The Roots of Halloween
The name Halloween comes from the old English term All Hallows E’en. It comes from the eve of the All Saint’s Day that falls on November 1 in the Church calendar. But you may be wondering how a night of witches, skeletons, and ghosts got tied up with a day for the “saints”. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, October 31 was also the eve of the New Year in both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon times and one of the ancient fire festivals. The autumn festival acquired sinister significance with witches, fairies, ghosts, and demons roaming abroad. This festival was in honor of Samhain, the Celtic lord of the dead, who it was said, allowed the souls of those who had died the preceding year to return home. During these festivities, huge bonfires were lit to chase away demons and witches and people wore costumes made of skins and animal heads.
It was believed that on the festival of the Samhain, the veil that divided the human world and the supernatural world was lifted and spirits, both good and evil, were able to roam the Earth. It was also believed that the souls of the dead returned to their homes and families thus would put out food and drink to appease these ghostly visitors and in the hopes of warding off misfortune. Thus, when children dress up in witches and ghost costumes they unwittingly carry on the ancient rituals of the Samhain. It was also believed that during this time, humans could likewise cross over into the spirit realm and this is especially seen as a time to unlock the secrets of the future. The Halloween game of bobbing for apples is one example of the divination practices that have survived down to our time.
Samhain was also a time when people cast aside their inhibitions and indulged in drunken revelry and other mischiefs. According to the book ‘Halloween, Histoire et traditions’- Halloween – history, and traditions – “traditional values, if no flouted, were reversed. What was forbidden was allowed and what was allowed was forbidden.” This was the basic quality of the Celtic festival – escape from normal realities. It is no surprise that this has remained into the 20th century Halloween celebrations. Halloween eventually found its way into the United States following the potato famine in the 19th century when Irish immigrants brought its customs to America. Eventually, Halloween spread the world over.
Easy, original, and awesome homemade Halloween costumes for kids!
On Halloween, a kid’s imagination is brightly lit with fantasies of dressing up as a pirate, a la Brad Pitt, or perhaps the loveliest little angel. This second most popular holiday of the year gives every kid a chance to fantasize and, be, for that one night a hero, cowgirl, witch, or anything that suits their fantasy.
While there are plenty of shops and discount stores you can shop for ready-made costumes, there are two disadvantages to off-the-rack costumes over the homemade Halloween costumes for kids. First, if the kids are going trick or treating and your child sees every other girl in her costume, she may feel slightly deflated. Homemade Halloween costumes for kids are one of a kind. Second, making Halloween costumes is cheaper than buying.
So, what if you’re not a seamstress? No problem. In this case, get a simple ready-made costume. For girls, you can embellish with feathers, sequins, beads, lace, flowers and such lavishness. For boys, fancy trims enhancing the realistic Pirate image (or superhero or Fireman), makes this costume unique. How about a scarf for his bandanna? Now, all you need is a glue gun and you’re good to go. Craft, thrift and fabric stores are great places to find these special add-ons.
Some younger kids know right off the bat who or what they want to be on Halloween. If your child can’t decide, help them through their general costume themes, such as movie or cartoon characters. You can probably make suggestions when you have a good idea whether they’d rather be funny, pretty or scary.
As kids get older, their appreciation for unusual and perhaps a tad more bizarre Halloween costumes grows. Sometimes groups of teens will decide to all wear the same costume to make a real statement as they pluck their loot from your Halloween basket. Let them decide (within your ethical values) on their costume. That and the candy is the whole fun of Halloween!
Once your child has decided on the costume, it’s time to shop. If you are an experienced seamstress, you may not even need a pattern, for, say a ghost! Attaching those neon-glow stars and planets will make your ghost highly visible and add a mysterious glow, enhancing the costume.
Whether you choose to buy or make your kids Halloween costume, be sure the fabric is fire-retardant, for safety’s sake. The most successful homemade Halloween costumes for kids are those made with the add-ons they choose, not you. Talk about the original!
Perhaps the best reason in favor of homemade Halloween costumes for kids is that you get to spend some time, enjoying and indulging your kid’s fantasies.