Friday, October 9, 2009

Halloween Traditions and Symbols

Rich in tradition, Halloween has no shortage of symbols and terms. Halloween parties are not complete without lots of spooky decorations to set the mood. Here is a listing of Halloween traditions and terms, for your enjoyment and use.

All Hallow's Eve - Another word for Halloween night.

Bats - Bats are part of the dark, sinister side of Halloween. Bats are purported to suck the blood of victims. Bats can turn into vampires, and vice versa.

Black Cat - a symbol of bad luck. Don't let a black cat cross your path, or you will certainly come upon a string of bad luck. Black cats are associated with witches. Some witches are known to be able to transform to a black cat and back.

Dracula, Count Dracula - The evil lord of the castle in Transylvania. When the moon is full, Dracula turns into a Vampire.

Frankenstein - A monster created in the laboratory of scientist Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein has a gentle and intelligent personality. But, you wouldn't know that. His scary, monstrous appearance causes everyone to run before getting a chance to know him.

Full Moon - Vampires arise out their coffins only at night and only during a full moon.

Garlic and Garlic Necklaces - ward off evil spirits. A vampire will not venture near the neck of a woman who wears a garlic necklace, no matter how beautiful she may be. The only problem is, normal, good lucking guys will avoid her, too!

Ghosts - There can be good ghosts or bad ghosts. They can be friendly, or terrifying. Ghosts are poor souls who have died and are trapped between this life and the next. The "in between" place is called the netherworld.

Ghoul - a ghoul is a scary creature, similar to a ghost. But a ghoul is simply scary and has little character. It wasn't previously a human being as a ghost was. And, unlike some ghosts, a ghoul is never friendly.

Goblins - similar to ghosts and ghouls.

Grim Reaper - is the fictional personification of death. He is dressed in a long, black robe with a hood. Sometimes you can see a skeletal face. The Grim Reaper carries a long handled scythe(or sickle). The Grim Reaper comes at death to take bad people to hell.

Halloween Costumes - If you are going to a Halloween party or out to Trick or Treat, you need to dress up in a costume. No costume, no treats. Halloween costumes can be friendly or scary, simple or elaborate. If you don't' have money for a costume, be creative and make your own from things around your house. Learn to think outside the box and you can come up with great costumes without having to spend a lot of money.

Haunted Hayrides - Wildly popular with pre-teens and teens. They will wait hours for their turn on a hayride to get a dose of scares and frights. They will go on the hayrides in rain (snow) or (moon)shine. Haunted Hayrides - begin in early October, and continue daily through the month. It's not a hayride if its not haunted. This hugely popular attraction is a boon to farms that host them. People will wait hours for their rides. They will venture out a haunted hayride despite cold, rain, and even snow!

Haunted Houses - Ghosts inhabit the house. There're bats in the belfry. Evils spirits abound. People avoid haunted houses for good reason except at Halloween. This time of year, people will shell out big bucks for the big scare.

Jack O'Lantern - also spelled Jack O Lantern - A pumpkin for carving. It's believed the Irish brought the tradition of pumpkin carving to America.

Lighted Pumpkins - Also lighted turnips and rutabagas. Scary faces are carved into pumpkins or other vegetables and a candle is lit inside. It is said that they help keep the evil spirits away.

Mummy - In some old and ancient cultures, a person who dies is embalmed and wrapped in strips of white cloth. During Halloween mummies come alive and walk around the earth, scaring people. Chances are they won't catch you. And, if they do, what could they do with you when they are all wrapped up from head to foot!?

Netherworld - A place, or passageway, between heaven and earth.

Paranormal - a strange or unexplained occurrence or incident. This includes ghosts, witches, crop circles, UFO and other unexplained events.

Pumpkins - We are proud to say that pumpkins are a huge symbol of both Fall and Halloween. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors. They look great carved, or uncarved.

Samhain - Is this a season, the Lord of Darkness, or the Lord of Death. Depending upon who you talk to, Samhain can be any, or all of these.

Scarecrows - Not everything about Halloween is scary. Scarecrows successfully cross over between fall decorations and Halloween. They are popular in decorating for both events, and are much friendlier for young children.

Spooks - A ghoul or a ghost. They take pleasure in scaring people.

Trick or Treat - Children go out dressed up in their Halloween costumes. They knock on doors, and say "Trick or Treat". If they do not get a treat, look out!

Warlock - A male witch of Halloween. Note, a warlock is not related to witches of the Wiccan religion.

Werewolf or Wolfman- a man that transforms to a wolf. More on werewolves

Wiccans - A religious group that call themselves wiccans or witches. They will argue vehemently that evil witches of Halloween do not exist.

Witches - Did you know witches can be good, and witches can be bad. We definitely distinguish a difference between witches of Halloween and witches of the Wiccan religion.

from che11eness at

Thursday, October 8, 2009

1,725 pound pumpkin

With the price of pumpkin skyrocketing in the states this season, I would love to have this baby.
They say everything is bigger in Texas, but this potential king of all jack-o-lanterns wasn't even grown in the states. Click here for story

In addition to all that pumpkin and an enormous amount of seeds, the owner may soon hold the world's record for this pumpkin. She and her husband both compete annually and this year, her pumpkin outweighed the hubby's by around 400 pounds.

I remember one year my dear late MIL entered a contest at Walmart for a huge pumpkin. You had to guess the weight and she won. It was something like 58 pounds. Well, dear Ida didn't want the pumpkin so she had them load it into her car and brought it to our kids. Let me tell you that was a serious sized pumpkin. I can't imagine one the size of this one!!!! LOL My kids thought they had won the lottery with that huge JOL.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tempt Your Fate Game

Two other great site for ideas are the Halloween Forum and Both sites have hundreds of pages and include so many ideas. I found several more games there that we are going to use at the Boo Bash. The Halloween Forum is devoted to die-hard Halloween fans. They prepare for their Haunts and parties all year. There is some very amazing stuff made and displayed by the members. However, they are also very tolerant of the mere amateurs and small time Halloween nuts like I have become. The second site is a kid friendly site and on the surface looks a little juvenile. Don't let that fool you. It really has some great ideas including hints of how to make some simple, but effective CHEAP props like the crashed witch, bride and groom spooky couple, a life size vampire, and things like body parts coming out the grave.

But, back to the purpose of this post. We are going to play a game called Tempt Your Fate at the Boo Bash. I found the game on the Halloween Forum, but the ideas for many of the fates at the 1Halloween site.

There will be an assortment of good fates and bad fates. Since some people may not want to participate in this type of game, it will be voluntary. Anytime during the night someone may choose to Tempt their Fate and draw a card.

The game can be played by having guests pop balloons that contain the fates. However, I wanted something with a little more pomp and circumstance. Today, I found a spooky door knocker at Goodwill that is awesome. You push the button and the skeleton hand moves and makes a knocking motion while the sound effects mimic a loud creepy knock on a door. I knew that I had to buy this, but wasn't sure where I would be able to use it. When I got home, I realized that it will be a perfect prop for the Tempt My Fate game. It will be attached to a bowl or container that holds the cards. I haven't worked out the details of the container yet. I think this knocker will set a great mood for the game and everyone will definitely hear when someone decides to tempt fate.

Here are a few graphics used by Frankie's Girl from the Halloween Forum last year for her Tempt Your Fate game.

This is her description graphic of the Tempt Your Fate game from 2008.

Shown below are the Fate description cards used by Frankie's Girl last year.

I had considered putting the fates inside balloons so that guests could pop them to get their fate. However, I really want to make sure that everyone knows that someone is about to TEMPT FATE.

When someone chooses to Tempt Fate, they will draw out a card with the appropriate fate. If they have a good fate, there will be an appropriate nice card letting them know that fate has smiled on them or some such jibberish and they they are able to be spared. They will receive a prize that is written on the fate card. If they draw a bad fate, they will have to do what ever is described on the card.

This is where I am going to merge the two games. I am using some great ideas from as bad fates. This website has the lyrics to many Halloweenish songs including "Addams Family", "Monster Mash", "Ghostbusters", "Bad Moon Rising", "Munsters Theme", several from "Rocky Horror Picture Show", "Flying Purple People Eater", "Thriller", and "Werewolves of London". If you draw one of those as a bad fate, you must sing the song on the karoake machine. I may relent and let them just sing in front of everyone. Other bad fates include some Halloween lyrics set to CHRISTMAS carols. LOLSince some people would probably rather die than sing, there are also some other bad fates of things they have to do in front of everyone.I think this is a great game that would really be loved by teens.Check out all the homemade props in this site. it gives easy and cheap ways to make some really good props. ( hands coming out of graves, a person stuck in the ceiling, the crashed witch, ghoulish bride and groom, etc. It is the best site I have found for basic ideas and things to make without breaking the bank.

This second link to the Halloween Forum needs to be scrolled down a couple of messages.

Here are some graphics from another poster, who has played this game. Look at ylbissop's awesome graphics in the graphic below. This was posted last year on the Halloween Forum site at this link.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Edgar A. Poe, master of horror stories to receive proper funeral on Sunday

Wow, this is amazing. Edgar Alan Poe was born 200 years ago this year and he is finally receiving a funeral befitting an author of his stature. Click on the link for an amazing account of his early death and the slight that took place of him. This is just one of many tributes to Poe and his writing planned this year.

Among the tributes, will be a lifelike (or is it deathlike) mock-up of Poe's corpse, which was unearthed in 1865 in order to be moved. This Poe-ish event will even include the "body" lieing in state for 12 hours at the Poe House. Following will be an all night vigil at Westminister's Burying Ground where his body rests. Anyone in attendance will be able to give a tribute to Poe.

The fake remains will be transported by horse-drawn carriage to Poe's actual grave on Sunday morning, where the funeral will be held. It will be fitting of someone of his stature.

Actor John Astin, who played Gomez in the popular Adam's Family series will narrate the events.

Nevermore, will his death be slighted... (I couldn't resist!)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Halloween Superstitions

Halloween superstitions date back thousands of years and many can be found within the history of Halloween from several different cultures, particularly those from English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh origins. Many of these myths and customs were brought to Amercia with the new settlers and some of these interesting beliefs continue to this day."But," you ask, "do people in the 21st century still really believe these superstions?"Surprisingly, there are millions who do have beliefs in some of these like the one where you will have 7 years bad luck if you break a mirror (not true) or you'll have bad luck if a black cat crosses your path (unless you live in Britian or Japan... in which case it's good luck).Here are some Halloween superstitions I've gathered over time. If you're looking for a party activity, why not make up a trivia quiz using superstitions? Very fun to see who knows what. Enjoy!* If a candle flame suddenly turns blue, there's a ghost nearby.* If you ring a bell on Halloween, it will scare evil spirits away.* As Halloween superstitions go, this is an interesting one. In Britian/Ireland it was believed that if you were walking along on Hallowen night and you heard footsteps behind you, you should not look back as it might be the dead following. If you did look back and meet their gaze, it was an indication that you will die soon.* If you see a spider on Halloween, it could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you.* Knocking on wood keeps bad luck away.* A Gaelic Halloween superstion suggests that all souls that are in Purgatory are released and free for 48 hours on All Hallows Eve.* You should walk around your home three times backwards and counterclockwise before sunset on Halloween to ward off evil spirits.* Some believe if you catch a snail on Halloween night and lock it into a flat dish, in the morning you will see the first letter of your sweetheart written in the snail's slime.* Many people used to believe that owls swooped down to to eat the souls of the dying. If they heard an owl hooting, they would become frightened. A common remedy was thought to be turning your pockets inside out and you would be safe.* In Britain, people believed that the Devil was a nut-gatherer. At Halloween, nuts were used as magic charms.* If a girl puts a sprig of rosemary herb and a silver sixpence under her pillow on Halloween night, she will see her future husband in a dream.* In North America, it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your path and good luck if a white cat crosses your path. In Britain, Ireland, and Japan it's exactly the opposite!* To prevent ghosts coming into the house at Halloween, bury animal bones or a picture of an animal near the doorway.* A person born on Halloween can see and talk to spirits.* A rural American myth states that children born on Halloween will be protected against evil spirits their entire life and will be given the gift of second sight.* If you go to a crossroads at Halloween and listen to the wind, you will learn all the most important things that will befall you during the next twelve months.* When bobbing for apples, it is believed that the first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry.* Peel an apple from top to bottom. The person with the longest unbroken peel would be assured the longest life. If you threw the apple peel over your shoulder, the initial it forms upon landing is the initial of your future mate.* If a bat flies around a house 3 times, it is a death omen.* In England, you are warned not to go hunting on Halloween night as you may injure a wandering spirit.* Another Halloween superstitions is an English tale that cautions you not to look at your shadow in the moonlight on the eve of Halloween or you will be the next to haunt a graveyard.* If bats come out early and fly around playfully, then it is a sign of good weather to come.* If a bat flies into a house it is a sign that ghosts are about and maybe the ghost let the bat in!