Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween-By Angelique Duncan

For many of us we long for the first snap of a cool front and the spiced scents and pumpkin flavors of fall. The first fallen leaves are a welcome signal that it is coming. We notice the sun begins to set differently in the late afternoons and the moon hangs more prominently with a greater glow in the night sky. The call of a distant crow and the grackle comforts us. The orange and black is our banner and the grinning carved pumpkin our friend. We are Autumn people and we carry with us, a love for Halloween.

We wait all year to unlock our spooky decorations from their captivity and set them free displaying them about in our homes. To us, those figurines and die cut window cut outs are our familiar family come to visit for a while. We carry out the ritual of selecting the greatest pumpkin; one that is not too tall, not too round but the perfect canvas upon which to carve a creepy or cleaver face to scare costumed knockers who dare grace our porches and stoops. For those who do dare; we fill large bowls with candy treats and give generously to those who will scream “Trick Or Treat”!

Why do we love Halloween? We just do. It is something inside us that is inherent, like the beating of the heart or taking breath into our lungs. We don’t expect others to understand it, and often they don’t. However for us, Halloween is special. It can not be separated from who we are.

To some it is a day of merriment and amusement. It is the joy of hosting costumed parties and Trick or Treat adventures. For children and adults alike, it is a time to dress in masquerade, hide behind the mask and for one night be something one is not. There is something magical to a child, that for one night to be whomever they want to be, staying up late to run the streets in the darkness of night knocking on doors demanding crazy amounts of candy; and the satisfaction that adults must comply with the child’s demands of treats for threat of trickery.

Maybe for some of us celebrating Halloween is a way to capture the exhilaration of childhood memories of happy Halloween’s past that we just don’t want to let go of. October 31st is all the innocence, mischief and wonderment of youth wrapped in one orange glowing holiday.

Perhaps it goes further than childhood back into the antiquity of man to Samhian. Could the love of Halloween route back over 2000 years ago to a slumbering knowledge of ancient bonfire rituals on hilltops that stirs and wishes to be awakened? Maybe some never really forgot the ties to seasons and moon cycles. Perchance the need to celebrate what is now Halloween is a vestige to long gone practices and insights into the spirituality of this realm.

Halloween is second most popular holiday in America, second only to Christmas. The fascination with the day is gaining popularity in other countries as well. Possibly as a passing fad or it is a part of our collective history and culture that demands to be acknowledged. Through out time in some form or fashion, under many names whether as Samhain, Witches night, Beggar’s Night, All Souls Day, Hollow’s Eve or Day of the Dead or Halloween; it has been celebrated. From bonfires and carved pumpkins, sheet ghost and costumes, crepe paper and wax to sugar skulls it takes it’s form.

Autumn people take comfort that that we are not alone, there are others out there. Others who feel the tug of an October wind and come the 31st, they will keep their Jack o lanterns lit for the love of Halloween!

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

Jack o’ Lantern

Jack o’ Lantern
-By Angelique Duncan

The Jack o’ Lantern, not much is recorded in written history about these magnificent icons of Hallow’s eve. Most of what we know of the Jack o’ Lantern comes from oral tradition that has been passed down from the generations. However one could hardly imagine Halloween with out them. Plump, orange and glowing. Sometimes flickering a menacing grin, others with frightful faces and some more welcoming and sincere. For most folks the start of the Halloween season begins with a trip to the market to find that perfect gourd upon which to carve out the face that will be lit and stand guard on their porch or on their window sill for Halloween night.

It is understood that our modern Jacks find their origins from ancient Ireland. It was common practice to light kindling in a carved thick flesh of a beet or turnip as a lantern that could be carried or hung from a stick with twine. The use of the pumpkin for carving Jack o” Lanterns did not arise until the discovery of their native home, the Americas.

The lore associated with Jack o’ Lanterns is akin to The Will of The Wisps and in some traditions are interchangeable in their name. Legends of glowing mystical or spirit lights hovering in bogs and marshes that attract travelers from their intended paths have been attached to the Jack o Lantern.

There are common legends of the Jack o’ Lantern that are similar in their telling’s with slight variances in the story, but with the same outcome. The story goes that a man named Jack, who had spent a sinister existence, was approached by the devil and informed that it was the end of his life and time for the devil to collect his soul to take back to Hell. In these stories Jack is cunning and finds a way to trick the devil so that he cannot take his soul. Some stories tell that Jack tricks the devil with crosses or by manipulating or bartering with the devil into promising that he won’t take him to Hell. In keeping the devils word, he does not collect Jacks soul, however when Jack eventually dies, he cannot enter Heaven either. Jack’s spirit is doomed to wander the earth with only a lump of coal set in a turnip to light his way and keep him warm.

It is said that when one sees a Will o Wisp, it is Jack’s soul wandering. However, legends pertaining to Will of The Wisp predate the stories of wandering or stingy Jack. In some cultures and regions the wisps were thought to be wandering spirits trapped on earth. Others believe they are nymphs or faeries. Some traditions tell that the candles lit in Jack o” Lanterns are the souls of deceased children brought to life on Halloween night.

Although the stories of Jack trapped in the turnip is a popular and accepted tale and where the namesake of the carved pumpkin may come from, the use of carved faces in vegetables on Halloween goes much further back in antiquity to the pre Christianity and Gaelic practices of Samhain. Some historians site that the story of Stingy Jack and other Jack legends may have been modified when Christianity took hold in Ireland to suit a more Christian theme on explaining carved gourds at Halloween.

It was believed that on the night of Samhain, a veil was lifted that allowed the spirits of the dead to re-enter the mortal realm. Beets and turnips were carved with scary faces to ward off evil spirits and unwanted ghost. The lit vegetables would be set around the exterior of ones house and lit with candles or kindling. In some European regions the predecessor to Trick or Treating was guising, in which people would carry carved lit turnips while wearing sheets to scare folks into believing they were ghost so that they would give them food.

When European immigrants came to North America pumpkins were used in place of beets and turnips. The larger fruit with its fleshy shell made for a better carving surface and hollowed easily to hold a light source. The Samhain practice of setting out carved pumpkins on October 31st became hugely popular in the United States, and has been a mainstay of Halloween ever since.

As October descends and Halloween approaches pumpkins will be carved in all manner of faces and set out on porches as effigy to a fella named Jack, ward off evil spirits, respect for children past and serve as a beacon to welcome Trick or Treaters. When you set out your Jack o’ Lantern on this Halloween night with it’s crooked grin and flickering eyes know that you are carrying on a ancient custom that has survived many a century and that yours will be among thousands of Jack o’ Lanterns lit adding to the magic of Halloween.

Happy Halloween! Keep your Jack o’ Lantern lit in solidarity!

Images “The Great Pumpkin of Sincerity” and “Great Pumpkin & His Cult” Copyright Michelle Angelique Duncan

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

Trick or Treat!

Trick or Treat!
-By Angelique Duncan

Trick or Treat! The practice of dressing in costumes and going door to door for treats is as old as the holiday of Halloween it’s self. It survives as a traditional custom in modern times from its origins in ancient Gaelic history and the holiday Samhain.

There are varied yet similar thoughts on why trick or treating has been practiced, however despite region and era, there has always been a common thread; costumed people asking for some sort of treat on October 31st.

The ancient Celts believed that on October 31st a veil was lifted at twilight allowing magical forms of beings to re-enter the mortal world for one night. Some believed that this opening was also extended to the spirit world of the dead as well. In the Middle ages it was thought that ghost were allowed to pass from the “otherworld” through openings in sacred grounds that acted as gateways.

Common practice in the 1400’s was to leave plates of sweets and food for faeries and elemental creatures in ones garden or porch. This was done in hopes that passing faerie troupes would take the offerings in exchange for not making mischief or tear up ones crops. This may be the first inclination of sweets used as a bartering tool to avoid tricks.

Spirits who had returned on Halloween night were also left offerings of food. Some documentation from the 15-1600’s suggest that folks would leave food for weary souls as they traveled looking for their loved ones. Samhain was considered New Years and it was customary during this era to hold huge elaborate feast. At these feast plates would be set out and a chair at the table reserved for those who had passed away.

Just as departed loved ones could pass through gateways on Halloween night, it was believed that the wretched could return as well. To pacify these ill intended spirits folks would leave sweets on their porches to appease bad ghost to not haunt them and move on from ones home to the next.

The earliest documentation of Halloween costumes comes from the 1600’s. Men would dress in scary spirit costumes to scare away evil ghost and enchanted creatures. In return for the service of shooing away the bad spirits to make way for the visiting family ghost, people would offer ale and breads to these men. As the practice grew in popularity some would sing or perform for beer and treats. This became known as “guising”. Folks would become opportunistic in the practice and dress as monsters and scary ghost, threatening people’s homes with mischief if treats were not given.

In some regions it was customary for men to go “guising” door to door to farms to gather food donations for Samhain feasts. If the farmer obliged then his home would be bestowed with good fortune through the coming year. If He did not, then he would be met with a curse of misfortune.

With the rise of Christianity the churches advocated the celebration of All Souls Day in lieu of Samhain. All Souls Day falls on November 1, or 2nd depending on region. All Souls Day began as a day set-aside for monks to pray for the souls that were trapped in purgatory. The holiday expanded as a day to pray for all souls of the dead. Folks would go to cemeteries and decorate the graves of their loved ones. Not completely willing to let go of superstitions, the practice of leaving “soul cakes” out for the dead became a common practice. Children would go “Souling” through out village’s carrying candles or lanterns singing and offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes. It was believed that when a soul cake was eaten after a prayer a damned soul was released from hell.

As immigrants from Scotland and Ireland migrated across Europe and to North America during the 1700-1800’s, the Gaelic Samhain traditions followed. In some regions boys would dress as ghost and demons going house-to-house demanding food and drink otherwise they would wreak destructive havoc and mischievous mayhem. Livestock would be let free from their stockades, crops destroyed and broken windows were common on Halloween night. Although it would be much later in history before the term “Trick or Treat” would be used, the practice of giving treats to ward of “tricksters” was in full swing and in true form of its more modern practice.

The practice of knocking on doors on Halloween night carried on into the 1900’s. Halloween was very popular in the 1920’s as it lent itself for fancy dress up parties and lavish festive feast that were popular during the era. In England and North America the poor would dress in costumes and go into wealthier neighborhoods begging for money and food. Halloween became known as “Beggars’ Night. Soon it became commonplace and children of all ranks would go door to door festively in costumes to receive treats in exchange for not playing pranks. During the mid 1930’s the Term “Trick or Treat” was born and Halloween had become a children’s holiday.

However during the 1940’s with sugar rationing and a generally somber mood created by World War II the festive revelry of costuming and asking for candy became frowned upon and Halloween made a return to Beggars Night. During this conservative era it was believed that Trick or Treating was the practice of poor immigrants and not behavior for dignified, proud American and British children.

After the war ended and the American economy became strong along with upward mobility of immigrants socially, the practice of Halloween parties and Trick or Treating returned in full force. The tradition of knocking on doors in costumes and yelling “TRICK OR TREAT” for candy was the norm. The tricks were not violent and usually took the form of knocking over trash bins, applying dark polish to windows, throwing bath tissue in trees, throwing eggs or other devious deeds of vandalism like smashing pumpkins.

In the late 1980’s efforts were made to take the “trick” out of Trick or Treats. Children older than 12 years of age were discouraged from dressing up and going out on Halloween. Adult chaperons were encouraged and churches and retail establishments would host organized Trick or Treat events. Group Halloween parties for children held indoors in lieu of taking to the streets were commonplace. By the mid 1990’s virtually all the trick was removed from Trick or Treating and Halloween night had become all about the treats. Trick or treating through out neighborhoods made a come back in the early 2,000’s and is holding strong as an annual children’s holiday and night of nostalgia for adults and is widely celebrated in the United States and gaining popularity through out the world.

The acts of wearing costumes demanding treats under threat of tricks still exist as an integral tradition to Halloween. As October 31st approaches remember to leave your porch light on and to have plenty of sweets at the ready. For that knock at the door may be a whimsical child out for Tricks or Treats or it may be a wandering ghost or faerie spirit set free to roam on Halloween night.

Images “Set free on Halloween” and “Trick or Treat” Copyright Michelle Angelique Duncan

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

Trick or Treat Give Away 2013

Trick Or Treat!

The 2013 Trick or Treat Give Away has concluded! The winner will be contacted via email. Thank you to all the folks who Trick or Treated! Visit Halloween Artist Bazaar to find more holiday events and give aways through out the year. We appreciate your interest in Halloween Artist Bazaar and for keeping the spirit of Halloween alive!

Best of luck to all, and to all a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

How To Enter:

Official Rules

Entry deadline is Midnight on October 20th 2013. The Winner will be chosen at random. One entry per person. Winner will be notified via email. The prize will ship on October 21st 2013. The winners name will be posted on the Halloween Artist Bazaar website and Facebook page. Members of Halloween Artist Bazaar are not qualified for entry. Contest open internationally, however please note that prize may not arrive before October 31st due to international shipping delays.*your countries custom charges may apply.*

Contributing Halloween Artist Bazaar Artists:(check back as the list grows and photo’s of the winnings are posted!)
Ghost Gap
Dee’s Alchemy & Curiosity
XO Skeleton Creations
Art By Sarada
Chaos In Color
Jan’s Beads
Lttle Shop Of Horrors
Regina A Suarez
Shrine Maiden
Holiday Hijinks
Haunted Hair Candy
Sauvage Raven Creations
Wicked Alterations
Jynxx Designs
Tahoe Snow Bunny
Twilight Faerie
Soiled Doves’ Mercantile

Halloween In June

Halloween Artist Bazaar has joined up with Spooky Cute and Halloween 24/7 Etsy Teams to bring Halloween to June!

A special treat for those of us who feel Halloween just can’t get here soon enough. To celebrate our love of all things Halloween our Teams have united for Halloween in June! Find one of a kind handcrafted collectibles, original dark and whimsical Halloween themed art and spooky goth accessories direct from the artist. No need to wait for the big box stores to put out this years mass produced Halloween finds. We carry unique and sincere Halloween creations all year!

Search Etsy for one of kind hand crafted Halloween art and collectibles from Spooky Cute,Halloween Artist Bazaar(HAB) and Halloween 24/7 Halloween 24/7 to satisfy your Halloween obsession.