Wednesday, 26 October 2011

All Hallows Even


“Halloween”, or Hallowe’en” shortened from “All Hallows Even” is the evening before Hallomas or All Hallows Day which falls on November 1st..

Hallowe’en (October 31) activities happen mostly in the evening. Traditional theme colours are orange and black. Prior to Hallowe'en evening decorations such as carved pumpkins (jack-o-lanterns) are placed in windows and by doorways. Children go trick-or-treating in the early evening and later families gather for bonfires and/or fireworks displays.

Black and orange decorations (above and below)

I liked this mix of leaves with the webs

Trick-or-treating involves dressing in costume and  going from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given.  Trick-or-treating may have come from the Hallomas medieval practice of the poor going from door to door to receive food  in exchange for saying prayers for the dead.

Pumpkins ready for carving

The carving of jack-o'-lanterns dates from the custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. The turnip was traditionally used in Ireland and Scotland at Hallowe'en, but in North America pumpkins are used because they are more readily available and easier to carve because they are bigger and hollow. If you carve a pumpkin, you may want to put the seeds aside for roasting (just wash them, let them dry overnight, then coat them lightly in oil and salt and roast at 275 F for about 1 hour).

My carved pumpkin

Pumpkins range in size and shape, but now there is also a white pumpkin available. The white or albino pumpkin is also called a Ghost or Casper pumpkin.

Ghost pumpkins above and below

Colourful pumpkin display

Costumes for Hallowe’en once were largely monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils but today often also include characters from popular shows or movies like Darth Vader and Spiderman as well as ghouls and zombies.

Decorations range from simple, just a carved pumpkin, to elaborate, where front yards are made to look like graveyards or haunted houses. Some people must spent days getting their displays ready, there are one or two quite elaborate displays in our neighbourhood that kids of all ages stop by to have a look at.

Skeleton Lights

Gargoyle statues

I usually do quite simple decorations for Hallowe'en, saving the over the top decorating for Christmas. My carved pumpkin never seems very imaginative and often looks a bit like it was carved by someone with no opposible thumbs.

Firecrackers, even though not strictly legal here (fireworks OK), can be heard on Hallowe'en as well as a week or two either side of the day. Fireworks displays, often organized within neighbourhoods, keep the kids and adults entertained after the treat-or-treating is done.

Happy Hallowe'en to all, but remember to keep the gore in check, it scares the little ones, and to keep your pets safe inside.

Continuing with the orange and black theme colours, here a a few pictures from a weekend visit to the south Okanagan Valley's wine region and the neighbouring Similkameen Valley wine region. It is harvest time but most grapes are late this year because of the cool spring and early summer.  These two areas have a number of our favourite wineries which my husband visits twice a year to buy wine and talk to the owners.  In future posts I will tell you about some of them.  Both valleys are worth exploring for the interesting wines and the wonderful produce grown there.

Bright orange squash

Squash including "Spotted Swan"

Ripe sunflower head

Almost black grapes still hanging on vines

Beautiful foliage

Misty morning

Fall grasses still damp from the mist
The birds were eager to sample the grapes still on the vines and can be seen flying in large flocks.

House finch high on the wires

Starlings were flying around in large flocks

Vineyard in fall colour

Black Bugbane in bloom

Special Offer - 
Cards by the dozen - $36.00 for 12 (plus postage and handling)
Follow this link for Seasonal and greeting cards:
Follow this link for Thought for Food cards:

Coming this weekend:
October 30, 11am -2pm:
ART SHOW @ Knox Fellowship Hall
My painting friends and I will be having an art show and sale at Knox Fellowship Hall on Sunday, October 30, 2011.
Knox Fellowship Hall is located beside Knox United Church at 5600 Balaclava Street, one block east of Blenheim just north of 41st Avenue.
There will be a variety of media (watercolour, acrylic, oil), subjects and sizes of original work and light refreshments will be served. Hope to see you there.
I will be featuring mostly cards (Christmas, food and Nature) but will have a couple of new paintings as well.

Thank you for visiting my blog and happy "Whimsy Wednesday".


  1. i much prefer your 'natural' fall decorations over the manmade ones. :)

  2. You take some amazing pictures, your pumpkin looks great and definitely has the spirit of Halloween. Like you I love the colours of fall and with these lovely sunny days we have had the colours have been wonderful.

  3. Your pictures are just gorgeous, I love the light you capture.

  4. You’ve done an excellent job of explaining the season through words and accompanying photos. I love the light that shines through the pumpkins but have yet to notice the white ones, which look equally awesome. Your misty morning photo captured my imagination and is so typical and lovely this time of year. :)

  5. Great post/ Looks like your neighbourhood takes Halloween decorating seriously. I've never heard firecrackers on Halloween, maybe because it's usually cold and damp here by the end of October. But I will listen more closely this year to see if anyone does set some off.

  6. Your decorations are more my flavor. Great photos!





  8. Thank you for this informative post about Halloween and the season. Your carved pumpkin is charming! I’m all thumbs, so I wonder what my carved pumpkin would be. The monochromatic “misty morning” is like an Indian Ink painting is impressive – so serene.


  9. I was off to dream, but I can't, I wonder who's fault is that?????????

  10. Makes me want to be a kid again!

  11. Love your photo of the ripe sunflower head! Delightful.

    Thank you for all your lovely comments on my blog Gillian.

  12. Wonderful Halloween post. Very interesting information and great shots.

  13. Gillian, What great photos of Halloween decorations--so many fun "spooky" things to do. Your fall shots are excellent--love the beautiful foliage, the misty morning, and the fall grasses. Very nice post. Hope your weekend is going well. Mickie :)

  14. Thanks for another great photo-lesson for my international students, Gillian. Yours and Penelope's posts were great hits, and stimulated lots of discussion. I had never heard of white pumpkins, and found that photo especially interesting. Other favourites were your "leaf/web" and "ripe sunflower head" shots.

  15. a lot to share. Love the misty morning shot. :)