Origin Stories of Your Favorite Halloween Traditions

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Well, it’s October, and you know what that means. That’s right: Fall! Whether it’s watching the beautiful spectacle of the leaves turning, hearing the crunch as we step on them on the sidewalk, or enjoying the crispness of the air, this has got to be one of our very favorite seasons. And then there’s Halloween! Spooky decorations, bobbing for apples, dressing up in fun and clever costumes, trick-or-treating, navigating spooky corn mazes, picking out pumpkins at the farm, and then carving jack-o-lanterns at home! October is a time for all-out family fun activities.

But October also means cold season has arrived. Don’t let a cold ruin your plans for Fall fun and Halloween festivities — think of the children! LOL. Make sure you stock up on Cold-EEZE® plus DEFENSE so that you have it on hand at the very first sign of a cold. You can always count on Cold-EEZE® plus DEFENSE to help you shorten your cold and while promoting your immune health.*

Then, when you’re scouring that pumpkin patch with your children, perhaps you’ll find yourself curious about how we ended up putting candles in old squashes to celebrate this spooky holiday. Actually, many Halloween traditions began hundreds of years ago, stemming from activities associated with the Catholic Church’s All Saints Day, All Hallow’s Eve in England, and even the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain. Maybe these interesting traditions from history could make for fun conversation with the kiddos as you enjoy Halloween and October adventures together.

1. Disguising Yourself From the Ghosts!

The furthest back in history that costume traditions can be traced is to Celtic traditions around Samhain (pronounced "sow-in"). The Celts believed that during Samhain, spirits of the dead would wander the Earth. They donned animal skin costumes to hide themselves from spirits and sometimes wore masks or blackened their faces to impersonate the spirits of their ancestors.

Over time, the Celts’ descendants in Scotland engaged in evolved forms of this tradition. The Catholic Church eventually created All Saints Day (November 1st), preceded by All Hallows’ Eve (which would eventually be known as Halloween). On All Hallows’ Eve, a tradition emerged in which Scottish children would dress up in order to blend in with the spirits thought to be out and about that night. Elsewhere in Europe, individuals dressed up as saints, angels, and demons in celebration of the holiday. Immigrants to the U.S. brought these traditions with them, leading to today’s modern tradition of dressing up in costumes!

2. How About Trick for a Treat?

Costumes weren’t the only tradition on this night. Before the days of “trick or treat”, costumed children in different areas of Europe instead approached neighbors’ homes with an offer of a “trick for a treat”. Children would perform a ‘trick’, like reciting a song, poem, or joke, and were in turn rewarded with goodies such as fruits, coins, or nuts.

3. Scary Jack-O’-Lanterns

Jack-o’-lanterns weren’t always made out of pumpkins. Before the tradition came to the U.S., Irish, British, and Scottish revellers used carved out turnips, beets, and potatoes to hold their spooky lights. The origin story of jack-o’-lanterns is an especially unique one: a legend about a man named Stingy Jack.

The story goes that Jack was a drunkard who repeatedly tricked and trapped the Devil, only letting him go on the condition that Jack wouldn’t go to Hell. However, when Jack eventually died, it turned out that even though he managed to stay out of Hell, he wouldn’t be allowed into Heaven either, after his life of mischief! But the Devil did at least offer Jack a lump of burning coal, which he carried around in a carved-out turnip to light his way as he wandered the earth for eternity. The Irish, and others over time, carved frightening faces into their own gourds to scare off “Jack of the Lantern”, and any other spirits wandering the night. When individuals from these countries immigrated to America, the pumpkin became the perfect gourd to house these spirit-warding lights.

Unlike what jack-o’-lanterns are purported to do, Cold-EEZE zinc products won’t scare away any "spookies" for you, but they can do a great job at “scaring away” (or, more specifically, shortening) those nasty colds! Remember to take Cold-EEZE® plus DEFENSE at the first sign of a cold to help you get back to your Halloween fun faster! What are your plans for the season? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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