Our Castle Has a Crypt. And it’s almost Hallow’een!

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T’was the day before hallows eve,

and all through the town

Children ran about in disguise,

some in fang, some in gown

All a-buzz with excitement

over the next nights events

And parents bracing for the sugar highs

of their young ladies and gents!

Hahaha…obviously it’s been some time since I last wrote a poem, but I couldn’t resist. I’m sure I have a better one tucked into my saved school stuff somewhere. But I digress. Tis’ the day before Hallows Eve, and everybody is posting pictures on Facebook of their costumes. and their kids costumes. and their pets costumes. and their neighbors costumes. and the costume on the fake spider hanging outside in front of their door.

Schools let the students dress up for today, I remember that was always a huge highlight, getting to go in not normal school clothes, and by lunch time everyone had half their costume off anyway.

Now, as a grown up, the extent of my Hallow’een spirit is November 1st, when all the good chocolates go on clearance sale! Bahahaha….I don’t have children to raid their candy stash after they go to bed, so I have to go get my own.

{Though I’m sure I could take Drew around door to door in a costume to collect candy for me. Nobody can resist his wiggles and adorable big brown border collie eyes!}

I think he makes a stetson look pretty good!

Television is full of spooky specials, and inevitably there is always something about a haunting or some sort of graveyard shenanigans. Here at the Museum, we do love shenanigans! Tammy has come up with her own to celebrate the occaision…a Hallow’een Day Cemetery Tour! Everyone is totally in the mood to check out cemeteries at the end of October! We have two in Creston (for those of you reading this that aren’t from here…I’m pointing at you Awesome Australian & Brazilian. I see you two on the views. Unless you are actually from here, and live there now, but still read this…in either case, you guys rock. oh, and Hi Alyson! I see you too! :P) The first is called Pioneer Cemetary, [we’re still trying to figure out why…] and one called Forrest Lawn.

Tammys tour will take guests through Pioneer, and investigate the stories residents there. From Col. Mallandaine and his wife, to the Littles, Dows, Rodgers, and many, many more local influences and characters. I got a special run through while she was practicing…if you hadn’t planned on going, I would HIGHLY recommend it.

(*pssst*…there is even a mystery person on the side of a hill that no one knows where he is….)

Saturday, October 31 2:00 rain or shine

by donation (reccomended donation $5)

Just show up, no need for reservations.

Speaking of mystery burials, it always reminds me of the Crypt in the Stone House.

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The tradition of Castles and fancy Estates and Churches was to have a crypt for members of the family or prominent clergy members. Well, Mr. Schultz didn’t have family to take the property after, but he still very much wanted a crypt! It is illegal in Canada to be buried in a house like this, so he ended up being buried in Forrest Lawn (much against his wishes), but every now and then we still get people that come through that swear up and down they can feel his presence here. Spooky!

Actually as soon as we mention the crypt {albeit empty}, a lot of people go from loving the dining room to wanting to get the heck out of there! I will give them that, if the lights aren’t on, it can look a little…haunted.

We have toyed around with the idea of doing a ‘haunted’ house before, nothing better for a haunted house than a Stone Castle! But we would need a lot of actors, and we would also need to put a lot of breakables away! Actually the red security sensor light in the medical/military room at night makes it SO. SCARY! Especially with a bunch of the old medical instruments on display in the case on the wall and the old metal gurney ….I’m really not the spookable type, and that, my friends, looks like it’s straight out of a horror flick! Maybe in the next few years we could pull it off 😉

But for all this talk about hauntings, and crazy excitement about costumes and trick or treating, do you actually know anything about Hallows Eves story? I found a pretty good website that had some fun facts and myths listed out…

1. Celtic harvest 

An ancient Celtic festival planted the seed for what we now call Halloween. The Celts celebrated the end of the harvest and the start of the long winter with a festival, called Samhain. The festival was celebrated on Oct. 31, the day the Celts believed the boundary between the living and the dead was at its weakest.

(Have I ever mentioned I love vikings? Especially the kind played by Katherine Winnik,Travis Fimmel, and Clive Standen…)

2. Bobbing for apples 

After the Romans took over Celtic land in AD 43 a few new traditions were tacked onto the Celtic celebration. One such celebration honoured the Roman goddess Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol for Pomona — an apple — is seen in present day Halloween celebrations in the tradition of bobbing for apples.

(when I worked at the Rec Center, we used to do an apple bob in the lazy river pool with the current turned up! unfortunately health code regulations were working to quash that…can’t do any of the good stuff any more…)

3. Meet Jack, the lantern

The tradition of pumpkin carving began in Ireland with the legend of Stingy Jack. As the fable goes, Jack made a habit of playing tricks on the devil. Once Jack died, God did not allow him into heaven, nor did the devil allow Jack into hell. Instead he was banished to live in eternal night. For his punishment, the devil gave Jack an ember to light his way. The legend claims Jack placed the ember in a hollowed out turnip, the predecessor for a carved pumpkin.

(Jack…Jack’s Lantern… Lantern belonging to Jack…Lantern of Jacks…Jack who created the Lantern…Jack of the Lantern…Jack O’ Lantern…)

4. Carving pumpkins

The use of pumpkins as Jack-o’-lanterns didn’t begin until the 1800s. Upon their arrival to the United States, Irish immigrants discovered pumpkins were much easier to carve than turnips.

(Just a little bit bigger than turnips…also, I believe much tastier.)

5. Candy

In October 2011, Canadians spent more than $350 million on candy products. This recent data goes to shows that candy spending on Halloween is second only to spending in December, where Canadians spend more than $450 million on Christmas confections.

(That…is a lot of candy…)

6. Wicked wallets

According to a Scotiabank poll done this year, the average Canadian will spend $70 on Halloween — with 15 per cent of Canadians saving in advance for the event.

7. Trick-or-treating

Trick-or-treating originated around AD 1000. During this time Christianity had spread to most Celtic lands and had began taking over most pagan ceremonies. The church designated Nov. 2 as “All Souls Day” — a day dedicated to honouring the dead. On this day, the poor frequented the houses of the wealthy and received soul cakes. In exchange for the cakes, the poor would say a prayer for the homeowner’s deceased relatives.

(Interesting how similar it is to the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’… the celebration, the goodies…actually I think it’s kind of a good idea! When I’m dead, I think I could still go for a picnic and a party!)

8. UNICEF

In Canada, trick-or-treaters visited homes on Halloween to ask for two things: candy and spare change. The candy was quickly disposed of, but the spare change went to supporting children in need around the world. The iconic UNICEF orange coin collection boxes were very much a part of Canada’s trick-or-treating history, until 2006 when UNICEF moved to an online donation system. On average, Canadians continue to donate $3 million every Halloween.

(I remember taking around UNICEF boxes…got a little heavy around your neck after a while! It’s a great cause though, you should seriously consider it.)

9. Old Wives’ Tales

In Scotland during the 1900s common folklore had it that if a woman ate a concoction made from walnuts, nutmeg and hazelnuts before falling asleep on Halloween night, she would dream of her future husband.

(Never really thought of Hallow’een as a romantic day, but… I ‘spose that would count as a sort of witches brew/magic potion? I think?)

10. Spiders

Spiders are a common symbol on Halloween. But they may not be as evil as popular culture would have you think. Many myths explain that spotting a spider on Halloween is actually a loved one watching over you.

(I work with a really big tough guy at my other job who is petrified of spiders. He is a real prankster, so this time of year for the rest of us is pure gold…)

 

Huh. Kind of interesting! What I also find interesting were the costumes of old…I just pulled up google images. I actually think some of these are scarier than our modern costumes!!! Except for this 1894 man who dressed as a side of bacon.

You, sir…were a visionary…

What is your costume this year? If it has to do with something old fashioned or historic/a historic character, we want to see it! Post it to our Facebook page under the hashtags #CrestonMuseum #HistoryAlive

(extra points if it has to do with bacon… #1894Visionary #1894BaconMan)