Decorating Halloween – Where it Started

Having a specific theme for a Halloween party is a good way to set a precise mood for the expected guests. Since most Halloween parties have themes, it is only logical and fair to inform the attendees well in advance to avoid disappointments for all involved. Advance notice is important if the party is to be deemed a success. Proper planning and the decorations, food, and music will ensure the Halloween party stays in people’s mind for a long time to come.

Jack-O-Lanterns
Origin: the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1850 forced over 650,000 to move from Ireland to America. Along with them came various traditions of Halloween. Since turnips did not thrive in America as in Ireland, it was replaced with carved pumpkins known as Jack-O-Lanterns. They are called Jack O’Lanterns because it was a commemoration of an Irish villain so depraved that both God and the Devil did not want him on their side. Rejected, Jack wondered the world looking a place to e accepted and only found comfort and warmth beside a flickering candle and rotting turnips.  Stories of Jack keep on evolving but that is the basic legend.

Due to its wide popularity, the Jack O’Lantern is most famous Halloween icon and cannot miss out from any theme party. Most people feel that a party without carved pumpkins/Jack O’Lanterns, there is something missing.

Halloween Masquerade Mask
Origin: Masks have been a part of the human culture from a long time ago. They were a way to hide a person’s identity. During disasters and calamities, however, the frequency always increased. With the belief of the existence of bad spirits came the belief that they cause disasters. People wore hideous masks to scare away the evil spirit. Even after the merger of the Samhain festival and Halloween, people in continental Europe felt anxious and uneasy around October 31. The evil spirits and ghosts were outside, and the people who found themselves outside after dark often carried masks to keep from being recognized. 

Wearing masks was integrated into Halloween in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, originally starting in Scotland but then spreading throughout the Halloween-celebrating countries. Originally, Halloween masks depicted paranormal and mystic creatures such as ghosts, vampires, werewolves, devils and the living dead or zombies. With time, however, this has changed to depict fictional characters like princesses, assassins, ninjas, and celebrities. As this started out for children, adults slowly started taking part in costuming and soon started designing mature and more sexy costumes.

People attending the party will not just come and stand around they will have to eat. Various delicacies may be served, as long as they match with the theme. Halloween in most countries falls in the wake of the yearly apple harvest. When trick-or-treating started, children would receive candy apples. This was enjoyed for a period; however, rumors started spreading that people were inserting razor blades and sharp pins in the apple as stuffing. With evidence to support, the claims, no matter how rare, scared Halloween fans all over the world and the frequency of candy apples reduced. At some point during the twentieth century, the parents became hysterical and demanded free X-rays for their children. Only recently has the practice gone up again. Taffy or Caramel Apples, as they are called today, are made by rolling apples in sugar syrup and then in nuts.  

Apart from apple treats, baking is also a common feature with Halloween. Cakes and cookies are baked in forms of monsters, skulls and severed heads. Barmbrack is an Irish fruitcake, where coins and rings are placed inside. It is said that if a person finds the ‘treasures’ hidden, they are up for prosperity. 

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