Which witch is which

Did you know that Halloween ranks second only to Christmas as the most commercially successful holiday? In the U.S.A. alone, $3.4 billion will be spent on our spooky-day blitz.

That’s a lot of candy, pumpkins, costumes, brooms, black cats and witches.

It’s even an unofficial holiday. Is witchcraft really taboo?

There are many superstitions out there on or about Halloween, and with all of that, it can be a fun night for kids immersed with so much candy during their trick-or-treat night that it could produce a sugar high forever. Even adults with costume parties and laughter have more fun. Have you ever bobbed for apples?

You see, we are all kids on Halloween.

Are there really witches? Can we all imagine viewing a real witch circling our own little village perched atop her favorite broom with a cackling sound along with a black cat as her assistant. Wouldn’t that be great?

Witches seem to be the most mysterious of all of our Halloween friends, which also include ghosts and goblins and vampires and other scary critters.

When we think of a witch, it is usually of an old ugly hook-nosed lady, perhaps stirring her favorite witch’s brew in her magical cauldron, always dressed in black with that funny hat that adorns her topknot.

Some truth is that thousands of years ago, when life itself was very primitive and medical doctors were very scarce as was medicine, there seemed to be some women who learned somewhat about healing herbs and other remedies of lore. They even delivered babies. This was well and good until they were eventually accused of witchcraft due to their “magic” of healing and were pushed underground. Thus, witchcraft was born.

Some list Halloween as their favorite holiday. It is even growing more as a favorite as years go by. Some pranks can be terrible, though, during trick-or-treating. Doing damage has nothing to do with this fabled holiday.

Today, the holiday is quite mild with less tricking, but school costume parties and even adult parties prevail along with fun and cider and games and even apple bobbing.

Some origins of Halloween go back many years ago. They say it all started with the Celts who lived in the areas of Ireland, the United Kingdom and even Northern France. Back then, they celebrated their new year on Nov. 1. This marked the end of harvest and the summer and the beginning of the very cold and dark winter. At that time, this was associated with a time of death.

On the night of Oct. 31, they celebrated Samhain, at which time they believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. They formed a celebration in which the Celts wore costumes of animal heads and skins and also believed on this night that the spirits of the dead could roam the earth freely, and our old friends the witches came out flying among the midnight sky adorned in their traditional clothing and broom and black cat to boot.

It is a certain feeling we all get on this spooky night as our own imaginations can work overtime as maybe we can swear we saw a real witch or a ghost surveying our own Halloween parties and trick-or-treating and giving us a thumbs-up or down on whether we are creating a true image of their beloved holiday.

I hope that all of you have a very happy and frightening Halloween.

Contact Whited at olebert1@aol.com.