Helen English Artist
Halloween is a day which brings a lot of different memories of various years in my life. I have been to costume parties, with or without bonfires, and been the instigator and receiver of Trick or Treat visits. I have made carved pumpkins, a skeleton face cake, witches hats, and many other Halloween inspired items of creativity.
It’s a day full of history and intrigue. Originally it was a Celtic festival devised to ward off ghosts as the warmth of summer and the harvesting activities ended. Winter was associated with cold and death, so lighting fires and wearing costumes became an annual tradition to ward off the returning dead and people’s fears. The evening before All Saints Day, designated as such by an eighth century pope, was called All Hallows Eve – now Halloween (Hallow E’en).
The traditions which we have of fearsome carved pumpkin faces and dressing up as skeletons, witches, and essentially anything scary come directly from the celebrations of the past fourteen centuries which is quite amazing really. Yes, the traditions have moved with the times as they should. We create new ways of doing things as a society and also within our own changing and merging households.
I was chatting with friends the other day and thought how cool it would be to have a Halloween party where we made things from scratch and found items, including costumes, instead of the readymade, often plastic, items that you can buy. Carving out pumpkins, the insides could be baked into a pie or cake! Using old sheets or unbleached calico for a ghost costume, or making a witches hat and having an excuse to wear all my black clothes at the same time! Now, with our house extension almost operational, organising a traditional Halloween party sounds like fun and, as of today, I have a year to plan!