Archive | Halloween Activities

Campers seem to love it. Passing on stories while the embers burn bright on a cool fall night is something we look forward to with trembling. Storytelling has been the most popular way to pass on folklore down through the ages. Here are some storytelling techniques to straighten their hair.

Storytelling on Halloween is expected. At least one ghostly story has to be told to an attentive audience. Movies are okay, but when the details are left to the imagination, the story takes on new life. Here are some tips to get everyone scared stiff with your story this Halloween.

1. Choose an appropriate venue. If you own a fire pit, let the storytelling begin outside. Cooler weather may mean you have to provide some blankets but that adds to the atmosphere. Inside the house, choose a quiet location big enough for everyone to sit in a circle. Instead of a fire, use a battery operated lantern or candle.

2. Turn off the lights. You can’t tell a good ghost story with the lights on. Outdoors, wait until the sun is completely down to start your tale.

3. Know the story. It can be read from a book or spoken from memory but get it right. A botched ghost story is like mangling a good joke by revealing the punch line. A good storyteller practices his craft so that his listeners won’t be disappointed.

4. Have an accomplice. Someone has to emphasize your high points with some creative theatrics. The theatrical help doesn’t need to be loud or overstated. A few noises or whispers that could be the wind or the trash can falling over are perfect to make the story more real.

5. Dress the part. No one will be frightened by someone in Bermuda shorts and a polo shirt. A dark cloak, some makeup, and a few well hidden props add to your fierceness. Some storytellers use a flashlight under their chin as the only source of light. This is a classic trick, but more light allows for listeners to catch a glimpse of your tricks as they unfold.

6. Choose a story that mixes fact with fiction. If you want to get people to believe you, adding a bit of fact will get the listeners thinking about the validity of the story. Also, choosing a story situation that could come true will put your story over the top.
Do you have a flare for the dramatic? If you do, consider telling a spooky story at the Halloween party this year.

Posted in Halloween ActivitiesComments Off

Trick or Treat?

Many of us have uttered those words or ones like them since we were old enough to wear a costume. Some say cute little rhymes at each house they visit. But, what is the origin of our current candy grabbing tradition on Halloween?

Trick or treating goes back to the celebration of Samhain by the Celts on the British Isles. This pagan festival was one that celebrated nature and its gifts. The practitioners also believed that on that night the boundaries between the living and the dead were compromised and spirits could once again walk the earth.
In an effort to appease the spirits, people would leave offerings of food and drink on their doorsteps. These rituals were thought to protect their harvests for another year. This was also the time for a practice called “souling.”

Souling involved food in exchange for prayers. During the celebration, poor people would take to begging for food from neighbors. This food was granted in exchange for prayers by the receivers for the souls of dead family members.

As the tradition was passed down, the begging became food left for these poor individuals who would continue to pray for the dead. Eventually, children were sent from house to house to receive food or bits of money for the family.

In some countries, the wearing of masks and receiving of gifts is still called “souling.” Small food items or money are still received by children. Trick or treating is a thoroughly modern and American tradition.
When it first started, trick or treating was just that. If a homeowner didn’t provide treats, the costumed person would perform some trick. This could be playing a prank on them or egging the house. In some countries, this is a part of the mischief of the spirits. Any spirit that didn’t receive food was also likely to do something to the person of the house.

Now, kids go from house to house, saying this phrase and receiving a ton of sweet treats. People travel from neighborhood to neighborhood for sweet fare. Tricks are more a part of the fun of the night than a slight against any one person. If a neighbor is not participating, they turn out their porch light so children will know not to approach.

Of course there are those mischief makers that egg houses and cars, but most neighborhoods celebrate Halloween without incident. Even the adults get involved in the celebration with fog machines and costume parties.

Posted in Halloween ActivitiesComments Off

Advertise Here