This post talks about Halloween, provides a prompt, and finishes with a story.
For some reason I’ve always quite liked Halloween. It’s maybe not as big here as it is in the United States, but it’s still a notable event. That said as I’m in the Southern Hemisphere it’s Spring here rather than Autumn, so the days are getting warmer rather than colder so it probably has a different feeling here in some ways. Our Christmases are also very different as they are celebrated here in the blazing heat…
I began to research the origins of Halloween and ended up going down a rabbit hole of various theories such as Halloween originated from the Celtic festival of Samhain, or it was a Christianised version of it, or the early Church began Halloween separately from other ancient festivals, or its origins is in the Roman feast of Pomona (the goddess of fruits and seeds), or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia. As I said various theories… I then consulted my copy of the abridged Golden Bough that was left to me by my father. Frazer equates Halloween with Samhain. He states that along with Beltane it was one of the two fire festivals of the Celts. Beltane ushered in Summer while Samhain ushered in the Winter, and also seems to be the beginning of the Celtic New Year. But not only did it transition Autumn to Winter, it was also regarded to be the time when souls of the departed were supposed to revisit their old homes in order to warm themselves by the fire and to comfort themselves with the good cheer provided by their kinfolk and also the time for witches and fairies to let loose.
The custom of trick or treating is also very interesting. I was once told originally it meant that the person being visited either gave a treat or did a trick, rather than either giving a treat or having something mischievous done to you as it does now, yet I’ve never read anything that backs this idea up.
According to Wikipedia: “In North America, trick-or-treating has been a Halloween tradition since the late 1920s. In Britain and Ireland the tradition of going house to house collecting food at Halloween goes back at least as far as the 16th century, as had the tradition of people wearing costumes at Halloween. In 19th century Britain and Ireland, there are many accounts of people going house to house in costume at Halloween, reciting verses in exchange for food, and sometimes warning of misfortune if they were not welcomed. The Scottish Halloween custom of “guising” – children disguised in costume going from house to house for food or money; – is first recorded in North America in 1911 in Ontario, Canada. While going house to house in costume has remained popular among Scots and Irish, the custom of saying “trick or treat” has only recently become common.”
Word prompt: Trick
Write a story or a poem using this prompt of up to 250 words. Please link this post to the prompt and please link the finished poem or story in the comments.
And now, storytime 🙂
Olivia woke up in the early evening. She sleepily reached for her clock and saw that it was six o’clock. The sun was only now beginning to set and which meant she hadn’t slept in. She lay in bed for a moment reflecting on what needed to be done in the night ahead. Her thinking was interrupted by knocking on the front door. She expected her servant to answer it, but continued knocking suggested he wasn’t able to and whomever was knocking was not going away.
Grumpily she got out bed and threw on a black robe and then hastened up the stairs. When she got to the wide double doors that marked the entrance to her mansion she threw them open to be met by three small children with an adult male behind them.
“Trick or treat!” The children screamed out as soon she opened the door.
“Trick or treat!” They repeated.
“And what is that?” She asked confused.
“You have to give us some candy or we do a trick on you.” The tallest child, a boy who was dressed as a skeleton, informed her.
“Oh!” She exclaimed.
“It’s for Halloween. Though I thought you would know that since you’ve put a costume on.” The man informed her.
“Well you’ve obviously dressed up as a vampire with your very pale skin and your long red hair. Is that a wig by the way?” He asked her.
She felt very confused. She hadn’t dressed up as a vampire, she was a vampire. But she thought given the circumstances maybe it would be best if she played along.
“Oh yes. Sorry!” She gave a nervous laugh. “I forgot I had already got dressed in a costume.”
“Do you have any candy for us?” Asked the second tallest, a girl dressed as a witch.
“I’m afraid not. I don’t usually have candy here.” She told them. They all seemed disappointed, even the little blob covered in a sheet, which she presumed was meant to be a ghost.
“We’re sorry to have troubled you.” Said the man. “We’ve only just moved here and I thought I would take the children trick or treating since it was Halloween.” The children all began to walk away dejectedly.
“Wait a moment! Do you want to see a trick?” She asked the children. They spun round looking really excited and came back up to the front door expectantly.
“Yes!” They all cried in unison.
“Okay here goes.” Olivia said to them.
And then she turned into a bat, adding a lot of smoke as she did so to make it look like it was some sort of effect. She fluttered around the doorway for a moment and then turned back into her usual form, again making sure to add smoke to it as she did so.
The children just stood there in awe with open mouths.
“That was so cool!” The tallest one said enthusiastically.
“Wow! Where did you learn to do that? Are you some sort of magician?” The father said impressed.
“Yes. In a way.” Olivia replied.
“Do you do birthdays?” He asked. Olivia grimaced briefly.
“I’m afraid not.” She replied. He seemed disappointed.
“Well we better go. Thanks for showing us that incredible trick. As I said we’ve only just moved here so you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of us in the days ahead.” He smiled and led the children away while they smiled and waved goodbye to her.
Olivia closed the door behind them. Next year she would get Igor to make sure the house was well stocked with candy.
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