October: The Best Month of the Year
A blog piece for Lengro Magazine, 07/10/2020
Ah, October; autumn is in full swing now, with the best holiday of the year coming up – Halloween!! Sorry Christmas fans, but Halloween takes top prize in my book. Every year I try to do as many spooky activities as I can. Although All Hallows Eve will be a little different this year, I am still determined to celebrate it in style. It’s a real shame we can’t celebrate the holiday properly as this year’s Halloween falls on a Saturday with a full moon – the last time a full moon was seen on Halloween was 1944!
To kick things off, here are a few spooky facts to get you in the Halloween spirit!
-Halloween was originally known as Samhain, a Celtic festival where people would light bonfires and dress up in order to ward off ghosts and ghouls.
-The holiday is celebrated on October 31st as it was believed that the boundary between this world and the Otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing the ghosts of the dead to return to Earth for the night.
The Halloween festivities that we all know and love in the UK were actually brought over by Charles Dickens from The USA. So, Halloween in the UK is actually based on Dickens' observations of Halloween in America!
-In Victorian times, people were very superstitious. They loved a good ghost story and had regular ghost sightings – however, that was mostly caused by fever hallucinations, drugs, and fumes from gaslights.
-The tradition of bobbing for apples was brought over by the Romans – in late October, the Romans celebrated Pomona, the Roman Goddess of fruit and trees, whose symbol was an apple. The celebration was eventually combined with Samhain, so explains the focus on apples on Halloween.
-It was a common belief that on Halloween, you could conjure the name of your future spouse by doing tricks with yarn, apples, and mirrors.
-Trick or treating dates back to early All Souls’ Day celebrations in Britain, where poor citizens would beg for food in return for promising to pray for peoples dead relatives.
-The pumpkin carving tradition evolved from the Irish – they celebrated Halloween by carving faces into turnips to scare away “Stingy Jack” and other evil spirits. This evolved into Jack-o-lanterns, and when the Irish moved to America, they used pumpkins instead, which were native to the region.
Before Halloween festivities really start, I like to make my flat look as creepy and autumnal as possible. This mainly includes picking up as many spooky but practical items from my nearest supermarket. This week I picked up a mixing bowl presumably used to put sweets in, but it’s a great thing to have for popcorn!
I also love the candle collections around Halloween. Last year, Yankee Candle did a Limited Edition scent called Witches Brew, which smelled incredible! Plus it came in an amazing pot.
The other main thing I get for October is gourds. They look like tiny little pumpkins but often in different colours, like green, white, and yellow. Some you can eat, some you can’t, but either way, they are a small but cheap way to add some spook to your place.
My partner Ben would also recommend Candy Apples, you can get them anywhere for about 75p, and it’s a great way to trick kids into their 5 a day. A trick and a treat!
Black History Month
Alongside Halloween, October is also deemed as Black History Month in the UK. The celebration was first organised in 1987 under the leadership of Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, to celebrate and recognise the contributions of people with African and Caribbean backgrounds. It has now evolved to celebrate black people of all backgrounds.
There is a lot to say about Black History Month, too much to mention now. However, over the course of this month, I am aiming to go through a different aspect of it each week. With the rise of the BLM movement, it is something that I care about and see as very important, especially in the current political climate.
This week, I will be going through quickly the reason why Black History Month is needed, and why there is no ‘white history month’. To quote Chris from Sainsbury’s social media team…
“At present, there is no nationally recognised day or month called white history month and in an ideal world we wouldn’t need a specific month to celebrate any group of people, because we would all be celebrated equally and at all times. Instead, it could be said that it is more common for us to celebrate the achievements and historical contributions of white people than any other ethnic or racial group. Therefore, to expand our view of the world, it is helpful for us to have specific days and months to focus [on] other ethnic groups that have been historically marginalised or oppressed. Chris”
In other words, we don’t need a ‘white history month’, as every month is white history month, especially in the eyes of society, celebrations, and education. One of the main campaigns in recent times is the inclusion of Black British history to be included in the school curriculum, as I don’t know about you, but the only thing I remember learning in school about Black British and American history was about the slave trade. Black people are more than this slither of disgraceful history, and their cultures and histories are just as important as anyone else’s.
I am currently reading Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, and it is a brilliant and mandatory read. It is described as a “charged and necessary wake-up call to pervasive, institutionalised racism”, and the kind of book that “demands a future where we’ll no longer need such a book”. You can buy it here.
If you or someone you know is a black creative or small business owner and would like to be featured in one of my upcoming articles, please message my Instagram @d.vna__ or email me at email@example.com.
If you are interested and would like to learn more and help, please visit www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk or blacklivesmatter.uk
In honour of Oktoberfest, my partner and avid beer drinker, Ben, has given me a list of weird beers to try:
Salty Kiss – Magic Rock Brewing – This small sour beer is as bitter as regular beer but as refreshing as lemon water! As the label suggests, there’s a salty edge to it that really makes it stand out.
Millionaire – The Wild Beer Co – Chocolate beer, say no more! A creamy mocha-like drink with the consistency of beer.
Pineapple Milkshake – Black Sheep – If you like Snowballs at Christmas, you’re guaranteed to like this beer. A cross between a beer and a Pinã Colada!
Quench Quake – Brewdog – This beer will take you back to your youth, as it tastes exactly like sour candy! Would recommend it to those who usually don’t like beer.
Crunch (Peanut Butter Stout) – Hammerton Brewery – One that unfortunately I haven’t tried yet, but I am so excited to. Hopefully, it will live up to its name and be bursting with peanut flavour and goodness.
Let us know in the comments if you have tried any of these beers, or if you have any to add. We would love to hear from you.
I hope you enjoyed this week article, and tune in next week for my top tips for Halloween photoshoots!
Until next time,
Devina (& Ben) xx