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Holy, Happy All Hallow’s Eve

It never made me enter the state of horripilation.

It was never macabre to me.

There was never anything scary about it. Just a whole lot of fun!

In case you don’t understand what the heck I’m talking about, and, just in case you haven’t noticed, it’s Halloween time! It’s a time for children to be kids and for all of us to let that “kid” come out of our adult bodies again.

We all enjoy the costumes and makeup we see as the children knock on our doors, visit our rooms and yell: “Happy Halloween! Trick or Treat!” Yes, it always brings a smile to our faces and I never forget the parents who are behind those door knocking kids. I wonder if what I’m seeing in front of me isn’t a piece of the parent?

The obvious answer is yes. Many times the parent is reliving or living their own memories and the tradition of Halloween continues in our kids. But how did the holiday begin? Well…

The ancient Celts in old Britain started it all with their Festival of Samhain. They believed the wall between the ghostly world and reality became very thin at the end of summer and that would allow the ghosts and goblins of the spirit world to wander the earth. That couldn’t happen It would lead to devilish things happening and so the Celts held a big end of summer celebration to scare away the potential ghastly visitors.

As Christianity became more dominant, the ancient party adopted a name based on two autumn holy days: All Hallow’s Day (All Saint’s Day) on Nov. 1 and All Soul’s Day on Nov. 2. Since the party needed to be held prior to those two holy days, All Hallow’s Eve was celebrated on Oct. 31 and there we have today’s Halloween.

When Irish immigrants arrived in this country in the 19th century, they brought the party with them and, in the 20th century, pumpkin carving and trick or treating became vogue. History is so interesting.

However, we mustn’t forget to be “horrified” of the ghosts, witches, goblins, skeletons, devils, vampires, spooks and whatever who appear on Halloween doorsteps and wish us a happy holiday or else! Let’s just have fun with it and, as adults and after the rush of door knockers and room visitors, let’s raise a glass of something to honor the holiday.

For you cocktail lovers, there’s a huge number of drinks that reflect the primeval holiday and one that’s enjoyable and flavor filled for me is the Vampire’s Weakness. After a long night of colorful costumed visitors, it’s very easy to make by combining equal amounts of Irish whiskey (gotta love Jameson Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey) with Campari and Sweet Vermouth, stir together with ice, strain into a glass and sip into the quietness of the night.

Not a spirit drinker? How about an India Pale Ale from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Decorah, Iowa? The IPA is called Fire, Skulls & Money and is a tip of the hat to the wanderlust in each of us. Filled with a variety of hops, the amazing bitterness is muted a bit by malt. But if it’s a strong IPA you are seeking in your Halloween basket, this is the one. The gruesome label with its skulls, fire and gold coins is a discussion point and is worthy of the tasty brew.

As stated above, the Halloween holiday is about preparing for some special holy days of remembrance and, prayers are always a part of those preparations. There is a winery in Washington that is part of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates named Prayers of Sinners and Saints and it produces wines that reflect the sinner and the saint in all of us. On the bottle of Prayers of Sinners Red Blend is their saying: “Whether you’re a sinner or a saint, we’re all the same at the core. The truth will be revealed in the dark.” The dark they’re referring to is their red blend wine.

Prayers of Sinners is a heavy blend with highlights of black berries and chocolate. It’s very dry and ends quickly — like many of our prayers? One very cool thing about the label is that the praying skeleton eerily glows in the dark. Ghostly and ghastly but a very enjoyable wine!

One more bottle of wine comes to us from the Paso Robles region of Sonoma County in California and is made by Chronic Cellars. It’s called Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise and, again, it’s a red blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Grenache grapes. The label features a skull with dice as eyeballs and the wine is lush, full bodied and full of spiciness. Totally enjoyable!

Well, enough with the wines, beers and spirits. Let’s get ready for those costumes creatures to show up tomorrow and have a blast. Whether the child (or adult) is dressed as an angel or a zombie, don’t get goose bumps — have some fun!

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