Tag Archives: halloween traditions

Halloween Withdrawal and a LIVE Report from Trick-or-Treating – The Big Seance Podcast #108

Halloween Withdrawal and a Live Report from Trick-Or-Treating, PLUS family traditions, costumes, and favorite memories - The Big Seance Podcast: My Paranormal World #108, BigSeance.com

 

Are you suffering from Halloween Withdrawal? This episode, with a LIVE report from Trick-or-Treating and a special Faust family interview, will keep you engrossed in the holiday for just a bit longer before it’s gone for another year!

 

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The Halloween Episode with Ghost Stories and More – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #47

Lots of Halloween spooky goodness, with special guests, including Jim Harold of the Paranormal Podcast and Jim Harold’s Campfire! This episode is jam packed with ghost stories and more!

Pssst… Are you looking for the SpeakPipe Link?

 

 

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Halloween Memories and Traditions with Special Guests – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #19

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Well it is finally here. It is the week of Halloween, and in this final Halloween episode, I invite several past guests to share their favorite Halloween memories and traditions! Hear contributions from Annie Wilder, Sara Wiseman, Lee Allen Howard, Karen A. Dahlman, Janice Carlson, Rob Gutro, and Jim Harold.

 

 

 

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Halloween Memories and Traditions

 

In this episode:

A Halloween Housewarming in 1911

A special return visit from Meth Hazel

Returning from episode 2 of the Big Séance Podcast, our next guest, Annie Wilder has a cool story from a Halloween night a few years ago. Now you have to remember that she lives in a haunted house, and when she mentions “the sisters” and “Leon”, those are spirits that are known to reside with her in the home.

Sara Wiseman joined us on October 2, 2014. I really enjoyed that conversation. She may have the sweetest and most calming voice ever, but you might want to briefly turn the lights on for this recent memory.

My friend Lee Allen Howard was with us for the September 11, 2014 episode. He is a medium and metaphysician, but he’s also an author, and he writes some horrifying things. And from his memories, it kind of makes you understand just where it all came from.

Next up is Karen A. Dahlman, who has been on the show twice, July 23, and October 16, of 2014. I absolutely love her story, and Karen was nice enough to send in a very special photo for all of us to enjoy.

Karen A. Dahlman and friend, Halloween 1977, The Big Séance Podcast

Karen A. Dahlman (right) and friend, Halloween 1977

Medium and psychic, Janice Carlson, joined us on August 27, 2014. She’s really fun to talk to, and she joins us again now to share this thought-provoking memory of a childhood Halloween. She also wanted to share an article she wrote about Halloween. **Janice’s drawing is coming soon!**

On September 18, 2014, Rob Gutro joined us to talk about Pets and the Afterlife. Here’s a memory from Rob.  

If you’re a regular listener of the Big Séance Podcast, you know just how much respect I have for our final guest tonight, a man who has influenced me greatly! I was so very honored to have Jim Harold, of the Paranormal Podcast, join me back on Sept 25, 2014. I invited him to come back to share his thoughts on a favorite tradition on Halloween. If you’re a parent, you’ll relate to this one.

A special credit and “thank you” goes out to the incredibly talented Tim Prasil, for writing the really funny story for Meth Hazel’s appearance tonight. Thanks for playing along with us, and sharing your time and talent, Tim. You’ll actually be hearing from Tim, who is a writer, in a future episode of the podcast. You can learn more about him at timprasil.wordpress.com.

 

Don’t forget!! Are you a regular listener? Please e-mail (or call, or SpeakPipe) with where you’re listening from, and how you’re listening! I’d appreciate it! Patrick@BigSeance.com

 

Sam Haynes, Spine ChillersSpooky Music featured on this episode is from Sam Haynes. You can find more about Sam and his music at http://www.hauntmusic.co.uk/. Thanks, Sam!

 

The Big Seance Podcast can be found right here, on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn RadioStitcherGoogle Play Music, and iHeart Radio. Please subscribe, submit a rating, or share with a fellow paranerd! Do you have any comments or feedback? Please contact me at Patrick@BigSeance.com. Consider recording your voice feedback directly from your device on my SpeakPipe page! You can also call the show and leave feedback at (775) 583-5563 (or 7755-TELL-ME). I would love to include your voice feedback in a future show. The candles are already lit, so come on in and join the séance!


The Legends, Lore, and Symbols of Halloween, with Special Co-Host Karen A. Dahlman – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #17

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Karen A. Dahlman, The Legends, Lore, and Symbols of Halloween, The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #17

In this episode, I chat with special guest co-host, Karen A. Dahlman! My favorite holiday is just around the corner, and so we reminisce about Halloween memories, the month of October, and some of the legends, lore, and symbols of Halloween! You may remember her from Episode 5, talking about The Spirits of Ouija.

 

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The Legends, Lore, and Symbols of Halloween!

Topics discussed in this episode:

What’s the Halloween season like in California vs. the Midwest?

We talk about our memories of trick-or-treating, and Karen will surprise you with the tale of her last time partaking in this fun tradition.

With perfect timing, Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, two of my favorite paranormal television shows, finally return. We review the most recent episodes and talk quite a bit about the ghost of the little girl on the Queen Mary.

My visit to A Death in the Family: Death and Mourning in the 19th Century at the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion in St. Louis.

What’s the lore about death and mirrors?

Are we disconnected with death in 2014? Death, the Spiritualist Movement and the 19th Century. Mary Todd Lincoln and séances at the White House.

Karen, a leading expert on the Ouija, tells us about some of the superstitions regarding the talking board.

Will Karen or I hold séances on Halloween?

Is it really true that during this time of year the veil is lifted between the living and the dead? Karen says yes, and she teaches us about The Law of Critical Mass in physics.

Remember the myth of tampered candy and razor blades in apples?

Divination games played on Halloween in the Victorian time period, including waiting for your future love by staring in a mirror (not creepy at all, right?), and the “dumb supper”.

Spirit Communication with candles and flame. 

The number 13 and the story of the 13th floor. Myth?

Some facts and jokes about Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns!

Halloween (The Jack O’Lantern Rag) by Arthur Manlowe (1911)

Karen tells us why she loves Owls, which are viewed as symbols of Halloween.

Bet you didn’t know what the witch’s broom symbolizes.

Avoid having bad luck on Halloween. Be careful! (Actually, these are myths…. supposedly.)

Are there ways to have GOOD luck on Halloween?

Both Karen and I share our favorite Halloween candy!

Have you ever bobbed for Apples?

The top haunted attractions for 2014 in the US!

Karen teaches us how to have fun with panty hose on Halloween! 

 

For More on Karen A. Dahlman:

karenadahlman.com

Karen’s Books on Amazon

Karen’s Facebook Page

Twitter: @KarenADahlman

And check out my review of The Spirits of Ouija.

 

Thanks again, Karen!

Sam Haynes, Spine ChillersSpooky Music featured on this episode is from Sam Haynes. You can find more about Sam and his music at http://www.hauntmusic.co.uk/. Thanks, Sam!

 

The Big Seance Podcast can be found right here, on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn RadioStitcherGoogle Play Music, and iHeart Radio. Please subscribe, submit a rating, or share with a fellow paranerd! Do you have any comments or feedback? Please contact me at Patrick@BigSeance.com. Consider recording your voice feedback directly from your device on my SpeakPipe page! You can also call the show and leave feedback at (775) 583-5563 (or 7755-TELL-ME). I would love to include your voice feedback in a future show. The candles are already lit, so come on in and join the séance!


The Year of Halloween: An Interview with Eva Halloween – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #16

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In this episode, we sit at the séance table with the haunted hostess of TheYearOfHalloween.com, Eva Halloween. Eva and her site is a massive collection of resources that helps readers to celebrate Halloween all year long!

Eva_Halloween_the_year_of_halloween_big_seance_podcast“I was a lot less interested in talking about my personal feelings about Halloween 365 days a year, as much as I really had a love of kind of curating what’s out there and bringing it to people, and say here’s the best of things in all manner of ways that can bring that kind of creepiness and spooky fun of Halloween alive all year round without it necessarily having to be 365 days of pumpkins or black cat cutouts. There’s lots of ways to have that kind of fun feeling all year.”  –Eva Halloween

 

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Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Favorite Halloween Memories and Traditions
  • Trick-or-Treating
  • Contributors to The Year of Halloween
  • Makeup and Costume Tutorials
  • Halloween DIY Projects
  • Art & Inspiration
  • Annual Costume Contest
  • Friday Night Features
  • 31 Halloween Activities
  • The Peculiar Photos of Ransom Riggs
  • Last Year’s TYOH Talking Witch Commercial
  • Does Eva ever tire of Halloween?
  • What Goes On at TYOH During Other Times of the Year?
  • Sneak Peek at what’s coming up for the rest of the season!

Acadia Einstein’s SuperficialGallery.com

 

For More of The Year of Halloween:

Google+: Eva Hallowen

Twitter: @EvaHalloween

Facebook: The Year of Halloween

Tumblr: The Year of Halloween

 

Thanks, Eva!

 

 

Sam Haynes, Spine ChillersSpooky Music featured on this episode is from Sam Haynes. You can find more about Sam and his music at http://www.hauntmusic.co.uk/. Thanks, Sam!

 

The Big Seance Podcast can be found right here, on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn RadioStitcherGoogle Play Music, and iHeart Radio. Please subscribe, submit a rating, or share with a fellow paranerd! Do you have any comments or feedback? Please contact me at Patrick@BigSeance.com. Consider recording your voice feedback directly from your device on my SpeakPipe page! You can also call the show and leave feedback at (775) 583-5563 (or 7755-TELL-ME). I would love to include your voice feedback in a future show. The candles are already lit, so come on in and join the séance!


5 of the Latest Books to Land on my Doorstep

Today I bring you the latest books to land on my doorstep. Have you read any of these? Do you have other recommendations? All book descriptions are taken from their Amazon pages, which you can get to by clicking on the book covers. Be sure to check out my Recommended Reading page for some of my recommendations and book reviews. 

 

Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife by Raymond Moody, M.D. 

The bestselling author of Life After Life, Raymond Moody, offers a stunning, myth-busting memoir of everything he has learned in a lifetime studying “the other side” and our connection to it. The grandfather of the NDE (near death experience) movement, Raymond Moody has, in the words of Dr. Larry Dossey, author of The Power of Premonitions, “radically changed the way modern humans think about the afterlife.” Paranormal, essential reading for fans of Dannion Brinkley and Jeffrey Long, is “a thrilling and inspiring literary experience. Anyone who is not grateful for Moody’s immense contribution to human welfare ought to check his pulse.”

 

My Son and the Afterlife: Conversations from the Other Side by Elisa Medhus 

Elisa is perhaps most known for her website, ChannelingErik.com, and two years ago I featured the site in one of my earliest blog posts here at The Big Séance. One could spend days exploring this site and the many channeled conversations with Erik Medhus.  

Dr. Elisa Medhus never believed in life after death. As an accomplished physi­cian, she placed her faith in science. All of that changed after her son Erik took his own life and then reached out from the other side.

Intimate, heartbreaking, and illuminating, go on an incredible journey from grief and skepticism to healing and belief. Based on Medhus’s wildly popular blog, Channeling Erik, My Son and the Afterlifeprovides answers to the most universal questions of being human.

At once tragic and uplifting, Erik speaks from the other side with candor, wisdom, and depth as he describes his own experiences and provides new answers about the nature of souls, death, and the afterlife—answers that have the potential to change our lives forever.

 

Behind The Walls: A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry by J’aime Rubio

J’aime Rubio is an investigative journalist, true crime writer, historian, and published poet. She is also the author of two blogs: Dreaming Casually and Hollywoodland Forever. I was somehow connected to J’aime when I was in the middle of my grave adoption project this last fall. Now a friend on social media, I can tell you that she is definitely my kind of nerd!

If you are a truth seeker, “Behind The Walls” is definitely a book you will want to read. It will open your eyes to the distressing secrets held deep in history behind those ominous walls of Preston Castle. It is a fact based account of murder, mystery and mistreatment. Many might wonder what actually happened to the former inmates and employees of the Preston School of Industry. You will learn about the startling treatment they received and the outcome of their lives. If you want to learn true history about Preston, read this book.

 

Creating Your Vintage Hallowe’en: Folklore and Traditions by Marion Paull

We are now six months away from Halloween, and it is NEVER too early to prepare! I’ll probably hold off and read these last two books in late summer. I also still have one left from last fall that I can’t wait to read. Check out Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton.

Full of spooky artworks, ephemera, vintage-inspired makes, rhymes and stories, Creating your Vintage Hallowe’en celebrates the folklore and traditions surrounding this delightfully unique holiday. Read how folk used to celebrate with dressing up, fortune-telling games, parties, and much pleasurable spookiness, and recreate your own vintage Hallowe’en with old-fashioned projects, including a carved Jack o’ lantern, a witch costume, and fun decorations for your home. Creating your Vintage Hallowe’en is packed full of little-known facts about the origins of Hallowe’en customs such as bobbing for apples and carving lanterns out of pumpkins, while the charming makes and vintage artworks featuring chubby, red-cloaked witches, sleekly silhouetted black cats, cute kittens, cheery goblins and smiling spectres, will inspire you to have your own vintage-style Hallowe’en celebration.

 

Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration of Fun, Food, and Frolics from Halloweens Past by Diane Arkins

Recipes, games, costumes, party ideas, and decorations, along with excerpts from vintage periodicals, show the gaiety that epitomized historic Halloween celebrations.

You might also like:

Recent Books to Land on my Doorstep (from Big Séance in Nov. of 2013)

Tow More Halloween Books from Lesley Pratt Bannatyne (Big Séance)

 

 

 

 

 

 


Adopting Graves 2013: My Thoughts and a Look Back on a New Tradition

This is the fifth post in a series titled “Adopting Graves”, where I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey of adopting and researching two graves during the autumn season. For previous posts, visit:
Adopting Graves: Second Visit with Clara and Johnnie
Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013)
Adopting Graves: Some genealogy on our little Johnnie and his family
Adopting Graves: More on little Clara and her family

 

On a Saturday in the middle of August, I decided to begin a new autumn tradition of adopting graves. I chose the graves of two souls, each in a different cemetery. At this point I feel strangely close to Johnnie Michel and Clara I. Gegenbauer. From that day on, I visited these graves every two weeks up to October 30th. I need to go back at least one more time to pick up the pumpkins and things, that way if I decide to visit in the distant future, there won’t be a pumpkin patch to walk through. For more on the inspiration and how I chose these two graves, visit my very first post in this series.

 

Johnnie Michel, son of Henry and Matilda Michel, July 5, 1879 – January 21, 1884

 Johnnie, who died at four and half years old (reason unknown), lived with his family on the upper floor of a general store on Main Street in Wentzville, Missouri. His father was a prominent Wentzville citizen and built and owned the general store. His mother raised the family (Johnnie had an older and a younger sister), and presumably helped tend to several of the clerks and extended family members that lived with them above the store.

Below are some of the shots from different visits to Johnnie’s grave (I tried to bring different flowers/gifts each time.)

 

Since posting my genealogy for Johnnie’s family, I discovered that the family’s general store was located where the “Wentzville Millwork” building is in the picture below. I’m not sure how old the remaining buildings to the left are, but I wanted to make sure and include them in the picture to help your imagination. The structure that housed the general store was demolished in the 1970s. To my knowledge there are no existing photos of the general store, which was operated by the family until at least 1910.  The second picture below is a view of the surrounding downtown area across the street from that lot.

 

 

Clara I. Gegenbauer, March 29, 1884 – March 17, 1889

As you may have noticed, Clara died just short of her fifth birthday as well. She was the fourth out of eight children by parents Eugene Gegenbauer (1847 – 1916) and Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer (1853 – 1930). Like Johnnie, there is no record of how or why Clara died at such a young age. Her father Eugene (whose parents immigrated from Germany) and mother Isabelle (whose parents immigrated from Ireland) were married in 1876. After immigrating, Clara’s paternal grandfather was a physician and teacher in the Ballwin, Missouri area. He died in 1880.

Out of the family’s eight children, Eugene and Isabelle had 7 grandchildren, including my new friend Gayla’s father. Clara’s last remaining sibling, Jane Sophia “Jennie” Gegenbauer, was Gayla’s grandmother. She died in 1976.

For more on Clara, or for photos of her parents and the family’s farmhouse, click HERE

 

On my second visit with Johnny and Clara, I was not prepared for the feelings I would have when seeing the blunt symbolism of the dead flowers in the exact same arrangement that I had placed them in only two weeks earlier. Though this is a completely normal thing to see in a cemetery, it was a beautiful and sad at the same time.

  

 

  

 

 

Other favorite photos from my visits to see Johnny and Clara 

Clara’s grave can be seen on the left (with the bright flowers) near the top of the hill. The graves surrounding her are her parents and siblings.

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Once again, Clara’s grave can be seen off in the distance at the top of the hill. 

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As I mentioned before, I have to make at least one more visit to pick up pumpkins, but I highly doubt that it will be my last. I’ve become so familiar with the path to find them, and I’m sure I’ll never forget. I’m already excited to start the journey over next year with two “new” graves.

 

 


Halloween Memories and Nostalgia from This Generation X-er

From the moment there was a hint of fall in the air, I have been reminiscing and thinking about Halloweens growing up. Today I decided to type aloud just some of the memories and thoughts that come to mind. I bet those of you who grew up in the 70s and 80s have similar memories. Go ahead. Climb on into my Delorean and let’s travel back… back into time…

 

…to a time where Halloween meant witches with brooms, black cats, skeletons, and jack-o-lanterns with basic triangle eyes and jagged teeth. There was nothing more exciting than seeing your classroom teacher get out a big stash of black, white, and orange construction paper for craft time!

Remember scarecrows? You don’t see those guys much anymore. Maybe it was just a country thing. They were fun to make, but it was lots of itchy and scratchy work. I remember making a few with my parents and raiding my dad’s closet and drawers for just the right look.

This was the first set of Halloween cutout decorations that I remember. You can see the witch and the scarecrow centerpiece. Those were my favorites!

This was the first set of Halloween cutout decorations that we had that I remember. You can see the witch and the scarecrow centerpiece. Those were my favorites!

I remember getting so excited to go down to the basement for the box of decorations. Some 1970s cardboard cutouts for the windows were all it took. My favorite was the witch. She was so creepy. I also very much remember the honeycomb scarecrow centerpiece that we’d keep in the middle of the dinner table. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. Then there was the giant skeleton with movable parts. My sister remembers the black cat that had similar movable appendages. Lately I’ve made several Google searches for vintage Halloween nostalgia, and when you search for decorations, I recognize almost every generation of the more popular cutouts and can tell you where I remember them from. Some of them hung in teacher classrooms.  When I see a lot of popular Halloween decorations now, like the orange and purple strings of lights (that just scream Christmas to me) and the noisy and obnoxious blow up contraptions, I just don’t understand them. But this is probably just another one of those signs of getting older and less hip. I wish they would reproduce some of the more classic decorations like they used to. Many of the popular cutouts from the 1980s were apparently reprints from the 1960s. I will say that there is one trend in the last few years that I’ve been seeing in the stores that I definitely like. Everything is glittery and sparkly now! Yes, please! I would have LOVED a glittery orange pumpkin as a kid! Oh my gosh… memories of Elmer’s glue and glitter… don’t get me started…

Remember these?

Remember these?

Did you have classroom parties thrown by the room mothers? There was always punch, games (including the one where you have to sit on the balloon to pop it… I HATED that one), and treats tied up in those paper treat bags. By the time my younger sister went through school, they were afraid to call them “Halloween parties” and for a time they referred to them as “pumpkin parties”. Silly.

I can also remember the Christian versions of these treat bags that we were given at church. I’m not sure what Bible verse would be appropriate, but they always included one. People were encouraged to use those on Halloween, just in case anyone thought you were a devil worshiper because you were celebrating such a fun holiday. Even as a child and as a good boy, I can remember thinking “yeah, right!” and passing up the opportunity to take the Bible thumper bags. Of course, the Christian treat bags weren’t a big deal, considering a grandmother of mine, who was a strict Jehova’s Witness, lived a few houses down. She would preach about how horrible Halloween (or most holidays, for that matter) was, and I remember feeling pressured by her to not celebrate it. I loved her, but Halloween was one of those awkward times for that part of the family. 

Speaking of treats, I can almost guarantee that at some point in time, all of us were given a Tootsie Roll Pop with a white tissue wrapped over the top and tied with yarn, am I right? Mmmm… candy corn. When you went trick-or-treating, did you love or hate the popcorn ball? I didn’t get too excited about anything that was homemade, and sweet tarts and anything with marshmallow were always what I had left from my loot in February or March before I would decide to offer the rest to someone else.

A Halloween clown. I was a clown for a few years since the costume was so big. My Grandma, a master seamstress, did a great job at keeping me in costumes!

A Halloween clown. I was a clown for a few years since the costume was so big. My Grandma, a master seamstress, did a great job at keeping me in costumes!

Actually, trick-or-treating wasn’t something that I took part in for very long, and my sister actually hated it. For a few years, my parents would take me and my little sister (once she was in the picture) to the homes of family members and close friends. We’d show off our costumes, hop back in the car, and head off to the next destination before going back home to catch remaining trick-or-treaters at our own house. And actually, handing out the treats to the few visitors we did have was way more fun, in my opinion. When I was six we moved away from town and out into the country, so for me the traditional neighborhood trick-or-treating wasn’t a big thing. I remember always hearing my friends at school talk about it though, and we’d see ghosts and goblins lurking all over town when we were in the car driving from one place to the next. I’m not sure I would have ever walked up to a stranger’s house for candy. I’m sure this is due in part to the warnings of things like razors in apples and poison in candy. Those things never happened, of course, but I remember the warnings that were popular in those days.

I can't believe I found a photo of the same pattern I used to obsess over at my grandma's fabric shop!

I can’t believe I found a photo of the same pattern kit I used to obsess over at my grandma’s fabric shop!

And costumes were different in those days. Another grandmother of mine owned a fabric shop when I was young and I would “help” her clean and organize. I loved it! I remember being very interested in the McCall’s costume patterns, specifically the one pictured on the right! (I can’t believe I found a photo!) Do you remember how cool it was to pick out a make-up kit with just three basic colors? Just put some plastic vampire teeth in your mouth and it will make up for how cheap the make-up looked. No vampire teeth? That’s okay. Just stick some black wax on a few of your teeth and go as a “hobo”. Remember when dressing up as a hobo for Halloween was popular? Why did we do that? Weird. Speaking of weird, there are certain smells–like duct tape, for example–that instantly transport me back to the smell of a Halloween mask. I’ve heard others agree with me on this one, so I can’t be THAT weird.   

I’m not sure when it started or even if it was meant to be a tradition, but we usually had either chili or potato soup for dinner on Halloween. There was a year where my father somehow ended up with orange potato soup because of something weird that happened with the carrots that he added to the mix. I remember convincing my parents to let me add food coloring to the soup years later to truly make it orange. We’d listen to Monster Mash or even my favorite spooky sound effects “tape” (still have it) while setting the table for dinner. Now as an adult, I usually try to carry out the Halloween chili tradition. 

Now we live in a large suburban neighborhood, and I can’t even get home from work before they’re knocking on the door in daylight, so I make my chili the night before. We sit out front with a few decorations, candles, tiki torches, a big bowl of treats, and plenty of hot apple cider for anyone who wants it. 

I love this photo. My sister was Casper and this was her first (and probably last) Halloween trick-or-treat experience. As my mom explained on the back of this photo, "Patrick is a Mexican." Don't ask...

I love this photo. My sister was Casper and this was her first (and probably last) Halloween trick-or-treat experience. As my mom explained on the back of this photo, “Patrick is a Mexican.” Don’t ask…

 

I’m sure as soon as I publish this I’m going to think of about 50 things I forgot to include, but then again only four of you probably made it this far into my reminiscing… and thank you for that! 

Please feel free to comment and share your nostalgia or Halloween memories and traditions!

 

You might also like:

HALLOWEEN: An American Holiday, an American Tradition (Big Séance)

Skin and Bones (Big Séance)

A New Spin On Your Halloween Altar and Decorations (Big Séance)

Planning a Halloween Party (in 1911) (Big Séance)

 


Two More Halloween Books from Lesley Pratt Bannatyne

Last year I read and reviewed an amazing book by a true Halloween expert, Lesley Pratt Bannatyne. The book is titled HALLOWEEN: An American Holiday, an American History. I loved it and learned so much from it that I’ve referenced the book several times here on the blog. I immediately ordered her follow up book, but I saved it for this year’s autumn lineup. So tonight I present to you HALLOWEEN NATION: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night.

If Lesley’s first Halloween book is the history, then HALLOWEEN NATION is a fun and in-depth snapshot of the current reality of the holiday here in the USA, with some history thrown in when it is necessary, of course. The book covers everything from our obsessions with ghosts, witches, zombies, costumes, and pumpkins, to tricks and pranks, and the different ways we choose (as children AND adults) to celebrate the holiday. Also, she discusses many of the horrifying and heart-stopping haunts that we love to put ourselves through for entertainment. And she truly does go behind scenes, tracking down many interesting people, such as event organizers, a witch, artists, people in the haunted attraction industry, and the people who build and create the creatures used in those attractions.  

The book includes a 20-page section of notes that really shouldn’t be skipped. I’m in the process of finishing these now. She also includes a section of helpful resources and a selected bibliography.

HALLOWEEN NATION is full of fascinating photos in full color. Lesley writes in a friendly style and tends to add humor at the very moment you have the urge to turn to your invisible friend to throw in a funny comment. She’s got you covered.   

A few weeks ago I also picked up Lesley’s A Halloween Reader: Poems, Stories, and Plays from Halloweens Past. I grabbed this one in hopes of finding some stories to share with my students at school on Halloween. I always try to do something different, spooky, and fun to celebrate the day. I’ve also just become more and more fascinated and interested in the history of the holiday. If anyone has access to a time machine, let me know please. I haven’t started this book yet, but I believe I’ll start tonight!

For more on Lesley Pratt Bannatyne, visit her site at iskullhalloween.com.

 

You might also like:

Planning a Halloween Party (in 1911) (Big Séance)

Planning a Halloween Party (in 1911) (Big Séance)

A New Spin On Your Halloween Altar and Decorations (Big Séance)

A New Spin On Your Halloween Altar and Decorations (Big Séance)

Classic trick or treat loot: nostalgic candy & prizes from Halloweens past. (Renae Rude - The Paranormalist)

Classic trick or treat loot: nostalgic candy & prizes from Halloweens past. (Renae Rude – The Paranormalist)

The Haunting of Al Capone (News From the Spirit World)

The Haunting of Al Capone (News From the Spirit World)

 

 

 


Planning a Halloween Party (in 1911)

As many of you are no doubt planning themes for Halloween get-togethers next month, I thought maybe Ms. Ruby Ross Goodnow could help you plan. Actually, the party below, held on “Hallowe’en” at “eight o’ clock” in 1911, was also meant to be a housewarming party, for a brand new home, perhaps a bungalow or craftsman like the one pictured below. I found this article, originally published in the October 1911 issue of The Delineator, a few years ago and I just love it! (Note that a yearly subscription was $1. Sweet!) I’m considering planning a Halloween get together myself, and using this retro article as a starting point for a turn of the century theme!

 

The cover of the October 1911 issue of Delineator.

The cover of the October 1911 issue of The Delineator.

 

From the October 1911 issue of The Delineator:

___________________________________

Entertainment in October

Conducted by Ruby Ross Goodnow

Mrs. Goodnow will be glad to help you with any kind of entertainment. Write her for suggestions, giving the exact date of your party, enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope for reply.

.

A HALLOWE’EN HOUSEWARMING

The Dr. John F. and Mary Reddy House in Medford Oregon. Photo (from the National Register of Historic Places) was taken in 1911, the same year of construction.

The Dr. John F. and Mary Reddy House in Medford Oregon. This photo (from the National Register of Historic Places) is not of the house featured in this article, but was taken in 1911, the same year of its construction, and the same year as this issue of Delineator.

We had moved into our new home and, of course, we wished to welcome our friends beneath our roof-tree, so we planned a Hallowe’en housewarming, which was the jolliest affair ever.

We had some little brown-prints made of the new house, and sent one of these to each of our friends enclosed in the following note:

“Our latch-string now hangs on the outside!

Won’t you come and use it on Hallowe’en, at eight o’ clock?”

We invited all our friends, old and young and in-betweens. And we opened all our house-we knew that the cellar would be as interesting to Uncle John as the attic would be to Great-Aunt Martha. We had Jack-o’-lanterns on the gate-posts, and in spooky corners of the cellars, and in the attic.

All the young people were given cards, very much like dance-cards, with spaces for engagements in regular order: “9 o’ clock, Mr. B—-, cellar stairs; 9:30 Mr. C—-, library davenport; 10, Mr. D—-, kitchen-table,” and so on. This arrangement of conversational “dates” kept the young people scrambling all over the house, up-stairs and down, and there was no possibility of stagnation!

And we served refreshments all over the house, too. We had a brand-new barrel of apples in the cellar; a huge pot of coffee and little squares of hot gingerbread in the kitchen; half a dozen bowls of nuts in the attic; a platter of sandwiches in the living-room; a huge bowl of fruit-punch in the dining-room; a silver dish of mints in the library and several platters of home-made candy in the various bedrooms.

At half after eleven we all met in the big living-room and ranged ourselves around the great fireplace. Then my husband very solemnly lighted the first fire on the new hearthstone, and our guests all toasted our new home. Then we told ghost stories, and roasted chestnuts, and popped corn, and counted apple-seeds until well after the charmed hour of midnight!   C.B.A.

___________________________________

A few notes: 

I tried to do some quick research to find out exactly what is meant by “brown-prints” in this article. I only find information leading me to a type of photography. Did they send photos of the new house with the invitations? 

Though 1911 is a bit after the Victorian days, up to around the 1900s Halloween meant socializing (clearly pointed out in the article), parlor games, and was often thought of as a romantic holiday for young people. This was a time when young girls or ladies would practice innocent rituals or perhaps attempt to contact the spirit world to learn who their future husband would be. The roasting of various nuts, counting apple seeds, etc, was often used as a kind of fortune-telling at these gatherings. In those days Halloween was less about spookiness and death. 

For more information about the history and traditions of Halloween, check out HALLOWEEN: An American Holiday, an American Tradition by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne.  

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