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Boooo! Family traditions and useful tips for Halloween 2017

Do you know, why do we wear costumes on Halloween and go trick-or-treating? Here you will find out the spooky history behind Halloween family traditions and discover frightful and fun tips for that holiday.

  1. The weather start to get cooler, the leaves are turning and falling down and shelves in stores are stocked with costumes and plenty of sweets. Halloween 2017 is almost here! But how much do you know about this spooky holiday? “Treat” yourself and your little ones to a tour of Halloween traditions, starting from its historical roots to ideas of modern celebration and some helpful safety tips.

  2. What Is Halloween in general? Halloween (traditionally starting on 31st October) is associated with the western world and celebrated a lot in North America (including USA and Canada). As one of the favorite holidays among children, Halloween is a fun day, when you can dress up in different costumes, tell spine-tingling stories and go from one door to the other to collect sweets. Using the appropriate metaphor, Halloween day is like the Frankenstein’s monster among the holidays, because it is collected together from different world traditions, legends, beliefs and customs. One of them is the ancient Celtic harvest festival – Samhain (also celebrated on 31st October), which anticipated harsh season of coming winter and the rise in deaths that came with the cold. Also the Catholic festivals that commemorate souls and martyrs of the dead, such as All Saints’ Day (1st November) and All Souls’ Day (2d November), are also contributing to Halloween’s associations with celebrating spirits and ghosts.

  3. Tradition: Why Do We Go Trick-or-Treating? By the middle of 1900s in America, Halloween had become an opportunity for children (and adults, of course) to wear different costumes and parade from one house to another, asking for sweet treats or money. The tradition was especially popular among the poor part of population, but soon it expanded to include everyone else and especially children. The happy scream of “Trick-or-treat!” is indeed more threat than a harmless tingle. The scary holiday has long been associated with mischief of all children and handing out sweets (instead of pennies or fruits) is considered a treat that will “sweetly” dissuade children from participating in any sort of tricks. Anyone who withhold sweets may have silly ones played on them.

  4. Useful tips for Safe Trick-or-Treating! Following these simple safety rules will help you and your child to avoid scary situations. Wear flame-resistant costumes and accessories. Have a mask that allows you clear vision. Watch out for any requisite, like wigs, beards and capes, that could get caught. Have everybody wear strong shoes to prevent twisted ankles. Always stay with your group and do not deviate from the route you’ve chosen. Keep your walkways next to house and front stoops free of any obstacles (like candles or jack-o’-lanterns) that might cause someone to trip.

  5. How to Collect Your Sweets? All the stores in your city are teeming with pumpkin-shaped bucket or bags that are made for “Treats” collecting. Get more creative with your trick-or-treat carriage and use a pillowcase (which holds more sweets than any bucket!) or a clean beach bucket or craft your own unique spook-tacular bag by decorating a plain paper or grocery bag.

  6. Tradition: Why Do We Wear Costumes? The many late-October – early-November festivals all over the world that historically came before Halloween had one thing that is common to all –they featured costume parades where people were dressing up as witches, skeletons and other chilling creatures. The roots of this tradition are vary from the 17th-century British custom of wearing a mask for the face and attending a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Day (5th November) to wearing costumes and fortune telling at the Samhain festival. Today, Halloween costumes are a way to show your creativity and fantasy, with disguises that make your hair rais (different monsters), royal (princesses), cute (bunny rabbits), magical (wizards), cartoonish (superheroes), realistic (firefighters) and many more…

  7. Tradition: The Colours and Symbols of Halloween! Halloween symbols can be divided into 2 groups, where one symbolize death and decay – spooky images of darkness, and the other group – harvest images of summer ending. The first group gathers scary animals, such as spiders and their webs, black cats and bats. Also the supernatural creatures like ghosts, witches, werewolves and vampires. Death in “human” looking form (as a skeleton in a black hood) and tombstones are also included. The second group gathers the motifs that associated with the fall season, like pumpkins, cornhusks, apples, autumn leaves and scarecrows. As summer gives way to winter, the main colours are orange and black that are mainly associated with Halloween. Days becoming shorter and darker because light is waning, so here black is representing death and nighttime creatures. Orange represents pumpkins, as the gourds match the turning leaves of the changing, cold season and the decrease in abundance and life.

  8. Tradition: The Power of Superstitions! Do you know, what’s so horrifying about a black cat? Nothing… unless you believe different and think that black kitty is a disguised witch, who will bring bad luck if it crosses your path. This and the other superstitions are getting to their peak at Halloween time, when the spirit world and other mysteries are on our minds all the time. For example, some people believe that the spiders that are part of house decorations represent the spirits of deceased loved ones. But the candles that burn inside a jack-o’-lanterns are thought to keep evil spirits away. Not all superstitions are bad – some consider it is a good luck to burn only new candles on Halloween. We advise to keep superstitions in the category of “fun” by remembering that they’re common to us but still unfounded beliefs.

  9. Halloween Party Decor. With a few simple Do It Yourself touches, you can transform your home into a spooky haunted house. Start with black and orange colours and go from there. Cut out paper “eyes” or felt to peer out at partygoers from doorways, mirrors or trees. Line windows with black paper spooky shapes or decorate the food table with creepy accessories like a mini-pumpkin spider that is placed among the treats. See also our template to carve face of Georges the Lemure on your pumpkin and make a fun mask with this character from Lilliputiens brand.

  10. Tradition: Why We Bob for Apples? According to the book “Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween” by David J. Skals, Halloween was once known in England as “Snap-Apple Night”, all that because of the popular game at that times of bobbing for apples that float in a tub full of water. The same as pumpkins, apples are associated with the autumn harvest time. The game was used by young adults in England in order to tell each other’s fortunes and also reveal who they would marry one day. But today it’s played by older kids and also adults, but not to tell the future, because it’s challenging and entertaining.

  11. Halloween Party Games. The game with apples is just one fun tradition, but there are also nontraditional ways to enjoy Halloween with children. Place in the line small pumpkins and have a “bowling” contest! Use a bigger, round pumpkin as the “bowling ball”, or set up a “putting” area and have children hit a golf ball or any other small ball into a hollowed-out pumpkin. Group all children into teams and see how will faster then the others make a “mummy” out of one team member from each team by using a few rolls of toilet paper. Or for example, have the groups of children work together to make up an spooky story: The first and the yongest player starts with “It was a dark and stormy night…” and then each next player takes turns adding a phrase or sentence to build on the frightful fun all together.

  12. Tradition: Why We Carve Pumpkins? The mentioned earlier author explains that the phrase “Jack-with-the-lantern” was first used in the middle of 1600s, describing a night watchman that was holding a lantern. “Jack” was also a figure in British folklore, that was famose for being a prank-maker and trickster. The direct connection between “jack-o’-lantern” and carving pumpkins with ghoulish or goofy expressions and images isn’t exactly clear, but these legends are likely to be connected to the glowing pumpkin faces we see displayed everywhere on Halloween night.

  13. Tips for Safe Carving and Decorating! Starting from lifting large, heavy pumpkins in the right way (adults should bend their knees to avoid straining their backs). Remember to carve pumpkins on a sturdy surface, preferably a floor covered with newspapers or a long table, in a well-lit area. Use a knife (avoid a very sharp one that can be dangerous when tugged loose), cut in the direction away from yourself and make controlled small strokes. If you’re carving, place a template onto the pumpkin’s future “face” or you always can stick with the classic look of triangular eyes and nose, and a wide, toothy smile. If you want to avoid using a knife complitely, use then a paintbrush and paints, stickers, glitter pens, colored markers or paper and materials to decorate. Download the fun template from Lilliputiens with their proposal for a pumpkin face from Georges the Lemur.


Have fun!

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