Whoever came up with the idea of mixing candy with ghouls was a genius -- what a great combo! Actually, some people think it was the Celts who came up with the idea. But most cultures around the world seem to have a day where they pay tribute to their departed, usually in an attempt to fend off any mischievous spirits with scores to settle. In Europe this is called All Saints Day or All Hallows Day.
These days, it all seems to be in good fun, and with each year Halloween appears to be gaining in popularity in Australia. Sadly, though, like most good things, this festive occasion is being usurped by corporations -- yes, these are the same stores and supermarket malls that start lining their shelves with Christmas decorations in July. What can you do? You can't really complain too much because if it weren't for the commercial side of it, we'd be hanging home-made decorations off our doors, probably something made from woven reeds and coconuts. It is what it is, my friend.
So on this eve of All Hallows Day, I thought you might be interested in some trivia about the occasion; I trawled the net and this is what I was able to come up with:
Fact 1: The reason why most historians attribute Halloween to the Celts is because the Celts believed that the barrier between the living and the dead grew thin as the New Year approached, which for them was around October, and so they lit giant bonfires in order to appease the gods and any wandering dead (I say what's the use of having a reputation as a big, tough, savage warrior if you're going to turn into a blubbering mess on New Year's eve?)
Fact 2: There really are such things as Vampire bats (but they don't look anything like Edward Cullen from Twilight) They terrorise farmers in South America and drink the blood of their livestock.
Fact 3: Rumour has it that William Shatner's face was used to make the mould for the mask worn in the classic horror film Halloween (The Shat is a legend; when I grow up I want to be just like him!)
Fact 4: In case you're wondering why all the fuss at your local K-mart or Wal-Mart: Halloween candy sales supposedly average around $2 billion each year in the US alone (My tummy's hurting already -- so is my wallet!)
Now, here are some tips from me on how to have a safe and incident-free Halloween:
Tip 1: If you live in Brazil, don't go trick or treating dressed as a cow or a sheep. It might seem like a good idea when no one in your street is able to recognise you, but, Dude, you won't be looking so smart when that Vampire bat is CHOMPING on your butt!
Tip 2: If you're about to walk up someone's driveway to do a bit of trick or treating and the name on the letterbox is Charlie Manson or Josef Fritzl -- RUN, Dude! Those aren't Halloween sound effects coming from inside his house.
Tip 3: If you ring the doorbell and the guy who answers isn't wearing any clothes -- RUN, Dude! Chances are that's not some kind of ultra-thin, skin-coloured, closest-thing-to-being-naked Halloween costume he's wearing. And, Dude, even if it is, does it really make the situation any better? Think about it.
Tip 4: If you happen to run into some guy with a strange, shambling walk while you're trick or treating, and he asks you to pull his finger as part of a Halloween prank, but the skin peels off in your hands (and it turns out to be real) -- Don't bother running, Dude. You're SCREWED!
With those happy thoughts in mind, I wish you all a very pleasant Halloween.
Whaaa ha ha ha!