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Halloween History- a Psychotherapists' Spin

Updated on December 7, 2020
Monster pulling its head off
Monster pulling its head off
I Dare you to step foot on my stoop. wah-aah-aah
I Dare you to step foot on my stoop. wah-aah-aah

In many American households, Halloween is seen as a family bonding opportunity. Kids and parents carve pumpkins that turn into jack o'lanterns that light up the Halloween sky. Some kids trick or treat, while others attend Halloween parties. Halloween is now one of the most popular secular holidays in American culture. Recent research suggests that most families spend $60 or more for this holiday.

As a psychotherapist by trade, I must put on my therapy hat for just a moment. As an admirer of Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist, he has an intriguing philosophy on the subject of dressing up for Halloween. He believes that we all have a hidden part of us that lay in our unconscious, dying to be noticed. What we show people on the outside and what lay hidden on the inside, can be quite a contrast. It is fun to dress up into a character that you may find mysterious or different from your day to day persona.

Jung describes this unknown part of us as the shadow. On Halloween night in my Jungian class, we were given the opportunity to dress up as one aspect of our shadow. What a fun party theme and interesting concept to think about. What about you is so hidden, that you may want to show others? I encourage you to think about this and just for fun, think of what you would dress up as, to show this piece of you or your shadow. Analytical psychology uncovers that piece or pieces of our psyche, so that we can become more aware of what lay hidden. That is the fun of Halloween. It is also quite healthy for our mental state.

My family sees Halloween as an opportunity to stay with tradition and get silly together. Every year we carve our pumpkins on Halloween eve or day and cook the pumpkin seeds. These seeds are baked and very delicious. We also trick or treat each year with our neighborhood. We have a great time decorating our yard and stoop. It is always fun to see the kids react to the scary decorations as they approach the house for treats.

Recipe for Pumpkin Seeds

  • Rinse pumpkin seeds in strainer in sink
  • Add salt to water with pumpkin seeds at least four hours
  • Take out of water and rinse
  • Place pumpkin seeds on olive oil greased pan
  • Bake pumpkin seeds till golden brown
  • Bake at 400 degrees
  • Salt to Taste

I would like to close with a fond childhood memory. In my catholic school they taught us this Halloween song. My kids have loved this song since they were quite small. ........

Witches, pumpkin heads, and black cats, scary spooky spooks and black bats, oh its Halloween.

Witches, pumpkin heads, and black cats,scary spooks, and black bats, oh it's Halloween

Halloween night is the night where fearful things are seen. LOOK OUT- LOOK OUT- LOOK OUT IT'S HALLOWEEN.

© Laura Rogers Arne

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