Halloween: then and now

Halloween: then and now

Halloween's origins go back to ancient times when Celts, the ancestors of Scottish and Irish people, celebrated a holiday called Samhain every October 31. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that the night before the New year, which they celebrated every November 1, the boundary between the living and dead worlds became blurred, and the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

Celts used different kinds of tricks to protect themselves from the attacks of devils, ghosts, and witches. They extinguished the fire in houses and left treats for the evil spirits in the courtyards to appease them. People dressed up in animal skins and painted their faces in hopes of leading evil spirits, pretending to be one of them. Everyone gathered around the fires, which the priests kindled, and even had animal sacrifice. Finally, everybody took home a piece of fire that was considered sacred. At that time, the pumpkin became the main symbol of the holiday, as it was associated with the harvest and carried the holy fire to the house. 

Later, when Christianity began to displace pagan beliefs, Catholics created a new holiday for November 1, called All Hallows Day, and its long name was shortened to the laconic "Halloween." De facto, this is a Christian church holiday, but it has firmly merged with the legacy of pagan rituals such as coaxing spirits and dressing up. They fought against "wild" customs for a long time but could not exclude them from Halloween. Eventually, the immigrants from the Old World brought it with them to America. 

Nowadays, on this holiday, children dress up, take baskets with them, huddle in a company, and go to neighboring houses, asking for sweets. More precisely, they offer a choice: either a treat or a dirty trick. Girls try to predict their fortunes with the help of candles and mirrors. Adults decorate apartments, dress up, hold house parties or attend clubs or bars. Large-scale masquerades are held on this day in many US cities, and luckily, they no longer require animal sacrifice. 

Ideas for celebrating your Halloween 2021

First of all, start with your spooky menu that will include dishes and drinks. Create the perfect Halloween party menu, including crowd favorites such as guacamole, aka Frankenguac, with black corn nachos, mummy hotdogs, candied apples. Add cutout sugar cookies with creepy frosting that you could make with your kids and all kinds of snacks that will include sweet and salty mixes for balanced flavor. 

Of course, do not forget some excellent drinks such as champagne with bloody red Jell-O shots. Try our Witches' Brew! Each serving has 253 calories, is loaded with good fiber, and is super easy to make! 

Ingredients: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, eight pieces of kiwifruit, medium-sized, peeled and quartered, 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, 1 cup vodka (optional), 1 liter of ginger ale, chilled; ice cubes for serving.

Directions: In a small saucepan, cook plain syrup: bring sugar and water to a boil, cook and stir until sugar is dissolved, and set aside to cool. Add kiwi and mint to sugar syrup, blend everything, and pour into a large pitcher. Stir in vodka or skip it for the nonalcoholic version so kids can try it too. Refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, stir in ginger ale and serve over ice.

Set up a Halloween movie to play in the background - pick your movie from the list below or stream any other movie of your choice. We are sure you have seen some of the films already, but who does not like a good old scare? Playing soundtracks from the same movies for a spooky background noise could be a good idea, too.

  • Hereditary (2018)
  • Insidious (2010)
  • House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
  • A Quiet Place (2018)
  • Get Out (2017)
  • Scream (1996)
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Midsommar (2019)
  • It (2017)
  • Us (2019)
  • The Ring (2002)
  • The Changeling (1980)
  • Pet Sematary (1989)
  • Candyman (1992)
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • The Nun (2018)
  • The Omen (1976)
  • The Shining (1980)
  • Child's Play (1988)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • Train to Busan (2016)
  • The Conjuring (2013)
  • The Babadook (2017)
  • Annabelle (2014)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • Final Destination (2000)
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • Jeepers Creepers (2001)

Have a costume contest with little prizes. There are a lot of options to make your perfect outfit. You may buy all-ready outfits for your family and yourself, or go for DIY, which is even more fun. Check our royalty-free photos for inspiration and ready some fabric, a glue gun, or maybe even a sewing machine, and yes, do not forget to complete the look with scary makeup!

Since this holiday is mainly about candy, make it more fun by adding a piñata. Even the adults would have fun taking their turn! If piñata is not your thing, get everyone involved in the party with some fun Halloween party games, including, for example, Halloween-themed trivia, or compete in the Mummy Wrap using toilet paper. Pass the pumpkin game is even more fun once you have had a few drinks already! 

Boo-tiful indoors and outdoors decorations

The holiday is not entirely a holiday when the proper atmosphere is not created and home decoration is missing. Remember, pumpkins are a staple of Halloween, so make sure you have plenty of them displayed inside or outside your house. If you plan on carving, check our stock photos before getting started, so your pumpkins will turn heads this Halloween. If you do not have real pumpkins, fake pumpkins will do for a good reusable option. 

Get mason jars, fill them with single-color candies, like, red M&M's, and glue the spiders over them. Set candles around the house; they may even be battery-operated - the whole purpose is to create a mysterious ambiance. Decorate the table with the spiderweb tablecloth made of lace, hang gauze pieces on the twines around your house, add string lights or even neon signs. Dim your current lights, and you will see how the darkness with the subtle lights twinkling will create the spooky ambiance you're M&M's looking for. 

Leave a red lipstick note with drops that will resemble blood at the bathroom mirror to scare your guests. Fill up a few cauldrons with treats and place them around the house. If you love balloons, go for orange, black, or purple colors. A balloon could make a cool ghost in your yard. Wrap it nicely with a gauze or a light white fabric, paint the eyes and mouth, boo-tiful! The most important thing is not to get scared now when you go out at night. 

If you want to submerge into the Halloween spirit completely, check out our photos collection and wake up your imagination.

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