The Hellgate Lance (Missoula, Montana) 1964-current, October 30, 1981, Image 7

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Wednesday, October 28, 1981 ~-7 H~llovveen's traditions different today by MicheUe CampbeU Staff Writer The origin of Halloween goes as far back as the worshipping of the sun gods. Halloween was- at the end of the summer. Accord- ing to The Book of Halloween by Ruth E. Helley , \it was a time of grief for the decline of the sun's glory, as weD as a harvest festival of thanksgiving to Him for having ripened the grain and fruit,\ Him being the sun god. The Halloween time was the Celtic day of summer's end . It ~ a time when spirits, mostly evil, whom Christ had dethroned were abroad. The evil spirits joined the illomened group. The church festivals of AU Saints and All Souls came at the same time of the year, the first of Novem- ber and they contributed to the idea of the return of the dead. All the dethroned spirits, along with witches and hags got to- gether to \ celebrate\ the night of October 31st. As far back as 270 B.C . , the Celts of Ireland had priests called Druids. These Druids were in charge of worshipping . and sacrifices ; they were also teachers, scientists, doctors, and judges, held very high in the community. The Celts wor- shipped spirits of forest and stream, and feared powers of evil. Their main god, as was most people's of early times, was the sun god, whom they called Baal. The Druids of the Celts dealt with Baal through the fields and streams, using symbols and spirits . The spirits were supposed to look like little people who lived in the fields, or woods where the streams were. That is where the fable of leprichons and munchkins comes · from . To Baal they made sacrifi- ces of prisoners of war, some- times burning them alive to wicker images. They believed that on October 31st, the last night of the old year, the lord of death gathered together the souls of all those who died in the past year . Thus the idea of evil spirits and returned dead on Halloween . In colonial days Halloween wasn ' t celebrated much in America. Some English still kept the old customs ; apple dun)ting and snapping , fruit was consid- ered sacred in old times and a lot of types could only be eaten on Halloween when the fairies of the fruits were in hiding. Girls still tried the apple-pearing charm to reveal their lover's ini- tials. Ballads were sung and ghost stories told, the dead were still thought to return on Hal- loween. While the original customs of Halloween are being torgotten more and more across the ocean, where they began, Ameri- cans have blown them to great proportions and valued tradition. Anymore, Halloween has be- come comercialized and adver- tized so much that it's become a very larger profit for many stores and manufacturers. According to some elderly per- son's in our community it wasn ' t always that way . The origin of the day wasn't very important, only the fun and gathering of friends and neighbors. One elderly lady grew up in Hedges , Montana , a very small village . She recalls that Hallow- een was a fun time for all. The day before , neighbors would get together to pull taffy and make jack-o-lanterns. The candy given to the kids coming trick-or-treat- ing was often homemade, and no one was ever warned of razor blades in apples, or poison as seen in the past. She remembers that only a couple of she and her friends went together. They never wanted to join the gangs of chil- dren because they were too rough for them. Another lady said, \People years ago didn't care about the money.\ Things were simple, • costumes were often sheets draped, and small extras added to the appearance just to be dif- Along with the Halloween holiday comes a lot of mischief. · Soaping windows, throwing eggs and robbing candy from trick-or- treators are just some examples. Two elderly gentlemen said kids weren't as nasty back in their childhood days . Although there was some mischief, it wasn't quite so costly. One man said in the 20's the older boys moved the toilet, back then outdoor, to the front of the school house door on Halloween . At the \People years ago didn't care about the money.\ ferent. People were happy, even though they really didn't have a lot of money . \They were more content back then. \ Another lady remembers that a big tradition was the Box So- cials . The girls in school would make a lunch for two , a special lunch , and put it in a box . They would then decorate the box very elaborately . An auctioneer would auction off the boxes, and the boys would bvy the boxes . Then the girl who made the box would share the lunch , thus a Box Social. same time they took the school bus, (then a cart driven by horses ) apart and reassembled it on the second floor of the school. \ You can ' t imagine the fun they had with that. \ Halloween and trick-or-treat- ing has definitely changed over the years, many say for worse . Money, as in many cases , has been made most important in the traditions of Halloween. The older folks know how it was then and have seen it change so much , they don ' t like whatJhey see.

The Hellgate Lance (Missoula, Montana), 30 Oct. 1981, located at <>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.