Thu. May 19th, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Carving out the past!

Halloween will soon be upon us and children will be clamouring to carve faces into pumpkins.

Many people think the activity was imported to the UK from across the Atlantic, and so it was. But the origins of carving faces into vegetables lie somewhat closer to home. In Ireland, Jack-o-lanterns were originally carved out of turnips and the glowing face once a lit candle was inside was supposed to scare away evil spirits. When many Irish people emigrated to America due to the potato famine and its after-effects, they were unable to find turnips so they used pumpkins instead!

Prepare for some spooky times

Halloween, the spookiest night of the year, is almost upon us and it’s time to start planning so everyone has a good time.

Island attractions and eateries put a lot of effort into making sure their guests enjoy the evening of October 31, and the following weekend, and this page should give inspiration about where you can go to make the most of the time of the year when ghosts, ghouls and wizards rule.

Dressing up for Halloween is an ancient tradition, in the 16th Century people disguised themselves in scary costumes and impersonated the souls of the dead to protect themselves. They also lit bonfires in every village to scare off evil spirits and set up places at their dinner tables to encourage good spirits into their homes. The roots of Halloween are in the Pagan festival of Samhain, but it was taken over by the early Christian church to celebrate the evening before All Saints Day.

Whatever the history, it is a great reason to get together with your loved ones and celebrate. But watch out for the souls of the undead – and the spiders.