It’s that time of year again. When your kids start making grand plans to scare the neighbours this Halloween, how can you make sure this creepy holiday doesn’t turn into a monster with a life of its own? And if you’re the big kid who can’t wait to get dressed up for Halloween, here are a few ways to get into Halloween.
First some history
Halloween, it turns out, is not an American holiday. Who knew?
All Hallows Evening (shortened to Hallowe’en) has been celebrated in the British Isles for centuries. Many Halloween traditions have its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain, which marks the end of the Northern Hemisphere summer. People believed that by paying tribute to the spirits of ancient gods, they could help ensure both they and their livestock survived the winter. Over the centuries, Celtic traditions merged with the Christian celebration of All Hallow’s Evening commemorating the dead at the beginning of winter.
But it was not until the mass immigration of the Scottish and Irish to America in the 19th century that Halloween became an American tradition. Halloween truly became popular when it reached the USA. Halloween costumes and food offerings all have their roots in these ancient traditions. Even jack’o’lanterns are a modern descendant of scary carved turnips used as a practical joke. What could be funnier than a scary decorative root vegetable, right?
These scary days
Today, Halloween has evolved into a fun-filled night for kids, big and small. What could be more fun than getting dressed up as your favourite superhero, or princess, or scary monster, and knocking on doors for free sweets and other treats?
The holiday is starting to gain in popularity in Australia. After years of watching Halloween on American TV shows, we can finally get busy making our own costumes! Fabric stores have reported big jumps in sales as people make their own. All over Perth, you’ll find all kinds of events – Halloween parties for kids, Carnivale on Rottnest, even the Zoo celebrates Halloween – to entertain you and your family.
Do a search for free events, or chat to the neighbours about Halloween on your street. It could be a great way to keep your family entertained, or to meet everyone on your street. (Or just a great excuse to have friends around, put on that costume that’s been collecting cobwebs in your wardrobe and cover yourself in fake blood.)
A few scarily clever tips
If you and your family are thinking of doing Halloween this year, here are a few tips to get you started.
- Cut scary eyes in empty toilet rolls, and place a glow stick inside to scare passers-by.
- You can make almost anything into a ghost with a sheet, or toilet paper, or white tape and goggly stick-on eyes.
- Think about offering toys, jewellery or stickers from your local $2 shop in place of sweets and lollies. Other parents will love you for it.
- If you’re going to offer lollies or treats, buy in bulk and avoid the last minute rush to the supermarket and the big hit to the bank balance.
- Don’t forget to keep an eye out for treats without nuts for allergy sufferers.
- Best of all, if you’re well-organised, and great at planning, and don’t mind waiting a year, buy all your Halloween supplies just after the day, when everything is in the bargain bin.
Whatever you do, enjoy Halloween! From everyone here at Keystart.