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Halloween Pictures Post

So I took a bunch of pictures of the yard. I’ve picked the best ones, but most of them came out blurry so there are no pictures of the graveyard I had. The fog from the fog machine made it hard for the camera to focus. Maybe I should get a better camera… Oh well.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Halloween Series Part 5: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Well, it’s finally here at last! Halloween!

Thanks for reading my Halloween Series. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. If you couldn’t tell already, its my favourite holiday of the year.

I’m writing this early in the morning as I eat my breakfast and I’m worried I’ve bit off more than I can chew this year. I still have a lot of things to do to get the yard ready and I’ve already put 5 hours into it yesterday (not including the hours I put into cleaning out and carving pumpkins).

I hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween!!
If you’re going out with your little Goblins and Ghouls, have a wonderful time!

Later, once I finish the yard, I’ll be posting some pictures, so check back to this post!

I would love to hear how your night goes! How did your children dress up? Did you find a spooky Haunted House? What was your favourite Jack-o-Lanturn? Or did you just stay home and hand out candies? If so, who was the best dressed trick-or-treater?

Tell me about your spooky night in the comments below!

 

In this town, we call home, everyone hail to the pumpkin song.

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Halloween Series Part 4: Haunted Houses

Trick-or-treating is one of the best parts of Halloween. It’s definitely an great time for children when they head out with their friends, dressed up as their favourite character or scary monster. Walking up that pathway to the front door while they wonder what kind of candy they are going to get is exciting.

However, the most exciting houses are the ones that decorate the yard. The ones that take the time and make the effort to make their houses the creepiest Haunted House on the block. When children get to these haunted house they don’t just run to the door for their treat and run off to the next. They take their time looking at the decorations, imagination running wild, wondering what lurks in the dark, what will jump out and grab them!

That’s the fun part. Those are the houses they will remember.

There are a few houses here in my town that go that extra mile for Halloween. One house sets up at the beginning of October. Their props are custom made from durable materials so they don’t ruin in the rain and snow we tend to get here in October. I love to drive by and check out their yard.  I would love to decorate my yard early and keep it up for the month but my decorations won’t do as well in wet weather.

I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old and I was trick-or-treating with my dad and brother. The house had spooky music playing and black lights. There were ghosts hanging in the kitchen window and little tombstones on the lawn. As I climbed the stairs to yell “trick-or-treat” someone leant out of the bathroom window and dropped a fake spider on me. It was thrilling. Yes, it scared me at first, but I had a lot of fun and I remember walking away in awe. That’s the kind of feeling I would like the children who visit my house to have when they leave.

Preparing my yard for Halloween takes a fair bit of time. During the majority of the year I will come up with ideas to make my yard scarier then last year. It’s always something that lingers in the back of my mind. Then, come September, I begin gearing up for the big day. I have four large bins of decorations that I pull out of storage. I check each piece for damage and do any repairs. Replacing batteries and make lights still light up and sounds still play is really important.

Driving out of town to bigger centres is a big part of my Halloween preparations. I like to visit as many stores as I can to find pieces to add to my yard. Spirit Halloween has a large selection of both costumes and decorations for your home. I enjoy visiting their store locations and always find myself lost in all the possible things I could do with the yard.

Another important item I need to buy every year are the pumpkins. This year I plan to have 10 jack-o’-lanterns and I spend a bit of time checking different grocery stores for the best ones. I like the rounder ones while mom likes the tall ones with a flat surface for the pictures she carves. We both agree that a good stem is a must.  I usually begin my search in late September and trying to keep a pumpkin from rotting before halloween can be tricky if the weather is too warm or too cold. We carve part of them the day before Halloween and the rest on the day of. I hope we can get all 10 carved on time this year.

And then there’s the treat bags!

I like to go to the dollar store and buy Halloween themed pencils and erasers, balloons, stickers and other neat things to stuff my treat bags with. Of course, you can’t forget the candies. I place 2-3 candies in each bag plus a lollipop and I always have a bowl of extra candy by the door for the older kids who maybe wouldn’t appreciate a pencil and some stickers in their treat bag.

For this year’s Halloween I still have a few things to do. My mom made a comment about spider webs that has given me a big idea, but with only a week to go, I doubt I’ll have the time to pull it off this year. That’s ok though, it will make next years even better. Also, I’m painting some signs in black light reactive paint to help trick-or-treaters make their way through the spooky yard.

I’ll be taking some photos of my own haunted house this year and I’ll probably post them late on Halloween night or on November 1st, so keep an eye out for those!

Do you decorate your yard for the ghosts and goblins that come to your door on Halloween?
Tell me what your favourite decoration or prop is in the comments!

One Week to Halloween!! Yay!

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Halloween Series Part 3: Trick-or-Treat!

One of the most exciting aspects of Halloween for children is Trick-or-Treating. Picking out a costume is a lot of fun. I remember as a child, l went several years as a witch, a clown and a lady from the 1800s. My brother went a few times as a Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle. My mother made the costume for him out of green, brown and yellow shirts. We loved dressing up and we would wear our costumes throughout the month.

Going door to door to get candy was a lot of fun too. I remember planning routes so I could hit as many houses as possible with my friends. One year I had to come home twice to empty my bucket and I remember sitting on the floor afterwards, with a Disney Halloween special on TV, sorting my candy.

But have you ever wondered where these traditions come from?

Trick-or-Treating has its roots in the Middle Ages.

In ancient Scotland, the Celts would dress up and go ‘guising’ during Samhain to disguise themselves from evil spirits. Children would go door to door and sing, recite poems, tell jokes and dance to receive treats such as apples, nuts or sweets.

The Catholics of Ireland and Britain observed All Saint’s Day, a day to honour all unnamed saints and martyrs.  Children and the poor would go ‘souling’ – walking door to door and offering prayers for the dead in exchange for ‘soul cakes’. These little cakes were filled with either sweet spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, or raisins and currants.

In Mexico, during the Day of the Dead celebrations, children walk door to door in a tradition called Calaverita which is Spanish for ‘little skull’. Instead of ‘trick-or-treat’ the children ask ‘can you give me my little skull?’ The skull shaped treats, or calavera, are made out of sugar or chocolate.

The custom of walking door to door for treats in North America dates back to about the 1940s, though the origin of the phrase “Trick-or-Treat” is unknown. In Europe, the trick was often thought of as something the child would perform to get a treat –  a song or poem, a prayer. However, here in North America, it is generally considered as a prank played in retaliation for not receiving a treat. Due to the commercialization of Halloween, Trick-or-Treating has become more about the treat than the tricks.

If you go out guising this year, I hope you have a wonderful time!

I’ll leave you with the trick I loved to sing to get my treat.

Trick-or-Treat
Smell my feet
Give me something good to eat
Not too big
Not too small
Just the size of Montréal

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Halloween Series Part 2: Jack-o-Lanterns!

Pumpkins have become a staple of Halloween. Every year thousands upon thousands of pumpkins are cleaned out and carved up. The design options are endless and limited only by the carver’s imagination. No two jack-o-lanterns are the same.

One of my favourite legends about jack-o-lanterns comes from Ireland about a mean and miserable old man named Jack. He tricked the Devil into climbing a tree then trapped the Devil by placing crosses all around the base. Before removing the crosses and allowing the Devil to come down, he made the Devil promise not to take his soul when he died.

When Jack did eventually die, he was turned away from the Gates of Heaven due to his cruel and miserable life. Jack headed down to Hell, but the Devil would not allow him to enter either, keeping his promise. Jack was doomed to wander the darkness between Heaven and Hell. When Jack asked the Devil for a light to help him see in the darkness, the Devil gave him a burning ember. Jack hollowed out a turnip and placed the ember inside. He has wondered the darkness ever since, turnip lantern lighting his way.

Vegetables and gourds have been carved around the world for centuries. In Ireland and Scotland, people used to carve potatoes and turnips into faces to scare away evil spirits. Catholic children would carry these lanterns to represent souls of the dead during All Saint’s Day as they walked door-to-door to collect soul cakes.  Later, after the colonization of North America, pumpkins were found to make excellent lanterns.

Fun facts because I enjoy etymology:

  • The word pumpkin comes from the Greek word for ‘large melon’, ‘pepon’. Pepon became peponem (Latin), then pompon (French), then the English pumpion which later became pumpkin.
  • The name Jack-o-Lantern comes from the old English, will-o’-the-wisp  – a natural phenomenon that occurs in bogs, marches and swamps that looks like a flickering lamp.

I’ll end this post by linking to a little short film I found on youtube years ago. It’s an interesting and slightly creepy take on Halloween from the perspective of a pumpkin.

Next week — why we Trick-or-Treat!

Do you enjoy carving pumpkins?
If so, tell me about your favourite designs down in the comments!

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Halloween Series Part 1: All Hallow’s Eve

People of all ages enjoy Halloween; the candies, costumes, all the spooky things. But have you ever wondered where the name comes from?

Today we’re going to take a look at why we call it ‘Halloween’.

There is some debate as to the origin of Halloween. Some believe it to be a Christianized festival with pagan roots, while others believe it to have strictly Christian roots, developing apart from paganism.

One possible and often cited pagan root comes from the Celtics and their festival of Samhain, which celebrates the end of the harvest season and took place from sundown October 31st to sundown November 1st. It was consider a time where spirits and fairies could cross into our world with ease and the ghosts of dead would return. People would leave gifts of food on their doorsteps to keep the ghosts out.

The Celtics were polytheistic, meaning they believed in many deities and lived in what is currently the United Kingdom and parts of Northern France.

In the early 600s A.D, Pope Gregory the First sanctioned Interpretatio Christiana in which he allowed pagans to retain their cultural activities and beliefs, all while claiming that they honoured God in order to aid in their Christianization. To do this with Samhaim, it is believed that All Saint’s Day was moved to November 1st.

All Saint’s Day is a celebration in honour of all the saints and martyrs, known and unknown, and was also called All Hallow’s Day, hallow meaning holy. The evening before became known as All Hallow’s Eve. In Scots the word for evening is even and is usually contracted to e’en or een. Eventually, All Hallow’s Eve became Halloween.

And that’s why we call October 31st Halloween!

I hope you found this post interesting.

Next week — pumpkins!

pumpkin

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This is Halloween! This is Halloween!

Hey Everybody! It’s October and that means Halloween is nigh!

I love Halloween!

I can remember Trick or Treating as a child. The thrill of dressing up, going door to door, and collecting candy, all the children running around you, the haunted houses.

But when I say I love Halloween, I don’t mean that it’s this fun little holiday that comes around once a year.

  • I really, really love Halloween.
  • I have been known to start planning for it in February.
  • I have four large totes full of decorations for the yard.
  •  I’ve taken the 30th and 31st off this year, so I have plenty of time to set up the yard.
  • Last year, we had 10 carved pumpkins.
  • I don’t give out candy, I give out treat bags with candies, stickers, balloons and pencils – all Halloween themed.

So, I’ve decided that every Friday this month, I will write a Halloween themed post!

I hope the rest of you enjoy this holiday a quarter as much as I do, and that you’ll enjoy reading what I plan to write about!!

See you this Friday, the 3rd, for the first part!

(˼●̙̂ ̟ ̟̎ ̟ ̘●̂˻) (((༼•̫͡•༽)))