The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Trick Or Treat?

Today week is Halloween. Halloween is a tradition which has not really caught on here in Malta. Some children do dress up and go trick or treating but it is still a tradition celebrated by the minority. Like most Catholic countries our dressing-up extravaganza occurs at Carnival. When it comes to Halloween, most people give it a miss. But I suppose that going from door to door collecting candy is every kid’s dream come true. Growing up, I heard about the Halloween tradition from my parents who had  lived in Canada prior to my birth. The door to door collection of treats sounded like a good idea to me. That is, until I heard that this was not always the safest thing to do.
                                     Source: None via Lorna on Pinterest

I did some research on the origins of Halloween on the font of all wisdom (Google) and one thing that everyone seems to be sure of is that Halloween originated from the  Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts believed that during this particular night of the year, the veils between the worlds was very thin and spirits from the other world could wander into our world. It was for this reason that people would go from door to door collecting food for the spirits of their loved ones, to aid their  passage into the next world. The tradition of dressing up in scary costumes and of carrying lanterns ensured that any wandering spirits would take fright and flee. What is less clear is how this tradition took such a strong root in North America when no records exist of its celebration in countries like England and Ireland where the Celts originally lived.
                    Source: via Lorna on Pinterest

It always amazes me how traditions from antiquity are not only remembered but are actually thriving after their inception thousands of years ago. Halloween, of course, is not the only tradition that can be traced to antiquity. Probably few people celebrating Halloween know or care where the tradition started. As a tradition, the only part that is attractive to me is the collection of candy. Spider webs, witches, grinning pumpkins and ghouls were never exactly my cup of tea. Needless to say, no one here decorates the house for  Halloween except for some expats from Canada or the US.
In our family, the Mischief Maker dressed up for Halloween for the first time last year. He was a NASA astronaut. This year I think he will be dressing up as Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. Since I am a bit paranoid about taking him round to neighbours to trick or treat, we usually end up at my parents’ or at my aunt’s and they stock him up well for a couple of days. I am sure that as time goes by this tradition will creep in and gain a stronger footing in this country. I do not know whether that is good or bad. I suppose only time will tell.
                                              Source: None via Melissa on Pinterest

In the meantime I invite you to take a look at some of the links below. I think there is something to interest everyone even those who are not necessarily Halloween aficionados.
* Woman’s Day provides a great tutorial on how to  make tin can pumpkin lanterns.
* Kids or grandkids will enjoy making these fun Halloween crafts. With your help, of course.
* No Halloween is complete without a batch of caramel apples.
                                                Source: via Alison on Pinterest

* For my readers in the US, National Geographic has compiled a list of ten free to see Halloween events
* Finally, in keeping with the weird and wonderful spirit of this tradition, take a look at this article. Mind boggling, to say the least.


  1. Yay..beautiful and fun-spirited post..thanks for all the links! I love those yummy caramel! I love the different traditions and ancient customs too..shine on kindred

  2. The cultural history of Halloween has always been of interest to me.

  3. Great post!! I never knew the story behind Halloween really or the reason for trick or treating- as a kid of course growing up in Canada- you are not taught that aspect of it. We just wanted the candy haha! I remember my brother and I getting a half pillowcase full of candy each year. Thanks for sharing the caramel apple recipe too- I LOVE them but have never made them. Maybe I'll have to try this year and have my own little halloween party with myself at home haha

  4. Great post Loree, very interesting!
    Took me back quite a few years when my daughter and son used to go trick or treating...from then on since moving back to Malta, we just had a little party at home. In fact this very year she is giving a little party to treat her friends and they intend to bake together and dress up!
    Thanks for the memories : )

  5. The origin of Halloween is interesting bit indeed. I think it is a fun thing for kids to do if we could just take extra step to keep them safe.

    Around my neighborhood, this has turned into some what of a candies collection where now even high school age kids come knocking on doors with a pillow case or two, each :-(

  6. Halloween is getting popular even here in Italy and some stores are full of Halloween gadgets but as you said in your post it is celebrated by the minority.

  7. It's exactly the same here in Belgium. Until a few years ago Halloween was totally unknown. Now you see some decorations and some of the kids (mostly Americans) go from house to house, because (we have the Sint Johns school here in Waterloo and therefore quiet a lot of Americans living here). When I started blogging in 2006 and saw all the Halloween decoration on the blogs I had to look up what it was !

  8. When I was growing up, our neighbors made the most wonderful caramel apples every year. And my artist mother made us magical costumes. I think the costume part is almost as important to the kids as the candy part. After all, what child hasn't played make-believe? (I don't like the really scary stuff, but I do enjoy the little children coming to my door, so proud of themselves for being "someone else" for the evening :)

  9. We have always played down the scary aspect of Halloween, except for the witches, black cats and funny costumes for the kids.

  10. Halloween is very popular in our neighborhood which has many kids. Houses have little ghosts, skeletons and spiders hanging from trees.

    I like the cute decorations you found, especially the metal can jack-o-lanterns and the pumpkin vases!

  11. lol...I could not finish reading that article. Things like that just creep me out too much. My college age daughter is into all the spooky movies that come out. She said she was so tense during "Paranormal Activity 3" that her legs were sore the next day. Not for me. Crazy kids.
    Some spooky movies are great, and I've been watching them, but others ~ uh-uh. :) xox Alexandra

  12. I love Halloween but celebrate for a different reason. It's my birthday!

    Mmm, toffee apples, I must make some!

  13. My wheels have definitely been turning about the origins of Halloween since we were just in Ireland. There were more Halloween shops and decorations to purchase than I expected. It is HUGE in the U.S. Some houses are decked out just as much as Xmas. My 15 yr old son talks about being too old to trick or treat as one of the worst childhood events to give up! When we lived in Japan, one of our Japanese family friends came to our apartment with little trick or treat bags for our children. That was exceptionally kind indeed! The Buzz LightYear costume is adorable!

  14. How is it almost Halloween already?
    I love love love Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.


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