Celebrating Halloween: Traditions, Art & Folklore by Amanda Bergloff
Halloween is that time of year that we at the Fairy Tale Magazine love, and today, we're celebrating it with some trivia, folklore, poetry, recipes, and art to inspire you to enjoy this fun holiday!
SOME HALLOWEEN TRIVIA
Halloween is thought to have been influenced by the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (originating around 600 AD) which commemorates the end of summer and beginning of winter. However, some experts believe it began with the Catholic feast, All Saints Day.
Halloween went by All Hallows’ Eve” until 1773, then the Scots began referring to it as Hallow-e’en. The first known person to put the words together was Scottish poet, Robert Burns, who penned the poem, “Halloween,” in 1786.
Halloween was first celebrated in the U.S. around the1840s.
There's a superstition that if you wear your clothes inside out on Halloween, you'll see a witch at midnight.
The orange and black colors associated with Halloween are thought to be because orange represents pumpkins and the harvest, while black represents night, death, and darkness.
If you have a fear of Halloween, it's called, "Samhainophobia."
If a woman looks in a mirror while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween, she will see the face of her future husband.
It's thought that bobbing for apples on Halloween came from Roman traditions to honor Pomona, the ancient Roman goddess of fruit and trees.
Scotland and Ireland were the first two countries to popularize Halloween costumes for trick or treating.
Modern day trick-or-treating is thought to have originated from the Celtic/Samhain tradition of people putting treats or food out to pacify evil spirits.
It's also thought that trick-or-treating could have been inspired by the medieval English tradition of "souling," where on All Souls Day, the poor would knock on doors and offer prayers for the residents' deceased loved ones in exchange for food.
The custom of dressing up in Halloween costumes was thought by many Europeans (including the Celts) to repel spirits that were believed to come back to Earth on Halloween night.
For Halloween decorations in the early 1900s, Americans used crepe paper, cardboard cutouts, corn stalks, pumpkins, gourds, and hay.
Candy corn (originally called chicken feed) was voted worst candy to give out on Halloween in the U.S., followed by circus peanuts.
The first "fun-sized" candy bars made to be given out at Halloween were Snickers and Milky Way.
21% of American adults pretend they're not home on Halloween to avoid giving out candy.
The most popular Halloween costume according to Google is a witch.
Boys and girls of every age Wouldn't you like to see something strange? Come with us and you will see This, our town of Halloween
This is Halloween, this is Halloween Pumpkins scream in the dead of night This is Halloween, everybody make a scene Trick or treat 'til the neighbors gonna die of fright It's our town, everybody scream In this town of Halloween
Pumpkins, like other squash, originated in northeastern Mexico and the southern United States, and have been grown for almost 5,000 years.
Native Americans fed pumpkins to their horses.
The color of pumpkins comes from orange carotenoid pigments, including beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha and beta carotene, all of which are provitamin A compounds converted to vitamin A in the body.
Although most people think pumpkins are vegetables, they are actually fruit.
Pumpkins take between 90 and 120 days to grow, which is why it's recommended to plant them between May and July.
Pumpkins are grown on six of the seven continents of the world, with Antarctica being the sole exception.
Pumpkins were once thought to cure snakebites.
The flowers that grow on pumpkin vines are also edible.
Pumpkins are 90% water.
The state that produces the most pumpkins in the U.S. is Illinois.
If you're saving pumpkin seeds, they should last for 6 years.
To slow decay, leave an inch or two of stem on the pumpkin when harvesting them.
Pumpkins were once recommended as a cure for freckles.
It was thought that a witch could turn an unsuspecting person into a pumpkin by eating the number of pumpkin seeds in that person's name.
A pumpkin is not a Jack-O-Lantern until it is carved.
The jack-o-lantern custom derives from Halloween folklore and was thought to ward off evil spirits.
In the tale, Cinderella, pumpkins are useful, as the fairy godmother turns a pumpkin into a carriage, but at midnight, it reverts back into its original form.
PUMPKIN PIE SQUARES
Click on the video below
for a super easy pumpkin dessert!
BABA YAGA &
In Slavic folklore, the fearsome witch, Baba Yaga, was represented as a maternal effigy fashioned from straw during the fall harvest. Baba Yaga appears in agrarian folklore as both a guardian of crops and also as an ogress who could withhold humanity's bounty from the earth.
This "Old Woman" was thought to exist in the fearsome twilight between culture and nature, dwelling in the unfenced borderlands that separated forest and field. Children were warned not to trample crops or wander through the countryside or they might be taken by Baba Yaga. Pedagogical fictions like this were used to prevent wanderers from damaging the grain crops before harvest, and it became ingrained in their folklore.
Interested in reading some tales about this complicated and wonderful witch-character? Check out an anthology about her - SKULL AND PESTLE: NEW TALES OF BABA YAGA - by World Weaver Press and edited by Kate Wolford.
The late 1800s marked the beginning of the golden era of postcard art in England and America. It was the Victorians who turned Halloween into a genteel holiday about parlor games, romance, and child's play. Halloween postcards were affordable greetings that the middle-class were able to send to one another to celebrate the holiday. Publishers like Raphael Tuck & Sons, John O. Winsch, and Marcus Ward & Co., printed these cards using the same chromolithography technique used to print paper dolls and the baseball cards of the day which made them an inexpensive way to enjoy the day with friends and family.
These turn-of-the-century postcards usually featured Halloween icons such as witches, black cats, jack o'lanterns, and costumed children, but they were adorably cute versions instead of the traditional scary ones. Some also included little poems or bits of folklore sayings on them to accompany the image, such as this one:
If you take ten seeds
from a pumpkin shell,
and go to the woods where the witches dwell,
Plant them in front
of the door in a cross,
you'll be rid of them
Although the main trend of sending Halloween postcards lasted until around 1918, we've collected some examples of this weird and wonderful vintage artform below for you to enjoy!
SONG OF THE WITCHES
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble. Fillet of a fenny snake, In the caldron boil and bake; Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg and howlet's wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble. Cool it with a baboon's blood, Then the charm is firm and good.
And here's some ideas for your own
Witch's Night Out
Treats, a Cocktail
& a Movie...
Chocolate Witch Hat Cupcakes
Recipe: FUN SQUARED
Witch's Finger Bread Sticks
with Maple Mustard Dip
Recipe: MEAL PLANNER PRO
The Perfect Halloween
Meat & Cheese Board
Recipe: SUGAR & CHARM
Witches Brew Jello Recipe: LADY BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Witch's Brew Cocktail
Recipe: SUGAR & CHARM
After you've enjoyed some treats & cocktails,
gather your friends for this
wonderfully witchy flick,
I MARRIED A WITCH
Click below for the full film!
And finally, some
Sharing one of our magical favorites for Halloween!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL!
The Fairy Tale Magazine's contributing editor, Amanda Bergloff, writes modern fairy tales, folktales, and speculative fiction. Her work has appeared in various anthologies, including Frozen Fairy Tales, After the Happily Ever After, and Uncommon Pet Tales. Follow her on Twitter @AMANDABERGLOFF Join her every Tuesday on Twitter for #FAIRYTALETUESDAY to share what you love about fairy tales, folktales, and myths. Also, if you like sharing your #vss fairy tales on Twitter, follow @FAIRYTALEFLASH and use #fairytaleflash so we can retweet!