October 30, 2010 by Renee
Before I begin, yes that’s me in the picture. Circa 1999, while working at the Tweedsmuir (that’s a bar). I believe the genie costumes were someone else’s idea. Sadly, they don’t make costumes in tall. So, while everyone else’s pants poofed, mine hung on by a thread and some duct tape. The shoes…I couldn’t find silver slipper-like shoes in size ten. So I found some in a size 9 and painted them with nail polish. No, paint doesn’t adhere to patent leather. Nail polish does. My feet were blistered and I was in agony at this point. I’m a good actress though. Now, to the blog post. Quit looking at the picture. Stop it. Thank you.
Aside from Christmas, which I love, love, love, Halloween is my favorite holiday/event each year. Why? Well candy, first of all. A valid excuse to buy sacks of chocolate bars and cases of Doritos, jeeze how could it get better? But there’s also the myths and the history surrounding the day.
There are sooo many legends and myths about Halloween which vary depending where you’re from. One of my favorites includes the Celtic festival, Samhain. In Gaelic culture, Samhain was a time the ancient pagans used to take stock and prepare for winter. They believed that on October 31, the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped which allowed the dead to come back to life and wreak havoc among the living. So, during the Samhain festival, they’d light bonfires and wear masks in an effort to mimic the evil spirits and appease them. Bet you never thought of that when you were picking out that hooker costume, eh? It certainly never crossed our minds when selecting genie costumes. We just thought they were hot.
What about trick-or-treating? I have a favorite story about that too and it’s tied to the wearing of costumes. According to medieval history, the practice of dressing up and begging door to door on holidays was common in the Middle Ages. It is similar to ‘souling’, which is when medieval poor people would go door to door on what was called Hallowmas (November 1) and they’d receive food in exchange for prayers for the dead the following day, All Souls Day. Shakespeare mentions it in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, written in 1593, when the character Speed accuses his master of whining like a beggar at Hallowmas.
And I also found an interesting fact that makes Halloween extra special to folks in my area. The earliest known reference to begging door-to-door on Halloween in North America happened in 1911. A newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, (just a hop and a skip from Tweed) reported that it was acceptable for smaller children to go out in costume on October 31 between 6 and 7 p.m. during which time they’d visit shops and neighbors and were given nuts and candies in exchange for their rhymes and songs.
Yep, I’ve been a Halloween buff for a while. My kids are too. We come back with not one, not two, but three or more bags of candy every year. For a small area like Tweed, that’s not bad at all. Of course, we begin as soon as it gets dark and usually, my kids (the troopers) refuse to come home until we’ve gone to every house giving out candy. That takes at least three hours. And it’s cold, often raining and not pleasant and yet, I can’t wait for it to come every year.
But I think the reason I love this time of year so much really stems from the fact that the whole purpose of Halloween costumes (in modern times) is to imitate fictional (depending on what you believe) creatures. Vampires (my personal favorite), witches, ghosts, demons, cartoon characters, and sluts. Wait…those aren’t fictional. Let me tell you, a couple of my childhood friends and I dressed up as prostitutes, hookers, or some sort of slutty, dirty, female character for at least six Halloweens. What does that say about us? I’d rather not know. We told our parents we were punk rockers, rockstars or something like that so they would let us wear the fishnets, heels and revealing mini skirts and way too tight shirts. Then the makeup–I wish I had a picture to show. But I don’t.
This year my daughters are going as a witch and a ghostly goddess (which is actually creepier than it sounds), and we plan to be out very late. Kennedy is very excited and I’m thrilled she traded in her princess costumes for an awesome witch costume. My favorite childhood costume was a clown costume. Clowns are creepy. That year my mom went all out and my makeup was awesome. Too bad I was allergic to it and it never ‘dried’ and when we washed it off it looked like I’d stuck my face in a fire. Good times.
What’s your favorite memory of Halloween?