What comes to mind when you think of October 31? Pumpkins and skeletons, chocolate, ghosts, vampires and costumes. Or little kids trick or treating? But what is the real meaning behind "Halloween"…is it more than just a reason to eat treats?
Halloween's origins date back more than 2,000 years. On what we consider November 1, Europe's Celtic peoples celebrated their New Year's Day, called Samhain (SAH-win).
Samhain (which translates to "summers end" in modern Irish) marked the end of summer and ushered in the New Year, signalling a time of both death and birth. On Samhain eve—what we know as Halloween—spirits were thought to walk the Earth as they travelled to the afterlife. This night was when the veil between the living and the dead was thinnest. Fairies, demons, and other creatures were also said to be among the spirits.
To appease the dead, sacrifices were burned in bonfires to ward off evil and offerings were left to mischievous spirits. Many festival participants donned costumes, masquerading as beasts or animals in hopes of fooling spirits who wished to harm them.
Following Rome conquering most of the Celtic lands and the spread of Christianity and the Catholic Church, many of the Celtic traditions were changed. All Saint's Day or All-hallows' Eve was created to honour Christian Martyrs and was strategically moved to the same date as Samhain – participants of the new version of the holiday celebrated in much the same way with bonfires and costumes but the spiritualism behind Samhain was largely forgotten.
Trick or treating in the United States began after the Irish started immigrating to America. Eventually All-hallows' Eve became known as Halloween and the modern day "Trick or Treat" became a holiday tradition. Children would tell their neighbours that they would play a trick on them unless they were given a treat.
Halloween in America is now an annual tradition with dressing up, decorations and trick or treating. In Australia October 31 falls during spring – it is a season full of life and warm nights. While there is no harvest to celebrate nor the long tradition of trick or treating, Aussies do love to dress up and have fun. Over the last decade Australian's have started to embrace Halloween just like St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's Day. Many Australians focus on the positives of Halloween – having fun, dressing up and connecting with their community.
Remember to have fun this Halloween if you choose to celebrate, but also remember its history and origins.
Top 5 Costumes 2020
- Tiger King stars – Tiger King is the ship that launched a thousand memes and you will definitely be seeing some flower crowns, mullets and toy tigers this year.
- Cosplay – Get inspo from the characters attending 2019 Comic-Con in San Diego.
- Stranger things – so many characters, so many 80s looks to choose from!
- Supernatural is mid way through its final season. There is 15 years worth of ghouls, vampires, werewolves, demons, angels and every other creature that goes bump in the night.
- Quarantine outfits – messy hair, pyjamas, a mask and empty cups all over the house. This one requires as little effort as you put in during quarantine.
- Check out these YouTube tutorials for a simple zombie transformation and a creepy stained glass clown.
- Find out which stereotypical horror movie character you would be, choose a Halloween costume based on your spooky picks or find out which Disney villain you are based on your Halloween night in.
Get into the spooky spirit
Old Melbourne Gaol Built in the mid 1800’s, the Old Melbourne Gaol dominated the Melbourne skyline – inside held dangerous criminals. The Old Melbourne Gaol was also the site of the infamous bush ranger Ned Kelly’s hanging.
The Winchester Mystery House Witch’s hats turrets, spider web windows and Gothic spires – the Winchester Mystery House in California, U.S.A was built across several decades and has doors to nowhere, 40 staircases, ambitious architectural innovations and…ghosts?
Welcome to Nightvale Podcast Join the small desert town of Nightvale – mysterious lights in the sky, dark hooded figures and the Sheriff’s Secret Police. This podcast is in the style of a small community radio station covering the town’s spooky happenings.
"I like to deal with EVERY aspect of our condition, and that means terror and humour in equal mix. Some books have more room for humour than others." - Dean Koontz
Dean Koontz is an American author, his novels are suspense thrillers that often have elements of horror, mystery, satire and science fiction. Dean is the perfect author to launch your reading from young adult to adult fiction and to begin the journey of reading horror fiction. Dean’s works are recommended for young adults 14 years and older.
From Odd Thomas to Frankenstein, his books acknowledge the reality of evil and the profound power of good. While there are elements of frightening chaos in Koontz work, there are also good people fighting back and making a difference.
- Five nights at Freddy’s: Into the pit Scott Cawthon
- A Werewolf in Riverdale Caleb Roehrig
- Hell boy: Weird Tales Mike Mignola, Guy Davis and other celebrated writers
- Man-thing R.L Stine
- iZombie: Dead to the World Chris Roberson
- His hideous heart: thirteen of Edgar Allan Poe’s most unsettling tales reimagined Edgar Allen Poe and others
- Dread Nation Series Justina Ireland
- Fazbear Frights Series Scott Cawthon
- Music and malice in Hurricane Town Alex Bell
- The Enemy Series Charlie Higson
- House of Bones Graham Masterson
- The Cemetery Boys Heather Brewer
- Dream Fall Amy Plum
- The Bone Houses Emily Lloyd Jones
- Alice in Zombieland Lewis Carroll, Nickolas Cook
- The Monsters We Deserve Marcus Sedgwick
- Below Ryan Lockwood
- Bite Club Rachel Caine
- Rules for Vanishing Kate Alice Marshall
- The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein Kiersten White
Need help setting up your device for eBooks? Watch this video tutorial.
- I kill giants
- Mary and the witch’s flower
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- The Walking Dead
- The Originals
- Teen Wolf
Listen to scary stories on eAudiobook:
- None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney
- Horowitz Horror 2 by Anthony Horowitz
- Escape Room by Maren Stoffels
- The Darkdeep Series by Brendan Reichs
- Beast by Ally Kennen
Top 5 songs
Stream these great spooky songs on Freegal:
- I’m In Love With a Monster by Fifth Harmony
- The Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett
- I Put a Spell On You by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
- (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult
- Thriller by Michael Jackson
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