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Halloween

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Halloween

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:53 pm

• Halloween •


Pronunciation: hæ-lê-ween • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, proper

Meaning: The night before All Saints Day, when English-speaking children run about (if not amok) in scary costumes representing the menacing spirits of the dead. It is the tradition to play pranks on neighbors or offer them immunity from such pranks in exchange for treats, a practice known as "trick or treat".

Notes: Today's word is a blend of Allhallowmas and even, the predecessor of evening. The Catholic Church of England, like other churches, tried to preempt pagan holidays with holidays of its own. The Church chose the day of Samhain [so-win] as the vigil for their celebration of all the saints. Samhain was set at the end of summer and the onset of winter, the season of death. The Celts believed that on this night the spirits of the dead returned to mingle with those of the living. The confusion of the two holidays led many early English Catholics to believe that the dead arose on Halloween, too.

In Play: The result of this confusion was the odd combination of the profane and sacred we now celebrate on October 31 and, some of us, on November 1, too. The pumpkin lantern (jack-o'-lantern) was originally a hollowed turnip lantern placed in windows on Halloween to scare away the spirits of the dead that were supposed to wander about that night. The costumes children will wear tonight descend from the days when kids dressed up like those spirits, such as skeletons, ghosts and goblins, to take advantage of the beliefs of their elders and play tricks on them.

Word History: Today's word was originally All-Hallow Even "All-Saints Evening", when hallow meant "holy" and "saint". So Halloween is the evening before Catholic All Saints Day, when all the saints are celebrated. Some still spell it Hallowe'en, the apostrophe indicating the elision of the V in "even". However, now that even has been replaced by evening, the apostrophe becomes pointless. Hallow comes from Middle English halwen, the descendant of Old English halgian. It derives from the same source as the hale in hale and hearty, and the greeting, Hail! Hail is akin to heal and, more distantly, to German Heil "health, salvation", a word used in those most unholy of salutes, Heil Hitler! and Sieg Heil! "Victory Hail!" used by the Nazis during World War II.
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Re: Halloween

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:34 am

A popular Halloween trick in the 1920s and 30s was to walk a cow up the stairs in the school building. Cows will walk up stairs with little complaint. Cows definitely will not walk down stairs. The exercise of getting the cow down was left to the school officials.

For a few years in my neighborhood, it became a terror in which hoards of teenagers roamed the streets. Now no one trick or treats on my street. I sort of miss the little urchins.

Since neighborhood trick or treat has become dangerous, many churches and schools provide a safe environment on their campuses where people distribute goodies from open trunks of their cars. They call it trunk-or-treat. Makes little sense but….
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Re: Halloween

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:20 pm

....but we have it all over here. Many, many churches
have it to offer an option to prowling dark streets at
night. I miss the good old days too. We have large
shopping malls offer a variety of the trunk/treat variety,
offering kids treats from store to store.
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Re: Halloween

Postby David McWethy » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:09 pm

Regarding Phil's comment: He's definitely right: Cows WILL NOT walk down stairs:

One Halloween, which fell on a Friday sometime during the middle of the previous century my older brother & some of his cohorts managed to gain entrance (through an unlocked window on the first floor, it was learned) to the Carroll County (Arkansas) Courthouse, an imposing three-story red-brick-with-granite-plinths-and-corbels WPA-era building.

Once inside, they were able to open a wide freight-entrance door at the back of the main floor, and led a cow up three flights of eight-feet-wide oak stairs to the Circuit Court room, where they left it tethered with two bales of green hay.

This was on a Friday, remember; come Monday morning if "it" didn't hit the fan it wasn't for lack of a copious supply. But, as Phil opened the door for us, getting rid of the organic waste--and eventually, the smell--was a piece of cake (all the benches for the audience were relocated and most of the courtroom got new carpet) compared to the task of devising a way to get rid of the cow.

In retrospect, with the passage of time, some of the suggested solutions (closing off the third floor and contracting with a slaughterhouse owner and crew to make a "house call", leaving behind not so much as a "moo", for example) don't seem as stupid today as they probably did at the time.

The chosen strategy was to completely (and oh so carefully ) remove the arched-topped double-glass windows at the back of the third floor (including the beaded oak carsiding wainscoting underneath) and somehow--the specifics of the plan hadn't gotten that far--lower the cow to ground level. It should be a simple thing to get the cow to step out onto some kind of platform with sides--lifted to the third floor and then lowered by a rented crane from Harrison.

That turned out to be something Bessie would not do--not even with a bag over her head. It's not hard to imagine that the first glance at the 50' of terra infirma between her and the ground below would be one that would register--even to the brain of a stupid bovine.

As I heard it, they kept the bag idea and rigged up an industrial canvas sling, with one loop behind the front legs and the other one in front of the rear ones, and took up the slack. But that still left her standing on the third-story floor and the crane unable to lift her off her feet, positioned as she was.

I suspect it was over quicker than the telling: Someone had the bright idea of getting her to the hole's edge by giving her a smart slap on the rump, whereupon she bolted out of both the opening and the sling at the same time. I have no way of verifying whether the Daily Dissapointment really did headline the story as "LIVESTOCK FUTURES PLUMMET".

Decades passed before my brother stopped worrying about the truth of the matter seeing daylight; it was years after that, after my brother retired from a career in the Navy, that daddy shared with me that he'd known all along that Bill was the ringleader of what became a story passed down for generations. "How did 'ja know?", I asked.

With a twinkle in his eye daddy confessed "Well, tying a cow in a courtroom sounds like something I'd enjoy doing..."

Otherwise, in my old age here's my take on tonight:

[img][IMG]http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh623/davidmcwethy/Sickpumpkins_zpsda6a7c3f.jpg[/img][/img]
"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things...."
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Re: Halloween

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:05 am

Luke:

My apologies. When I said trunk or treat makes little sense, I meant the name, not the practice. The practice is a great way of providing safe and sane "Fall Festival" festivities. We provide a gym full of games and refreshments, inflated slides, and an inflated "jump house" along with our trunk or treat.
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Re: Halloween

Postby MTC » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:15 am

Great stories by Philip and David which should give rise to a folksy new idiom for an especially difficult or impossible task, "like getting a cow to go downstairs." I plan to use it if no one else does.

And then the crapulent pumpkins! License those photos to AA.

Here in China I've seen no goblins, only Communists (Red Devils,) much the same perhaps. Trick or treat!
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Re: Halloween

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:51 am

Philip Hudson wrote:Luke:

My apologies. When I said trunk or treat makes little sense, I meant the name, not the practice. The practice is a great way of providing safe and sane "Fall Festival" festivities. We provide a gym full of games and refreshments, inflated slides, and an inflated "jump house" along with our trunk or treat.



I didn't misunderstand, I don't think. No problem, Phil. I
was just commenting that they are common place here, too.
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Re: Halloween

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:53 am

Great stories by Philip and David which should give rise to a folksy new idiom for an especially difficult or impossible task, "like getting a cow to go downstairs." I plan to use it if no one else does.

ME TOO.

{And David, I hope you don't mind, I've saved your story,
I think it is a classic.}
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Re: Halloween

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:34 pm

Absolutely a classic! I love that headline. Give new meaning to rolling on the floor laughing!
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Re: Halloween

Postby Slava » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:15 pm

Perry Lassiter wrote:Absolutely a classic! I love that headline. Give new meaning to rolling on the floor laughing!

Image

An addition to the smilies available here. Simply click Quote for this message and copy the link that is between the [img]and[/img]. In your post, click on the Img button over the post box. Paste the copied link between the [img]and[/img] bits, and there you should have it. Preview is always recommended, to make sure you got it right. :lol:

Speaking of which, it took me five tries to figure out how to put in the img parts. If you use the brackets with nothing between them, they disappear.

By the by, this is a GIF file.
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Re: Halloween

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:33 pm

Slava is no luddite!
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