Halloween Part 2: Holiday History and Traditions

Holiday History

Halloween is just a week away.  We celebrate every year, yet many of us don’t truly understand the origins of this holiday.  While America has celebrated Halloween for quite some time, other countries have celebrated similar holidays dating back to the beginnings of ancient history.  Today, Halloween still stands to be one of the world’s oldest holidays.

Mexico and Latin American countries celebrate Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.  Loved ones that have passed away, are believed to come into your home the night before. Many families set up an altar, water, food and drinks for the relative coming back to visit.

The Halloween holiday we celebrate today in the United States originated in Ireland and is still celebrated there as well.  Bonfires light up the sky all over the country, especially in rural areas.  Children trick or treat, have parties with families, and go on treasure hunts or bob for apples. A traditional holiday cake, Barnbrack, is enjoyed by many.  Barnbrack has a surprise in each piece that is said to tell your fortune for the year.  Children also play knock-a-dolly, ringing neighbors’ door bells then running before anyone sees them.

Did You Know?

Many of our Halloween traditions come from the original Celtic Festival of Samhain.  This festival was celebrating a time the Celts believed spirits and ghosts walked the Earth between the autumn harvest and the beginning of the winter season.

Black symbolizes for the death of summer. Orange symbolizes the fall harvest.

Costumes were originally worn to scare evil spirits or trick the visiting ghosts.

Witches became a part of the Halloween traditions when one All Hallows Eve a priest saw many people dancing around a fire.  These people were in costumes with shafts and torches and the moon was in the background.  He immediately thought they were witches, flying on brooms, and ran to tell the people in town.

Bobbing for apples was once a game to help women find a spouse.  At parties, women marked an apple, placed it into the water filled bucket, and considered the man that grabbed her apple to be her destined spouse.

 

Halloween Entertainment: Movies and Music

How will you get in the Halloween Spirit? Watch a spooky movie. Throw a Halloween party.  Celebrate with themed music at the office. Most of us have a favorite Halloween movie or song.  Is yours on the list? Perhaps you had forgotten a few of the greats.

Holiday Movies and Spooky Shows

For Thrill Seekers

  • Psycho
  • Blair Witch Project
  • Scream
  • I Know What you Did Last Summer
  • The Shining
  • Halloween
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • Seven
  • Conjuring
  • Jeepers Creepers

For Scaredy Cats

Animated

  • Casper
  • Corpse Bride
  • Coraline
  • Ghostbusters
  • Paranorman
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
  • Frankenweenie
  • Monster House

Non-animated

  • E.T.
  • Hocus Pocus
  • The Witches
  • Sleepy Hollow                                                         
  • Halloweentown
  • Practical Magic
  • Dark Crystal
  • BeetleJuice
  • The Addams Family
  • Clue
  • Edward Scissorhands

 

For Binge Watchers- Series on Netflix

  • Haunting on Hill House– Called one of the scariest TV shows ever, this show is a new release. Many parts were filmed in Georgia, near the metro area. Haunting on Hill House is based on Shirley Jackson’s Novel, Hill House, about a family’s experiences with spirits while growing up in the most haunted home in the United States.
  • Bates Motel– Yes, that Bates Motel, as in Norman Bates.  This is a prequel to the movie Psycho, that you most likely are familiar with.
  • Stranger Things– This series increased in popularity quickly, and is a favorite in many households.  Set in the 1980’s, Stranger Things uncovers another realm/dimension, parallel to our view of reality. 
  • American Horror Story– A new plot line comes with each new season. The stories are neither logical or often easy to understand, yet the director is able to attract an interested and engaged audience.
  • Slasher– This series is similar to a slasher flick, like Halloween. Two seasons have been released since 2016. The first is about a serial killer haunting a small town.  The second is on a campground where counselors go missing, one by one.

Ultimate Halloween Holiday Playlist

Check out these songs to get you in the holiday spirit. This isn’t just your traditional Halloween playlist.

  • Abracadabra by Steve Miller Band
  • Superstition by Stevie Wonder
  • Bad Moon Rising by Creedance Clearwater Revival
  • Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones
  • Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon
  • Stranger Things (theme) by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
  • Ghostbusters (theme) by Ray Parker, Jr.
  • Thriller by Michael Jackson
  • Dragula by Rob Zombie
  • Time Warp by Little Nell, Patricia Quinn, and Richard O’Brien
  • Hells Bells by AC/DC
  • I Put a Spell on You by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • This is Halloween by The Citizens of Halloween
  • Voodoo Child by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Howlin for You by The Black Keys
  • (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult
  • Bring Me to Life by Evanescence
  • Season of the Witch by Donovan
  • Friend of the Devil by Grateful Dead
  • Witchy Woman by Eagles
  • Heathens by Twenty One Pilots
  • Disturbia by Rihanna
  • Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

 

Don’t forget to check out Halloween: Mystery and Adventure, Part 1 of this 2 part Halloween Series.  

Happy Halloween!

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