"Amok, amok, amok, amok, amok!" —Sarah Sanderson / Hocus Pocus
It’s that time of the year again when the words spooky and treats are bandied about with child-like abandon. Yes, Halloween cometh once again!
October has always held within it the fiery splendor of Fall ~ when the trees celebrate with a final burst of leafy embers before sleep and the harvest brings forth that last nourishing bounty. And for us humans in some parts of the world, it is the month to celebrate both mortals and the supernatural with carousing, costumes, and candy.
“I dropped the candies into the children’s bags, thinking: You small mortals don’t realize the power of your stories.” – Karen Russell, Vampires in The Lemon Grove
Like a witch’s cauldron bubbling with both common and obscure ingredients, Halloween is an amalgamation of traditions from various cultures and religions. It is a festival replete with symbols, each with its own roots and meaning. It would be wise to know the origins of whatever we spend so much energy on, so let me treat you to few choice morsels about this dark and delicious holiday ~
“I see dead people.” - The Sixth Sense ~ Although Halloween is a contraction of the Western Christian observance All Hallows’ Eve, its practices can also be traced to Samhain. This ancient Gaelic festival honored October 31st at sunset as the start of the new year, the end of harvest season, and the time when the dearly departed once more roamed the earth to visit with their families or to exact their revenge.
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” - Macbeth ~
The costumes intrinsic to our modern-day festivities are said to have originated from the practice of mumming or guising common in 16th century Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man. As the veil between worlds was believed to be thin enough for supernatural beings and malevolent spirits to be abroad, hiding one’s true face offered protection from mischief or harm. Medieval Christians believed that the dead rose for one night of grotesque revelry. This danse macabre — enacted in European court masques and village pageants — served as a reminder of the inevitability of death and became the precursor of the costume parties we hold today.
“Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, ‘Never take candy from strangers.’ And then they dressed me up and said, ‘Go beg for it’.” - Rita Rudner ~ Ancient Celts dressed up as animals or monsters to hide from malevolent fairies who could whisk them away. 15th century Western Christianity observed Allhallowtide by baking and sharing soul cakes to the poor, commonly children, in exchange for prayers for their dead relatives or friends. This tradition of wearing false faces, souling in disguise — as well as the imitation of evil spirits and playing pranks on neighbors in Ireland and Scotland in the 18th century — evolved into the trick-or-treat practice we enjoy every Halloween.
“I am Jack, the Pumpkin King!” – The Nightmare Before Christmas ~ Traditionally carried by guisers and lit up to ward off evil spirits, the jack-o-lantern was first carved from turnips. With the ingress of immigrants and their traditions to North America, the pumpkin became the preferred canvas, as it was larger and easier to sculpt.
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
For this month of magic, merriment, and monsters, EndlessPens would like to tempt you with some recommended delicacies with a taste of Halloween ~
Opus 88 Fountain Pen - Demonstrator ~ In colors reminiscent of pumpkins, blood, night, ghosts, and candy, these eyedropper-filler tanks are sure to hold enough ink to write pages upon pages of your next scary story.
Nahvalur (Narwhal) Fountain Pen - Original Plus (2022) ~ Following the success of Narwhal Original Series debuted in 2019, Nahvalur is taking this series further. Nahvalur Original Plus series maintains the affordable price point and the in-house developed No.6 stainless steel nib, while upgrading the filling system from a piston to a vacuum system. Look at those lovely swirls of candy colors!
Sailor Fountain Pen - Pro Gear Autumn Sky ~ Sailor's Pro Gear has a unique design with a cut-away cap and inlaid Sailor anchor logo on the top. The 'Autumn Sky' is the second model in Sailor's Pillow Book series. It features a red-orange barrel and cap with gold-plated trims and a 21K Gold with gold plating nib. This pen perfectly captures the warm hue of the season.
Fine Writing International Fountain Pen - The Wheel of Time: Autumn Equinox - Limited Edition - Endless Exclusive (2022) ~ “The Autumn Equinox comes after a great harvest. As the Earth slows down, we too begin to feel the inner groaning of our souls seeking rest.“ - micahfinds. This is another lovely pen that embodies the essence of Autumn. Made with acid- and alkali- resistant resin and fitted with a German Jowo #6 stainless steel nib, take this along with your journal as you walk under the blazing trees.
Diamine Ink Bottle (30ml / 80ml) - Orange ~ Diamine has a long, rich history dating back to 1864. Produced in the UK, it is made with a gentle formula safe for all fountain pens. This selection of various hues of orange will brighten your page with rich Autumn colors.
Wearingeul Ink Bottle (30ml) - Monthly World Literature ~ 'The Color of Literature' project expresses the stories and impressions of various literary works using evocative colors. This series illustrates the specific scenes or the atmosphere of novels and poems. This set of inks capture the gothic mood and romance of October’s liminality.
Wearingeul Ink Set - Becoming Witch ~ Becoming Witch Set is a package of Wicked Witch Ink 30ml and 4 different Magic Glitter Potions. You can make glistening inks of four magical element attributes (Ice, Fire, Dark, and Light) by adding glitter potions into Wicked Witch ink. Make your witch ink bottles of the four cardinal points in the world of Oz! This recommendation needs no explanation. ;)
“We ask only to be reassured about the noises in the cellar and the window that should not have been open.” - T.S. Eliot
Halloween — for all its modern-day, costume parties and bountiful sweets — traces its ancestry to darker, more somber roots that reflect the changing of the seasons. With Fall comes shorter days and longer nights. Nature begins to wind down and prepare for restorative slumber after that final burst of life. As the last fruits of the earth have been gathered and stored for the lean months ahead, our ancestors began to delve deeper into the transience of life and their own mortality.
The underlying threads of Halloween are death, the unknown beyond the boundaries of the human world, and what horrors may lie within — spirits, fairies, ghouls and other monsters that our rich cultures have spun from collective imagination and perception. Since what we cannot fully comprehend understandably evokes fear, we seek to make them concrete to gain a semblance of control. We create symbols and rituals that we can use as methods for protection and appeasement.
Through stories we find ways of voicing out these fears. By letting the metaphorical monsters come out and play, we ease them off of our minds and take comfort in the company of family and friends. With each retelling, every reenactment, we give ourselves the freedom and courage to face these fears and keep them at bay.
This is why horror stories hold such a thrill for me. I let myself see what frightens me, I allow myself to feel the emotions that follow, and live vicariously until the end. It is both a creepy journey into my inner world and a cathartic release from my real one.
“Welcome to my nightmare. I think you’re gonna like it.” - Alice Cooper
This October, unleash your own creative magic with full Halloween flavor! Let all those night terrors out to dance and frolic on the page. Using your fountain pens and inks (in Fall colors, perhaps?), let these journaling prompts inspire you to write and/or sketch, and reflect ~
May these prompts help you prepare for Halloween and lead you deeper into your own shadowy corners.
“Last night you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again.” – Morticia, The Addams Family (also me, *cackle)
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!