Around Town – October 24, 2012
Even though Halloween is still officially over a week away, October 31, 2012 comes to us in the middle of the week and so now we have choices as to which weekend to party or what do we do on the actual Halloween night The customs that we observe on October 31 had their beginnings long, long ago. They came from the beliefs of the druids, priests of ancient Gaul and Britain. The druids believed that witches, demons and spirits of the dead roamed the earth on the eve of November 1. Bonfires were lit to drive the bad spirits away. To protect themselves further from the mean tricks of the bad spirits, the druids offered them good things to eat. They also disguised themselves so that the spirits would think the druids belonged to their own evil group. Surely the spirits would not harm members of their own group! Or so the druids thought. Thus we celebrate Halloween by playing “trick or treat”, dressing up in costumes and wearing masks.
The autumn leaves, cornstalks, apples, pumpkins and nuts that are so much a part of the Halloween season are reminders of the druids Autumn Festival, in honor of the harvest.
Much later the Roman Catholic Church set aside the first day of November to honor all the saints who had no special day of their own. Saints were known as the hallowed, or holy, ones. Their special day was known as All Saints, or All Hallows, Day. The night before was called ‘All Hallows Eve’. All Hallows Eve was shortened to Halloween.
Part of the fun of Halloween is in the preparing for it. One of the traditional decorations of this season is the jack-o-lantern. The children in Britain and many other countries make their jack-o-lanterns from turnips, but the pumpkin is traditional in the United States and Canada. An older child or an adult will need to carve out the top and face of the jack-o-lantern, but children of all ages can help design the face and scoop out the seeds and pulp inside the pumpkin. After the seeds are washed and air-dried, they can be used to make seed pictures or they can be made into a tasty snack by coating them with cooking oil and roasting them in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. Just add salt and they will be ready to enjoy. Your jack-o-lantern can be lighted from the inside with a candle or a small flashlight. Great caution must be taken around jack-o-lanterns with candles in them, and they must be kept where they won’t fall over and out of the reach of small children.
Before you go out ‘Trick or Treating’, whether you are accompanied by an adult or old enough to go out with just your friends, it is a good thing to remember some safety tips such as being very careful when crossing streets as it is probably going to be dark and many costumes and masks make it hard to see. It is good to carry a flashlight (or a glow in the dark bracelet) so that drivers are able to see you. Because trick or treating is usually done at the houses of people you do not know, make sure that no candy is eaten until you are home and your parents have inspected all the ‘treats’. It is a very sad fact that harmful substances and objects have been found in the treats given out. Because of this, many have decided to give out small prizes such as pencils, rings or stickers rather then something edible.
Whatever your choice, a party inside or trick or treat this weekend, on Wednesday or next weekend. Enjoy, be safe and have lots of fun!
Soroptimist International of El Monte/South El Monte will hold their Bunco Octoberfest on Friday, October 26 from 5:00pm until 9:00 pm at the Dean L. Shively School Cafetorium, 1431 N. Central Avenue, South El Monte, California (cross st is Santa Anita) A small donation of $10.00 includes a dinner of German sausage, hot dogs, potato salad, fruit, dessert, drink, bunco game prizes and lots of fun.
Sadly, I end my column this week in Loving Memory of Felipa J. Amezquita, born February 5, 1927 in Guadalajara, Mexico and who passed away on October 19, 2012 in Pasadena, California. A Funeral Mass was held the morning of Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Annunciation Catholic Church, Arcadia, California with Interment following at the Live Oak Memorial Park, Monrovia, California. Sincere Sympathy to Carolina Flores-Helizon and family.