Halloween history lesson

JackOLantern - GillisPhotos.com
JackOLantern – GillisPhotos.com

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 10/2012

Nationally and locally, the newspapers are full of negative news and stories. In the spirit of lightening things up a bit and having some reading enjoyment, I thought we could talk about my second favorite holiday, Halloween.

There’s a lot going on this month to celebrate Halloween, from apple picking and everything flavored with pumpkin, to terrific haunted houses, such as our very own Orpheum here in Foxboro and many other excellent venues that will scare the bajeebies out of you and get you “in the spirit.”

Since I was a kid I’ve always loved Halloween and thought you might enjoy a little history lesson about this very strange and magical time of year — a story that begins over two thousand years ago!

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Memories of Halloween

 

JackOLantern - GillisPhotos.com
JackOLantern – GillisPhotos.com

by Robert Gillis Published in the Foxboro Reporter, (revised) 10/2009, 10/1996 and the Boston City Paper 10/2006

There is something very special and magical about Halloween night. The sky seems darker, the moon fuller and more ominous looking, and the air itself seems charged and foreboding. The sound and smell of dead leaves as they blow across the streets seems crisp and eerie. The clouds, lit by the moon, create scary patterns across the sky.

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A very different take on “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

Ogunquit Great Pumpkinby Robert Gillis
Published in the Boston City Paper 2007, Foxboro Reporter 2008

It’s Halloween and my one of my favorite Holiday TV specials is, “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” I was two years old when it premiered in 1966 and I never missed an airing, and the DVD is watched at least twice a year. But upon closer inspection, Charlie Brown’s world is a little odd, and that got me thinking (never a good thing on a slow news day) what if Charlie Brown and his world was real?

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Samhain Magick Circle Ceremony in Salem Massachusetts on Halloween

24 - Pumpkins - Ogunquit - Meadowmereby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 10/2007

The city of Salem Massachusetts is arguably the Halloween capital of the world, and on October 31 over 8,000 people take to the streets in costumes; the place is a Mardi Gras and the biggest Halloween party on the planet.

The city is also known for the tragedy of the hysteria of the witch burnings, and the association of witches and Salem continues to this day.

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The history of Halloween

JackOLantern - Paintedby Robert Gillis
published in the Foxboro Reporter 2005 and the Boston City Paper 2006

Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, will soon be here, and I thought it might be interesting to explore the traditions surrounding this fascinating day, whose origins are over two thousand years old.

Halloween, also known as all Hallowmass or All Hallows Eve, is the day before All Hallows Day (All Saints Day). Most Halloween festivities are based on folk beliefs concerning supernatural forces and spirits of the dead.

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