Happy New Year! What’s that you say? New Year’s Eve isn’t until the end of December? Well perhaps I should say ‘Happy Samhain’.
Samhain is the Celtic New Year’s Eve. The Celts believed that the ghosts of all who had passed away during the year, would try to return home on that night. While you may have loved uncle Hamish or aunt Morag, you did not necessarily want their ghosts showing up at your house.
Fooling the Spirits of the Departed
To throw them off the trail, people would put on disguises so they wouldn’t be recognized. Some Celts would hollow out a turnip, carve a threatening face into it, and set it on the threshold of their dwelling with a lit candle inside.
All this sounds pretty familiar, right? When the Church came along. it co-opted the holiday, making the first day of the Celtic New Year to be All Saints Day. The day before became All Hallows Eve and over the centuries, the name was corrupted to Halloween. Jack O’Lanterns have replaced the carved turnips and now it’s the kids who put on costumes and go door to door looking fro sweets.
So what do mermaids have in common with Halloween? Well, other than the potential for hundreds of little Ariels going from door to door that night, absolutely nothing. If anyone goes to a party dressed as Penelope or Peter, please send me a picture!
Make Your Own Colony Island Costume
A Penelope costume should be easy enough to put together. All you would need is a woman’s business suit, a pair of sensible heels, a briefcase and maybe a couple of plastic starfish pinned to your suit. Bonus points for a starfish lapel pin. If you have a mermaid costume you can actually walk in and not fall on your face, so much the better! Don’t forget your briefcase!
Guys, you get off easy on this one. Dress like an IT nerd wearing a pair of board shorts. If you want to be a bit more creative, how about Carl the Pizza Guy? All you do is grab an empty pizza box or two and dress like Zonker Harris in the Doonesbury comic strip. (Alternatively, dressing like a beach bum will do quite well) Don’t forget to use ‘Dude’ and ‘Man’ in your sentences.
Seriously, if you do decide to give this a go, please send me a picture. I’ll be hosting the wee ghoulies, and ghosties and three-legged beasties, dressed as Peter Macpherson. I’ll put on my kilt and look nerdy. The last bit shouldn’t be hard to do.
For more information, see the Wikipaedia article on Samhain.
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