Halloween 101. Reasons to Throw a Ghoulish Bash!

Release the Ghosts!

Haunted moon on All Hallows Eve
Images: Pixabay

The Americans alone spend $9 billion on Halloween. It puts famine into perspective! Those familiar with my posts would understand why my face “fell off” when I read this fact in a news article. My otherwise fierce courage deserted me in my hour of need: I dared not look for a global statistic. I care about my face! 😄

Well, I understand societal consumerism and the urge to party for whatever reason, and I get it even more in the fateful (first) year of the pandemic. I accept both reasons even when they apply to nations that had absolutely nothing to do with this mainly American holiday until a decade ago but adopted it for it offers yet another reason to throw a monster (pun!) party. 

Romanians, for instance, fill this description, but we have a good excuse: we love a rave, hey! Suppose the government would one day deem it right to declare, I don’t know, May 14th the National Odd Slipper and Pinocchio’s Nose Day. I’m pretty sure the nation will be quick to drag their feet in odd slippers and sport some twig protruding from between their ears to some organised party, even with quarantine rules imposed by said government. 

My dilemma is, out of so many billion people on the planet, how many have a clue what the hell they are celebrating to justify the colossal amount of money spent for one evening?

The six people who already know can stop reading now and go on with their routine. For the rest of us, I did some research and put a few facts together in this Halloween 101. I’ll be quick; this is the shortest post I’ll ever write, I promise.

Halloween 101

Here goes Halloween 101:

  • It is otherwise known as the evening before All Saints Day. In essence, a Druid (old and mystical religion of Celtic tribes in ancient Ireland) end-of-summer celebration married to a Dark Age Pope’s decision to move The All Saints Day from May 13th to November 1st. Peace over millennia of dissension between pagan and Christian, in essence. Totally worth a drink or two and some cash spent on a latex costume. I could not find any information on prehistoric similarities, but it would be so cool if anyone had the knowledge and would like to share it! After all, the Celts who migrated to what is today the UK initially lived in Central Europe. Also, large amounts of Celtic DNA was found in people still living in northern Romania, but no archaeological discoveries to even start a new theory.
  • It marked the Celt’s New Year’s Eve. It was the night when ghosts returned among the living. The Druid Lord of Darkness, Samhain, allegedly chased the spirits around the towns to get them back to where they belonged. This possibly has provided, two thousand years later, the most popular Halloween costume ideas: ghosts, skeletons, witches and vampires.
  • Speaking of vampires, who, as we all know, reside in Transylvania, a spooky region of Romania, ever enveloped in mysterious fog, where people wear garlic necklaces and always watch over their shoulder for a dark silhouette of a certain Mr Dracula. (I’m joking, it’s mostly sunny over there, and the people are actually quite trendy, although they love garlic, in foods!) Yes, the Romanians have serious reasons to celebrate Halloween! They should only do so on November 29th, on St. Andrew’s Day (the saint patron of wolves), for this is the spooky time when the gates of heaven open for the ghosts to come down on Earth and create havoc among the wolves and the vampires – the unfortunate ghouls caught in purgatory and messing badly with the living. The day officially marks the beginning of winter, when the evil spirits will look to steal future crops’ power. The people have tried everything in their power to thwart the malefic forces’ action. Apparently, garlic provided the best results; keep this in mind if you happen to run into Dracula one day. Luckily, he’s too fancy and easily offended by the pungent stench of an otherwise healthy veggie, a veritable natural antibiotic. Hmm, I wonder now, would an injection with penicillin work as a deterrent for vampire bites? And what do you do if you try that and it turns out your vampire has a penicillin allergy? I would probably act on instinct and call 999, forgetting the damned initial reason!
Spooky Vampire bat
  • What’s with the pumpkins an’ all? Well, it seems to be a modern adaptation to an ancient tradition. The Irish used to carve turnips and make them into candles to keep the dark forces at bay. When they emigrated to America, they realised that a pumpkin makes more sense for this purpose and adjusted the tradition. A previous legend has something to do with a drunkard called Stingy Jack, who made a pact with the devil, and after death got stuck between the worlds, that’s why he carries a candled carved pumpkin to lighten his ways.
  • In some cultures, including the Romanian one, women believed that their future husbands would show in their dreams on All Hallows Eve. It might sound a bit fishy if you are a nonbeliever; perhaps it is the “trick” part of the “trick-or-treat”. Just sayin’; I believe in everything, including dreams! And why shouldn’t I when my most recurrent one is that I’m still cruising? Not bad for a nightmare, eh? 😋
  • All the rest is a modern adaptation to a probably way older tradition for which there is no available information. I debated this problem and gave my honest opinion on how much we know and how much we don’t know here.
Halloween Ghost

At the end of my research, I’m still shocked at the amount of money spent on Halloween. Even in full pandemics, the spending did not drop dramatically; it still reached a little over 8 billion in 2020. I am confident it won’t change much in 2022 either, recession or not. We are all fed up and most likely will retaliate, throwing stashes of heating or petrol money left and right!

Still, the conclusion is a positive one: after millennia of war, conquest, domination and global migration, we humans are all united and finally agree on something: any reason is good enough – especially Halloween – to throw a bash and spend insane amounts of cash on a pagan-converted-Christian-converted-commercial holiday!

Eat (quirky treat recipes provided here), drink, release the ghosts and be spooky!

Have a ghoulish Halloween, y’all! Boo! And don’t call me ’till Monday; my hangovers bloody love to hang on!

This post does not intend to offend, educate or anything else beyond cracking a smile from the reader. For more profound insights and referencing purposes, these were my sources:

https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween. Accessed 30/10/2020

http://www.holidayinsights.com/halloween/facts.htm. Accessed 30/10/2020

https://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/media/articles/truth-about-halloween/. Accessed 30/10/2020

https://www.historia.ro/sectiune/general/articol/de-unde-vine-sarbatoarea-de-halloween. Accessed 30/10/2020.

Release the Ghosts!

The World Is An Oyster

Working as a journalist during university was pretty exciting. But landing a cruise ship job barely a year in my new graduate career was something else! Overnight, I moved from an already exhilarating job to an even better one. One that would allow me to wake up every morning in a different country. What more can a twenty-something wish for? The fact that I was fluent in a few languages helped. It made it easier to obtain the position I was seeking at the Shore Excursions department. Apart from dispatching tours in the morning and selling tickets in the evening, I would spend nearly every day on different trips. I did this a few years, spending half a year onboard and about two months at home. I enjoyed it immensely. I met fascinating people from all over the Globe and collected memories to last me a lifetime. Not to mention that I received a salary for seeing all those magnificent places the Earth has to offer! In an ideal world, everybody should live as they want. For me, that would translate into travel, then travel some more and keep travelling!

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49 Responses

  1. Joanna says:

    We celebrated St.Andrew’s day on November 30th when I was a kid and teenager growing up in Poland. I’m not sure what boys did, but girls were meeting in the evening and playing different games to predict when and who would be their future husband. Lots of witchy stuff like wax melting and pouring through a special keyhole onto water and that illuminate IG the thus created shape with a candle and trying to decipher the shape of the shadow. Will my beloved by a doctor? A lawyer? (Those were the most coveted). Needless to say there was no Halloween behind the iron curtain. Now though, Poland is as inundated with cheap Chinese decor and costumes as the US. And the landfills are growing 😩

    • It was almost the same in Romania since we have a similar history (and hardship) but it turned 180 degrees in the past 2-3 decades. Incredibly kitschy, but it seems to be what the masses are made to want. Until all wake up…

  2. Jeanine says:

    I have read that in Scotland, Samhain is celebrating the end of harvest, they also carved turnips and the parents used to dress the children to hide them from evil spirits, they would then go from door to door where they were offered fruit etc for the same reason, to ward off evil spirits…in Australia technically our Samhain is the 30th of April…but they get onboard with Northern Hemisphere…so glad your face didn’t fall off ha ha

  3. I worked on Halloween and I’m sad I didn’t get to celebrate a little bit more.

  4. Jere Cassidy says:

    Another great post. Halloween used to be simpler with homemade costumes and pumpkin carving. Growing up in a small midwest town of 2000 people there was always be a parade down main street of everyone who wanted to dress up and they would throw candy to the crowd, then afterward we would have hot cider and donuts.

  5. I love it even though Halloween it is not my favorite, you changed that. I so enjoy all your great ideas. Thank you.

  6. Katherine says:

    I love it! We are all about Halloween at my place. We started preparing for it before the school year even started! Love the post! Thanks for sharing

  7. Lisa says:

    Thanks for all of the fun Halloween info. You really did a lot of research for this one. I feel much more informed about Halloween traditions now.

  8. Martina says:

    I love that there’s also a historical information written on this blog! It’s very compelling and at the same time informative x Will definitely try to throw a halloween bash this year!

  9. Jere Cassidy says:

    We have thrown a Halloween party for over 20 years. It’s a tradition.

  10. Freya says:

    Such a fascinating article, I had no idea that pumpkins replaced turnips!

  11. Love this! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays!

  12. Jean says:

    Omg Im wondering what to do this coming halloween, this is a great reminder despite restrictions.

  13. Cindy says:

    One of my favourite holidays is Halloween so learning a bit of history behind it is always fun!!

  14. Rachel IRL says:

    always love reading your posts – so informative!

  15. Wow, that’s what I call a refreshing blog! Honestly never read a blog that interesting about Halloween, so truly thank you for enlightening me on this matter. As a Dutch girl, it’s still sometimes difficult to grasp the matter!

  16. monica says:

    Ahahah this post is hilarious! Well said, and very well written 🙂 I honestly can’t believe how much money people spend on Halloween – seriously?!
    I still managed to skip it with my daughter this year, as she’s not old enough to know about it and wanting to participate … but I am afraid next year I will have to join the masses!

  17. I’ve been last year in the USA in Halloween period and I tell you is crazy. Big parties, so many funky, scary, crazy costumes. They are really celebrating big time! As I remember all the decorations (a full neighborhood was under Halloween theme) 9 million dollars makes sense.

  18. Whitney says:

    Fascinating! I had NO idea. Americans spend a ton of money on EVERYTHING!

  19. Sarah says:

    Haha, I agree!!!! What are we all doing?!?! So much waste. Great article!

  20. Angie says:

    Wow! Love these facts about Halloween! I really didn’t know anything about the background and history of Halloween as I’m coming from a country where we don’t celebrate this day. But I came across enough blogs in the past few weeks to make me wonder what it was all about. So, thank you for this great post!

    • I wanted to know more, as well, so I did a bit of research. My country of origin should not have anything to do with Halloween, except for reason to party, so people adopted yet another holiday. Besides, consumerism is a global religion; soon we’ll see all sorts celebrated everywhere. Old traditions, new traditions… The world is changing.

  21. Elzaan says:

    You got some awesome facts there! Very interesting😊 and as long as people are happy let them party😁

  22. Brooke says:

    Perfect post to land on. We were following the kids trick or treating and started wondering where this all came from! Great information!

  23. I had no idea! $9 billion on Halloween? Thank you fo sharing this post!

  24. Jeannie says:

    actually great insights you have here, while for me I dont spend money also on holloween but I do like to watch scary films😂

  25. Linda Egeler says:

    Thanks for all of the background information on one of my favorite holidays. Thanks also to Stingy Jack for starting our carved pumpkin tradition. Otherwise, I may not have discovered roasted pumpkin seeds!

  26. hari says:

    9 billion on Halloween? astounding!
    love some of the historical background of this holiday.
    thanks for sharing!

  27. Melanie says:

    I love all this Halloween story’s that people share. Halloween is definitely one of my favorite holidays. Confession: I spend more on Halloween than I do gifts for Christmas. 😂

  28. Caleb Harris says:

    That’s interesting that Americans spend 9 billion on Halloween. I would have never guessed. Overall, good post!

  29. Alyssa Hixenbaugh says:

    This has to be one of my favorite posts yet! I had to laugh when I read your “face fell off” reference! Also, I only knew a little about Halloween history, but I didn’t know why pumpkins were so popular. I can’t believe that we Americans spend $9 billion on Halloween either! But like you said, we enjoy any reason to celebrate. 🙂 I hope you have a fun/spooky Halloween!

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