One question I get asked on a daily basis is 'why do you love Halloween so much?' and my answer is always the same 'I don't know, I've just always loved it' it's this boring reply that got me thinking about the real reason why I love Halloween and where it came from.
I feel like when you meet someone who loves Halloween it's something that they've always loved, it's rare you'll come across a twenty- something year old who seems to love Halloween and when you ask when they started loving it will say to you 'Oh about a year ago'. Loving Halloween is something you're born with and no matter how old you get I strongly believe it never leaves your heart.
I know for me personally letting go of my youth is something I struggle with so having a piece of my childhood never leave my heart is a massive factor in my love for Halloween but it doesn't stop there.
I remember as clear as day the first time I came across the history of Halloween. I was in fifth class in school, so I presume I was about 9/10 and once a week our teacher (I don't remember what her name was but I remember everything I learned in class that day) would do a K/W/L chart which stood for know, what to know and learned and this week it was on a topic I knew little to nothing about...Halloween. When asked what we knew it was all about trick or treating, carving pumpkins, having parties, dressing up then when we got a hand out on the history of Halloween I was blown away.
I remember reading how it began in Ireland and how Jack had tricked the devil into climbing up a tree then when he did he carved a cross so the devil couldn't get down hense the story of the Jack O'Lantern very basic history but it ignited this fire in me, a fire still burning over ten years later.
When I got home from school that day I began searching through the internet trying to find out as much about Halloween as I could, I then began writing history books on the subject, such a fun child I know, but little did I know from that day it would kick off three of my biggest passions in life, history, writing and of course Halloween.
Touching back to my point about youth it goes without saying nothing is like Halloween as as child, no matter how much effort you put into Halloween as an adult it will never be as good as it was when you were a child. Overall I had an amazing childhood but my house at Halloween was the place to be.
This may sound shocking to younger readers but like most Irish children my costume consisted of a black sack, a plastic witches hat and ten plastic witches fingers, some of mams red lipstick and that was it. My cousins dressed basically the same expect the boys who went as ghosts and had a clear recycling sack around them and doused themselves in fake blood, oh how times were simpler but so much better. After going on to boogie (trick or treat as it's known today) we came back horse after all that singing (yep, we sang...at each and every single door) in hopes that we might get a lucky 5 pence thrown in for good measure. It was then time to cut the barn breac and see who was getting married next.
Me, being the youngest in the family at the time had absolutely no desire to get married BUT, so god help someone if they got the ring and I didn't...SO GOD HELP THEM!!!
Mam would always let me fill up a basin of mi wadi and water and I'd stir it with the wooden spoon thinking I was a witch...little did I know ey ;-)
After that it was time to let the games begin, apples were hung up left right and centre and believe you and me it wasn't long before someone's head was being held under a bucket of water searching for a half eaten apple.
To top off the night a trip to the bog field to watch the bonfire from the safety of the steps, I hated fire/ fireworks so this for me this was a nightmare but something I'd never miss then if you were lucky it was into the car to drive by the rivals of the town bonfire, Carrick Beg always won!! - oh how times were good.
In my town there would be three bonfires in the town, Carrick Beg, Ballylynch and Tracy Park but the biggest rivalry was between Carrick Beg and Ballylynch. The 'who would have the biggest bonfire competition' took place every October and it wasn't to be made a mockery off. The boys of the avenues would begin collecting from August onwards so you'd leave out any bits of wood/ mattresses/ tyres anything to get the bigger bonfire and beat those Linchers!! We always did ;) -Believe me, I could tell as I cowered behind all my cousins covering my eyes and wishing I was at home!!
For as far back as I can remember my house would also be completely decked out for Halloween. Most people go OTT with Christmas decorations but oh no not in Connolly Park, Halloween was show time here. People used to stop and take pictures of the garden and would you believe I've none to show you myself, just goes to show you should always use the opportunity to capture moments..then again, I still have the memories don't I ;)
I used to get this warm fuzzy feeling when I'd see halloween decorations in the shops, one of my favourite memories/decorations was one evening going to SuperValu with my mam and seeing them putting up their decorations and getting a witch that had crashed into a wall, it's such a shame now days SuperValu haven't one single decoration up for Halloween but to this day I still go crazy with decorations and have just bought loads more new ones for this year, the tradition lives on. So from that 'short' snippet of my youth it's probably easy enough to see why Halloween was such a happy time for me.
Something that shocks a lot of people is the fact I hate horrors!! HATE them and it wasn't that long ago I'd watched my first ever horror, The Strangers with my best friend Annmarie. I was terrified and it didn't faze her, tables have turned now let me tell you sd I ghost bust my way through Loftus Hall on a regular basis.
The fact I was such a girly girly but had an obsession with such a dark day would amaze people but growing up I couldn't talk about ghosts, horrors or anything scary still to this day I can't think about that sort of stuff past 9pm at night or I won't sleep... Swear to God you just couldn't write it.
I was much more into Hocus Pocus, one of my alltime favourite movies and of course my FAVOURITE!!! that I've already watched on YouTube six times this month Recess- Taking The Fifth Grade. Even though it's only the second half based on Halloween I was obsessed and still am. Any programme that would have a Halloween episode used to make me so so happy and of course my Halloween night movie Twitches.
I loved Twitches, twin witches..separated at birth but brought back together to fight the darkness ahhh I love it!! I have best memory of my father actually from this film. It was Halloween night and I was supposed to be at my cousin's party from about 6.30pm but what started at 6.30...Twitches. He covered for me until 8pm so I got to watch the entire movie and that's the kind of father he was even though he got in trouble for dropping me over late I got to enjoy my fave movie and it made my Halloween night, I had never been so happy in my life and that's what Halloween does to me, it makes me so so happy and that's the real reason why I love Halloween...Happiness!!
Unfortunately I can't put it any simpler, it's a mixture of my childhood, my own spiritual path, celebrating Samhain and the history of such an amazing but dark period of time, I adore Halloween and I guess now know you know why.