Halloween Traditions: Spirits and Shenanigans Abound

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Halloween Scrubs

Fall is officially upon us. The temps are dropping, pumpkinmania has set in, and that means Halloween is right around the corner. As you start contemplating your costumes and picking out your pumpkins we thought it would be fun to look at some of the traditions surrounding the holiday. Like most things in our society, Halloween has been commercialized. The moment the 4th of July firecrackers are put away many stores turn into a sea of black and orange. Ghosts and goblins, spider webs and fake blood start to take over. Although, at least it isn’t Christmas stuff most places. We’re looking at you Hobby Lobby! Surprisingly enough, Target and the candy companies did not invent this holiday.

There is much debate over the origins of Halloween. The word itself came from All Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints Day, a holiday dedicated to remembering the martyrs, saints and devoted that had died. Some believe it has roots in pagan traditions as well. For instance the Gaelic tradition of Samhain was believed to be a time when the “veil” between the worlds of the living and the dead was thin and those who had gone ahead could come back and visit with the living, although many traditions celebrate a day when the dead can come back to commune with the living. Some families even set an extra seat at the dinner table to welcome the visitors. However, not every spirit is friendly. So Irish families would carve turnips (yes turnips) to guide their friends and family while also warding off the unfriendly spirits. When these immigrants came to the states, they used the abundant pumpkins they found in the New World. And you thought Charlie Brown invented Jack-O-Lanterns.

They didn’t just sit them on the front porch though. With the belief that mischievous spirits abounded, it was a great opportunity to play pranks on your friends and neighbors and participate in general shenanigans. This is most likely where the tradition of trick-or-treating began. Folks would impersonate the spirits and go house to house asking for food. If food was given, the household would be blessed, and the “spirits” would move on without any funny business. To light their way, they would carry their jack-o-lanterns. We’re not sure when the tradition of dressing like a spirit turned into an excuse for costumer companies to make a sexy version of just about anything. Sexy Power Ranger? Just no!

Don’t forget to check out all of our fun and spooky Halloween themed scrubs here!

Next we’re taking on some fun myths like black cats and witches hats. Tell us about your Halloween traditions!

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