Tag Archives | Halloween

Stingy Jack and the Legend of the Jack O’ Lantern

Jack-o-LanternIt’s Halloween.  Time to help your kids develop their bed-wetting habits.  Time to buy a ton of candy, claim it’s for trick-or-treaters, turn off the porch light, and gorge yourself on waxy chocolate.  Time to carve the ol’ jack-o’-lantern.

One of my favorite Halloween myths is the origin story of the jack-o’-lantern: the trickster legend of Stingy Jack.  This folk tale comes from Ireland, which was also a major cultural center for the Celts, who observed the festival of Samhain, which serves as the root from which our modern Halloween sprang.

According to the story, which may be centuries old, a drunkard known as Stingy Jack was infamous throughout Ireland as a liar and a cheat.  He was especially despised for his love of trickery, his favorite pastime.

One day, while bored and lounging lazily around Hell, Lucifer happened to overhear some horrible stories about Jack’s devious skills, which were apparently even more dastardly than his own.  Not to be outdone by a mere drunken Irishman, the Devil decided to find Jack and see if the stories were true.… Read the rest

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Scream All Night: Horror Movie Marathon Recommendations

thewickerman_lordsummerisleI don’t “cross the streams” too often here, but since it’s Halloween here in the United States (and a few other places), I thought I’d mention that I’ve written a few recommendations for a horror movie marathon at another site. I dug through my own collection and came up with some classics, new and old. I’ve been a horror movie fan from childhood, and this is my favorite time of year.

Via Suvudu:

What’s Halloween night without scary movies? Sadly, you really can’t depend on television to show any frightful fare worth watching, so it’s good to have a stack of scary stuff on-hand. I’ve picked out six movies from my personal collection and listed them in no particular order for an all-night horror movie marathon – if you’re brave (or foolhardy) enough to stay up to dawn with nothing but werewolves, slashers and zombies for company. Note: I’ve scheduled approximately five minutes of down-time between each film.

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Samhain and Halloween: About as Closely Related as a Toy Poodle and a Wolf

An_Arch_Druid_in_His_Judicial_HabitMany people confuse Samhain and Halloween. Michael Tortorello sets them straight in the New York Times:

How will you be celebrating Samhain this year? What’s that? You say you won’t be observing the high Druid holiday of the ancient Celts? With all due respect, you’re probably wrong and you probably will.

“Samhain is Halloween; Halloween is Samhain,” said Ellen Evert Hopman, 61, an author, herbalist and Druid priestess and scholar. Irish monks, by most accounts, co-opted the earthy ritual and recast it with strait-laced saints. But the bones of the holiday wouldn’t stay buried.

The first historical record of Samhain, an engraved bronze calendar found in Coligny, France, dates to the first century B.C. The Druids of the British Isles went to ground a few centuries later, after the Romans rode in on chariots and “trashed the place,” Ms. Hopman said. All the same, she said: “There have been people celebrating Samhain in Europe for thousands of years.

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North Dakota Woman To Hand Out Anti-Obesity Flyers To Overweight Trick-Or-Treaters

halloweenBrilliant, asinine, or both? North Dakota’s Valley News Live reports on a regional Halloween controversy:

A local woman stated her intentions to take childhood obesity into her own hands during a Y-94 radio interview the morning of Oct. 29. She has decided to give a letter instead of candy to Halloween trick-or-treaters that she feels are “moderately obese.”

“I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight… I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it,” says the author in a Y-94 morning radio interview. That’s where the letter first surfaced and started to spread through social media.

“I’m contributing to their health problems and really, their kids are everybody’s kids. It’s a whole village,” says the letter’s author in the interview.

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Has Anyone Ever Actually Poisoned Or Put Razor Blades or Needles in Halloween Candy?

Remember back in the day when the hospitals offered to x-ray your Halloween candy to ensure safety? I remember vaguely, but no matter. I was willing to brave the dangers for free candy and the ability to wear a costume. I never did get razor blades, but I did get a box of raisins wrapped with some over zealous Christian screed. It turns out it was media guff anyhow.

via Today I Found Out

Remember your mom sorting through your Halloween candy as a kid, looking for signs of ‘tainted’ candy laced with poison, needles or razor blades?  It turns out, unless she was just using it as an excuse to steal the good candy before you got it, she was wasting her time.  You are more likely to get attacked by a samurai sword wieldingbear while trick or treating than be poisoned by a stranger.  Further, it’s more likely that your Halloween candy will be poisoned or otherwise tampered with by one of your parents or family members, than a stranger.  Think about that while your mom is “checking out” your candy before letting you eat it.

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Jesus Ween is Approaching

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Is Halloween not Christian enough for you? Considering it is a shortened version of All Hallows’ eve (All Saints Day). Halloween is so 1745. Get with the times and celebrate Jesus Ween. Stock up on Bibles, because that is what all the kids want. Even if it’s not what they want, it’s what they need.

Our mission is to ensure that Jesus Ween becomes a global phenomenon. We have and will continue to share the word of God in love and by doing that, we seek to encourage a culture whereby Christians, regardless of their denomination, reach out to the world around them with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible references on which our mission is based are as follows: 

Habakkuk 2:14 – “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea”

Romans 12:2 – “and be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds”

Mark 16:15 – “Go into the entire world and preach the good news to all creation”

via Jesus Ween

Festival of Samhain, Feast of Pomona, Parentalia.… Read the rest

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A “Treat” Not to Be Sniffed At: Trick-or-Treaters Receive Bag of Cocaine

A bunch of kids out trick or treating in the north of England got a surprise “treat” in the form of a bag of coke. Metro reports:

Greater Manchester police said two people were arrested in relation to the incident, with a man due to appear in court tomorrow.

When the parents noticed the bags of white powder, they called police, who confirmed the substance was cocaine, a class A drug.

The children had been out trick-or-treating on Mendip Close, Royton.

A 23-year-old man, Donald Junior Green, has been charged with possession of class A drugs.

He will appear before Oldham magistrates’ court on Friday November 2.

A 21-year-old woman was also arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs but released without charge.

In a statement, Superintendent Catherine Hankinson said: ‘The parents and police acted quickly when this report was made, in the interests of public safety.

‘We understand this to be an isolated incident.’

Full story here.Read the rest

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Top Foreclosure Firm’s Homelessness-Themed Halloween Party

homelesssqSometimes Halloween costume choice can offer an interesting window into people’s mindsets. Via the New York Times:

The law firm of Steven J. Baum, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

A former employee recently sent me snapshots of last year’s party. In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners — invariably poor and down on their luck — that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against. When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set.

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Happy Jesus Ween: Canada Pastor Invents ‘Christian Alternative’ to Halloween

Jesus WeenTamara Gignac reports in the Calgary Herald

Tiny ghosts and goblins hoping for sugary snacks may find something odd in their loot bags this Halloween: a bible.

A Calgary pastor is promoting Jesus Ween, a faith-based alternative to the traditional holiday fare of candy and spooky garb.

Instead of chocolate bars and gummy bears, he’s asking people to shun demonic costumes and instead dole out pocket-sized bibles or other “Christian gifts.”

The idea has caught on in communities across North America, according to Jesus Ween creator Paul Ade. He’s hoping it will bring a new perspective to an otherwise pagan festival, he said.

“I do not associate myself with ghosts, demons, Satan and witches. These are things I want to get rid of,” he said.

“If it’s OK for a child to know about demons, it should also be OK for a child to know about Jesus.”

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