Wednesday, October 23, 2013

La Notta Nera...Buono Halloween!

In America, we all grow up with's an American staple-a standing date, once a year!  We make costumes, carve pumpkins into lighted jack-o-lanterns, decorate our homes, and prepare for the long-awaited 'trick or treat' excursion through the streets of the city!

But wait!!! How about folks all over the world?  Is it just in America that this, oh, so exciting and spooky holiday is celebrated? Let us take a moment to ponder about the possibility of  other countries enjoying the brightly lit jack-o-lanterns, and children marching through the streets, chanting,
 "Trick or Treat, smell my feet...give me something good to eat!"

Most Americans believe that Halloween originated in America, as the first reports of  kids guising around North American neighborhoods go back to around 1911-1920.  Actually, we were introduced to this macabre holiday from the Scottish and Irish immigrants who brought it over in the 19th century.  We just nurtured it and kept it alive...very much so!

Okay, Okay...enough of American history for now!

Soooo, my dear readers, after mulling around, thinking first of  this, and, then queries produced quite a lot of Halloweenic activity throughout the universe.  But, since I only have time for one area,  I decided to give it the boot and go with our brothers and sisters in Southern Europe.

Italy typically celebrates a similar holiday called 'Carnevale', which begins 40 days before Easter and ends with Lent.  This celebration began in honor of a victory against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico in 1162.  There was dancing in the street, and, the townspeople wore masks made of leather, and/or porcelain.  This practice makes me think of Mardi Gras, such lavish costumes and masks.

In Corinaldo, Italy's le Marche region, the town celebrates with spooky attractions, dancing in the streets, with fire and lights all over town. Corinaldo is a medieval walled town, and dubs itself
 'The Capital of Halloween.'
~Corinaldo, Italy * Fire Dance on Halloween

In 1797, the festival was outlawed and masks were totally forbidden by the King of Austria.  Finally, in 1979, the Italian government brought back the carnival to showcase Venice history and culture...AND, of course, the masks returned!  The masks were, after all, a major feature of the Venetian carnival.

~Autumn carnival mask

~Venetian carnival masks

~Medico della Peste masks (below)
One of the more popular and peculiar Venetian masks is the Medico della Peste mask.  This mask was designed by a 17th century French physician, originally used to ward off plague and disease.  The doctor believed that by wearing this mask and gloves, the patient could be moved without passing the disease on to the doctor.  Today, these masks are more decorative and have become very popular, to be worn with a black cloak and white gloves.

OOH HOO...I've seen versions of this mask in 'SCARY' movies, haven't you?

Today, the Carnevale is still a top reigning festival, as, Halloween is becoming more favorable in Italy.  The celebration at the 'Devil's Bridge' in Borgo a Mozzano in 1993 claims to have marked the beginning of Italy's first Halloween celebration.
~Devil's Bridge in Borgo a Mozzano

Games, such as The Passage of Terror, are played here and horror movies are shown all night.

* It was common in Europe to have a day in honor of the dead.  This celebration called 'Feralia' took place in February at the end of the Roman year.  It is said that Pope Boniface IV invented 'All Saints Day', to replace the pagan holiday with one from Catholic roots. In essence, this appears to be the Italian Halloween.

* Let's do some Halloween window-shopping in Italy!
~ Halloween Shop in Italy

~Orvieto florist in Italy

~ Shop in Southern Italy

Aren't these photos great?  You're right!  I did NOT take these photos...unfortunately, I have never been to Italy, wishful thinking!

* So you see, the once sparsely decorated city of Rome has gradually adopted the Festive nature of Halloween with its stores catering to the public in honor of the holiday.

There are displays of mummies and skeletons...and, American horror movies!  There is a castle that sits on top of the village of Calice and it features special Halloween dinners there.

~castle Doria Malaspina

~restaurant at the castle

The Ghosthunter store reports haunted places in Italy
* Once such place is the Forum in Rome.  They say that at night you can look down over the barriers into the arches and catch impressions of shadowy figures lurking about, milling around, and gesturing...OMG!  What would I do if I were gestured at by a shadowy figure?  Well, you know me!  I would act like I didn't see a thing, lol!  There are a lot of old Roman housing areas surrounding this Forum, and, the ghosts are difficult to spot, because most of the city is lit up at night.  Oh, there's no worries...the ghostly figures are mostly just memories of the past, with no intentions of taking care of unfinished business!

 ~The Forum in Rome, stayed almost intact up to 1503

'Souling' is a custom that is very similar...well, it is actually today's 'trick or treating'.  It is an ancient practice that could have been one of the first signs of 'trick or treating', with folks going door to door begging for additional prayers for their deceased loved ones.  They would also accept soul cakes, which are part scone, and part teacake.  One soul cake soul saved.

Anyway, my most gracious friends, if you're still with me-I commend you for your patience up to this point.  What a great lot of history!  I have only touched on this celebration in Italy, there is so much more!  And, I promise, I will NOT do a Part II (deux)!


These people sure know how to parté!!!

I have so engrossed myself in the material I found on Halloween in Italy.  What exciting history from a country that offers so much beauty and culture! And, aren't the photos just grand?  I was so fortunate to find such great collections of the various types of celebrations, and decorations for sale about the cities.

  But, even though Halloween is presenting a more positive fashion of late in Italy, there is still a bit of uncertainty, and fear of the wandering spirits.  Using their masks and costumes, along with Jack-o-Lanterns, the Villagers' hope to scare off the spirits.

~La Festa Delle
Streghe Creature

Eeeek!!!  Now THAT'S Spooky! Don't want to meet HIM in a dark alley!  I mean, do you see where the rest of his body went?  Anyone?

And MY WORD...I have so many to thank this time:

Yahoo images for all of these pictures!

*  Thank you "YOUR HIGHNESS" over at MyTexasGardens for helping me find all of these cool pictures!  Illustrations surely give a story meaning...painting a picture that takes us from fantasy into the, perhaps, 'reality', and, then, back again to 'fantasy'.
Then, we must WAKE-UP!

You were wonderful for sticking around for my Halloween contribution...I do have a spooky story, but, then again, 'who doesn't'?  No really...I know of a story, and, I just need to get permission to ghost write it.  Even if it shows up here after Halloween, I know you won't mind!

Please stop by any time.  I love your company!  Don't know if our Scootie will be coming by for Halloween this year. His 5th birthday is this coming up on Saturday, so we will get to see him then. Take out for your precious little ones this Halloween.  I believe everyone is being more cautious these days-it's sad, but, we can't always be sure!

So, I'll leave you with this, my dear readers:

witch gif photo: witch gif witch_cooking.gif
"And now, my beauties, something with poison in it, I think.  With poison in it but attractive to the eye, and, soothing to the smell."

Who said this?  You guessed it!  The most famous WITCH EVER!

The Wicked Witch of the West!

See you soon, my pretties!

~ guess who?  lol....


  1. Hello, Suzanne, and happy 5th birthday to Scootie! This was a spooktacular post indeed, dear friend, crammed with interesting information and richly illustrated. Most of that history was new to me and I thank you for doing your research. I have a blog friend in Italy and if she posts something about the Halloween celebrations she attends I will let you know.

    I can just imagine how the trick-or-treaters at my door would react if I offered them prayers for their departed loved ones instead of candy! (LOL) Our neighborhood comes alive (and dead) on Halloween night with as many as 300 children coming to our door. I just saw an extended weather forecast that suggests the jet stream will be plunging far south at Halloween, bringing cold weather to the midwest, east and southeast. I hope it turns out that way because it's no fun trick-or-treating on a warm, humid night and getting bit by mosquitoes.

    What a gruesome fellow, that La Festa Delle Streghe Creature! EEEK is right, and I'm sure our friend Thisisme will agree. In my drinking and partying days I often woke up on the floor the next morning looking (and feeling) just like that! :)

    What a pretty witch, that last picture! You look like Glinda the Good Witch of the South, Fort Worth to be exact. :)

    Thank you for lots of info and loads of fun, dear friend Suzanne. I wish you and all your family members a safe and happy Halloween!

    1. Hi Shady! You know I didn't notice that La Festa Delle Streghe creature was missing some body parts until I looked a little closer-really, that was spooky! There were some fabulous pictures, I was so impressed and grateful to find the info! You're's strictly "give me candy, bring the whole bowl lady!" We get lots of serious trick or treaters, and it sounds like you do too! I do hope your weather turns out nice! Sometimes it is hot and muggy here on Halloween. Back home in Kansas, sometimes it would snow, but, most of the time it was cool on Halloween!

      I'm glad you enjoyed this post. I wanted to do something a little different-I'll tell a scary story some other time. Actually, some of the info I found for this post was pretty scary! Would love to go to Italy one day!

      Thank you for your wonderful visit, Shady, and for the birthday greetings for Scootie! Also, thanks for your comments on that good witch of the South! Actually, I think she's from the midwest, lol! Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween, Shady...trick or treat! ♫

  2. I really liked the blog , told Leta

    about it, gosh, how much time did you spend digging up all that info?

  3. Well, hallo you! So glad that lovely lady Suzanne has let you have your say for once! She does tend to take over, doesn't she?! What a great post, packed with information and spooky photos for us to look at. Eeeeek! I thought that the scariest witch was the very last one. LOL! I'm
    So glad you picked Italy because you know how much I love that country. I would love to see the Carnival in Venice one day. Happy birthday to Scootikins (!) and have a not TOO scary Halloween. Be good! I do hope that Karo is okay at the moment.

    1. Hi Thisisme! Glad you made it to France in good shape! I know how you love Italy...and, wondered if you had ever seen the Carnival. What sights there are! There is so much to see and learn in Italy-my travels into research left me really longing to go! Oh well, maybe one day. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post!

      Haha, yes that last witch is pretty scary alright! I hope you're having a wonderful and restful time, hugs to Alfred! Love the 'Scootikins' nickname...kinda rhymes with 'Shadykins', doesn't it? LOL!

      Thanks for your visit and comments-be careful, have a safe trip. I know I'll see you soon! ♥

  4. An excellent post on Halloween. Great pictures, too.

    Hope your Hallow's Eve was fun.

  5. Hi Nancy, thanks for looking was a pleasant Hallow's Eve, great weather makes all the difference. Glad you liked my post! Have a great week!


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