Monday, 13 October 2014

Hallowe'en!



Dorothy and friends love Hallowe'en.
Partly because the weather is usually relatively fine and still warm and they get to celebrate outside with their friends. Hallowe'en is a sociable festival totally aimed at children. It's that lovely gold, yellow, bronze coloured, crunchy, frosty, creative time of year which is a wonderful prelude to Christmas and I confess we embrace much of this American festival wholeheartedly.

So what do you do at Hallowe'en?
Many local farms, museums and visitor centres host special Hallowe'en craft activity days offering simple fun such as welly throwing, apple bobbing and pumpkin carving. Hallowe'en for us is all about getting outside and enjoying simple pleasures when it's fin, and getting the craft boxes out if it isn't.



Crafts and Activities
There are so many Hallowe'en crafts and activities you can enjoy. In the past we've made pipe cleaner spiders, hand print spiders, pumpkin soup, the list is endless. There are some brilliant ideas collected together on Pinterest - get your Mums and Dads to check these out. Alternatively Martha Stewart has even more ideas here.

Hallowe'en Food
Dorothy has started a Pinterest Board with ideas for Hallowe'en Food here. Since two of her friends have food allergies there is a lovely #freefrom packed lunch idea here.


But what is Hallowe'en, and why do we have this festival that celebrates all that is scary?





The History of Hallowe'en
Hallowe'en is short for "Hallow Evening" hence the apostrophe in between the two letter e's. It shows a letter is missing! Hallowe'en is also known as All Hallow's Eve, because November the 1st is "All Hallows" Just like December 24th is Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas!

Halloween can be traced back about 2,000 years to a Gaelic festival called Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"), which means "summer's end" in Gaelic which was celebrated on October 31. No one really knows what happened at Samhain as there are not many records from that time, but it was an annual gathering at the end of the harvest year, a bit like we now have Harvest Festival. But at a time when food was scarce over the winter months it was an important and essential time of gathering food.  Bonfires were lit which attracted insects which in turn attracted bats and large pots like cauldrons were used to heat food for everyone to share. This is where some of the symbols we associate with Hallowe'en come from.

No one is certain that Hallowe'en and Samhain are connected but many think so. November 1st is All Saints' Day, and November 2nd All Souls Day when we remember those who have died, and Hallowe'en became a celebration of bad spirits that were banished by the good souls on the following day. In our past there is a great deal of evidence that people enjoyed something called "inversion". That literally means turning social norms upside down so those usually in charge were bossed about by those who would usually be in that position. And that is exactly what Hallowe'en did, it celebrated the bad and the evil and the scary - and turned the natural order on its head for a day. This is fun and thrilling - because it's temporary and reassuring boundaries are only suspended for a day!

However, Halloween was as much a time for festivities and games as for playing tricks or asking for treats. Apples are associated with Halloween, both as a treat and in the game of bobbing for apples. Bobbing for apples was used for fortune telling. It was believed that the first person to pluck an apple from the water-filled bucket without using their hands would be the first to marry.





Trick-or-Treating resembles the late medieval practice of "souling," when poor people would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2).

It originated in Ireland and Britain.



Keeping Safe when Trick or Treating is really important. Dorothy Says.....
  • Stay with your grown up unless you have permission to go with friends near your home. 
  • Do not try and cross roads on your own.
  • Only knock on doors that have pumpkins in the doorway or in the window, since those living there clearly enjoy participating in Hallowe'en. 
  • Make sure you wear something reflective, so cars can see you clearly.
  • Consider saying "Happy Hallowe'en!" instead of "Trick or Treat?". Many older people find this a lot less intimidating and that is not in the spirit of the festival. Tricks are not really considered acceptable any longer and adults take a dim view of the old fashioned raw egg throwing......
  • Always check the ingredients of treats if you have food allergies before trying them!


And the final word goes to Dorothy's friends who love Hallowe'en. HAVE FUN!



19 comments:

  1. Lots of great ideas for Halloween here. You're getting me in the mood! I didn't really grow up with Halloween but have definitely seen the fun in it for my own children.

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  2. The hedgehogs in the first image are adorable! I'm not a fan of halloween really, but I love watching kids get excited about it like this :)

    Sara | This Girl Loves

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  3. We love Halloween and I love your little hedgehog friends Dorothy!

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  4. great ideas - we love celebrating Halloweeen

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  5. This year for the first time we are embracing Halloween and I'm really enjoying craft activities with the children.

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  6. Lots of great ideas. I need to start thinking what we will do x

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  7. The craft pumpkins are so cute as are the hedgehogs.

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  8. Some great tips there. Love the Pinterest boards too x

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  9. I love Halloween it really signals the time when I really start crafting with my boys in the big build up to Christmas.

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  10. I love Halloween, pumpkin carving and apple bobbing and all that!

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  11. We haven't done Halloween so far, as J was not into it. Maybe this year..

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  12. We don't celebrate Halloween in Finland, or in Ecuador. So, nothing basicly. My son watches some Halloween programs from the cable though.

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  13. what simply great advice for Halloween

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  14. We hope to visit some local museums that have got some craft activities on.

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  15. We love Halloween - last year we went to eden project where they had room on the broom, it was fabulous

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  16. I love Halloween, it's one of my favourite times of the year so really enjoyed reading this!

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Thank you for commenting!
Dorothy xx