I love pottering in the greenhouse and garden and listening to classic rock with my Labradoodle, Florrie.
Florrie Labradoodle Loves Halloween!
“Hello little children! Very nice to see you! Are you ready for your 'Trick or Treat'? I have a wonderful selection of crunchy bonios, chewy dentastix, tasty gravy bones and beefy rolls for you. Maybe you would like to try one? Just put your hand into my bucket and choose one, I won’t bite! Well, not too hard!! You’ve changed your mind? Oh dear, never mind, do come round and call again next year! I will be waiting for you!”
I can imagine this scenario, or something similar, being played out across millions of homes this Halloween! Yet it is surprising how little we know about the origins of this annual celebration.
The History of Halloween
Our knowledge of the history of Halloween is quite patchy as not a lot has been written down over the years. Originally, Halloween was a Celtic Pagan celebration. Many centuries later, All Saints Day was established as 1st November each year. Consequently, All Saints Eve and its alternative name All Hallows’ Eve then became known as ‘Halloween’.
The Legend of Stingy Jack
When I was a child in the north of England, we used to hollow out a turnip to use as a Jack O’Lantern for Halloween rather than a pumpkin. This tradition of using a turnip or potato started in Ireland many years ago. A burning ember was placed inside to light the way for good spirits and keep away evil spirits including “Stingy Jack”. According to legend Stingy Jack invited the Devil for a drink. Jack was a notorious drunkard and when he couldn’t pay for he persuaded the Devil to turn into a coin to cover the cost of their drinks. Jack put the coin in his pocket next to a crucifix thus preventing the Devil from escaping the coin.
The United States started celebrating Halloween in the 19th century when Irish immigrants began to move across. They found a plentiful supply of pumpkins and these were soon adopted as a better choice for carving.
When I was young, children used to ask for money rather than sweets by singing a little rhyme
“Have you got a penny for the witches brew, if you haven’t got a penny then a ha'penny will do”.
Halloween was also known as “Mischief Night” when signposts might be switched around or garden ornaments swapped between neighbours.
Trick or Treat
Just in the last 20 years the American style of celebrating Halloween has come over here to the UK. Nowadays the streets are full of small children carrying tubs full of sweets all dressed up as witches and ghosts. The Halloween sweet ‘treat’ industry has become a multi million pound business!
Be careful on your dog walk the next morning as there are often chocolate bars dropped on the pavements and chocolate is very harmful to dogs if eaten !!
Anyway, I hope you all have a happy Halloween however you celebrate it.
“If you haven’t got a ha'penny then God - bless - you “!!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on October 15, 2019:
Florrie is so adorable! And good tips about the day after Halloween dog walking. I have to watch everything my pups are sniffing out. Happy Halloween!