It’s the most gruesome time of the year! A day where we get to play pretend and become someone else for a few hours. Costumes range from vampires to Playboy Bunny to zombies to your favourite action hero or even your favourite villain. Either way, Halloween is a judgement-free day.
Origin of Halloween
Halloween originated some 2000 years ago. It is an ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which is celebrated on October 31st; the night before their new year on November 1st. The Celts had a belief that on New Year’s Eve, the boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead became blurred. Thus the ghosts of the dead returned to earth!
Additionally, October 31st signified that the dark and cold winter was coming. Because of this, Celtic priests would take this opportunity to comfort the Celts by conjuring predictions about the future. To commemorate the festival of Samhain, Celts built sacred bonfires where people would gather to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic Deities. The Celts would wear costumes – primarily those made of animal heads and skins – and often attempted to tell each other’s fortune. When the celebrations concluded, they would light their hearth fires to assist in protecting them during the following winter.
Halloween in the 2000s
Since the secularisation of the Celtic Festival, Halloween has become one of the most popular festivals celebrated around the world. And here, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, we too partake in the gruelling day’s festivities.
According to the locals, Tiki Hut on Turtle Cove Marina was famed for its Halloween celebrations. In the 2000s, Tiki Hut hosted an annual Halloween extravaganza. I could vividly remember participating in the typical Halloween games such as bobbing for apples, witch’s hat ring toss and even sometimes pinning the hat on the witch. Like many other kids my age, I only had one goal, to participate in as many games as possible so that I can fill my pumpkin-shaped candy container with as many sweets!
Tiki Hut was also notorious for its Haunted House. Now, the Haunted House was a quaint building. It didn’t scream horror, it just looked like any other building. However, when you entered the building, the dead came to life and were dangerous! Dark and mysterious music filled the background to mask the screams of the kids and adults. Zombies roamed the halls, ghosts performed disappearing acts, fake blood smeared from wall to wall and doorknob to doorknob.
They even added cobwebs for some Halloween razzle-dazzle because what’s more frightening than trying to sprint through the arduous Horror House and just to get caught in some webs?
After so many years, I still remember this random guy tapping me on my shoulder to show me that he misplaced his hand. And as I looked down, his hand was sauntering over my feet. I screamed and ran like my life depended on it, leaving everyone in my party behind. Once we exited the Horror House, you could hear everyone sighing and making fun of each other about their reactions.
Tiki Hut Halloween Extravaganza was one for the books and every year around this time, I reminisce about it. Throughout the year, I even look at buildings that could potentially be used as a Horror House, in the hope that someone will pick up the Halloween mantle and carry the tradition on. Maybe one day, once the COVID-19 Pandemic is over, someone will (and I hope they call me to assist, lol!).
Halloween Presently in the TCI
Presently, resorts and restaurants on the island host their own Halloween Parties for their guests and customers. Families and friends host their private jamborees that consist of hysterics, libations and trick-or-treats for the kids. This year, Halloween falls on a Sunday and in true Turks and Caicos fashion, the Halloween festivities will be held either on Friday, October 29th or Saturday, October 30th.
Do you prefer Halloween today or would you rather go back in time for a scare from the past? Either way, we’re wishing you a happy Halloween and with good fright and fun!