Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

October 28, 2012

“HALLOWEEN IN THE ‘HOOD” BY: NEAL MURPHY

Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:14 am

 

 

I have always loved Halloween.  Even now in my older years I still enjoy decorating my front porch with all kinds of Halloween items, and dressing in a spooky costume.  I get a kick out of entertaining the children who come to my door playing “trick or treat”.  They always leave with a treat, and I have never had a trick played on me.

I never really knew the history of this fun time called Halloween until I met some people who were totally against this “pagan holiday”.  This prompted me to do some research on the topic.  I learned that Halloween means “hollowed” or “holy evening” because it takes place the day before All Saints Day.  Many superstitions and symbols are connected with Halloween.  The Irish have a tale about the origin of the Jack-o’-lanterns.  They say that a man named Jack was unable to enter Heaven because of his miserliness.  He could not enter Hell because he had played practical jokes on the devil.  So, he had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day.

The Druids believed that on Halloween, ghosts, spirits, fairies, witches, and elves came out to harm people.  They thought that the cat was sacred, and believed that cats had once been human beings who were changed as a punishment for evil deeds.  This belief has led to the present-day use of witches, ghosts, and cats in Halloween festivities.

Notwithstanding all this history about the dark side of Halloween, I decided to start a neighborhood celebration with the help of several neighbors.  Several years ago four families joined with my wife and me to have a Halloween celebration at the end of the street in front of our home.

One family donated a black kettle, in which we put dry ice and water, then built a fire all around it.  The effect was startling.  Another neighbor, a carpenter, built a wooden coffin, complete with hinged door and padded interior.  A “mummy” inside this coffin was a sure scream-getter.

A teenager in the neighborhood furnished a chain saw (without the chain) and an appropriate mask, and would run out of the darkness with the saw roaring.  Small kids would make a hasty retreat.  Apparently they were aware of the “Chain Saw Massacre” movies.  One Halloween I made a small UFO complete with silver paint and flashing lights, while sporting an alien costume.

All types of ghosts and goblins have attended our celebration, as have Dracula, the Devil, a clown, and a mummy.  All contributed to our fun.  A large table was set up and loaded down with candy, fruit, and drinks.  All the kids were given treats.

After a couple of years of this “end of street celebration”, we were attracting children of all ages, along with the parents of the very young.  A large crowd usually attended these events.  After all the kids had left, the participating neighbors would all gather at my house for hot dogs and hamburgers.

Unfortunately, the neighborhood kids grew up and lost interest.  Gradually there were not enough participants to keep going, so we stopped the Halloween celebration at the end of the road.  However, if you stop by my home in the Pine Acres Sub-division on any Halloween evening, you will find my front porch and lawn fully decorated, my brother and his wife in their costumes, still giving the children a “scare” as we hand them candy.

I feel we need to continue this practice.  What if the Druids were right?

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