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Haunting by Day. Haunting by Night. Are you game for a mysterious Halloween challenge this year?

Updated on October 24, 2012
My ancestors.
My ancestors. | Source

How to spend Halloween with/for the departed.

Want to be challenged by a more remarkable, memorable Halloween mystery you’ll cherish in your whole lifetime? Halloween isn’t just all fun. Halloween is a journey to a mystery too.

Halloween is not just to get creepy, scary and be frightful. It is not just celebrating in spooky, comic or even fantasy themes with masked guests gulping on bloody alcoholic drinks and not-too-easy-to-gulp gross food creations. Though there are options with you as the host and well depending who you’re inviting to your Halloween party, there is always a great variety of tempting food and drinks on the table, rather than simple treats that will have your guests roaming the rooms secretly looking for someone to bite.

Please take a quick vote on the Poll if you feel like someone is watching you. Thank you.

Mysterious black and white bunny
Mysterious black and white bunny | Source
A fearsome mean goblin
A fearsome mean goblin | Source

How it all began…

In countries around the world where Halloween is much celebrated second only to Christmas, the name Halloween is adapted dating back to paganism. In ancient Ireland, the Celtic Festival of the End of Summer otherwise known as Samhain (pronounced "SOW-in") is observed on October 31, as when the setting of the sun begins. The Celtics or (old Irish) celebrated this event as the “last harvest”; as for them, the old year comes to an end. Aside from ancient Ireland, Halloween or Samhain was celebrated too by the ancient British Isles Wales and Scotland. This occasion is to honour the dead when it was widely believed during those times that the departed souls come around to revisit their homes. With this eerie feeling surrounding the dark aura of death, many other then magical and enchanted symbols that closely signify a frightening theme have had and have become associated to Halloween such as the goblins, witches, black cats, ravens, mummies, vampires, magicians and their murderous bunnies, fairies, wood elves, dwarves, demons, ghosts/spirits, even ugly toads and the creepy Irish leprechauns! Of course, not the ‘lucky charm’ leprechauns! The rise of spiritism back in 1848 also had played an attractively intriguing role from its popularity, thus casting a heavy spell to Halloween.

This hub is to give credit to how it all began in the history of Halloween. Put aside the party excitements, house-hopping cold nights, horror thrills and fairy-tooth-sweet treats, and go for a more spiritual activities for the forgotten-unvisited-beloved departed, your ancestors unknown to you. You will need some help to bring up some useful information to prepare you for a Halloween trip. You’d be lucky if your ancestors’ tombstones still stand for you to locate them. You will find it fascinating, challenging and mysterious once you complete your research and arrive at the site.

Checking out dates.
Checking out dates. | Source
B.H.'s ancestors site at a countryside graveyard in Dundalk, Ontario Canada.
B.H.'s ancestors site at a countryside graveyard in Dundalk, Ontario Canada. | Source
Domenican Friar Cordon is my great great great grandfather.
Domenican Friar Cordon is my great great great grandfather. | Source
My little niece taking refuge from the scorching sun at my grandparents' resting place.
My little niece taking refuge from the scorching sun at my grandparents' resting place. | Source

Tools to avoid.

  • Chemicals of all sorts including acid

  • Strong soaps and detergents

  • Metal instruments including wire bristles

Chicken or Ghosts

Would you dare spend Halloween in the midst of graves? It doesn't matter if it's Haunting by Day or Haunting by Night.

See results

Haunting by Day - A ritual spin recovering an ancient tomb.

Don’t wait for All Saints Day or All Souls Day celebration. Do this right on, on Halloween time.

Check out your ancestral tree. Ask your parents or grandparents about your ancestors (great grandparents, great great grandparents, and so on.) “And so on” might be too difficult to accomplish but it is never an unfortunate thing to include them in your ritual. Take notes of full names, birth and death dates, places and locations of childhood, adulthood and burial grounds. Travel with a journal.

Locate the sites. There are many still “ancient” crypts that are around and standing in small hometowns, even in far remote ones. If you need to travel to get there, plan it ahead of time, it will be worth an adventure and experience in your lifetime.

Travel and Friends. Plan to take one or a few friends with you for an out-of-town Halloween adventure.

Make sure your friends are crazy enthusiastic (almost as crazy as Dr. Frankenstein) about the whole idea. Have a list at least a couple of old families or friends of relatives to the town or place you are going so it will be a rewarding travel experience having them contribute old stories of your dead relative(s). Contact them ahead of time advising them of our visit to their town. Take note of their contact numbers.

Candles and tools. Pack some large candles and photographs of your ancestors (if any). If you are driving for the trip, include some useful tools like a bristle brush, extra used toothbrushes, plastic scraper, chiseled wood stick and white enamel paint (cheaper than bronze or gold); again, this is for old old graves or gravestones. Otherwise, you may easily find these tools in the town’s hardware shop.

Back in my pa’s island hometown, the family cleans and tidy-up the surroundings of my grandparents and great grandparents’ crypts. Pulling out unwanted weeds and cutting the grass and setting up fresh flowers is what they do. The most important thing is to polish or re-carve cleanly and neatly the tomb markings and old old headstones. The headstones are scraped carefully to retain its letter and number moldings and so not to chip them. After a decent skillful work on them, these are then filled or brushed with white permanent enamel paint.

*Enjoy the work with just the simplest tools to make your trip enjoyable, not a burden. After all, this is an old standing tombstone, a memorial of your ancestor. To a crypt above the ground, the foot end of the coffin is facing outwards inside the crypt where the tombstone is attached or carved or engraved. If you use a wire bristle brush, the poor soul might give you a pat on the shoulder to remind you that it tickles and can’t be at peace.

Light source. Work on a daytime or shady afternoons at the graveyard. “Hanging out by day” might not be too spooky to give your kind tribute than hanging out and haunting by night.

Flowers and a camera. Finish off your day at the grave of your ancestor with fresh flowers, a little prayer and a memorable photograph of your hard work and adventure. Flowers are always appreciated and just hope the soul is not allergic to pollens (just kidding). A camera will come in handy for sure either you are a solo traveller or travelling with friends along. Be proud of what you’ve done and a memorable photograph will serve as a solid proof to your parents that you’ve visited your ancestors’ graves.

Dress up for the occasion. If you are really into it and have friends to come along in your trip, remember to pack your Halloween costumes too. Want to be freaky scary? That is fine as long as you can hold yourself haunting by day or night inside a cemetery. The spirits might find you entertaining!



Haunting by Night – Trick or Treat made easy.

Don’t be too in a hurry to go back home. In the first place, you are here for Halloween.

Go back to the graveyard of your ancestors with a flashlight and a small lamp (be cautious not to set the graveyard grounds on fire) especially with dry grass and dead leaves around. Light up some candles and remember to kill them when you leave. Yes, kill the candles! Take with you a few refreshments- a bottle of wine, a pack of beer and good food. Check for local laws so you don’t get in trouble with your “alcoholic” beverages. Make sure you share the first drink to your ancestors making a toast; your ancestors will surely celebrate with you and they will love you for this kind gesture.

Silence is golden. I know, I know. You’re asking how it will be possible to observe silence if you’re dressing up for the occasion, with a bottle of wine, some food, a camera and some friends in the graveyard? Perhaps it is not easy, but lower it down a bit, please. You don’t want to disturb the many other peaceful dead who could probably hate the celebration of Halloween. I think that they’d rather go out to town on Halloween night than having visitors to their resting place, jammin’ especially, or they’ll chase you out of there and that will be the most frightening fun reality on Halloween night, won’t you agree? “Respect” for the dead is key. And have you ever heard of the phrase “ask permission first”? You can try to do that and to make aware for the quiet residents that you’re havin’ a little Halloween “Haunting by Night” going on in their premises.

“Trick or Treat?” Would you really ask this question in the graveyard? You can instead ask permission again to take photos. Just look around you when you say it, addressing it to the invisible energies in the open. Then, if the entities are pleased, great captures in your photographs are definitely a treat, not tricks.

Have your camera ready. Flash is useful. Who knows if your ancestor is too happy to have welcomed you and will appear in the photograph with you and your pals? And the rest of the souls might show up too to celebrate their holiday (those ghosts that have come back from trick or treating into town).

Start planning for a Halloween ancestral trip this year! Or would you need a psychic medium to contact your dead ancestors for a more memorable, unforgettable, hair-raising adventure haunting by day and haunting by night?

≈♥≈ ©coffeegginmyrice (Marites Mabugat-Simbajon), 10.07.2012


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    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      A storm is coming around and kids fear that the trick or treating might not happen. On the other hand, for those who want to celebrate Halloween in a more challenging way, just imagine being out there inside a graveyard caught in the middle of heavy downpour, winds and thunder. Well now, we have to make sure to find our way out of there.

      Thank you D.Juris Stetser! May your Halloween be creepy and fun!

    • D.Juris Stetser profile image

      D.Juris Stetser 5 years ago from South Dakota

      Wow! I love this article, and just in time for Halloween. Great ideas for celebrating the night....B eautiful, awesome and interesting!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi barbergirl! A graveyard will be beautiful to visit if no one starts to tease on how creepy it will be once inside the lot, lol. I used to take my girls for a walk with me inside a couple cemeteries to pick up some dead Maple leaves and flatten and dry them inside some books, and to take pictures because I wanted to make my own personalized Christmas cards (from the leaves though, not the tombstones, lol).

      Having pure, clean thoughts while inside a cemetery will keep me at ease especially when I go there to write poetry. I like the silence and peaceful ambiance for my thoughts to flow. But once I start to think of creepiness, bet you, I'd leave right away. I can't be too brave to be sitting on a black iron bench alone, feeling like someone is looking at my poem over my shoulders. It gives me the chills too!!!

      Thank you barbergirl. It is already brave of you to walk into this hub.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      What a different spin on celebrating Halloween... I don't know if I could go visit graveyards. They kind of freak me out but that might be from a when I was a child and we had this really old cematary close to the house. It gives me chills just thinking about it!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      It is an alternative time to put Halloween in good purpose, and a day ahead to preparing and tidying up a grave mark of those who had left Earth before us, comes All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Thank you, Michelle!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      The ancestral activity is a great one for making Halloween a really memorable day for the spirits of those who passed as well. Thanks for the unique take, Marites!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi Mis! Remember the Halloween costumes I made for cousin JP? Maybe not, I guess you were just a little girl. I did it from old clothes and raw materials, including dead leaves. And he won in his school's costume contest. That was the first scarecrow costume I made for him. Next was a skeleton costume. I agree with you on expensive costumes and used only once. I tell my girls, "be creative, try not to spend too much". I had done a few great ones for Moe before...another of my scarecrow and her mummy costume that wrapped her from head to foot so well that cars were honking at her and they gave her thumbs up! She looked so cool...a mummy walking on the streets.

      I think too that Filipinos have more better way to celebrate a scary Halloween if they want to. Halloween is not for princesses and dressing up pretty, but it has its own advantage especially for the little children. The children still look cute in them anyways. I also saw a couple dressed up as Jasmine and Aladdin, they just looked so awesome...minus the magic carpet, they were strolling, lol!

      With going to a graveyard, some respect for the dead still should be on the top list. It would be fun to be crawling, creeping from one tombstone to another and take pictures of unusual names and very ancient dates. To pick up some genuine orbs in the photos, some useful tips should be observed like weather conditions, clear lenses, no smoking, no hard drinking, no presence of background lights, etc. Wouldn't that be cool?

      My girls are still scared each time I want to start a ghost story with them. They'd scream in unison, "MOM, STOP IT. I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT. STOP." Hahahaha!

      Thanks sis for creeping by. Send me some ghost stories if you heard some or experienced them especially in lolo's house. Love and hugs...

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi Mhatter! It is a little twist to the usual Halloween celebration. I think it would be nice to catch something unusual, if the cool air carries any luck for one seeking a fright night adventure. Thank you for enjoying the hub, Mhatter. Look, did someone just poked you?

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hahahaha! What a very enjoyable read met me this morning...oh, it's almost noon! I laughed so hard on " an attack of flesh eating zombies - or hungry Canadians who haven't had their Thanksgiving dinner yet..."

      Ghost stories, ghost stories, I want to write about it. :)

      It is also pretty scary your list for me, hahaha! Gotta catch up or maybe I need that chainsaw to make me move fast and fast and fast. Happy Thanksgiving to you, epigramman! What's cookin'?

    • Miswa profile image

      Miswa 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Dear sis, you mentioned the ghost story-telling...I miss it too....though it doesn't have to be told once a year only during family gatherings. I got to share some stories with your nieces (I concocted a few on my own) to see their reactions...I would have wanted to go as far as I can but I was afraid they might have nightmares and I might end up wide awake till light comes. hehehe.

      Honestly, when it comes to Halloween time here in the Philippines...I find it too stereotypical of Filipinos to go trick or treating. Filipinos love to embrace foreign cultures that they even have this tradition of trick or treating at the malls in very expensive costumes worn only once a year!

      For me, I think Filipinos should celebrate Halloween that is native to the Philippines. I agree with your hub about going to the graves and do scary stuff if they really want to experience a real close encounter of the third kind. There should be a great story telling that would make the audience pee in their pants. ...without having to spend so much and not lose your teeth at the same time.

      I don't know...this is just me speaking from my 40-year old mind.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Great stuff. Thank you for sharing. very enjoyable read.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      I think that last boo just scared the living shite out of me my favorite gal from T.O. (and you stand taller than the C.N. Tower)

      If ya wanna raise the dead - You Tube - The Queens of the Stone Age which I am playing right now with defiance to an attack of flesh eating zombies - or hungry Canadians who haven't had their Thanksgiving dinner yet - lol

      I have ghost stories all of the time here (as you know) from my dear mum moving things around - and my love life is pretty haunted - lol - but that's a story for another time - what else was on the playlist tonight?

      I think the soundtrack from John Carpenter's original Halloween is pretty scary

      and the opening theme from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining puts shivers down my spine

      ...hold on .... hold on .....what really puts shivers down my spine is - not visiting your hallowed hub space for a day or two - well, that's major cardiac arrest. lol

      and the best Halloween video of them all - well that's easy - I will keep you in suspense .....until the next time - ha ha ha ha - must step outside and check who has been running up and down this lakeshore road in the last half hour with a chainsaw .......

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      My dear epigramman! My chuckles started from the beginning to the end of your comments. Boy, oh boy, I always await for you. Don't you even miss one of my hubs at all...(just kidding). Of course, you have some fun time in the lake, but no more dipping. Even many other zombies can't take the chilly waters, except for the World War Z zombies in the ocean!

      My heartfelt thanks to you, epi. My attitude is gratitude.

      You got scary neighbours. Do you scare them too? Lol. I wonder what's in the bags of John Gacy's double? Honestly, I thought he was a horror film actor but I was wrong. I quickly googled who JG is. And by the way, why are you watching your neighbours late at night? Hahaha!

      This hub took me deep in the night with lots of thinking and searching for the right photos. Glad I have some family ancestor photos as well.

      Small hometowns have creepy stories and my pa's hometown is one. I started missing home and really have the guts to spend a night at my grandpa's old two-storey house, but NOT alone, hehehe! I have a cousin who wants to experience ghosts in the house. We could both do it together. I bet we will be up until day break, eyes wide open! NO sleep. NO sleep!! This thought gave me the idea to put this hub together, as well as I had observed my pa as he had cleaned and repainted the gravestones of our ancestors once.

      Thank you for your dug up movie ideas you are sharing with me. I will try to check them out with my girls.

      It is really cold here tonight...double socks, a pair of leggings, pajamas + sweat pants and a hoodie will keep me warm when I hit the bed soon.

      I don't want the heat on yet, just a little more chill at home...

      Goodnight, epi! Boo!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      Well I am just in love with your fabulous Hub presentations and they are just world class all of the way . And this particular hub theme is just out of this world -literally - as in 'otherworldly'

      And a very heartfelt congratulations to a perfect 100 score - I am so proud of you my fellow Canadian and esteemed colleague.

      Even the mighty Epi-man has never received a perfect 100 as I am too much of a rebel and a maverick to shoot for one because I don't give one hoot in heck about hub scores anyway but I certainly do respect and admire anyone who can score a 100. And you are also a perfect 10 in my book as well ,lol, so says the epi-man as an art lover - lol lol

      I think my water days are over now in the lake as the heat comes on quite a bit on a cold night like this and my two cats seem to like the heat coming - so you see I live with two hot little pussies - lol lol

      ..but back to you - the star of the show - and this is quite a hub - I loved it and when you look like me it's Halloween all year round - and I once had a neighbor here who was a twin for Charles Manson and the neighbor on the other side who looked like John Gacy and he kept burying garbage bags late at night underneath his cottage crawl space.

      I love how you put all of this together and engage your readers in an exciting interactive experience.

      Two awesome Halloween movies I would recommend to you - check them out on the Tube of You: Robert Wises's 1963 The Haunting (not the remake but this classic b/w original

      and a film from 1963 also called Carnival of Souls (again not the remake but the b/w classic original)

      also are you familiar with the classic TV series The Twilight Zone hosted by Rod Serling

      sending you warm wishes and good energy from cold chilly lake erie time 11:18pm

      So I am rating this hub UP UP and rising from the grave - because you make this old Zombie come so alive ....

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Thank you alocsin! My grandpa's old house in Bantayan Island is creepy with lots of ghost stories already told of paranormal activities by our ancestors. Each Holy Week, families and relatives meet in the house for the duration of a week vacation. Always and never to be missed is a gathering on the terrace to talk about ghosts and new news of any spirit activities reported to the clan. I'm here in Canada now, and I miss this kind of story-telling with aunts, uncles and curious cousins like me.

      I feel like the "ancestral activity" would be a great idea with the family and kids as you commented here. In my grandpa's house, there are still several antique items belonging to my grandparents and great grandparents including pina clothes of the Spanish era. It would be a nice gathering during a Halloween night or on All Souls Day over minimal light in one of the spacious bedrooms to go through these ancestral belongings and sharing of old photographs introducing the ancestors to the kids, with a little touch of spook and thrill. Just imagine some screaming to develop. But it is only during the Holy Week that relatives from far places could really meet up.

      My aunt here in Canada one time went through a wooden antique carved trunk filled with Latin and Spanish books owned by my grandpa and perhaps from his parents. She was in that house during a Holy Week vacation to the hometown. When she was scanning pages of the very fragile and crisp pages of the books, selecting some of them aside, she heard heavy footsteps coming up the staircase (the top platform is where the trunk is). She quickly looked around, but found no one. Then, she proceeded. Again and about a couple more times, she heard the footsteps on the staircase headed towards her to the platform with no one. That last time, she quickly dropped the trunk lid and ran down the steps. Perhaps, she later said, that an ancestor wasn't pleased of her plan to take a few books away.

      It's spook time soon...

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hahahaha, TToombs08! That's what I forgot-- a Poll. I have to go back to this hub and add it. I am just having a good laugh with your comment. I'm actually challenged, but I won't deny that this will make me shake all over! I've gone to cemeteries to take photographs during the fall season mainly because of the beautiful hues of the oak and maple trees. Even at daylight, it will give me the creeps (if when I start playing with my mind). If I don't think of anything creepy, I will be totally fine...until dusk comes around and I am still in there...then, I really get too tensed not only because of thoughts about ghosts, but strangers who could grab me in the middle of a graveyard. I start freaking out, rushing to the gates in wide steps, but I don't run...constantly turning my head with this eerie feeling that someone is behind me.

      Thank you for your visit, TToombs!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hello loveofnight! I tried and I'm glad you made a spin towards my hub. I will be visiting you soon...spinning my way to you. Thank you so much!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I like the ancestral activity -- it's a nice alternative with the family and kids to the normal trick or treating ritual. And it won't rot the kids' teeth. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Nope, can't do it, I'm too much of a chickensh*t. :) Great idea tho, and have shared all over.

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 5 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      Definitely a new spin on Halloween, a good share indeed.