Halloween is celebrated on the night of October 31. The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows’ Evening also known as Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve. Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats to the area.
Part of the history of Halloween is Halloween costumes. The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages, and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of “souling,” when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.
Yet there is no evidence that souling was ever practiced in America, and trick-or-treating may have developed in America independent of any Irish or British antecedent. There is little primary Halloween history documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween in Ireland, the UK, or America before 1900. The earliest known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking North America occurs in 1911, when a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, near the border of upstate New York, reported that it was normal for the smaller children to go street on Halloween between 6 and 7 p.m., visiting shops and neighbors to be rewarded with nuts and candies for their rhymes and songs.
Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced Halloween in the late twentieth century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.
So if you are one of the many families who participate in the modern day “trick-or-treating” or festive Halloween parties and find yourself overwhelmed with sugar highs and an abundance of candy, there is another option for you other than eating it all or throwing it away. Halloween Candy Buyback (www.halloweencandybuyback.com) will ship your extra goodies to our active U.S. Troops. You can send your candy overages (or new bagged candy) to: Operation Gratitude / CA Army National Guard, 17330 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91406, Attn: Angel Cue Vas. Please be sure to send any donations by mid-November.
However, if you do decide to partake in the Halloween treats, just know not all candy is equal. There are a few types of candy that are deemed “healthier” choices because they are lower in sugar, fat, calories or have protein. So, if you want to splurge a little, without totally blowing it, choose a piece or two of the following: 3 Musketeers; York Peppermint Patty, Peeps Pumpkins; Tootsie Rolls, Peanut M&M’s; Jolly Ranchers; Charms Blow-Pops. (Yes, I know, I am very sad to not see Reese’s on the list as well.)
However you decide to spend your “All Hallows’ Eve”, we wish you a fun and safe evening. Oh, and one more note – don’t forget to set your clocks back 1 hour (fall back) this weekend and enjoy your extra hour of sleep!!!
Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutritionist, Exercise Therapy Specialist
Bodyrich Fitness Company
770-330-2126 or email firstname.lastname@example.org