The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Westend residents celebrate Halloween


November 8, 2018

Halloween in western Wahkiakum County is unique from the rest of the state as well as the country. At Johnson Park's haunted gathering, it was anything but scary. The adults were having as much fun as the children. Wes and Shonda Ware worked hard in the cafeteria kitchen preparing free hotdogs, chips, cookies, punch, and coffee while the children watched movies. The difference is that in the bigger cities there is a lot of vandalism and pranks, whereas in Rosburg there were only smiling faces.

The origins of Halloween can be traced to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). These Celts lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland and celebrated their new year on November 1. This was the day that marked the end of summer and harvest and the beginning of winter. It was a time of year that was linked with death. They believed that on the night of October 31 before the New Year when they celebrated Samhain, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In the last half of the nineteenth century, the United States was swamped with immigrants, especially the millions of Irish escaping the Irish Potato Famine. Their cultural ideas aided in encouraging the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money that eventually became today's "trick-or-treat" custom.

Near the beginning of the twentieth century parents were encouraged through newspapers to remove frightening images from Halloween celebrations. As a result of these determinations, Halloween has lost most of its religious overtones and superstitions.


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