Saturday, October 30, 2010

Paranormal Celebration

It’s officially my favorite time of year. The oppressive and humid heat of the great state of Louisiana is finally relenting. Mums are on every porch and fall wreaths adorn front doors. Even though this season is technically bringing the end of a year to a close, fall always feels like a new beginning to me. It’s also the time of year that hosts my favorite holiday—Halloween!

I’m not exactly sure why I so look forward to Halloween. There are no days off work and I have no more courage to watch a scary movie than I did when I was a kid. I still have memories of visiting a haunted house when I was 6 years old with my Dad and his friend. Much to the friend’s surprise, while climbing down some “haunted” stairs, I somehow managed to scale his long leather jacket and latch onto his back. I still remember being pried off of him in the parking lot. Despite my inability to handle scary events, there is just something super fun about this day. For one thing, very little wasted money and/or ill-spent personal time is involved. There are no expensive shopping trips or long drives in a car to see family members. Nope, I get to stay at home, make wassail and cookies for my friends, and open the front door to cute kids dressed up to be even cuter, and some way-too-old to be Trick or Treating (and scary in that they are bigger than me) teenagers.

I’ve never really bothered to find out why we celebrate Halloween. I’ve been happy to simply join society in the eating candy free-for-all that is October 31st. As you can imagine, when I typed “Origins of Halloween” into the search engine, there was no shortage of information. From Halloween dedicated sites to National Geographic articles, much of the information I saw told a consistent story; therefore, I decided it was to be trusted.

In summary, Halloween originates from a Celtic festival known as Samhain. The belief was that on this night, spirits walked the earth and caused havoc for the living. It was also believed that paranormal creatures, such as fairies, were out and about. On this night, the Celtics often wore costumes to ward off any such scariness. During the 1600’s, Samhain eventually morphed into a Christian holiday and became known as “All Saints Day” or “All Hallow’s Day”. According to a National Geographic article, the earliest Halloween celebration in America may have taken place in Anoka, Minnesota (1920) in an attempt to occupy the community and prevent troublesome pranks.

Today’s Halloween continues to be celebrated by children, adults, and pets. If it sounds silly to dress up an animal for Halloween, then you’ve not been lucky enough yet to see a miniature Rat Terrier dressed as a pumpkin. That was just a little piece of wonderful. Popular adult costumes continue to be witches, vampires, nurses, and fairies. Children’s costumes seem to always adhere to princesses for girls and some type of superhero for boys. My favorite childhood Halloween costume had an inflated lime colored bug that sat on the top of my head and came with green face paint. I’ve never looked more ridiculous, but at the time, I thought I looked awesome and trusted my parent’s judgment completely.

This Halloween will be pretty tame for me. My critique group thinks they are coming over to talk about our stories, but I’m planning to distract them with pumpkin shaped brownies and one of my favorite movies for this time of year: A Nightmare Before Christmas. I may even try and talk them into watching the Ghost Hunters live filming at the Buffalo Central Terminal.

As this blog is dedicated to those who love all things paranormal in nature, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this holiday rocks. I would love to hear from some of you about how you plan to spend the evening, whether it’s trick or treating with your kids, watching freaky movies, carefully dipping punch around chunks of dry ice, or simply relaxing with a bowl of candy on your lap. Happy Halloween!


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