Valerie J. Steimle
Today is Halloween and I am honored to write the post for this very spooky day. This writing is an excerpt from my next book which is being published as we speak..... or read. Thoughts From the Heart: Writings from the Gulf Coast of Alabama will be available for purchase on Amazon in another week (so exciting).
So without further ado....here is my post for all of you mummies and ghouls.......
The Evolution of Halloween
Today is Halloween....and many might not know, but today is the celebration of “All Hallows Eve.” There is a long history of this festive day throughout all the ages, but in our modern world we sometimes forget the reason why we do what we do.
The story of Halloween is entirely too long to write here but suffice it to say that the British Isles had the market on this holiday way back to the 8th century. "All Saints Day" was celebrated on November 1st (which is tomorrow) and the people in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales created a “Day of the Dead.” The dead were honored and a feast was held, not as those who are dead but as the living spirits of loved ones and guardians. “All Hallows Eve” events also included dressing up in unrecognizable costumes and mischief making to get treats to eat. As the early Americans adopted this tradition from their European ancestors, it evolved into what we know now as Halloween. But something very interesting has happened.
Now it’s after the new millennium, the focus on Halloween is mostly celebrated as horror and ghouls. Some churches would rather not dress up to collect candy as it has taken on this ghoulish version of what used to be a fun costume party. Old time “Fall Festivals” have been popular in some areas. It is sad that there aren't nearly as many trick-or-treaters as there were even ten years ago and the emphasis in Hollywood is ghouls and horror. We find more and more of the horror scene on commercials and in movies
which reflect in children's costumes.
Maybe Halloween has decreased in trick-or-treaters because of the scare in the 70's and 80’s of neighbors putting drugs in candy and razor blades in apples. Maybe it’s because those parents from my generation of trick-or-treaters sees this holiday as a different celebration and don’t want to be sucked into the Hollywood’s idea of gruesome and ghouls. Whatever the reason, Halloween has evolved into a time when community groups and churches promote fall activities and games instead of mischief and tricks and the few trick-or-treaters left have to get to houses by 9pm or else everyone is out of candy and has turned off the light. It is amazing to me to see this metamorphosis take place and to think about what Halloween has become.
On the one hand, Hollywood sees Halloween as an opportunity to scare you to pieces, while on the other hand many communities want safe and fun festivals for their children to still dress up and give out treats. I wonder what Halloween will end up being ten years from now? It makes you wonder.