Halloween gives me an excuse to have some fun with the great American tradition of Halloween. Over several centuries, Halloween has morphed into a gentler tradition from what was the more sinister rituals and customs European immigrants brought with them to America.. Gradually, the themes shifted from a literal interpretation of death and the occult, to the more humorous take of todays holiday.
Originally a Celtic holiday, which marked the end of the harvest and the end of summer. Sometimes also regarded as the “Celtic New Year.” Celts believed this was a very important day to celebrate, as this was the day when two worlds, the living and the dead, came together. Spirits were believed to be mischievous and caused trouble, sometimes damaging crops. So the Celts would leave food, gather together and set huge bonfires of burning crops, believing the light would drive away evil spirits away. Sometimes they lit candles or carved lanterns out of vegetables such as squash to light the way for good spirits. In the Americas, those lanterns would be carved out of pumpkins, also known as Jack O’Lanterns.
In the mid 1800s, nearly two million Irish immigrants fleeing potato famine helped shape Halloween into an even more widely celebrated event. Scottish immigrants celebrated with fireworks, telling ghost stories, playing games and making mischief. There were games such as bobbing for apples, dooking, the dropping of forks on apples without using hands, and Puicini, an Irish fortune-telling game using saucers.
By the 1900s, the focus had shifted from a religious holiday to a more communal celebration. “Guising” was actually a practice dating back to the middle ages, when the poor would go around asking for food or money. Borrowing from the English and Irish traditions, children adopted the practice of guising and would dress up in costumes. The English observation of Guy Fawkes Day on November 5 had also become intertwined with Halloween. Most pranks and mischief were the work of naughty children rather than spirits as once believed.
The earliest known print of the words “Trick or Treat” did not occur until 1934, when a Portland, Oregon newspaper ran an article about how Halloween pranks kept local police officers on their toes. There would be sporadic instances of the phrase “Trick or Treat” used in the media during the 1930s, eventually making its way onto Halloween cards. But the practice we see today, children dressed in costume, going house to house saying “Trick or Treat” did not really come about until the mid 1940s. The popularity of Halloween has increased year after year. Television, movies, and other media outlets have helped Halloween grow into America’s second largest commercial holiday.
The Alexander Doll Company has had a long tradition of dolls themed to the occasion, and the past few years I’ve taken one to feature on dolledition.com. Halloween, ghosts stories and ghost walks are all very popular where I live, so it’s fun to get into the “spirit” of it all, with Madame Alexander as an extension of the festivities. In 2015, Dolls I designed for the Madame Alexander Fall Friendship Luncheons, the Littlest Ghosts of the Garden entered my life. The dolls and their spirit seem to always be weaving in and out of my thoughts as their journey continues (at least in my minds eye… or is it their doing?) Anyway, this time of year they seem anxious to explore and inquire, so I should sign off now - I’ve seen fireflies which can only mean there is mischief and mayhem to follow!
Queen of the World
Queen of the World
ALL NEW DOCUMENTARY BY HBO
Filmed with privileged access to The Queen, her family, her staff and her residences, this landmark documentary tells the story of how the Commonwealth has been a central focus and passion throughout Her Majesty’s life.
Queen of the World features behind-the-scenes moments with The Queen and other members of the Royal Family, including Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Princess Anne; Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; and the Countess of Wessex.
Queen Elizabeth has been one of the iconic personalities translated into dolls that has been used by the Alexander Doll Company. As the company grew and technology developed, Princess Elizabeth started as composition in the 30’s and 40’s, into hard plastic as Princess Elizabeth and as Queen Elizabeth in the 50’s and hard plastic and vinyl when using Cissy, Elise and Jacqueline in the 50’s & 60’s. The 8 inch Wendy versions have also been extremely popular.
Mary Poppins Returns
DECEMBER 19, 2018
Madame Alexander Doll Club
Madame Alexander Doll Club
2018 FALL FRIENDSHIP LUNCHEONS OCTOBER 6 - 28