century, 92 percent of America’s children were trick-or-treating. Tonight, about 70 percent of American households will open their doors and offer candy to children, and Halloween parties are becoming increasingly popular among adults. It’s the one day a year that people can freely dress as the opposite gender, as criminals, superheroes, celebrities, animals, or even inanimate objects. But retailers report that the most popular costumes remain some variation on witches, ghosts, and devils.

happy halloween!

14 Responses to “tricks or treats”

  1. karen says:

    your neighbor is awesome.

  2. Leigh says:

    Okay, it’s official. Now I’ve seen it all.

    Happy Halloween, Anne!

  3. ohhh now for some reason, I find the Halloween decorations much more justifiable then what they do at Christmas…go figure!

  4. Manise says:

    Happy Halloween! That’s quite the house!

  5. naomi says:

    Flying bats? *Those* I’d like to see. :)

  6. Kathleen C. says:

    What a great house! As long as it’s not to sound animated noisy?
    I just treatd myself… I got your Cluaranach, Twinings, and cardigan sock patterns. The trick will be how to find the time to knit the fabulousness!

  7. Kate says:

    What a great neighbor! Happy Halloween to you and everyone here as well! What a great time of year to be working on a Raven ;)

  8. Jocelyn says:

    Oh, wow. Now THAT’s scary. In so many ways :) Have a great night!

  9. Cheryl S. says:

    In Utah, if Halloween falls on a Sunday, the Mormon kids are urged to go trick-or-treating on Saturday instead. So you end up getting kids at your door two nights instead of one. People around here would have a heart attack at the thought of ALWAYS celebrating it on a Sunday.

  10. Debbie says:

    AND. . .
    Origins of Samhain or Halloween

    According to Monroe, the Celts were a nation of people united by a common culture. “The term Celtic refers to a culture, and not a specific country or nationality” (Monroe 5). The Celts were a fierce warrior people whose domination once stretched from Ireland to Greece at their height around the third century BC (Severy 588).

    The ancient Celtic society was highly structured in that everyone knew their place. To break the strain, Samhain was celebrated by the Celts from October 31 to November 2 as days of no time when chaos ruled. “People did crazy things, men dressed as women, and women as men. Farmers� gates were unhinged and left in ditches, peoples� horses were moved to different fields, and children would knock on neighbors� doors for food and treats in a way that we still find today . . . in the custom of trick-or-treating on Halloween” (O.B.O.D.).

    The Druids however celebrated differently. “Behind this apparent lunacy, lay a deeper meaning. The Druids knew that these three days” were the time when “the veil between this world and the World of the Ancestors was drawn aside … and journeys could be made to the �other side�. The Druid rites, therefore, were concerned with making contact with the spirits of the departed, who were seen as sources of guidance and inspiration.” The Ovates officiated at these rites, because they were skilled in divination and spiritual travel.

    Ovate was the second step to becoming a Druid. Ovates “were responsible for understanding the mysteries of death and rebirth . . . for divinaning the future” and for “conversing with the ancestors” (O.B.O.D.). The Druids believed that time was cyclical and not linear. Therefore, the Ovate was also trained in spiritual time travel. They viewed the realm of the ancestors not as a realm of the dead, but as the repository of tribal wisdom where the ancestor awaited reincarnation. The O.B.O.D. quotes Ceasar from the de Bello Gallico, “The cardinal doctrine which they seek to teach is that souls do not die, but after death pass from one to another…” [Reincarnation] This view of death is a less fearful image then simply not existing anymore. And by observing natures cycles of birth, death, and rebirth the modern ovate can apply natural law towards the healing of the human body and psyche.

    Samhain Today

    Today Pagans see Samhain as a time to honor the dead, not as the dead, but as the living spirits of loved ones and as guardians who hold the wisdom of mankind. It is a celebration of the afterlife where we do not die but rest and continue to learn and prepare for our next incarnation.

  11. Danielle says:

    I’d have to say I agree with the last statement about the most popular costumes being some variation on witches, ghosts, and devils–being that my little 2 year old daughter is dressed as a little witch today!

  12. Heide says:

    What’s not to love about a holiday where you can wear anything you want, eat chocolate and not have to mail out cards.

  13. Beth S. says:

    There are no words. Wow. ;-)

  14. Tonia says:

    Love the display.

    I have pictures of a pirate ship that someone in a local town did this year. I haven’t look at them yet since we took them last night on our way home from Trick or Treat at my Mom’s.