Truth be told, Halloween IS a weird and wacky holiday. But a scary Halloween happens as a result of careful preparations. You must indulge in the spirit and have on hand the right ingredients in order to achieve that much sought-after balance of fun and fright.
Scariness is the season’s hallmark, and although it might appear that this spooky-weird day sprang forth from the minds of candy barons, the truth is the treat-filled occasion is steeped in history, lore and legend.
Scary Halloween Legends
One such legend passed down from the Celts, who were European people originating thousands of years ago. The ancient Celts believed that the living could communicate with the dead, but there was a certain time each year when those communication channels were wide open. That time was called Samhain. According to the story, during Samhain the dead would rise and wander the lands looking for trouble and causing harm. Ruined crops, livestock deaths and other dreadful things were blamed on these roaming dead.
A major character in Samhain lore is the Lord of the Dead. He was the one who called up lost souls for re-sentencing and either provided a fitful eternity or one that was – shall we say – less than attractive.
Back then, the living Celts were very demonstrative when it came to this judge of souls. They would offer up treats (wine and food) in hopes that he would be appeased and smile upon the family, thereby passing a lighter sentence on the souls in question. Or they would try to fool him by wearing disguises in an attempt to escape recognition by being overlooked. They also lit bonfires in honor of their sun god in order to rekindle energies lost as the Earth spun its way into the depths of winter.
If you think you recognize these ancient traditions, you’re most certainly correct. Although what we do today is a bit less serious, a lot more playful and even tremendously commercial, the scary Halloween of today is not altogether different than the ancient Samhain.
Food is an important part of parties and parties are a Halloween necessity. At this time of year, folks work hard to create out of the ordinary recipes. Worms, bugs, body parts – anything that repels or grosses us out is perfect for Halloween. Here’s a Halloween fun recipe for Creepy Old Lady Fingers.
Now that we’re up to speed on at least one aspect of the history of Halloween, let’s talk about modern traditions and what it takes to make it a fun and scary Halloween.
First, you need to get a costume. Keep in mind that you can choose from store-bought manufactured costumes that come in a multitude of themes, sizes and price ranges. You can also choose to create your own costume by hand or by using a pattern. With either choice, you can embellish your outfit with scary Halloween makeup and special effects, or choose an option like a life-like mask. Those finishing touches will help you make the most of your character and make you much more convincing. And being convincing is very important. Remember, when the Lord of the Dead comes to town, you don’t want to be recognizable!
Next, once you have your costume figured out, you need some candy. This is so you can have some treats to give to the Lord of the Dead as he passes around. However, most times, you won’t even thing about the Lord of the Dead because there are too many little kids coming to your door. But that’s okay. That’s fun too. Just get your costume ready so you’re prepared for the little varmints that will undoubtedly be ringing your doorbell.
The first two things are essential Halloween must-haves. Without them you are not participating in the celebrations. This is okay, especially if you are a senior citizen who likes to watch the door just to see the little kids, but it’s certainly not good if you are wanting to engage in the fun. The ideas below are will help you achieve more involvement:
Those of you who want to be truly festive will be having parties and entertaining friends. We’ll be helping you with Halloween party ideas soon. These ideas can be used a weekend or two before the holiday or even after the kiddies have gone home the night of. Whatever your plans, make sure to have yourself a fabulously freaky time!
If you are an enthusiast and really want to set the mood, you’ll need some scary Halloween props. This should be done about a month before the big day. Again, you can make your own or you can buy prefab props in your neighborhood stores or online. It all depends upon how far you want to go or how much you want to spend. Halloween props range from items like freaky yard lights, imitation gravestones, and horrid-looking spiders in webs to animated machines that run on batteries or electricity. How far will you go to have a scary Halloween? It’s all up to you!
Parents with children or those with crafty tendencies can have fun making their own decorations and displaying them around the house. Time-pressured individuals and/or less creative people can purchase theirs in stores or online. And don’t forget the seasonal taffy apples, popcorn cakes, apple cider, cookies, cakes and other devilishly detestable goodies! We’ll be getting you some recipes soon.
A simple thing you can do is to get yourself some spooky Halloween Sounds. DVDs containing these bone-chilling sounds can be purchased in stores, downloaded online or ordered through the mail. Imagine the fright you’ll instill when your trick-or-treaters come calling and are confronted with the sounds of creaking doors, terrifying screens and the sounds of night terrors emitting from your house!
Once the stage is set and your bowl of candy is ready and waiting, you’ll need to tune in to some scary movies. I’ll be recommending some of these soon. Sometimes, but not always, there are gaps in between visitors and if you’re home alone, you’ll want to be enjoying the glory of the season. (Or is it the gory of the season?)
Turn on the tube, pop in a video or stream something on your computer or smart TV. We’re assembling a comprehensive list of scary movies, horror movies and Halloween movies for you to choose from. Use our list to pick something new or jog your memory on an old favorite. We’re here to make your season dark and frightening.
Regardless of your plans this year, it only happens once so make it fun, make it memorable and make yourself a scary Halloween!