Halloween is just around the corner, and we are all thinking, “Woo-hooOOoo!” From costumes, and candy, to tricking and treating, this spooky season is a great time to take part in long-standing traditions!
You might be surprised to find that a number of our Halloween traditions began in Ireland. For example, the carving of Jack-o-lanterns originates with an Irish legend of a man named “Stingy Jack.” Upon Jack’s death, he found that neither the heavens nor the pits of the underworld wanted his soul, so he was provided a burning lump of coal to light his way as he wandered through the unknown. The only difference? Jack’s lump of coal was housed in a turnip?! Perhaps, a turnip is easier to carry through the afterlife than a large gourd! However, the Irish took to carving pumpkins and lighting them with candles within to ward off the “evil spirit” of Stingy Jack and any accompanying specters! Now, we just do this because it’s fun!
Candy Corn or Chicken Feed?
Because of corn’s association with harvest time, a candy manufacturer in the 1880s produced the delicious confection we can now refer to as “candy corn.” However, this didn’t become a Halloween staple until much later. Initially, the candy was called “chicken feed” and sold under the slogan “something worth crowing about!” While you may not think this candy is something to crow for, you can certainly find your fill as you trick and treat your way around your neighborhood!
Trick or Treat? We’ll Take the Sweets!
There are a number of possible origins for trick-or-treating, one of which begins with the Celts, who believed in Samhain. After the harvest in the fall and before the commencement of winter, spirits, the Celts believed, wandered the earth during Samhain. In order to “fly under the radar” and avoid attracting the spirits’ attention, the Celts dressed in costumes in or to appear as a spirit. That’s just half of it! In order to comfort the spirits walking the earth, Celts would often leave food and drink outside their doors. Eventually, as time went on, the people began to dress up and intentionally go door-to-door, collecting food and drink from their neighbors in celebration of the harvest.
The Apple of Our Eye
Some of our earliest Halloween traditions date back to the Roman Empire’s annual festival honoring Pomona, the goddess of agriculture and abundance. The Romans were always looking for reasons to celebrate, and apples are certainly a beautiful fruit! Even today, we enjoy apple festivals and apple picking! Bobbing for apples is a holiday tradition passed down from this festival, where the activity was used as a courting ritual. Adorable, right? You met your beau bobbing for apples! What’s even better than a ripe apple?! A candy coated one! American candy maker, William W. Kolb, introduced candy coated apples in 1908, and by 1948, the inclusion of this confection had become inseparable from harvest and Halloween celebrations.
Maybe you have some of your own favorite Halloween traditions! Caramel corn, harvest crafts, and scary movies are fun parts of Halloween. Maybe you have some old photos of your favorite childhood costumes? Perhaps you’ve got some old videotapes of your kids’ first trick-or-treat! At Legacybox, our goal is to help you relive your favorite memories. We’ll convert old analog media into readily accessible digitized formats, so your Halloween is sure to be SpooOOook-tacular!