Halloween: Born on the 31st of October
In the spirit of the approaching holiday of Halloween, also called Hallowe’en, All Saint’s Eve, All Hallows Eve, Samhain, Hallowed End, I’ve written this hub. It partly deals with some common folklore and my own experiences too.
And yes, the title is a pun on the movie with Tom Cruise.
A Little History
My eldest brother was born on the 31st of October; a lot of people believe that it is supposedly a bad thing. A person born on that date is said to be able to read dreams or possess spiritual or supernatural powers.
We also have Irish blood in our family, and that’s quite coincidental seeing as Halloween is a traditional holiday that originated in Ireland centuries ago, and it was carried over to the United States in the nineteenth century due to emigration because of the Irish Potato Famine.
Since then it has become very commercial and its lore has continued to grow to this day. It started out as an ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. It was believed that the boundary between the alive and the dead dematerialized on the night of October 31, and the dead were supposed to enter the earth realm or the land of the living and cause sickness and damage the important crops. The Gaels made bonfires and wore masks to placate the evil spirits.
The typical symbols of Halloween, like Pumpkins (originally turnips or rutabagas), and apples are associated with the harvest season. Pumpkins are used in the United States because they are available at that time of the year and they are larger to carve faces in and put candles inside to frighten off evil spirits.
The rest of Halloween trickery and superstition that takes place, like ghosts, witches, vampires, bats, crows, black cats and other common images mostly don’t have much to do with the original idea of Halloween, but nowadays it is common place, especially in America with its horror movie culture.
Here in South Africa, Halloween isn’t such a big thing, with only a few thousand people in Cape Town celebrating it, mostly rich celebrities and socialites. I think the reason for this is that a lot of people have their own traditions and customs here, with South Africa having its own history, even though there are many people from England, Ireland and Scotland here.
"Halloween is a traditional holiday that originated in Ireland centuries ago, and it was carried over to the United States in the nineteenth century due to emigration because of the Irish Potato Famine."
That One Night
In my family, we were forbidden from celebrating Halloween in any fashion for many years, including trick-or-treating. Years ago, my parents were quite austere Christians and Halloween was considered evil by the church, even though they’ve now toned it down a bit and mellowed out. They believed that evil spirits really did come into the world on the night of October 31 and so it was very dangerous.
That all changed for me years ago; I was sixteen at the time, and I was called over by a friend to celebrate Halloween with his family. It was a one night special of sorts, and I haven’t ever really done it again.
The three of us came down to my house quickly before heading over to his. I wanted to get my mask and a bag full of eggs and potatoes for later on that evening. We planned on doing some trick-or-treating like you wouldn’t believe. I had to be careful though, seeing as my parents couldn’t know about it or I would get into a lot of trouble. I told my parents that I was going to a little party at a friend’s house, which of course wasn’t entirely a lie, but it would mostly be on the streets that the fun would commence.
We got out of the house and continued up to my friend’s place. We spent the night going from house to house, around several neighbourhoods, scaring people and getting our kicks as sometimes we got our treats, and other times we carried out our tricks. It was a night of revenge as we punished those who didn’t give in to our demands as well as some of the local scumbags that made our lives hell at school. One kid got a rocket right in his living room. At one point we hid in some tall grass in a field and scared the living hell out of some young trick-or-treaters, until a rent-a-cop came along in his little car and spoiled the fun.
The point of the eggs and potatoes that I mentioned earlier was obvious. The eggs were thrown at doors and windows, and the potatoes were thrown at garage doors to wake up the neighbours.
After the night of fun was supposedly over and we had been threatened with flick-knives, chased by other ghouls in the neighbourhood and cars containing irate drivers who were looking for some revenge of their own, we settled down at my friend’s house for a while.
Just then, as I was tending to my splitting headache partly from exhaustion and partly from wearing a mask the whole time, we noticed that a party had started next door. We got up to the first floor and looked out to the neighbour’s living room. We got out our BB guns and proceeded to do a little gate crashing as we shot the party-goers in their legs until the sliding door was shut. After that it was time to throw a few cricket balls and widow-makers on top of the tin roof.
It was soon after that people started leaving and we went inside for the rest of Halloween, recovering from side-splitting laughter, headaches, twisted thumbs and sensitive teeth.
What a night.
"As spirits roam the neighborhoods at night, Let loose upon the Earth till it be light..."— Nicholas Gordon
Do you celebrate Halloween?
© 2008 Anti-Valentine