Halloween is the one of the oldest and most popular holidays here in Texas. Some sources say it dates back over 2,000 years to a time when Druids, Celtic priests, whose culture flourished in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe, celebrated on the last day of their calendar. Guess it was their version of New Year’s Eve.
Our Halloween originated from this pagan holiday that honored the dead. More than a little creepy. Anyway, the Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages, being especially active on this night. Since not all spirits were considered friendly, gifts and treats were left outside dwellings in hopes of pacifying the evil ones and of ensuring plentiful future crops. This custom evolved into trick-or-treating. Don’t you just love it?
Also known as All Hallows Eve, Halloween is always celebrated on October 31. All Saints Day, created by Christians to hopefully convert pagans, is celebrated the day after Halloween on November 1, but today you can just pretend that you’re a pagan and eat all the candy that comes your way. I don’t think God will mind because He’s probably laughing his head off over our silly costumes and outrageous antics.
We used to make popcorn balls to hand out to the little ghosts and goblins. Mother would use white Karo syrup and butter to make a hot sticky mixture that she poured over the warm popcorn. My brother and I buttered our hands, well, really greased them as best we could, and shaped the popcorn balls into round circles of perfection. Nowadays, our works of art would be the first things discarded as careful parents inspect their children’s booty.
Most children and some adults enjoy Halloween because it lets them have fun by dressing up and assuming identities of something or someone else. Costumes are often colorful and fanciful. There is no stigma attached to those who make rather than buy their costumes. Not sure if children can still wear their costumes to school, but there are adults who go to work clad as witches, vampires, Disney characters, or cute animals. Big Bird is a favorite of mine. Retired the ugly witch mask after scaring the wazoo out of my neighbor’s young grandchild. Mea culpa. Her grandmother never quite forgave me.
On the other hand, some folks regard Halloween as bad. Don’t really know why, because it is not superstitious to dress up. You don’t have to believe in ghosts and goblins to have fun, and for the children it’s all about dressing up. Aren’t the kiddies cute as they come up to the door, especially the little ones? If it’s hard to identify who or what they are, it is politically correct to ask, “Now what are you?” as you drop candy into their bags. You’re not warding off evil spirits, just saving your body from a few pounds that you’d gain eating the leftover candy when you stock their trove. Be generous, and turn on the porch light.
No evil spirits lurk in Fort Worth to spoil our holiday, as far as I know, but, if they are here, they’re not dangerous or anywhere near downtown. Just do not refer to pagan rituals or the occult as you prepare for your party. It might jinx the whole activity! Yet in your inner heart, you can be a little wild today.
Annie Ambles enjoys Halloween by giving away Snickers