The current Kink Of The Week prompt is witches (plus otherworldly creatures) especially timed for halloween. I had started to write a witch themed post about the All Souls Trilogy, which I have recently read (and loved). But the very arrival of halloween has reminded me that this is one ‘holiday’ or ritual I detest. So, I feel compelled to rant about halloween and leave the book review for another day.
I don’t think I have ever dressed up for halloween, nor been to a halloween party. If I ever did it would probably be as a witch. Though, having said that I’m pretty sure I never will. You see I just don’t get the point. I love a party and have even worn fancy dress on a few occasions but never on or around 31st October. All Hallows Eve doesn’t seem worth celebrating and certainly not going outside on a cold and wet evening for. Even if chocolate is involved!
The origins of Halloween
Samhain was the Celtic celebration to celebrate the harvest and welcome the darker part of the year. On that night the barrier between spirit and human worlds thinned and spirits and fairies could be seen. Bonfires were lit, people dressed up and offerings were made to the gods. Places were set at tables so the souls of the dead could be welcomed home.
31st October, 1st and 2nd November are important dates in the calendars of many countries. Some on a more spiritual level than others. This includes visiting cemeteries on All Souls Day to bring flowers, clean graves etc. They too will often have partied the night before, wearing costumes. But each to his own.
Trick or Treat
As far as I was aware this was very much an American custom and one which definitely needs to be restricted to children under the guidance of adults. This is one time I have relented and hosted a small children’s party when my son was young. Two cousins a neighbour and my son dressed as ghosts, skeletons and witches was fun. The neighbours happily filled their bags with treats. Other times I have gladly bought and given out sweets and chocolate, then eaten what’s left.
But that’s where my line is drawn; teenagers with thoughts of mischief can keep away, no matter how well dressed they are. Adults in this country of course are more likely to be seen in a local pub dressed in a questionable costume and covered in fake blood.
It turns out that from the Middle Ages until the 1930s there was a kind of treating known as ‘souling’. Groups of soulers – catholic and protestant – went around silently begging for cakes in return for prayers for loved ones. This kind of practice took place in other parts of Europe too, so maybe trick or treating originates this side of the Atlantic.
Things that irritate include:
- Scary films have to be released on Halloween – why?
- The shops are now full of costumes, pots to put treats in, decorations, specially designed treats and other ways to make them rich and us poor.
- A high level of plastic is involved when we are cutting down. Though I guess you can reuse some of it.
- Costumes often seem tenuously related to halloween. Some people think it’s ok to just put white makeup on their faces and say they are a ghost or spook. Give me a well dressed witch with stripy stockings, hat and big nose any day.
- People changing their social media names to include something halloween related (apologies if this is you).
- Halloween is the gateway to Christmas in the UK. By tomorrow the shops will be putting up trees and playing ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’
So in conclusion. I’m not a lover of Halloween, I haven’t decorated my house with bats and cobwebs, I’m not dressing up and I am not expecting to welcome trick or treaters.
I love a good scary book or one about witches and vampires. I love a scary film and like fancy dress parties. But these things can be done any time, not just at halloween.
Last year’s post, where I said something similar in fewer words is here