Every year, I’m fascinated by all the different ways people celebrate Halloween. For some people (not me!) it’s an opportunity to watch scary movies. For others, it’s a time to celebrate the harvest. And for still others, it’s spooky season, where we tell folk tales around a campfire and wonder about the supernatural. For me, Halloween is ideal for exploring our shared history and finding the magic in autumn.
As you know, I love researching the history and culture of all sorts of things. Halloween is particularly interesting! The reason it’s celebrated in such diverse ways is that the modern holiday stems from many different traditions.
The most ancient are the pagan fall festivals such as Samhain (sow-when), which was celebrated among Celtic cultures. It was not only a time to celebrate the harvest but also to connect with the ancestors. That’s why Halloween is full of haunted tales, as well as jack-o-lanterns, scarecrows, cornucopias, and other harvest symbols.
Later, the ghostly part of Samhain became associated with All Hallow’s Eve, a Catholic holiday in reverence of ancestors. All Hallows’ Eve was followed by All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2). During All Souls’ Day, children would go door-to-door and ask for “soul cakes.” That was the earliest version of trick-or-treating!
There was also a common belief that mischievous spirits would cause trouble during this season. So, people dressed up in costumes to confuse them — another type of trick.
Halloween would have faded into history if not for the Scottish and Irish immigrants who renewed traditions in the U.S. Now, it’s mostly a secular holiday — and quite an American one at that! Yet we never lost the themes of abundant harvests, cozy campfires, and a deep connection to nature and our ancestors.
How will you be celebrating Halloween? At Bear Creek, we’ll be lighting the fireplace, sipping cider, and enjoying the scents of freshly harvested produce. And of course, we’ll be needle felting. What better way to tie together nature’s gifts with the creative and spooky aspects of Halloween?
Check out our kits to felt your own whimsical pumpkins (that never rot!) or join my Needle Felting Academy for access to a special cornucopia kit! You can also learn some needle felting “tricks” so you can felt spooky ghosts, black cats, witches, or even vampires! The only limit is your imagination.
I am also hosting an all-inclusive Needle Felting Weekend in November: We will be crafting all sorts of fun fall projects. I hope you’ll join me!
For me, Halloween is a time to cherish our community and indulge in delicious treats and rewarding crafts. I invite you to celebrate with us however you’d like!