Hey, guys! It’s Holly and my favorite holiday in the history of holidays is Halloween. Who doesn’t love all of the free candy? And no, you’re never too old to go trick-or-treating.
But where did this holiday even come from? It started out as “All Hallows’ Eve” which preceded All Hallows Day, a Christian feasting holiday. All Hallows Day was the first of a trilogy of feast days called “All Saints’ Day” and “All Souls’ Day.” Everyone got a holiday! These were days all meant to honor the dead. But why do we dress up?
The tradition is thought to come from a Celtic tradition. There was a fall harvest and a celebration that included people dressing up or “mumming.” And trick-or-treating? These mummers would go from house to house reciting songs in exchange for food or coins. Imagine going up to someone’s house and coming back with a $1. I think we’d definitely see a jump in college student trick-or-treating. Now, this was all in Europe, mostly. These traditions didn’t show up in America until the mid-19th century when European immigrants (mainly Scottish or Irish) began to populate the United States. The first mass-produced costumes were seen in stores in the 1930s. Before that, people made their own costumes and dressed as supernatural characters such as vampires,
werewolves, and witches. Though you find all of those still today, our costume ideas have gone above and beyond the ordinary monster and into the realms of fictional characters and celebrities.
Whether you go trick-or-treating or attend a Halloween party, I hope you have a marvelous and spooky All Hallow’s Eve.
Hey, its Tom. A great man once said “Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” The same person also wrote “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
Why yes, Edgar Allan Poe is the mastermind behind those words. Poe is one of my favorite Poets (ha-hahaha-ha). Poe tried to make a living through writing alone, which was quite a feat back in the first half of the 19th Century as no popular author had done it before. Poe was born in 1809 in Boston, Mass. He would attend college at the University of Virginia for a year, but would drop out because of the debt from registering for classes, purchasing texts, room and board, and other expenses along with the fact that his lover Sarah Royster married another man. Unable to support himself, Poe joined the military for a couple years before he was discharged. After that, Poe tried his hardest at making a living through literary work.
Poe married his cousin in 1835 (I know what you are thinking, but back then it wasn’t as weird as it is now). Poe became an editor in 1836 and jumped from magazine to magazine for the next few years. In 1842, his wife Virginia Clemm was diagnosed with tuberculosis and only partially recovered. Her illness contributed to Poe’s bad drinking habits. Under this stress and pain, Poe published his famous poem “The Raven” in 1845. Two years later his wife died and Poe continued to go to the bottle for consolation. A few years later he returned to Richmond, Virginia and began a relationship with his old sweetheart Sarah Royster. Poe was still unstable and continued to drink and use drugs. On October 7, 1849 Poe was found wandering the streets of Baltimore in a delirious state. He would die in the hospital later and the cause of his death is still unknown. I, personally, believe he was drugged up on alcohol and some other kind of painkiller.
Poe was a tragic literary genius whose writing would capture Americans’ interest for years to come. He was a part the Romantic
Movement that brought much great gothic literature, like Sleepy Hollow, that still makes our minds wander today.
If you are new to Poe I recommend reading “The Raven,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Tell-Tale Heart” or “The Pit and the Pendulum.” These are some of my favorite stories by Poe and will send a shiver down your spine. I also recommend checking out the PoeFest finale today, Halloween, at the Rosson House in Downtown Phoenix where they are doing dramatic readings of “The Raven” every 20 minutes from 7:30 to 9:30.
Have any creepy historical questions? Drop us a line at email@example.com or find us on twitter @sparkysquill.