For event organisers



Event ideas continued
Traditionally Halloween parties have involved children dressing up in scary costumes and trick or treating at neighbours doorsteps, but with a little bit more imagination they can be turned into a good event for all the family. Ideas could include a themed spooky fancy dress competition perhaps for the best headless ghost costume, how about find the hidden scary characters placed around your village or area or a vampires disco with red drinks to look like blood and food to match, held in a darkened marquee with candlelit pumpkins on poles lining paths leading to the entrance could be one idea.

For bigger Halloween events, how about hiring professional face painters to paint faces on children or a scary ghost train ride from funfair or amusement ride operators. Most importantly remember to keep it fun, not too serious or scary and always supervise children, never send them of alone to look for things or knock on strangers doors to trick or treat.






Planning intro
Planning and research is the key to organising a successful event.
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Plan early
Start planning as early as possible.
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Your event aims
Establish what your event is setting out to achieve.
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Event ideas
Firework display, Halloween parties.
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Delegate tasks
Set up a committee and delegate tasks.
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When and where
Time and place to hold your event.
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Financial planning
New events can need initial funding.
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The origins of Jack o'Lanterns
One of the first images that comes to mind when we think of Halloween is probably the Jack o'Lantern: a hollowed, candle lit, pumpkin carved in a head shape with an eerie expression. The origins of Jack o'Lanterns stem from Irish folklore where potatoes or parsnips were probably more likely to have been used as lanterns. During the Irish potato famine hundreds of thousands of Irishman immigrated to America where pumpkins became more readily available and were adopted as Jack o'Lanterns. Over the years the tradition of using pumpkins has been exported back to Europe.

A drunkard Irish blacksmith named Jack had the misfortune to run into the Devil in a pub, some say on Halloween night. Jack had too much to drink and was about to fall into the Devil's hands, but managed to trick the Devil by offering his soul in exchange for one last drink. The Devil turned himself into a sixpence to pay the bartender, but Jack quickly pocketed him in his purse. Because Jack had a silver cross in his purse, the Devil could not change himself back. Jack would not let the Devil go until he promised not to claim his soul for ten years.

The Devil agreed and ten years later Jack the Devil while walking on a country road. The Devil wanted to collect, but Jack, thinking quickly, said "I'll go, but before I go, will you get me an apple from that tree?" The Devil, thinking he had nothing to lose, jumped on Jack's shoulders to obtain the apple. Jack pulled out his knife and carved a cross in the trunk of the tree. This left the Devil in the air, unable to obtain Jack or his soul. Jack made him promise to never again ask for his soul. Seeing no way out, the Devil agreed.

When Jack finally died years later, he was not admitted to Heaven, because of his life of drinking and being tight fisted and deceitful. When he went to apply for entrance to Hell, the Devil had to turn him away because he agreed never to take Jack's soul. "But where can I go?", asked Jack. "Back where you came from!", replied the Devil. The way back was windy and dark. Jack pleaded with the Devil to at least provide him a light to find his way. The Devil, as a final gesture, threw a live coal at Jack straight from the fire of Hell.

To light his way and to keep it from blowing out in the wind, Jack put it in a turnip he was eating. Ever since, Jack has been doomed to wander in darkness with his lantern until "Judgment Day." Jack of the lantern (Jack o'Lantern) became known as the symbol of a damned soul. When the term jack-o'-lantern first appeared in print in 1750, it referred to a night watchman or a man carrying a lantern. People believed that spirits and ghosts left the grave on Halloween and would seek out warmth in their previous homes.

Villagers, fearful of the possibility of being visited by the ghosts of past occupants, would dress up in costumes to scare the spirits on their way. They would also leave food and other treats at their door to appease the spirits, so they would not destroy their homes or crops, but instead move on down the road. They also began to hollow out turnips with a face either painted or carved into it, and place lighted candles inside, hoping the image of a dammed soul would scare the spirits away.

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