Halloween History!0 Comments
Are you ready for a spooktacular Halloween? Does getting the living daylights scared out of you seem like a fine time? Do you like candy? Good. Muahahaha. Halloween. H-a-l-l-o-w-e-e-e-e-e-n. MUAHAHAHAHA!!! And check out our Halloween t shirts and mugs!
But, hold on a second. Do you even know where Halloween comes from? Do your cavities form in your mouth unwittingly, as if the sweet syrups of corn and sugar cane just got siphoned into your mouth like so many fuel pipelines traversing though the once beautiful American West ? Are you the victim of too many bobbed apple accidents without a CLUE as to why you’re doing such a grotesque act? Well, get the fluid out of your lungs and ears and get ready for a brief and (not-so) terrifying history of this holiday.
Halloween officially began as All’s Hallowed Eve, a kickoff to Allhallowtide, a three day Western Christian festival that was used to remember dead folk, heroes, and saints. This was probably a way to coopt traditional pagan Celtic festivals, specifically Samhain, a solstice festival that recognized duskier nights, colder weather, and darkness descending on everyday life as it was understood.
Because of these Celtic roots, many of the traditions that are accepted today originated in rural Gaelic and Welsh regions. Irish folks were likely to carve a turnip or pumpkin into a scary face. In pagan culture, apples were symbols of a higher, more celestial plane and bobbing for them was a weird way to acknowledge this. No matter that Catholicism abolished the original meanings. The traditions were fun, so they stuck. When many Irish and Welsh arrived in the United States in the last two centuries, they brought the practices with them. We have pumpkin themed shirts that are perfect for your celebration.
The custom of trick or treating relates to medieval traditions of souling and mumming. Souling was a practice wherein children, or down on their luck adults, went door to door to receive free soul cakes that were baked by the residents. In return for the sweets, songs or prayers were offered. Mumming is a theatrical practice. If cakes were given, actors, or imaginative children and amateur adults, would perform a funny skit. In all, the “trick” is a hybrid between mischief, good humor, and spiritualism. When a kid or, worse yet, adult, knocks on your door, they are asking for food and it is good custom to give it. If not, you may receive a prank or, worse yet, condemnation from dead souls or Gods for absconding the ancient ways.
Mass produced Halloween costumes began selling around the 1930s in the U.S. and trick-or-treating spread quickly to non-Celtic diaspora youth. The holiday has since become popular for adults wanting to dress up and have fun as well. As early as 1974, the New York Halloween Parade became a nighttime party with nationwide spectatorship. In California, Halloween is found within major street festivals in San Francisco and West Hollywood. Those in the Los Angeles area, with its year round film and media productions, are well versed in creative practice. A costume or makeup by a professional artist is a way to show one’s connection to “the business” as well as a fun way to give and receive stagecraft without the tight deadlines and parameters of an actual show or movie.
No matter where you are, Halloween is a time to officially kickoff the fall season. Summer’s gone, sweater weather is in, and the time for mischief—whether ancient or contemporary—is perfect. So, go eat some candy and have yourself a scary good time! Don’t forget to check out our t shirts and mugs!