The Origins and Meaning of Halloween

When most people think of Halloween, they immediately associate it with ghosts, witches, zombies, vampires and spooky things that only come out at night. Kids look forward to “trick-or-treating” going door to door and recieving gifts of sweets and candy and carrying pumpkin jack-o-lanterns.

But why exactly do we celebrate Halloween and what is the meaning of all these strange traditions?

History of Halloween

The word “Halloween” dates from about 1745 and comes from “All Hallows Eve”, a Christian festival held on the 31st of October to remember the dead. It also has Pagan influences and many associate it with Samhain, the Gaelic festival that celebrates the start of winter. It was thought that at this time of year, it was easier for spirits and fairies to pass through into our world. Many of the customs that we associate with Halloween were originally carried out for Samhain.

Trick-or-Treating

Trick-or-treating seems to have evolved from the practice of “guising”, a practice that started in the 16th century in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. People would go from house to house in disguise and sing songs in exchange for food.

In scotland it was traditional for youths to go to each house wearing masks or blackened faces and threaten to do mischief of some kind if they were not welcomed.

Jack-o-Lanterns

The custom of wearing costumes and playing pranks spread to England in the 20th century and this is when Jack-o-Laterns appeared. These pranksters would light their way with a turnip hollowed out to act as a lantern and often carved with goulish faces.

The use of pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns is actually quite a modern invention after the tradition was brought to American, where pumpikns are more common at that time of year than turnips. In fact turnips were used traditionally in the UK until very recently – when I went trick-or-treating as a child, we always used turnips and the smell of burned turnip and candle wax is one I will always associate with Halloween!

As with many things, the UK has now taken a more American style approach to Halloween and it’s rare that you’ll see a turnip jack-o-lantern on the streets these days. Pumpkins do grow much larger, allowing for more impressive Halloween decorations and they’re much easier to carve.

Bobbing for apples

Apple bobbing is one of the oldest Halloween games and dates back to the Roman invasion of Britain. Apples were introduced at this time and along with them, the game of bobbing for apples, originally as a game for young people to determine which of them would marry first.

Apples would be floated in a barrel of water and the participants would try to take a bite from an apple with their hands tied behind their back. It was said that the first person to bite the apple would be the next one to marry. Apples have long been associated with fertility and marriage since the story of Adam and Eve in the bible.

As it became traditional to partake in feasting and games after the prayers for deceased souls on All Hallows Eve, the two customs merged and bobbing for apples became a popular Halloween activity.

7 Fun and Easy Halloween Makeup Ideas

One of the most fun parts of planning your costume is plastering on the Halloween face paint and completely transforming your look. Makeup can transform even the simplest outfit into an impressive costume and is a really easy and affordable way of creating a Halloween look if your budget doesn’t stretch to expensive costumes or you don’t have the time to make one.

I’ve rounded up 7 of the best Halloween costume makeup ideas and special effects makeup looks to inspire you and you can just pick your favourite look, buy the makeup or use what you have around the house and amaze yourself with your transformation skills!

1. Halloween Doll Makeup

There’s something just really creepy about dolls that makes them a great Halloween theme and this is also a really easy costume idea to pull off, as you just need a girly black dress, some mary-jane shoes and to put your hair in pigtails. What really makes the look is the makeup, and you can watch the full tutorial in the video below (thanks to YouTube user Hannah Leigh):

Products for this look:

2. Halloween Cat Makeup

The classic black cat is another easy last minute costume idea that anyone can create by wearing a black t-shirt and leggings and making a pin-on tail from a pair of old tights. Again what really turns this idea from a cheap and lazy looking costume into an impressive look is the makeup. So checkout this tutorial from YouTube user sccastaneda and don’t forget your kitty ears headband!

Products for this look:

3. Zombie Halloween Makeup

The cat and doll makeup looks are very pretty, ideal for you if you want to look your best but still get into the spirit of Halloween. If you’re after something more on the macabre side though, this zombie look might be more for you. Zombie movies and TV programmes like The Walking Dead are really popular at the moment and it’s an easy look to create just with normal clothes (tear them and dirty them up to make them look ragged) and some special fx makeup like this look by YouTube user pollyanne b

Products needed for this look:

You can also create a simpler zombie look very cheaply by using this zombie makeup kit which includes liquid latex, fake rotten teeth, skin makeup in white, black and beige and liquid blood capsules

4. Halloween Witch Makeup

The witch is probably the most common Halloween costume in the UK at least. I remember always getting dressed up as a witch for Halloween when I was a kid, complete with black cape made out of a charity shop skirt and lots of greasy green facepaint caked on. This is a bit more of a sophisticated look, inspired by Disney witches, by YouTube user Shonagh Scott:

Products used:

5. Vampire Halloween Makeup

Ok so vampires have always been a popular Halloween costume choice but ever since Twilight, came out, people have just been going crazy over vampires. If you’re looking for a beautiful sexy Halloween makeup look, try this one by Youtube user Emma Pickles:

Products used:

6. Devil Halloween Makeup

Want to be a little devil for halloween? Try this pretty impressive and sexy Halloween makeup look by YouTube user Cherry Wallis, which is easily completed with a devils horns headband if you don’t have the patience for messing around with liquid latex

Products used to create this look:

7. Skeleton Halloween Makeup

Finally, what’s Halloween without a few skeletons?! Again, a skeleton outfit is very easy to create by simply painting bones onto a black tight-fitting outfit but you can transform it into a very impressive look with some makeup. This is one of those looks that doesn’t require many products but it takes a lot of shading and it’s worth taking your time over it to get it right. I like this tutorial by YouTube user Madeline:

You will need:

10 Fun Halloween Party Game Ideas

Halloween can be a great excuse to loosen up, get really creative and come up with some spooky, scary, icky messy games that you would never even consider for a birthday party or other normal occasion.

My kids love scary things – I’ve often come in to them watching a ghost story or something else completely inappropriate on the TV (that of course, their father has put on!) and then they scream with protest when I change the channel!

I think most kids, apart from very young ones, like to be scared a bit, if you think back to your own experiences of Halloween you probably just associate it with fun. I vividly remember going through a haunted house with my friend when I was about 8 or 9. One of the rooms had a fake grave filled with leaves and a gravestone. We turned on our torch to read the inscription on the gravestone and somebody suddenly sat up from under the leaves – I nearly had a heart attack!

I think the trick is to take the edge off the scariness by making it light and fun and this is where Halloween games come in!

Choose the activities that are most suitable for the age group of your kids. I’ve found younger kids love messy sensory games and anything involving storytelling. Older kids prefer competitive games and games of skill.

1. Wrap The Mummy

This is a fun game for kids of all ages. Split the party into two or more groups and give each a roll of toilet paper. Designate one child “The Mummy”. The other kids must race to wrap their mummy up in toilet paper – the group of whichever mummy is wrapped and races across the finish line first wins.

2. Halloween Blindfold Feeling Game

This is an oldie but a goodie! You’ll need to do a bit of preparation beforehand but it’s worth it. Set up a series of cardboard boxes with a hole that is large enough to put a hand inside but not to see in (keeping the lighting dim helps). The kids have to put their hand in and guess what’s inside by touch alone. The more discusting, the better! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Cold cooked spagetti (worms)
  • Peeled grapes (eyeballs)
  • Whole boiled cabbage (brains)
  • Jelly (slime)
  • Pipecleaners (spiders)
  • Tinned tomatoes (guts)
  • A soft toy (rat)
  • Dried apricots (ears)

3. Pin the Head on the Skeleton

A twist on a classic. Draw or print a large skeleton and stick it to the wall. Keep the head cut out separately and get the children to try and stick it in the right place while blindfolded.

4. Bobbing For Apples

A Halloween classic! Fill a large tub with water and float several apples in in. Participants have to take it in turns to grab an apple with their mouths while their hands are tied behind their back. A less wet alternative is to tie ring donuts hanging from the ceiling at mouth height. Hang up several and line up the kids with their hands tied behind their backs. The first one to eat their donut wins.

5. Worm Eating Contest

Give each contestant a plate with 4 jelly worms, topped with lots of squirty cream. Tie their hands behind their backs and announce that the first one to finish eating their worms wins. Sit back and watch the chaos!

6. Halloween Treasure Hunt

Buy several small Halloween toys (skeletons, pumpkins, ghosts etc) and chocolates/lollipops/sweets and hide them around the house. Whoever finds them gets to keep them! This is a great game for smaller children.

7. Sleeping Corpses

If you find the kids are getting overexcited, this is a great game to calm everyone down again. Everyone has to lie down on the floor and play dead. Anyone making any movement or noise is out. The winner is the last one left on the floor.

8. Decorating Toffee Apples

This is more of an activity than a game but it’s lots of fun and always a hit at Halloween parties. First prepare several bowls with different toppings – hundreds and thousands, jelly sweets, chocolate buttons, etc. Make up a batch of toffee and allow it to cool until it’s warm but still liquid. give each child an apple with a stick in it and let them dip it in the toffee and then decorate their apple how they choose. Leave to cool and set before eating.

9. Halloween storytelling

Sit in a circle and start with an opening prompt “It was a dark and stormy night…”; “There was a knock at the door…”; “One night I looked out of the window and saw…”. Each player in the circle must make up a new sentence to add to the story until you get back to the start.

10. Blindfold Haunted House

This is easier to set up than a traditional haunted house. Prepare one room of your house – hang up streamers and old sheets that you have to walk through, hang furry rubber spiders from the ceiling, toss popcorn on the floor, and play spooky music. You can combine this with the blindfold feeling game if you wish. Blindfold each child before they enter and guide them around the room.

Halloween Fancy Dress Ideas For Women

If you’re looking for some new and unique costume ideas for Halloween this 2015, you’ve come to the right place!

Halloween is one of the few times in the year when you can dress up like a kid and indulge your deepest fantasies. Whether you’re a closet goth, lolita or dominatrix, you get to express your hidden side without shocking anyone or feeling self-conscious.

Halloween is also the perfect time to try out new dramatic makeup looks that you wouldn’t dare to wear on a normal night out. Go wild, have fun, and enjoy dressing up – you are limited only by your imagination!

Rag Doll Costume

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Buy this creepy doll costume

There are lots of different variations of scary doll costumes for Halloween. There’s just something really creepy about dolls, just look at the number of horror films based around them! This is also a really easy look to pull off and is sexy and girly at the same time. If you want to look gorgeous instead of just gruesome, you can work on your makeup to create a creepy but beautiful Halloween broken doll.

corpse bride costume

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Buy the corpse bride costume

This black corpse bride costume is elegant, spooky and perfect for those who want a modern and unique take on traditional Halloween costumes, without it being too short and sexy like many of the women’s fancy dress outfits are. The Corpse Bride is of course Tim Burton’s gothic animation about a dead bride who rises from the grave. This look is perfectly completed with a bouquet of black roses and a smokey gothic makeup look.

Sexy vampire queen

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Buy the vampire queen costume

Want an impressive costume? Now this is an impressive costume. You’re sure to turn heads when you’re wearing this gothic victorian ballgown with vampire style choker and high-necked collar. This is one of those outfits that doesn’t look like cliché Halloween – it’s not torn and stained with fake blood but I think that makes it all the more spooky, like you just set out of a period drama Halloween movie. It also looks amazingly high quality and expensive but it’s really good value. You’ll be the envy of all the other women at the Halloween party if you wear this!

Zombie Dorothy

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Buy the Zombie Dorothy costume

 

Of course Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz is a popular costume in its original form, but that’s far too sweet and innocent for Halloween. No, what you really need at this time of year is ZOMBIE Dorothy. There’s something really disturbing about this dressing up outfit and you can really perfect it with a full face of zombie makeup.

Fallen angel

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Buy the fallen angel costume

This dark fallen angel costume has just the right balance between scary and sexy and would make any woman look amazing on Halloween night. This costume includes the fallen angel dress, wings, and halo. All you need to complete the look are some sexy black books and dramatic makeup.

Carrie Prom Dress Costume

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Buy the carrie prom dress costume

This halloween fancy dress outfit is not for the faint of heart! You’re sure to terrify a few people if you walk around in this outfit, looking just like Carrie drenched in blood after she’s done her worst at the school prom. This impressively gory dress has printed blood stains all over it and the costume even comes with a blood stained blonde wig so you’re ready to go.

Morticia Adams

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Buy this Morticia Adams Halloween costume

The most elegant witch of them all! Who wants to be an old wrinkled warty witch when you can be a gorgeous glamourous witch with this shapely black dress. This is also an ideal costume for Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

Miss Edward Scissor Hands

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Buy this Miss Edward Scissor Hands costume

Edward Scissorhands is one of my favourite movies and I absolutely love the fact that you can get a female version of an Edward Scissor Hands costume. This gothic costume comes with a dress, choker and clever scissorhands gloves so there definitely won’t be any confusion over who you’re supposed to be.

Little Red Riding Hood

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Not everyone wants to look scary for Halloween. If you’d rather turn up to your Halloween party looking sweet and sexy, this could be the perfect costume for you. This outfit comes with the dress and cape so all you need to finish it off is a basket. What’s really great about this costume is that it’s really versatile and you can use it for other fancy dress parties, perhaps as a German beer wench or something of the sort!

Disney Frozen Halloween Costumes for Boys: Kristoff, Olaf & Sven

Ok so I’ve already been over the Frozen Elsa and Anna costumes and if you have a little girl, they’re sure to be happy with one of those two options. But in my experience, boys love Frozen just as much as girls and they’re going to get to the stage where they’re not happy to dress up in princess outfits anymore (luckily my 3-year-old is not quite at that stage yet!) So it’s a good thing that there are plenty of great Frozen Halloween costume ideas for boys. We’ll start with one of the major characters: Kristoff.

Frozen Kristoff Costume

frozen-kristoff-costume Ok so there aren’t as many options as Anna and Elsa when it comes to Kristoff costumes, but how many do you really need? This Frozen Kristoff Kids Costume looks pretty close to Kristoff’s outfit in the movie, complete with fur trimmed jacket and furry legwarmers. The linked outfit is in age 5-6 but there are other sizes available from the same seller. frozen-kristoff-mask   If you think there’s any doubt over who your little boy is supposed to be, or you can’t afford the outfit and you’ve made a cheap version at home out of an old t-shirt and some bits of fur fabric (which is always an option!), you could always add this fun Kristoff Mask. Masks are a really cheap and easy way to make a costume and you can actually buy the whole set of characters if you have lots of kids and want to make them all cheap Frozen Halloween costumes!

Frozen Olaf Costume

disney-olaf-costume Perhaps you prefer the lovable Olaf? In which case, this Olaf Kids Halloween Costume is perfect. It comes in three sizes: 2-3, 3-4 and 5-6 and is a a really good quality and creative costume for the price. This costume has excellent reviews on Amazon so you can be certain it will go down well with the kids and it will also be great fun to put in the dressing-up box around Christmas time. Of course this is a wonderful unisex costume and girls will love wearing it as much as boys.

Kids Frozen Sven Costume

frozen-sven-costume I have saved the cutest til last, in my opinion anyway! This Sven reindeer costume is another one that will work great at Christmas as well as a Halloween costume. It’s also an amazingly affordable price for the quality that you get. I think these reindeer costumes are perfect for little kids, they just look so cute and they’re nice and warm and cozy to stop them from getting chilly when you’re out trick or treating! This costume has great reviews on Amazon – one buyer said her little girl wouldn’t even take it off and insisted on wearing it to nursery school! Ok just one more! frozen-sven-baby-costume Adorable right?!! This Baby Sven Reindeer Costume is cute and comfortable for the smallest members of the family so if you’re looking for a baby Frozen costume, this could well be the one! This soft velour suit has rubber foot grips and a zip fastening. It’s suitable for babies and toddlers and comes in two sizes: 6-12 months and 12-18 months. I’m kind of wishing I had a baby again so I could dress them in this!

Frozen Dressing Up Costumes For Kids: Anna

Anna isn’t quite as popular as Elsa for Halloween costumes but she’s got a great outfit and if you’ve got two little girls, no doubt they roleplay Frozen constantly with one of them being Elsa and the other being Anna. (My second child is a boy but he doesn’t mind being Anna!) Whether you want a Frozen Anna costume to match with a Frozen Elsa Costume, or your little girl just prefers Anna’s outfit, this is another cute Halloween costume idea that comes in lots of different variations. frozen-anna-dress The first style of dress is this dress that she wears for most of the movie. It’s instantly recognisable as being “Frozen Anna” and can be worn with shoes or boots. This outfit comes complete with the cape and if you wear it with the wig I’ll link to further down the page, you little girl will look just like Anna on her trek through the snow with Kristoff to find Elsa! This dress comes in three sizes and is suitable for kids aged from three all the way up to eight years old. It’s excellent value for money, good quality, and works great as a Halloween costume or as a fun addition to the dressing-up box either on its own or with accessories. frozen-anna-coronation-dress For a little more glitz and glamour, I adore this Frozen Anna Coronation Dress, which looks exactly like the one she wears to the coronation ceremony and is a real “princess” dress. It’s great quality for the price you pay and looks amazing worn with a tiara and Anna shoes (read on for these!) I know my little girl would be absolutely thrilled to wear this Anna costume for Halloween! frozen-fever-anna-dress A third option is this Frozen Fever Anna dress, which looks exactly like the dress Anna wears in the short movie Frozen Fever. It’s made of gorgeous shiny blue fabric embroidered with sunflowers and will make any little girl feel like a real princess! Comes in three different sizes to fit kids aged 3-8. Ok now onto everybody’s favourite accessory: shoes! frozen-anna-boots If you’re going with Anna’s winter outfit, the first of the selection above, these boots are perfect to complete the look. They’re an exact replica of the ones Anna wears in the movie and they’re sold out in most of the Disney stores so get them while you can! They have a zip fastening and are available in several different shoe sizes from 6-12 to fit kids of lots of different ages. frozen-anna-shoes   If you’re going with the coronation or Frozen Fever outfit instead, shoes look better with the dress and these Frozen Anna shoes are just perfect in every single detail. They even have “Anna” written inside the sole in gold embroidery! frozen-anna-jelly-shoes The realistic-looking shoes and boots are gorgeous but they’re not terribly cheap. If you’re on more of a budget and looking for something simpler, you might want to go for these Frozen Anna Jelly Shoes in blue sparkly plastic with an Anna picture on them. They come in one size and will fit kids aged 3-6. frozen-anna-wig Now here’s that wig I was telling you about – isn’t it amazing?! This Frozen Anna wig is fully detailed, complete with fur-trimmed bonnet and streak of white hair. It fits kids aged about 3-6 years old. frozen-anna-headband If you don’t want to go the whole hog (whole wig?) this Frozen Anna Alice Band is a fun compromise. It’s subtle enough to be worn with everyday outfits and looks really cute! frozen-anna-tiara Don’t forget your tiara! This Frozen Anna Tiara in shimmery pink plastic goes great with all the Frozen Anna dresses and will make any little girl feel just like a princess for halloween. frozen-anna-jewellery-set Finally, this great value Frozen Anna Jewellery Set polishes off the look perfectly, with a pink necklace, ring, and clip-on earrings. Kids just love these frozen jewellery sets and they’re very inexpensive so well worth buying just to put a smile on their faces 🙂 Finish off your look with a Frozen Anna makeup look – have fun!

Frozen Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids: Frozen Elsa

If your kids are anything like many, they’ll probably be showing no sign of getting tired of the Disney movie, Frozen, any time soon. Yes, like everyone else in the world we’ve watched the movie so many times I can recite it by heart and my kids dance around the bedroom at night singing “Let it Go” with great passion. So frozen Halloween costumes are sure to remain a hit with any little boy or girl this year. Girls are probably the most likely to request a frozen costume for Halloween and I’m betting we’ll be seeing a lot of little Elsas running around on Halloween night, but there are also plenty of options for little boys including Kristoff or even Sven the reindeer or Olaf the snowman. Today I’ll be going over some ideas for an Elsa costume and we’ll deal with the other characters another time.

Elsa Costume for Halloween

Elsa is the most popular frozen character and it’s no wonder with her gorgeous glittery blue gown that all little girls love to wear and her long blonde hair adorned with sparkly tiara! My little girl insists that I plait her hair “like Elsa” almost every morning and she doesn’t even seem bothered that she has dark brown hair instead of blonde! Luckily there are lots of Frozen Anna dresses to choose from, making this a very easy Halloween costume to create disney-frozen-elsa-costume This Disney Frozen Deluxe Elsa Costume is one of the best-selling Elsa dresses on Amazon and comes in three different sizes, suitable for kids aged 3-8. It’s also one of the most affordable dresses available, so great if you’re on a tight budget. Obviously for that price you can’t be expecting amazing quality in terms of fabric, but it’s well-made and won’t fall apart the first time you wear it. I would however recommend only hand-washing and don’t put it in the machine.After halloween, this will make a great addition to your dressing up box. disney-frozen-fever-elsa-dress If you like to stand out from the crowd a bit and don’t want your little girl to look exactly like all the others wearing Elsa dresses, you might prefer this Frozen Fever Elsa dress, which has a different look, based on the dress Elsa wore in the new Disney short film, Frozen Fever. This dress also comes in three sizes (3-4, 5-6, and 7-8) and has a pretty flower overlay design that any little girl will be delighted with. Of course you’re going to need your accessories to complete the perfect Elsa Halloween costume. frozen-elsa-gloves I love these Frozen Elsa Magical Gloves which look just like the ones she wears in the movie to control her magical powers. They come in two sizes to fit kids aged 4-12 disney-frozen-sparkle-shoes Shoes are another essential item to complete the look. These Disney Frozen Elsa Sparkle Shoes have a cute picture of Elsa as decoration. These shoes are one size and are recommended for kids aged 3. frozen-elsa-shoes I also love these pretty shimmery blue sandals with rosette decoration. They fit children aged 4-6 frozen-elsa-tiara-wand Elsa’s tiara and wand are also an important part of the overall look (and my little girl loves any chance to wave around a magic wand!). This set is great value and includes gloves, a tiara, magic wand and even a clip-on hair piece so you can get that golden Elsa plait! disney-frozen-musical-wand I also think this Frozen magical musical wand is amazing. This would actually make a great birthday or Christmas present for any frozen fan and then you can easily pull it out to complete your kids Halloween costume. It has a gorgeous little snow globe at the top with Elsa inside it and if you press the button, it plays “Let it Go”. This is a really high quality item and kids love it. It sells out quickly so buy while you can as it’s sure to go out of stock before Halloween! If your child is blessed with long blonde hair then it will be pretty easy for you to recreate Elsa’s trademark side-plait but otherwise if you want an authentic look, you can buy an Elsa wig. After looking at the toy wigs available on Amazon, I’m hesitant to recommend one as most of the reviews say they are too small, so maybe they’re best avoided unless your child is very young or has a small head! Another option is to buy a blonde cosplay wig and plait it yourself – they tend to be better quality than children’s toy wigs but they’re also more expensive. frozen-elsa-hair-clips If you think a wig is overkill, you can always just add some cute hair accessories. These blue glitter snowflake hair clips are perfect and would be great to use every day to add a bit of sparkle, not just on Halloween. disney-frozen-jewellery Finally, this Frozen Elsa Jewellery set includes a necklace, ring and clip on earrings in sparkly white and blue plastic. The necklace includes a picture of Elsa set in sparkly jewels. I know my daughter would just go crazy over this! It’s also got excellent reviews, showing it’s a good quality product and value for money. So by now you should pretty much have everything you need to get your little girl ready and have a fantastic Halloween with your Frozen Elsa costume! Add a little blue sparkly eye shadow and you’re all set! If you want to be really professional, I’ve found a great youtube video tutorial of a Frozen Elsa makeup look if your kid will sit long enough to let you do it  (Mine won’t!)