Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's Halloween again

It's Halloween and for a month now, the ghoulish decorations have been up outside homes in our area. Walks in the neighborhood are all the more interesting now because some people always come up with different and weird ideas to spook people. I took pictures of the ones that I liked most ...

The tradition of Halloween was brought to the US by Irish immigrants, but it's now celebrated by ALL children here (mainly as a way to stock up on candy for the year :)), by the candy and costume-making industry for obvious reasons, and by adults who get creative for costume parties - which can be pretty fun.

Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic festival Samhain, which is a harvest festival. During this time, the ancient pagans stocked up on livestock meat for the winter, and built huge bonfires where the slaughter waste was burned. Since winter was a time of disease and death, which they associated with evil spirits, they wore costumes and masks to ward them off, or to mimic them.

The name itself comes from All Hallows' Even (for evening) as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day" or "All Saints Day".

A couple of houses have got this giant spider web with a giant yellow & black spider, which I hadn't seen before. In one house they had set it up to go all the way from a tree to the ground, which looked great. But I couldn't get a picture of that one. One of my neighbors had it too, and I got a picture of theirs.

There are the ghosts hanging from trees, of course.

And witches with poor navigation skills ...

The Jack-o'-Lantern can be traced back to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, who was a greedy, gambling, hard-drinking old farmer. The legend goes that he tricked the devil into climbing a tree and trapped him by carving a cross into the tree trunk. Angered, the devil cursed Jack, condemning him to forever wander the earth at night with the only light he had: a candle inside a hollowed turnip.

I didn't carve my little pumpkin this year. No specific reason why not ... but here's my power-point Jack-o'-Lantern.

There usually is a pizza gathering on our street on the evening of Oct 31st, to which parents bring kids in costumes. After the get together, the kids go trick-or-treating. I haven't yet bought treats ... am thinking of buying dried fruit packets this year, to make it a little healthy.

The setting sun lights up the neighborhood during our walk. There are lots of deer here too. Didn't see one on this day, though.

Have a great weekend!


aneri_masi said...

nice pics! And I second the idea of dried fruits. Had heard of someone giving these cute pencils and stuff too, muuuchhh better than candy :)

Happy Halloween!

pink dogwood said...

Loved reading this post. I knew bits and pieces about the history behind Halloween so it is good to know the whole story. I will attempt to carve our pumpkins tonight and will post pictures if they turn out any good.

Robyn said...

We don't celebrate Halloween here though a scattering of children have picked up a few ideas from watching TV, it hasn't really taken off. Love the witch that flew into a tree!

Blu said...

what an intesting and informative post. Great pictures as usual. All Hallows eve isnt really celebrated here.

shuma.rani said...

You have taken some really cool photos. I hope you get the chance to dress up for halloween too ;-)

Have a lovely weekend!

meb said...

Love your pictures bindu... and the history of how it all started. We don't celebrate Halloween either.
Although I do get a kick out of some of the ideas people have for decorating. That's just the creative side of me trying to get out.

The healthy snack sounds like a great idea as well. While we don't have much traffic and don't really approve of the holiday (too dangerous in so many ways), we will honor a knock on the door. Smile.

Have a great day!

bindu said...

Aneri Masi - thanks, and happy halloween to you too!

Bhavana - thanks, will look forward to seeing your photos!

Robyn - I thought that witch was really creative too.

Blu - thanks.

Shuma - thanks and welcome back.

Meb - thanks. I agree with you. On our street though, we know all the kids and this annual get together gives adults a chance to meet too. So as a way of improving the community feeling, it's a good thing.

Sekhar said...

Beautiful surprises indeed :)
Happy Halloween!

pRiyA said...

what fun. i like the spider web best. happy halloween, or if its over, have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

Very nice Helloween pictures! Thanks for sharing.

Sydney said...

Hi Bindu, I'm back from Virginia. It was totally beautiful there. Just trying to catch up...

I love Halloween. I love it that people go all out for it. Loved these pictures.


bindu said...

Sekhar - thanks for stopping by!

Thanks, Priya. Hope your weekend's good too.

Millie - thanks!

Sydney - welcome back and thanks!

nikheel said...

Quite funny n creative ideas...
Happy Holloween and Happy Diwali too Bindu!