Did you know that Halloween comes only after Christmas in the amount of money spent on a Holiday? $6 billion dollars and counting. One quarter of all the candy purchased in the U.S. is bought at Halloween-not much of a surprise.
We actually have the Irish potato famine to thank for the evolution of Halloween in America. Halloween was an ancient celebration of the Harvest and Celtic New Year on 1 November. The evening before- All Hallow’s Eve (hallow means holy or sacred) was thought to be a night when spirits were free to roam the earth. Costumes were worn so that the spirits would not recognize the people they met. The Druids also used animal heads and masks in their ceremonies.
The church chose the same day as All Saint’s Day, and parades were held on All Soul’s Day, the evening before 1 November. Poor people went “a-souling” and “soul-cakes” were given as exchange for prayers for departed loved ones.
During the Irish potato famine one million people died and two million emigrated, most of them to the U.S. Halloween became known as “Beggar’s Night”. It was a night of vandalism but the hooligans could be placated with treats. Communities and newspapers campaigned in the 1920’2 to dampen the damage and make Halloween a holiday for families and children with the ghoulishness reduced.
If you or your little witches indulge in candy, be sure to eat protein and good fat before to slow the sugar rush into the blood. Minerals are very important when refined sugar is consumed. Calcium, magnesium, zinc and iodine will help protect the teeth and immune system, as sugar takes a toll on both. Let kids burn off the sugar with lots of exercise and then give them extra sleep. Cheap chocolate can cause upset to the gall bladder and that may be a reason for the tummy-aches. Digestive enzymes and supplements may help. Email me and I can direct you to my favorite ones.
I have always loved Halloween and the excuse to dress up. I try to look for healthier choices in treats, which is not easy and can get very expensive if you get a lot of Trick and Treaters. One of my patients told me their neighborhood gets 2000 kids! So, eat extra healthy around the treats to help make up the damage. And may all the ghosts you meet be friendly ones!