The Halloween Scene

Those who know me will attest to the fact that I am not a big Halloween person. I don’t quite get it and having been abused by teenage Trick or Treaters on more than one occasion for not having any sweets to give,  it will take a bit to win me over. However I am a big wrapping person and have been asked how I would attack a Halloween wrap. After years of resisting, I am giving Halloween wrapping a go. I am wrapping spooky books rather than candy to save the recipients on downstream dental bills.

I like to create my own looks and usually hunt for days for the best papers and embellishments. But I must admit to taking a bit of a safe option with my foray into Halloween wrapping and have turned to Lia Griffith for her ideas this time round because there just isn’t a lot of Halloween wrapping paper around, though there are a few Halloween ribbons to be had. I have used her printables for this post. Her stuff is always really well done. She has a great range of printables, and while many of them are free, others such as the patterns I have chosen are for her members only, so it’s just as well I am an enthusiastic member.

While I was wrapping and folding away, I put my mind to learning a little bit more about Halloween so I wouldn’t sound so judgy about it.

Halloween is also known as All Hallows’ Eve and those in the know say its existence can be traced back about 2,000 years to a pre-Christian Celtic festival called Samhain (meaning “summer’s end”) in Gaelic held around the beginning of November.

According to LiveScience Samhain was said to be an annual communal meeting at the end of the harvest year, a time to gather resources for the winter months and bring animals back from the pastures. But folklore has it that  Samhain was also a time of communing with the dead. Nicholas Rogers, a history professor at York University in Toronto and author of “Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night” (now there’s a must read)  notes “there is no hard evidence that Samhain was specifically devoted to the dead or to ancestor worship.” However, many scholars believe that because All Saints’ Day and Samhain fall at much the same time, they morphed into the celebration now called Halloween.

The history of costumes and trick or treating may go back to the practice of “mumming” and “guising,” where people would disguise themselves and go door-to-door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers, often said on behalf of the dead.  This was called “souling” and the children were called “soulers”.

According to the Smithsonian, the term “trick or treat” dates back to 1927 with the earliest known reference to “trick or treat”, printed in the November 4, 1927 edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald. By the middle of the twentieth century Halloween had become largely a children’s event and disguises moved past ghosts and the living dead to a general dress up – from superheroes to princesses to politicians. On that basis, I predict a few Donald Trumps this year.

Halloween wrapping will be all about the colour orange because of the pumpkin thing. Carving pumpkins and lighting them with candles originated with the legend of Stingy Jack and his turnip lantern which travelled to the United States with Irish Immigrants. Children made vegetable lanterns using pumpkins and then began carving faces into the pumpkin lanterns to frighten each other . The resulting Jack O Lanterns (carved and plastic) are now synonymous with Halloween.

There’ll also lots of creepy black motifs – like bats and rats and witches hats. Which from a colour perspective makes sense as black looks great with the orange. Wonder what the Trick or Treaters will do when I offer them a spooky book (albeit a nicely wrapped book) on the 31st October.


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