By Eleanor Low
Why did the ghost quit studying?
Because he was too ghoul for school!
Contrary to popular belief, Halloween is actually one of the cutest times of the year. From hosting “spooky” parties, to decorating your house with pumpkins and black cats, to spending time with your friends and family in dressed-up splendour, knocking door to door in search for lollies! It's just amazing, but it doesn’t always go to plan. But that’s where I come in! Trust me, this will be the only Halloween blueprint you’ll ever need!
1. The history of Halloween (31st of October)
This is a good topic of conversation for when you are lost in the woods with your friends, or just begging for food from other people's houses! It all began with the Celts, who had a festival called Samhain (pronounced Sah-win), which was in dedication to the pagan Gods for the successful end-of-year harvests. The tradition used to be very simple: a little bonfire, and some modest costumes to stand out from the ghosts (who they believed could interact with humanity on that day only). But soon afterwards, All Saints Day took inspiration from this event, and All Saints Day became All Hallows Eve, which then became the Halloween we all know and love today!
Pumpkin carving, on the other hand, originated from an Irish story about a guy called Stingy Jack, who once trapped the Devil. His only condition for setting the Devil free was to never bring him down to hell when he died. But upon passing away, he discovered heaven didn’t want him either, and he became forced to roam the world as a lonely ghost. The Devil mockingly gave him a lump of coal and a hollowed-out turnip to light his way, and from then onwards people have been carving out turnips or pumpkins to ward off spirits.
And to round it all off, the beautiful tradition of trick or treating! This activity comes from a rather ambiguous background, but there are 3 theories. The first one is that when the Celtic people celebrating Samhain would leave out food to appease the visiting spirits, people would dress up in sinister costumes in order to pose as a spirit and steal the food! The second theory is that trick or treating stemmed from the Scottish tradition of “guising” (which just means trick or treating), which started out as just poor people asking for treats in exchange for prayers about the giver's family, has spread around the world and now is now one of the most participated events ever! The third theory is that the Americans/Germans invented it from “belsnickeling”, where kids would dress up on Christmas day and if their neighbours couldn’t recognise them, they’d get lollies as a reward!
This is where creativity can really run wild, because there’s literally no theme. This can be whatever suits your fancy, or whatever's in your drawer! But as for some ideas…
If you’re looking for something spooky, go for a clown, a witch, or a bloody nurse!
If you’re dressing some younger kids, or just want to be a kid for a day, try out a pumpkin, barbie, or their favourite villains!
Or, if you are looking to be thrifty, try out a white sheet for a ghost, a black cat (just black clothing), or literally whatever brightly coloured clothing you gave – become a Frankenstein!
We got it easy on Halloween, because there’s so much room for creativity! Unlike other commemorative events like Christmas (which is very specific in its colours, symbols etc), Halloween is pretty much open to anything, just so long as your intention is to scare others.
It is for that reason that cut-out bat figures, angry-faced pumpkins, and spider toys are most popular. If you’re hosting a party, checkered napkins and tablecloths in dark and foreboding colours, such as black, brown and orange, really fit the vibe! But honestly, it's up to you. Fake cobwebs are also perfect for bushes, as well as pretend gravestones with erupting skeleton hands – these really excite young children, especially if they move!
If you’re looking for something a little more classy, wooden signs saying “Happy Halloween!” or “boo!” in aesthetic colours aren’t too bad. Black or red candles or varying sizes in a group also give off “tasteful Halloween”, as well as a collection of un-hollowed-out pumpkins on your front porch. You can also get hang-up items, like streamers, and paper fans…
Oh, and pillows are also adorable!! And they really look good on any couch, to be honest.
Let's be real: nobody has dinner on Halloween, the lollies gathered whilst trick or treating suffices. But in case you were planning on hosting a Halloween party, and want to go the extra mile, try Tangy Pumpkins, Chocolate Spiderweb Sandwich Cookies, Halloween Hot Cocoa Bombs, or just peruse the internet, there are so many options! Foods involving apples or pumpkins are more on theme, such as pumpkin pie or candy apples.
For kids (or adventurous adults!) try decorating cookies or cupcakes, it’s a foolproof activity that never fails. Plus, it's really tasty! Have a varying amount of colours and cookie shapes, as well as edible googly eyes and extra treats for special decorations.
And finally, don’t forget to barter with your friends or siblings about the lollies you collected!!
And there ya have it, the perfect Halloween! A few final ideas: watching a scary movie when it's dark and with all your candy is best, driving to the most active streets if your neighbourhood is a bit quiet on Halloween, and being on the lookout for supernatural activity! Take a sun hat and sunscreen, because it might be hot on the day, and immerse yourself in the Halloween culture. Play scary music to get you in the spooky mindset. And most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!!