Happy Halloween

Jazzma Kendrick - The Black Tape Project
God how I love this time of year.
It’s time, once again, for children of all ages to dress up like sluts and embarrass themselves in public. Who could ask for a better holiday than that? I mean, we surrendered the Saturnalia to Christmas, so officially being allowed to be who you’re not was missing from our lives. Halloween brings that back. Speaking of back, as in bringing sexy back, you’ll be pleased to note that thick chicks tend to be smarter and live longer than those chicks who need a biscuit. ABC News spent a lot of time sharing that knowledge with the universe yesterday morning. For me this is great news. Some women, hello Miley Cyrus, more closely resemble a 12 year old boy and, to be quite honest, 12 year old boys do not turn me on. By the way, the link for Miley is for when she still had talent. I wouldn’t twerk on you. I’m better than that. Nevertheless, I like a little cushion when I’m pushin if you catch my drift. As the old saying goes, straight lines are for boys and soap box derbies, real men handle curves.

I think I got off track there. Sorry about that.

Halloween. This blog is supposed to be about Halloween.

Okay, first a nice overview of the day from Halloween History.

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows’ Evening also known as Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve.

Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”).

The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.

The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.

Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them.

Trick-or-treating, is an activity for children on or around Halloween in which they proceed from house to house in costumes, asking for treats such as confectionery with the question, “Trick or treat?” The “trick” part of “trick or treat” is a threat to play a trick on the homeowner or his property if no treat is given. Trick-or-treating is one of the main traditions of Halloween. It has become socially expected that if one lives in a neighborhood with children one should purchase treats in preparation for trick-or-treaters.

The history of Halloween has evolved. The activity is popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, imported through exposure to US television and other media, trick-or-treating has started to occur among children in many parts of Europe, and in the Saudi Aramco camps of Dhahran, Akaria compounds and Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia. The most significant growth and resistance is in the United Kingdom, where the police have threatened to prosecute parents who allow their children to carry out the “trick” element. In continental Europe, where the commerce-driven importation of Halloween is seen with more skepticism, numerous destructive or illegal “tricks” and police warnings have further raised suspicion about this game and Halloween in general.

In Ohio, Iowa, and Massachusetts, the night designated for Trick-or-treating is often referred to as Beggars Night.

Part of the history of Halloween is Halloween costumes. The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages, and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of “souling,” when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of “puling [whimpering, whining], like a beggar at Hallowmas.”

Yet there is no evidence that souling was ever practiced in America, and trick-or-treating may have developed in America independent of any Irish or British antecedent. There is little primary Halloween history documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween in Ireland, the UK, or America before 1900. The earliest known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking North America occurs in 1911, when a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, near the border of upstate New York, reported that it was normal for the smaller children to go street guising (see below) on Halloween between 6 and 7 p.m., visiting shops and neighbors to be rewarded with nuts and candies for their rhymes and songs. Another isolated reference appears, place unknown, in 1915, with a third reference in Chicago in 1920. The thousands of Halloween postcards produced between the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s commonly show children but do not depict trick-or-treating. Ruth Edna Kelley, in her 1919 history of the holiday, The Book of Hallowe’en, makes no mention of such a custom in the chapter “Hallowe’en in America.” It does not seem to have become a widespread practice until the 1930s, with the earliest known uses in print of the term “trick or treat” appearing in 1934, and the first use in a national publication occurring in 1939. Thus, although a quarter million Scots-Irish immigrated to America between 1717 and 1770, the Irish Potato Famine brought almost a million immigrants in 1845-1849, and British and Irish immigration to America peaked in the 1880s, ritualized begging on Halloween was virtually unknown in America until generations later.

My grandfather, who was born in Cork, used to bitch that we practiced Halloween on the wrong day. Not that he or I could do anything about it. On the other hand, I was 4, I would have been thrilled if every day was Halloween.

Yes, that’s a link to the extended remix. It’s a party here, after all.

Halloween, as you can tell, is just another way to celebrate life. You chat with your ancestors, make sure evil is abated and share a feast & treats. These are all good things.

Or, as Damian (THE OMEN) Thompson points out, it’s a holiday that must be cleansed from the earth according to those who would rule us.

Fundamentalist Christians are also in their element. Given that Halloween is the feast of Satan (they have decided), they feel they have permission to go into rhetorical overdrive – and these aren’t exactly folks who hold back in the first place.

Meet William J Schnoebelen, former “witch high priest” – funny how ex-Satanists always insist that they were senior devil-worshippers, not just part of the demonic rank and file. He writes:

Halloween used to be called Samhain, and is still celebrated as an ancient pagan festival of the dead by witches all over the world. Unfortunately, just giving the date a “holy” name like All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve cannot change its grisly character. Halloween is an occasion when the ancient gods (actually demons) are worshiped with human sacrifice. The apostle Paul warns us: “But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils” (1 Cor. 10:20).

If you are a Christian parent, God has given you a precious responsibility in your children. Remember, their ability to resist spiritual wickedness is much less than yours. If you allow your children to participate in Halloween (Trick or Treating, costume parties, etc.) you are allowing them to play on “the devil’s turf,” and Satan will definitely press his home court advantage. You are opening up doorways into their young lives for evil by bringing them into a kind of “fellowship” with these ancient “gods”.

Some of this is actually true: the Celtic festival of Samhain, when the spirits of the dead were supposed to return, does seem to have been adapted by the early Church to become Halloween. But Halloween as an occasion for human sacrifices? There’s no evidence of that – you just have to guess that if the Celtic druids were into human sacrifice, which they were, then they may have killed people on this feast day.

Meanwhile, demonbuster.com is so alarmed by Halloween that it tells readers to “Do some major Deliverance on yourself” if you ever celebrated the holiday. That means self-exorcism. Says demonbuster:

Burn any left over halloween stuff in your home. Don’t even open your doors to pass out “tracts”. If you do, then you are celebrating this unholy day.

Really? In which case, those of us who are irritated by anti-Halloween campaigners have a ready-made response. If they try to press a fundamentalist tract into your hand today, just yell: “Keep away from me, inadvertent agent of Satan!”

Or, you could do as a guy I know did last year. He put out a big, empty, bowl with a sign that said “Free Candy.” Kids assumed all the candy was taken and left him alone.

Yes, he is the dictionary definition of an asshole.

You might want to have headphones on if you click that particular link.

Oh, never mind, your coworkers will figure it out once you start singing along, and you will, everyone does.

Nevertheless, this must be the favorite time of year for practicing witches, right?

According to Daniel Burke, not so much.

Like lots of people, when October 31 rolls around, Trey Capnerhurst dons a pointy hat and doles out candy to children who darken the door of her cottage in Alberta.

But she’s not celebrating Halloween. In fact, she kind of hates it.

Capnerhurst says she’s a real, flesh-and-blood witch, and Halloween stereotypes of witches as broom-riding hags drive her a bit batty.

“Witches are not fictional creatures,” the 45-year-old wrote in a recent article on WitchVox.com.

“We are not werewolves or Frankenstein monsters. We do not have green skin, and only some of us have warts.”

Warts or not, many witches say they have mixed feelings about Halloween.

Some look forward to the day when witchcraft is front and center and no one looks askance at big black hats. Others complain that the holiday reinforces negative stereotypes of witches as evil outliers who boil children in black cauldrons.

Capnerhurst falls into the latter camp.

Hanging up witch decorations at Halloween is no better than wearing blackface costumes or taking a slur, like “Redskins,” as the name of your football team, she says.

“Unless one actually is a witch, dressing up as stereotypical witches is bigotry,” Capnerhurst said.

In June, the wife and mother of two started her own church for “traditional” witches called Disir, an old Norse word meaning “matron deities,” she says.

(Capnerhurst draws a distinction between “traditional” witches, like her, who were born into the religion, and Wiccans, most of whom are converts.)

Most Wiccans identify as witches, and they form the largest branch of the burgeoning neo-pagan movement, said Helen A. Berger, a leading scholar of neo-paganism at Brandeis University.

A 2008 survey counted about 342,000 Wiccans in the United States and nearly as many who identify simply as “pagans,” a significant increase from the last American Religious Identification Survey, taken in 2001.

Three-quarters of American Wiccans are women, according to Berger.

“It’s harder to train male Wiccans,” Capnerhurst said with a cheery sigh. “Most men just aren’t going to sweep the kitchen and think about sweeping out the bad energy.”

The faith is fiercely individualistic. Although there are umbrella groups like Wisconsin-based Circle Sanctuary, most Wiccans practice their own blends of witchcraft.

After centuries of persecution in Europe and colonial America, modern witches still bear a sharp suspicion of authority. The rede, or ethical statement at the core of Wicca, is: Harm none and do as you will.

Despite the rising popularity of their faith, many Wiccans remain “in the broom closet,” fearful of losing their jobs, their families or their reputations, said Berger and other experts.

Here’s the thing, true Wiccans are the most peaceful people on the planet. Their whole gig is based on being in balance with nature. Oh sure, sometimes they want to get a little naked, paint themselves blue and frolic with a tree but, really, who among us hasn’t? If you think it’s evil to be au naturel in the middle of nature, I assure you that the problem lies within you and not in anything Wiccan.

Let’s make a deal; it’s Halloween and I like you. Each of you. So be safe, have fun, send pics of all the hot naked chicks you meet and come back to us tomorrow for the radio show.

But, most of all, respect each other out there. You’d be amazed at the rewards you’ll reap.

MONOMANIAX “Pigalle” (NSFW) from BLACK FROG video on Vimeo.

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