All Hallows Eve or Halloween is the day before All Saints Day or The Day of the Dead. In history the Celtic holiday of Samhain (pronounced sah-win) was celebrated at the end of the harvest season. The ancient Celts believed that on October 31st the world of the living and the world of the dead overlapped. The dead would come back to wreck havoc on the living, destroy any winter crops and cause sickness amongst the living. Bonfires were lit and masks were worn to mimic or appease the evil spirits.
The custom of Trick-or-Treating could come from the Middle Ages when the poor would go door to door twice a year asking for food donations. On All Hallows Eve, in return for food the poor would pray for the good fortune of those givers dead family. These prayers would be given up on November 2, All Souls Day. On November 1, All Saints Day, people would pray to the Saints for the deceased in purgatory. People would go to the graveyards on November 1 and clean the tombstones and spend time with their deceased relatives.
In the Middle Ages people would carve out turnips, pumpkins or gourds, put a small fire in them and carry them outside when it would get dark early. This could have evolved into the tradition of carving pumpkins. Out of all of this over the years came Halloween!
My mantel this year is pretty cool. I really like it. I brought in 2 large tree limbs from our neighbors tree, they had fallen and were laying in the yard. I strung them with some dollar store lights, 3 sets to be exact.
Next I started layering. Remember when you decorate a mantle that the trick is to keep the eye moving so things need to be at different heights.
I added pictures, skeleton, a skull in a jar, pumpkins and crows. Just keep putting things up, at different heights, then stand back every now and then and see if you like it. If you like it, that is all that matters!
I got the skeleton at Wal-Mart he was $9.99, I don't know why skeletons are so expensive. I got the black pumpkin at Michael's, the skull at the dollar store, the pumpkin man at Gordman's (he was $29.99 and my most expensive item. He is made of metal and you can put a tea light in the pumpkins he is carrying and in his head). I got the printables on-line and framed them. The ceramic crows I got at Real Deals, the small pumpkins I've had for a while but I got them at Micheal's as well. I love it.
This is just the inside! I do the outside as well.
I do the outside in two phases. The first phase is ghosts in the tree, spider webs, spiders and a few other decorations including a cool flag I got this year! On Halloween I put up an entire graveyard along with a smoke machine. I also decorate my front door. All of that is coming later this week.
Do you decorate for Halloween? I'd love to see your pictures!