On the 31st October Halloween celebrations kick off across the UK, with thousands of Halloween parties arranged each year. But why has Halloween remained so enduringly popular?
Halloween is a mostly non-religious festival, created in America from a mixture of immigrant traditions from around Europe. This mixture of cultures means that there is almost always a part of the holiday that can be identified with, no matter what your origins are. The activities associated with Halloween – pumpkin carving, apple bobbing and creating costumes – have become cherished, and have captured the imaginations of the public through popular culture. There are now hundreds of films and books that use the premise of Halloween, where the veil between the living world and the dead is thinnest, to create incredible stories and art. With authors such as Stephen King becoming wildly popular and the horror genre becoming a favourite for many, Halloween has become a popular holiday worldwide, with millions taking part in the festivities. Halloween costumes are often planned carefully months in advance, with decorations set up to create a spooky theme.
When organising a party to celebrate Halloween, there are various ways to enjoy the holiday with many wonderful activities to enjoy. In this post we will discuss some of the most popular Halloween activities and how they can bring your Halloween party to a new level.
An autumn classic, apple bobbing involves attempting to grasp an apple in your mouth from a tub of water, and as such is more of an outdoor game. Originally associated with the harvest festival, apple bobbing was considered a way to find out about a girl’s romantic future. There were different variations of the game; in one there were different suitors associated with each apple, and the apple taken by each girl was a prediction of who she would marry. In another version of the game, those who managed to capture an apple fastest were considered to be the first to marry, whereas those who took longer would find love later in life.
While this Halloween activity is no longer used as a way to predict the future, it is still very popular with young children as a traditional game.
Historically, carved pumpkins with grotesque faces and candles inside were created and placed around houses in order to ward away evil spirits with their scary face. The tradition of Halloween costume seems to have evolved in much the same way. Creating a few carved pumpkins to sit on your windowsills or doorsteps can be a fantastic family activity. If you want to ensure that they glow for a long time, using electronic candles rather than real candles can act as a safe and longer lasting alternative. This is especially true if you want your pumpkin decorations to last overnight.
While pumpkins are most often used nowadays, Jack o’ Lanterns were originally made using turnips, potatoes and even apples.
Costumes are a mainstay of any Halloween bash, with a variety of themes from traditional horror to Sci-Fi characters or even famous literary characters. Why is costume the most important Halloween tradition for many? Costumes allow you to become a completely different person, even if just for a night. The tradition of fancy dress and costume are often associated with the blurring of social boundaries and class divides; no one knows who you are under the costume, so you are free to act as you please. This distinction is key to the trick or treat activity, costumes allowing children to play practical jokes on adults as their masks hide their identity.
As part of your party, organising a costume competition with fun categories, such as best last minute costume, best costume or worst costume of the night, can bring enthusiasm to the evening.
The telling of spooky stories is a time honoured Halloween tradition with many in circulation at any given moment, the ‘Bloody Mary’ myth being a classic. The horror genre, whether explored through film or literature, is based around forcing the reader to confront their fears and to examine why they exist. From the original science fiction book ‘Frankenstein’, what we are afraid of is often hard to grasp or understand. Here are a few ways to enjoy a spooky story:
- Picking out different scenarios from a hat and telling a tale associated with the snippet can help your guests get creative and come up with some interesting premises. Starter scenarios for the different stories can range from ‘There is a monster under the bed.’ To ‘who ate the Cheerios?’.
- ‘Guess the movie’ works on a similar premise; each card has a plot point listed on the front and the film it comes from on the back. Whoever guesses which film it is first gets to take the card. Whoever has the most cards at the end of the evening wins the game.
- For those that love movies, creating funny film names for horror film scenarios you have come up with can be a great game to play. The name that gets the loudest laugh wins the game.
Setting up a competition between teams for a quiz is a very popular way to start off a party, whether it is hosted at a venue or at home. Many quiz questions of varying levels of difficulty and a variety of themes can be found with a quick Google search. Setting up teams to compete can help people who are perhaps unfamiliar with the rest of the guests to meet new people and make connections quickly.
Halloween and the film industry, particularly the horror genre, have been intertwined for decades. The horror genre is increasingly psychological, and explores what the human mind fears most. Bringing in a quiz is a fantastic way to kick off the night and to create a Halloween feel to the proceedings, and having themes such as identifying the Latin names of different fears (such as Ornithophobia, the fear of birds), horror movie trivia and Halloween trivia can make the quiz fun for all ages.
Trick or Treat
Using costumes and masks to hide young people’s appearance while they preform pranks dates back to Scotland and Ireland. Much like April Fools, Halloween offered the perfect opportunity for pranks. In early 1900’s America the pranking issue became so prevalent – and at times dangerous – that the practice of bribing potential pranksters with sweets and other favours came into fashion. To this day, tricks are played on those that do not participate in treating those who come to the door in the Halloween tradition.
Going from door to door in costume is most prevalent in America, but is also seen in other countries although it is far less universal.
If you are planning an event and would be interested in booking with Salomons Estate, then please contact us here. Our staff will be able to discuss what you are looking for from your venue and what Salomons Estate can do for you.