Hocus Pocus: History of Halloween, plus Costumes, Pumpkins, and Decorations

Fall is nearing an end (and winter is coming), setting the stage for Halloween. Time for trick-or-treating, costume parties, pumpkin carving, haunted houses, bobbing for apples, and bonfires.

Here is a short history on Halloween, followed by a few ideas on Halloween costumes, decorations, crafts and treats.

Jack Skellington Pumpkin Carving

Jack Skellington (Photo by Ronnie Bruce)

In the eighth century, in an attempt to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday, the Catholic church designated November 1st, All Saint’s Day, as a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve (shortened to Halloween).

The Celtics had believed that on the night before the new year (November 1st), the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause sickness or damaged crops. The Celtics left food & wine on their doorsteps to keep roaming spirits away, and wore masks when they left the house so that they would be mistaken for fellow ghosts. (For any winos out there, this would have been the perfect to pick up some free wine!)

“Guising”, which originated in Medieval Britain, had young people dressing up in costume to accept food, wine, and money, in exchange for singing, citing poetry or telling jokes. (Another chance to stock up on wine!)

In colonial New England, the celebration of Halloween was extremely limited due to the rigid Protestant belief systems. Like old Celtic practices, Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. In the nineteenth century, Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the trick-or-treating tradition to North America. At first, it was truly about the tricks, pranks and hijinks. (Wine was most likely involved.) Over time, Halloween evolved into a family-friendly event.

Source: History of Halloween http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween


In the spirit of Halloween, here are some ideas for Halloween costumes, decorations, crafts and treats.

Fun Fact: It’s estimated that Americans spend up to $2.5 Billion on costumes annually.

Award-Winning Couples Halloween Costumes

Couples Halloween Costumes via Classy Clutter

50 Best Halloween Make-Up Ideas

50 Best Halloween Make-Up Ideas

* Couples Halloween Costumes. Some favorites from Classy Clutter: Papa Smurf & Smurfette, to Ken & Barbie, Colonel Sanders & Chicken, Pac-Man and Mrs. Pac-Man, Walmart Greeters, Sophia Grace & Rosie, Waldo & Carmen San Diego, and a few others.


* 50 of Best Halloween Makeup Ideas 





Fun Fact: One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.

Toffee Apple recipe

Toffee Apple by Simply Delicious Food

Halloween Party Ideas

Monsters Ball Party Ideas by Hostess with the Mostess

* Poison Toffee Apple: No need to fell guilty about this treat, because it’s an apple! Yes, it has tons of sugar around it but who cares? It’s fruit!


* Monster’s Ball Halloween Party. Hostess with the Mostess provides ideas, including: Witch Hat Cupcakes, Brain Cake, Witch Hat Cake pops, Poppy and Bolt Cookies, Witch Finger Pretzels.



Fun Fact: Americans spend about $6 Billion every Halloween, making it the second most commercial holiday, after Christmas.

DIY Witches Potions made from plastic medicine and vitamin bottles, and a spice tin.

Witches Potions Apothecary via Magia Mia

DIY Halloween Printable Book Covers

Printable Book Covers via Little House on the Corner


* Witches Apothecary, made from plastic medicine and vitamin bottles, and a spice tin.


* Printable Book Covers by Little House on the Corner. Use some standard brown packing paper and cut out some A4 sized pieces of paper. Print the prepared templates onto the paper and give trim it to the size of your book.






DIY Halloween Wine Bottles by Lombardo Lagniappe

DIY Halloween Wine Bottles by Lombardo Lagniappe

How to make Bloody Shirley Temples

DIY Bloody Shirley Temples


Bet you have been wondering what to do with all those extra wine bottles that you have laying around (from your trick-or-treating efforts, of course). DIY Halloween Wine Bottles!


* Bloody Shirley Temples. Updated Shirley Temple drink from a classic to a very cool, creepy Halloween drink. Fill the syringes filled with fake blood (Grenadine).





For more ideas, go directly to my Pinterest board for more ideas http://www.pinterest.com/liveeastofeden/hocus-pocus-halloween/

Got any ideas to add?


2 thoughts on “Hocus Pocus: History of Halloween, plus Costumes, Pumpkins, and Decorations

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