I know a lot a people might think I am mad, but I just love it when the nights are drawing in, and its time to throw an extra blanket on the bed. After the hot Spanish summer, the cooler days and earlier nights are welcome as far as I am concerned.
It is the 2nd week of October that particularly appeals to me, as the chestnut sellers start making an appearance on the street corners, and you see the haze of smoke hanging about in the air.
That smokey haze reminds me of bygone days when the bonfire night was the big celebration. We would spend weeks collecting firewood and piling it up at the end of the garden, and begin constructing an ever more hilarious Guy Fawkes with some of my Dads old clothes and newspapers. We even managed a Mrs Fawkes one year…what she ever did wrong I have no idea! But they say behind every great man, there is an even better woman…so she must have been guilty too!!
Of course, our fireworks nights then were a little more basic, but the most fun of all would be to write your name in the night sky with a sparkler.. do children still do this nowadays? We stick them in cakes and ice cream sundaes, but fireworks night is now restricted to big park displays and that family fun night seems to have has lost its sparkle (or sparkler) now.
◦ Instead, we celebrate with huge gusto Halloween. Kids run amok here in our little village, where everyone knows each other, dressed up and faces painted, fuelled on a sugar high from those never ending sweets and trick or treating (we always end up throwing half out when a certain child is not looking).
I thought that this custom originated from the Americans, who do these celebrations so well. But apparently not. Claire from the myGeckoBox team has been investigating….
Halloween dates back 2000 years to when the Celtic people of Europe celebrated Samhain (pronounced Sah-win) . Translated it means ‘end of the summer’, it was the final harvest and the new year festival.
The Celts were deeply superstitious and believed in fairies and evil spirits. They thought that the night before each new year, a door opened between this world and another world and that October 31 was the most dangerous night in the year as the spirits of the dead awoke and looked to possess living bodies.
Hence the custom of dressing up in scary costumes to frighten them away. The sweets and treats came at a much later date. We have included some great fun facts in our Halloween Discovery box for your children to learn too.
I have written about some weird and wonderful festivals in Spain previously, but the latest gem I uncovered was this. Zombie Survival.
In the village of Collado Villaba, near Madrid, a night of terrifying games take place between 11-7.30 am. The idea is there is an imaginary virus that turns humans into undead , and these zombies have to try and infect everyone else playing the game. They take over the village and the only safe haven is some of the local bars. I know where I would be spending the night… but that could result in the same outcome… a scary looking incoherent mess, cometh the morning… not much different to many others.
This event is run by a team of professional zombies and can come to a town near you if requested. Check out SurvivalZombie.es. This is not for the fainthearted or the kids though!
So the MyGeckoBox team have come up with some, not so scary but good fun, childrens crafts to help the kids prepare for the end of this month and Halloween. We have now infested our SHOP with craft spiders, webs, glow in the dark ghosts and there are other crafty ghoulish creations still to come, watch this space.