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Tricks and treats, ghouls and ghosts: Halloween still appeals

By Vanessa Wiltshire

KIDS and their families took to the streets last Thursday, in their scariest, most colourful attire. Celebrating all things Halloween, resident Charlene Clark said there was a fantastic turnout.

“It really was amazing to see how the community got into it,” she said.

“Groups of up to 50 kids at a time were coming up to my front door.

“It was a lot of fun and there was a wide representation of age groups: all the way from one-year-old to adult.”

Owner of Swirls Gifts and Décor, Jodi Warren said dressing up for Halloween was a lot of fun, but not many people know about the history.

“Halloween isn't actually about what people think it is, it’s pretty involved,” she said.

“It’s derived from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, pronounced ‘Sow-een'.

“As far back as 750 BC to 12 BC, Samhain was an annual ritual to help the Celts prepare for winter, and to ward off ghosts. There was also divination and fortune telling.”

Over time, Halloween became connected to ‘All Saints Day’, created in the eighth century, and held on November 1.

A celebration of the Christian Saints, All Saints Day began to incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening prior became known as All Hallows Eve; the night before the holy.

Today, Halloween has evolved into a more modern celebration.

“These days I think it’s as much about children and having fun,” Jodi said.

“Two millennia ago, people believed there was a veil between the spirit and the physical word, and rituals would help keep them safe.

“While mainstream beliefs are vastly different today, I feel really drawn to the Celtic period. I can't help but feel there is something in it.”