This may be my favorite Halloween tradition story. In America, we owe our Halloween traditions to the Irish. Halloween was not celebrated as extensively in America until the Irish Potato Famine (1845-1852), where 1.5 million Irish people immigrated to America bringing their rich traditions. One story was “Stingy Jack.”
The reason Jack placed pieces of burning coal inside smaller root vegetables is because pumpkins were not available in Ireland. When the Irish settled in America, they preferred to use the larger fruit. Today, pumpkins are used for carving and lighting the paths for trick-or-treaters.
I was honored to present “Haunted Halloween: Traditions, Superstitions, and True Crime” last week for Ghost Education 101. If you missed it, check out the Facebook link, https://www.facebook.com/GhostEducation101/. I was a last minute substitution; however, I was ready!
The three rituals I discussed were made up to help ease a female’s mind when she was worried about whom she would marry. The “Finding a Suitor” was done after the young adults played Snap Apple. Snap Apple was a game where an apple was attached to a stick or a string and lowered in front of couples. The first female and male (which did not need to be already a couple) to bite into the apple were headed to alter for marriage. Or so the legend told.
Here is a lovely oil painting by Daniel Maclise called Snap Apple Night (1833). In 1832, Daniel attended a Halloween party in Blarney, Ireland. The painting inspired the lively work of art.
It’s worth noting that these rituals were created for the purpose of marrying off women. They are when women were told that their worth was intrinsically linked to a husband. This is no longer true. In fact, I would love for these games to be updated, reflecting our changing attitudes regarding gender identity.
The image is from Gecko Galz, an online digital products company found on Etsy. The image is a cabinet card, a photographic portraiture consisting of a thin photograph mounted on card stock. It was popular from 1870 until 1924, when people desired varying sizes for displaying and keeping photographs, specifically in photo albums. The origins of the name is unclear; however, it may have become vernacular as people originally displayed these photographs in their parlors. By the early 1900s, the Eastman Kodak Company was selling an inexpensive portable pre-loaded camera. People wanted to take their own pictures. This led to the cabinet card demise.
I’ll be sharing more Halloween tidbits and factoids in the coming weeks. If you’re looking for Halloween and Horror movie suggestions, check out the ones I’ve posted in prior years. I’ve broken the films down into different genres and types. There’s something for everyone! Happy Halloween!
Mrs. John Krebs had a problem. Every year at Halloween, her meticulously maintained flower garden was destroyed by mischievous children running around at night. On October 31, 1914, Elizabeth Oehler Krebs (11.19.1848-8.19.1931) organized the first Hiawatha Frolic. It is recognized as the longest consecutive Halloween parade.
Back then, women were called by their husbands’ names. Hence, you need to Google “Mrs. Krebs” to locate more information. You will find that Elizabeth was born in Switzerland and ended up residing in Hiawatha, Kansas. And she loved to garden.
In her obituary, Elizabeth is called “the flower woman of Hiawatha.” She is credited for coming up with a solution to the Halloween antics of the town’s youth: a community frolic.
Frolics are akin to the fetes held in Great Britain. The noun is defined as a “playful action” or “a lively party or game.” The Hiawatha Frolic has grown over the 107 years of its existence to include 2 parades! There’s a Kiddie Parade in the morning and the Grand Parade at night.
Elizabeth suffered great loss during her lifetime. Her only son, John Edward Krebs (12.27.1870-10.19.1893), died at the age of 22 from consumption in 1893. Two years later, she would lose her 16-year-old daughter, Charlotte May “Lottie” (10.22.1878-10.20.1895) to typhoid fever, as well. Tragically, Lottie was buried alongside her brother on what would have been her 17th birthday. The following year, Elizabeth and her husband would lose another daughter, Emma G. (1874-1896), to consumption, as well. Emma had just begun working her third year as a teacher. According to her obituary, all 19 city teachers attended her funeral. The remaining fourth child, Louise Elizabeth Krebs Friend (1872-1946), married, had children, and lived a full life, surviving both her parents.
It is easy to understand what drove Mrs. John Krebs to organize the Hiawatha Halloween Frolic. She loved children and gardening. She planted and took care of many city flower beds during her lifetime. By envisioning the community celebration, she came up with a productive solution to entertain the children of Hiawatha.
Tomorrow night (October 13th) at 9 PM EST, I will be stepping in to chat about the 2nd most popular holiday in America: Halloween.
Due to last minute changes in scheduling, I am thrilled to bring you tales of fright, based in facts to whet your appetite for the upcoming holiday. Join me in the Ghost Education 101 Facebook Group for a LIVE stream, where I will take questions & the chat room will be open, OR watch the encore episode on the Ghost Education 101 YouTube channel.
This is guaranteed to be spooktacular!
Halloween is more than candy. It’s decorating your space and celebrating our inner creative persona. If you’re looking for affordable and unique Halloween decorations that are easy to assemble, head over to the Crafty Scrapper Website, https://www.thecraftyscrapper.com/. This year, they have assembled an eclectic mix of creepy vignettes that will make our COVID-19 restricted favorite holiday a success.
Click here to see the Halloween selections: https://www.thecraftyscrapper.com/iishop?form_version=2&showSearchResults=1&search_keyword=halloween+kits&image=Search.
If Christmas is more your thing, visit: https://www.thecraftyscrapper.com/iishop?form_version=2&showSearchResults=1&search_keyword=christmas+kits&image=Search.
The kits range from paper projects to small sculptures. The bell jar vignette titled “Help We Are Trapped” (created by Melody Winston) has two children trapped inside an upside-down glass jar. Definitely a Zoom session conversation starter. The bug-eyed “Spooky Crow” by Carolyn Ross returns as a customer favorite. And who doesn’t need a tin containing spooky spells? We’ve been social distancing and refraining from contact for over 6 months. It’s time to break open the glitter and glue sticks to create Halloween fun.
Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983) remains the best music video ever produced. Here are 13 facts regarding the iconic and popular video.
- John Landis, fresh from directing An American Werewolf in London (1981), called the music video a “musical horror movie.”
- Thriller incorporates horror movie elements creating a lasting homage to the genre. MJ transforms into a were-cat, not a werewolf.
- MJ sought to change the music video genre and music listening by forcing radio stations to give equal airtime to artists of color.
- Costing nearly $900,000, Landis and MJ negotiated with cable provider Showtime and cable channel MTV to pay between $250,000-300,000 each by offering exclusive limited broadcast rights to The Making of Thriller.
- Two famous people were on set for the filming: Fred Astaire, legendary actor/dancer, and former first lady, Jackie Kennedy Onassis. MJ also brought his pet boa constrictor, Muscles, to the set.
- At the time of release, MJ was a Jehovah’s Witness and feared retribution from the church. He asked Landis to destroy the video. Instead, Landis penned the opening disclaimer.
- Landis called the short-film a “vanity” coming-of-age video addressing puberty.
- A popular urban legend claimed that the UPC barcode was MJ’s telephone number. Callers were surprised when employees of a hair salon in Washington state answered.
- Horror movie legend Vincent Price earned roughly $1,000 for 2 takes. Price recorded a rap to accompany his voiceover; however, the rap was cut from the final video.
- Nine million videos of the short film were sold. Today, the official video has over 625 million views on YouTube.
- The original title of the song was “Starlight.” Rod Temperton was brought onboard to re-write, and he renamed the song.
- Spoofs of the famous dance scene persist in popular culture. Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi’s spoof in Boy (2010) is a must-see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-TiQXCJtRk
- Dubbed as “innovative” and “inventive,” “Thriller remains a quintessential Halloween music video/short film. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnqjkJTMaA.