The Greatest Time of Fear

The Greatest Time of Fear

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

This is the Greatest Time of Fear. It’s time to pour a big Bloody Mary and reflect on Halloween. Or we might want to muster up the ghost of Bloody Mary by staring into a mirror that is in a dark room, by the light of thirteen candles, while chanting “Bloody Mary” thirteen times. The vengeful spirit will then appear at your left shoulder. The problem is once you see the spirit, she will either, 1) scratch your eyes out, 2) kill you, or 3) drive you insane. Dear Readers, please don’t try this! A stiff drink sounds better.

A couple (of nuts) in Los Angeles decided to take Halloween just a little too far. They held a frightful wedding, with the bride wearing all black, the groom being carried to the altar in a coffin and the minister dressed up as a devil! Oh, and the guests had to show up in Dracula-like costumes. Now there’s a marriage made in H-E- double hockey sticks.

Halloween has a strange and long history. What started out in the fifth century as, “All Saints Day,” was a day of observance in honor of saints with one weird twist – it was also the day that disembodied spirits came back to possess the living. The poor spirits had only one chance of an afterlife, and that was to intermingle with the living on this one day, in hopes of possessing a body! The living didn’t want to be possessed and to scare these roaming “body snatchers” away, they dressed up in terrifying costumes and paraded around their villages, making lots of noise, to drive off the evil spirits. This marked the beginning of Halloween costumes.

Halloween has always been closely associated with the dead. During the ninth century, beggars went around every home in their village asking for “soul cakes” on All Saints Day. The Europeans called this “souling.” These “treats” were given in exchange for the beggars to pray for the dead relatives of the kind people who passed out the cakes. It was believed that the dead relatives needed plenty of prayers to pass from limbo into heaven. These were the early days of passing out candy.

Americans are on track to spend over 12 billion on Halloween candy, costumes, and decorations. Look around at all the yard art, like huge fake spiders, ghosts and skeletons adorning (spooking up) our neighborhoods. Thirty percent of dog and cat owners plan on dressing up their pets this year, spending about 500 million bucks on goofy costumes! I do recall getting matching witches’ hats for me and my old horse. My horse did not approve.

I had a neighbor who would lay in a wooden coffin next to his front door on Halloween and sit up to hand out the candy. Kids and adults screamed in horror. If you want a more laid-back approach to Halloween, just keep your porch light on, get a bowl of candy and be prepared to be amused by the kids who come to your door. And then eat all of the left-over candy. Now that is how to have a fab-boo-lous time!

Judy Bluhm is a writer and local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected]or at

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