Friday Five – Halloween Edition

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps

Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,
Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and
Mar at Mar on the Run.
Make sure to stop by their blogs for their picks and hop along to the other bloggers in the linkup, featured at the bottom of their pages!

This week is the Halloween edition!

Of the three traditions below, my family always “celebrated” Halloween with trick-or-treating, I’ve read about Samhain as I had friends who celebrated it, and over the years I’ve become more interested in Dia de los Muertos, or at least what it represents and tries to accomplish.

Halloween/All Hallows’ Eve

It initiates the triduum of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.Within Allhallowtide, the traditional focus of All Hallows’ Eve revolves around the theme of using “humor and ridicule to confront the power of death.”


Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset on 31 October to sunset on 1 November, which is nearly halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. Along with Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh it makes up the four Gaelic seasonal festivals. It was observed in Ireland, the Isle of Man, and parts of Scotland. Kindred festivals were held at the same time of year in other Celtic lands; for example the Brythonic Calan Gaeaf (in Wales), Kalan Gwav (in Cornwall), and Kalan Goañv (in Brittany).

Samhain is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and is known to have pre-Christian roots. Many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain. ISamhain (like Beltane) was seen as a liminal time, when the spirits or fairies (the Aos Sí) could more easily come into our world. 

Dia de los Muertos

Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones. 

The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos may be the calacas and calaveras(skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, as parade masks, as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations.

Favorite things from past and present Halloweens:

  • Candy – As a kid – ok, and older than that – my all-time goodie bag fave were the little Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But as I got older, candy corn and mellowcreme pumpkins were always what appealed to me (made by Brach’s, a local candy company where I worked as a temporary secretary during college). The sweetness is nicely offset by a strong cup of coffee, and a few candy corns post-run will perk you right up! And then someone invented pumpkin kisses….and a few years later, I mostly stopped eating candy. Go figure.
  • Pumpkin carving and putting a candle inside – my mom had a talent for this. I can picture her at the kitchen table with the pile of pumpkin innards on newspapers next to the gourd. As I got older, I got to draw on the pumpkin and she’d carve. Then I was old enough to carve. Then we went back to just drawing on them with markers – easier and they didn’t rot as quickly!
  • Skull stuff – like this marshmallow candy DH picked up
sugar skull candy

sugar skull candy

or this InknBurn sugar skull tech shirt that I own – It’s great to run in or just wear! Always gets noticed. (I put it under a sweater for work.)

sugar skull shirt


or these mash-up Halloween/Dia de los Muertos decorations painted by Endurance Planet’s Tawnee Prazak (multi-talented woman, an artist as well as triathlete, coach, podcaster….)

  • Seeing little kids in adorable costumes carefully making their way up the stairs to take a piece or two of candy in their chubby fists before making their way back down, step by step….usually prompted by their parents to say “thank you” – we’ve had some real cuties show up!
  •  It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! 

What are some of your favorite things about Halloween, Samhain, and/or Dia de los Muertos?

Have a happy – and safe – holiday, whichever you celebrate – and happy Friday if none of the above!