As we enter October, shops across Australia are now pulling out the scary masks, specials of chocolates and lollies and all things orange and black for Halloween.
Halloween is celebrated on October 31st and, although it is not as popular in Australia as it is in some other countries, more and more families are getting into the scary spirit. But where did the weird and wacky traditions of dressing your kids up and asking for lollies even come from?
What is the history of Halloween?
All Hallows Eve
Halloween began more than 2,000 years ago with the earliest celebrations coming from the Celtic people living in what is now Great Britain and Northern France. While not in Australia, Halloween often marks the end of the longer days and warm season and the beginning of six months of darker days, colder nights and rain or snow. The Celts worshipped both a Sun God for the warmer season and Samhain, the god of the cold dark season.
On October 31st the Celts would begin to worship Samhain and pay tribute to him with fires on the hilltops. This was the start of the new, cold season. Every household would receive an ember from the fire to light their homes and ward off evil spirits for the darker season.
These traditions continued until the Celts were conquered by the Roman Catholics. They brought their own traditions to the table and established All Saints Day or All Hallows Day on November 1st as a way to get rid of the worshipping of Samhain on October 31st and celebrate all Saints that were not honoured on other days throughout the year.
However, it did not work and the Roman Catholics began to think of October 31st or All Hallows Eve, as a night filled with witchcraft and demons.
October 31st became known as a night filled with superstitious mystery and unholy beliefs.
Throughout the years All Hallows Eve was shorted to Hallowe’en and then to Halloween.
Celebrating Halloween Today
Children love any excuse to dress up and show off their costumes, even if it’s just around the neighbourhood. In addition to buying or making a costume for your kids to dress up in on the big day, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy Halloween during October.
So why not take make this year your best Halloween ever with these easy tips to Halloween hoopla:
- Carve a pumpkin – supermarkets and grocers across the country stock large orange pumpkins that are perfect for carving. Make it a family event by dimming the lights and choosing a spooky face or design to carve.
- Get spooky in the kitchen – look online for some fun Halloween biscuit recipes to make with the kids.
- Decorate the house – you don’t have to spend a fortune on battery operated witches that scream or ghosts that howl (you can if you want!).
There are plenty of easy-to-make crafts that you can do with your children that require basic supplies such as art paper, toilet paper rolls and sticky tape. Look online for easy Halloween decorations and see what you can find!
- Check out Halloween Activities in your Community – more and more organizations are starting to celebrate Halloween and may offer dress up parties for your kids. Some local Councils may even put on a firework display or provide an outdoor Halloween party for kids and adults alike.
Check with your local council or parenting magazine to see what’s on in your area.