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Halloween Traditions: Beyond Trick-or-Tricking


As October 31st approaches, children nestle in the beds, awaiting the night when they can spread across neighborhoods in search for some of the best chocolate and other sweets associated with the fun celebration of Halloween. Trick-or-treating is a popular tradition that is embraced by our youth, which has been extended to the inside of malls, storefronts, and other locations about town. Let’s take a look at this favorite pastime, as well as a few others that are acknowledged at the end of October.

 

If you trace the history of Halloween, briefly we will mention that it is a holiday that has roots in the early parts of the 20th century. There are also traces of this Halloween within the late period of the 19th century as well. The holiday is believed to be a combination of both Celtic and Christian beliefs, which incorporates a day of feasting, divinations, as well as pranks and bouts of mischief. Below are a variety of traditions you may or may not consider the next time Oct 31st rolls around.

 

Jack-o-Lantern

 

Whoever came up with the act of carving faces and other images on a fresh pumpkin is hard to pinpoint. This is because the tradition of carving into pumpkins or gourds has been done well before the tradition became associated with Halloween. Evidence of pumpkin carving is also seen in the 1850 poem, “The Pumpkin,” which was penned by John Greenleaf Whittier. Pumpkin carving in the past was conducted to fashion lanterns from these orange wonders. How these pumpkin lanterns became part of the Halloween celebration is rather unknown. This tradition was definitely started within the United States with its roots playing an important role in the connection of the festive orange holiday.

 

Mischief Night

 

During the end of the 18th century, Halloween was regarded as a night filled with mischief and various pranks about friends, love ones, as well as strangers. Some of the acts that young boys would participate in, included creating the illusion that something was rapping on the outside of windows. This always got a good scare at anyone who happened to pass the window and noise. Some boys would accomplish this by attaching tacks to a sting and swinging them at the windows. Additional methods of creating an eerie noise upon the windows included throwing pieces of corn, rotten fruit and vegetables as well. Whoever encountered these noises was sure to feel a little tingle up and down their back.

 

Although Mischief Night was commonplace and considered harmless, like always, some of the pranks went too far for some. You would see the differences from Mischief Nigh in the country as compared to that in the city sections of a destination. It was not uncommon to see kids being kicked out of school for some of the “jokes” that they performed. With nothing but time on their hands, they continued their pranks throughout the city. Some kids doused passersby with flour. Building were vandalized and attacked. As time passes, the severity of pranks also increased.