Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ghouls, Ghosts and Goblins - Halloween is Here!

"Halloween is a mixture of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Below are some interesting facts on the origins of All Hallows Eve."

The word "Halloween," comes from All Hallows Eve. November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints.
  • In the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31.The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en), the Celtic New Year.
  • The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influence the holiday of Halloween.
  • The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter.
  • The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased wouldco9me back to live and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.
  • Ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts.
  • The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine.
  • Ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts.
  • The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time,t he favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouse and unhinging fence gates.
  • The custom of trick-or treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants. the more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors.
  • In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation, becoming a more secular community-based children's holiday.

The Man and the Ghost - Tibetan Folktale

Once upon a time a man was walking along a narrow mountain path, when he met a ghost. The ghost turned around at once and walked along beside him. The man was very much frightened, but didn't care to let the ghost know it. Pretty soon they came to a river which had to be crossed, and as there was no bridge or boat both had to swim it. The man, of course, made a good deal of noise, splashing and paddling the water, while the ghost made none at all.

Said the ghost to the man: "How does it happen that you make so much noise in the water?"

The man answered, "Oh, I am a ghost and have a right to make all the noise I want to."

"Well," the ghost replied, "suppose we two become good friends, and if I can help you I will, and if you can ever aid me you will do so."

The man agreed, and as they walked along the ghost asked him what he feared more than anything else in the world. The man said he wasn't afraid of anything he saw, though inwardly quaking all the while. Then he asked the ghost what he was afraid of. "Of nothing at all," said the host, "but the wind as it blows through the tall-headed barley fields."

By and by they came near a city, and the ghost said he was going in to town. But the man said he was tired and that he would lie down and sleep a while in the barley field at the edge of the city. The ghost went on into town and played havoc, as ghosts generally do. He proceeded to steal the soul of the king's son and tying it up in a yak hair sack carried it out to the edge of the barley field where the man lay asleep, and called out to him, "Here is the soul of the king's son in this bag. I'll leave it here for a while and you can take care of it for me, as I have a little business elsewhere."
For the rest of the story click here.


American Folklore ~ Halloween Stories - Regional ghost stories from around the United States; just in time to make your frightful night “ghoul”icious!

Can Such Things Be? Short stories, published in 1910, from the talented Ambrose Bierce, courtesy of I am sure you will find some spine tingling tales to add to your storytelling repertoire.

Catch the Storybug - Stop by my website for an array of tales to fright and delight your audiences.

English Folk and Fairy Tales - Lots of fabulous stories await including some tales to add to your Halloween repertories. Goblins, witchcraft, ghosts and drolls are waiting for you just around the corner. Beware!
Edgar Allan Poe- October 11 is the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe. This site offers his short stories, poems, quotes, biography and additional links.
- Jackie Baldwin stirs up a witches' brew of stories ideas. Don't forget to check out the Halloween Bare Bones book, the perfect addition to your library!

Victorian Ghost Stories -Twenty-two ghost stories from such spectral luminaries as Bram Stoker, Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens.


Great Ghost Stories by Joseph Lewis French, 1918.
Humorous Ghost Stories by Dorothy Scarborough, 1921


alloween Games for the Classroom - “A collection of fun and educational Halloween games that build math and language skills for grades K-5. With Halloween-themed versions of games like tag, musical chairs, and “Pin the Tail on the Donkey,” you’ll teach your student’s math and language skills while still enjoying the holiday. Your students will think they’re playing but will be learning at the same time!” * Requires subscription to access full information.

Lesson plans to complement the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
For grades 9-12 -
For grades 6-12 -
For grades 6 -8 -

Not Just Halloween: Festivals of the Dead From Around the World
Learn how other cultures celebrate the holiday with this interesting article and complementing links on Japan, Mayan, Aztec, Mexico and more.


Halloween Crafts - Bats, and pumpkins and vampires oh my! Lots of fun, spooky crafts to make your Halloween craft time as easy as saying, trick or treat! - Lots of spooktacular ideas for Halloween fun. Activities, recipes, games, costumes, crafts and more. - Ghosts in the Graveyard – Using recycled egg cartons you can create your own ghostly setting. Suitable for all ages.

Halloween Jokes - Keep the ghouls howling! - Halloween songs and fingerplays.

This is a great song to end a children's storytelling program. Everyone joins in!
Oh, My Darlin' Frankenstein ( Sung to the tune of Oh My Darlin’ Clementine)

Oh, my Darlin', Oh, my darlin', Oh my darlin' Frankenstein
You are lost and gone forever, I'm so sorry Frankenstein.

I was working with my test tube in my laboratory fine,
When one day I broke my glasses and I made poor Frankenstein. He was handsome, he was charming and his head I screwed on tight. His teeth were sharp and pearly and his eyes popped out at night!


Then Dracula came to help me but from him I had to part. He cooked my steak to tough for dinner, so I drove it through his heart!


Then the Wolfman came to help me. I said, “What’s that in your mouth?” He said, “Fangs.” I said, “Your welcome.” Now he’s probably headed south.


Frankenstein was in the kitchen; he was mixing up a cake,
when he fell into the mixer and got mixed in by mistake!


Cooking nicely in the oven, Oh the cake it came out fine,
Told my friends those lumps were raisins, but those lumps were FRANKENSTEIN!


If you don't know the tune to "Oh  My Darlin Clementine" you may listen to it here: 
A different, longer version may be found here:

Karen Chace  2011 ©
This blog post was painstakingly researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my newsletter via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.


Jai Joshi said...

As always you give such wonderful resources, Karen!

Happy Halloween!


Karen Chace said...

Thanks Jai. You are always so kind to leave a comment. It helps keep me going, knowing folks actually read the posts and use them! :)

Warm wishes,

Julie said...

How fun to read some new versions of spooktacular
stories of the season.
Julie Bull

Hayley McEwing said...

Great resources! (Your Kinderart link is sending us to an incorrect site...)

Karen Chace said...

Thanks for the compliment Hayley and for alerting me to the error. I have fixed the link now.

Warm regards,

Cindy C. said...

Dittos to all the above. Karen, you are... audacious! :)

Karen Chace said...

Thank you Cindy. Smiling as I type. :) So glad you found it useful.