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Halloween History- A psychotherapists' Spin

Updated on June 28, 2011
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

Do you have Halloween Traditions

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    • profile image

      healing touch 7 years ago

      Boo to you......

    • Healing Touch profile image

      Laura Arne 7 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

      Rod Marsden,

      I love the whole parade with the ID. what a ball. Thanks for the great commentary.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago


    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 7 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      I do agree with your attitude toward Halloween. Jung has always made sense to me.

      In college I did a bit of clowning for a parade down main street. It was fun. The ID, the inner child, was allowed to cut loose for a couple of hours and it was a case of no harm, no foul. There is a certain freedom in acting silly with a big red nose. It is liberating and Jung understood this.

      Apparently in Jung's native city in Europe there was a certain parade every year in which the locals, including businessmen, dressed up and wore outlandish masks and poked fun at things they wouldn't normally poke fun at. Jung thought this yearly blowing off of steam a very healthy thing to do. I can see where he was coming from in that.

      We have begun to celebrate Halloween in Australia but it is not as well established as it is in the USA.

      I have been an Addams Family fan in terms of both the art that once appeared in The New Yorker, the live action television show and the cartoon series. The live action movies were okay.

    • Healing Touch profile image

      Laura Arne 7 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

      ixxy, Thanks for stopping by. I could not stop myself from the Jungian spin.

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Nice Jungian spin. I suppose, I'm just used to being a little bit of this and that in an online world.

      But I do love Halloween. Great movie. Loved the Rob Zombie spin, too!

      And candy is always welcome. ;)

    • Healing Touch profile image

      Laura Arne 7 years ago from Minnetonka, MN


      I love to sing kareoke. thanks for stopping by.

    • singlmomat52 profile image

      singlmomat52 7 years ago

      I love to sing and just once I would like to dress up, completely in disguise, and sing kareoke in front of a crowd. That way when I screw up no one will know who I am, Lol!!! Fun hub, Thank you!!!

    • Healing Touch profile image

      Laura Arne 7 years ago from Minnetonka, MN


      That creep candy really has power. I understand the power candy has. Its creepy. wahaaaaa. Happy Halloween

    • cfleming1 profile image

      cfleming1 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the Hub.

      For me Halloween represents a night (and subsequent weeks) of battle as candy and I square off in combat. For years now, candy has won and my waistline has lost. Maybe this year I can turn the tide.

    • Healing Touch profile image

      Laura Arne 7 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

      MT- I will pick you up at midnight on my broom with spooky the dog cat. wahhaaaaaaa

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 7 years ago from Minnesota

      EEWWW, Scary and fun hub sis. This has been such a fun Halloween with the kids already. BOO

    • Healing Touch profile image

      Laura Arne 7 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

      Kaie Arwen,

      I am so glad you stopped by my halloween haunt. Boooooo

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 7 years ago

      Thank you for the history and the memories! I enjoyed!