The History of Halloween

October 16, 2012

Was that a witch whizzing through the air? A ghost peeking around that twisted tree stump? A vampire stalking you through the cemetery? Could be – the howling winds of October are upon us and with them come all sorts of otherworldly creatures and customs. Historians are divided on Halloween’s true origins; some believe the holiday is based on the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, while others take it back as far as Roman celebrations of ancestors and the dead. Just about everybody agrees that the Halloween we celebrate today is based in the old Christian holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, which were reserved for praying for the recently departed who had yet to reach heaven.

The word “Halloween” itself is likely a Scottish variant on the title “All Hallows Eve,” the day before All Saints Day, and was first seen in the 15th century.   Today, Halloween is second only to Christmas in retail sales, and is rapidly gaining due to increasing interest in decorating our homes and yards; yet Halloween celebrations remained largely the domain of Ireland and Scotland, reaching North America in the mid-19th century when immigrants from those countries brought their traditions to the United States. From carving pumpkins to asking for candy, here’s a quick look at those traditions and their meaning.

Jack o’Lanterns

A favorite for many families, the carving of pumpkins began with the humble turnip. A British term dating from the 17th century, “jack o’lantern” literally means “man with a lantern.” Catholic children in the British Isles carried hollowed-out turnips (more likely rutabagas, not the small turnips we eat here) with carved faces, lit by a candle, as they went door-to-door begging for soul cakes on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day. When Irish and Scottish families began settling in the United States, they traded the turnip for the more readily available pumpkin, and our pumpkin carving tradition began.

Bobbing for Apples

No Halloween party is complete without a tub full of water and apples. While potentially messy, bobbing for apples has been a traditional game for at least a few hundred years. Again originating in Ireland and Scotland, it was most likely a divination (or fortune-telling) game. Partygoers would attempt to catch an apple in their mouths, peel it carefully in one piece, throw the peel over their shoulders, and turn around to find it in the shape of the first initial of their true love’s name.

Trick or Treating

One of the most beloved sights of Halloween are the parades of children dressed in their costumes and makeup, roaming the neighborhood and begging door-to-door for treats. Trick-or-treating has its roots in the Middle Ages custom of Christmas wassailing, when people went door to door asking for food and drink. It also resembles the medieval practice of “souling,” when poor people canvassed neighbors asking for food in exchange for prayers for the dead.

However you choose to celebrate Halloween, the Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resorts team wishes you happy haunting!   Click here for Fall and Halloween events at Jellystone campgrounds. 

Jellystone Park™ Campground in Sturbridge, Massachusetts Hosts Halloween Weekend

October 27, 2010

Join the spooky Halloween family fun at Jellystone Park™ Campground in Sturbridge, Massachusetts  October 29-31. There are treats for tricksters of all ages, including arts and crafts, scarecrow building, leaf gathering, bingo, spider-walk races, pumkin bowling, holiday parade, trick-or-treating, Halloween dance, Enchanted Forest walk, haunted story teller, and more. Plus there will be costume contests for adults and children with awesome prizes.

Haunt Your Favorite Jellystone Park™ Campground this Halloween

October 21, 2010

The witching hour has arrived. October is here, and with it comes sweet-but-tart caramel apples, rotund orange pumpkins glowing with candlelight, crisp evenings arriving earlier than we remember, and of course ghosts, goblins and ghouls of all ages, shapes and sizes. It’s a frightfully festive season at Jellystone Park Campgrounds, and our parks pull out all the spooky stops to celebrate. While the fun started in September, it moves into high gear this month with costume parties, dancing under the harvest moon, campsite decorating contests (the one creating the most shivers wins), trick or treating, haunted hayrides and so much more. There’s still plenty of time to hang out with Yogi Bear™ and friends in honor of the spookiest day of the year, so check in with your favorite Jellystone Park to find out what’s on the scary agenda.

Halloween Fun at Jellystone Parks

It’s Pumpkin Fest every weekend in October at our campground in Bremen, GA. Boys and ghouls will love hay rides, the pumpkin patch, pumpkin painting, train rides, a treasure hunt, pie-eating contest, reptile show and more. On Halloween weekend, deck your campsite in scar-ific finery and compete for a $100 prize. There’s also trick or treating, dance and costume contests, a haunted train ride, Halloween party and pumpkin carving contest. 
Scary good deals haunt the Branson, MO, campground. Guests save 30%-50% on campsites and cabins – check the website for details. You’ll find costume contests, ghostly galas, face painting, hay rides, trick-or-treating (don’t forget to bring candy) and the Magic Pumpkin Patch. Must reserve via phone for discount; please call 417-546-3000.

At the RV park in Robert, LA , the good times are rolling when witches and warlocks take over the park every weekend in October. Kick the frightful fun into high gear with night-vision volleyball, trick-or-treating, Golf Cart Poker Runs, and a Haunted Maze. Halloween Weekend is full of creepy fun for everyone.

Sturbridge Jellystone - Halloween Weekend Reservations

October 10, 2010

Make reservations for HALLOWEEN WEEKEND

This year we are celebrating Halloween Weekend twice.

  • October 22-24
  • October 29-31

Great Entertainment, Trick Or Treat, Costume Judging, Site Judging, Haunted Forest Walk (There will be a block of campsites set aside for those of you who wish to decorate them for the haunted walk. There will be prizes for the scariest campsites. Decorated campsites will be judged by everyone on the Horribles Light Stick Parade)., Store Discounts, Snack Bar Discounts, Haunted Story Teller, Pumpkin Carving Contest and more….

(508) 347-9570

Other Fall Specials – 6 Great Weekends

There is still time to enjoy this great deal, only at our campground in Sturbridge, MA!

Tired of towing your trailer!! Come park your trailer and leave it for 6 consecutive weekends of family fun. Featuring live entertainment, special activities and a whole lot of fun!!


Sept. 24 – Oct. 31

Includes 2 Halloween Weekends Oct. 22-24 and Oct. 29-31

All 6 Weekends from only $275.00

$275.00, Couple/$315.00, Family, $20.00 extra for wooded or sewer, $50.00 extra for lake. Reservations required

Give us a call at (508) 347-9570

Let the fun begin…

Check out all the Available Campsites at Jellystone Park in Sturbridge.

Barton Lake Indiana Campground Announces Halloween Festivities

October 1, 2010

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort at Barton Lake is celebrating the fall and Halloween season this year with four Halloween weekends!

September 17-19 is “Happy Howl-O-Ween”, geared for the Little Tykes. The Barton Lake Indiana campground will feature a costume parade with trick-or-treating along the parade route, picture time in the pumpkin patch, hunt for The Great Pumpkin, story time, craft hour, cartoons, wagon rides, bingo and more!

September 24-26 “Yogi Bear Witching Weekend”, Something is brewing on Barton Lake! Costume parade with judging, trick or treating through the park, bring a pumpkin for judging, best decorated site awards, ceramics, wagon rides, cartoons, bingo and more!

October 1-3 “Monster Bash”, Halloween is not complete without a Monster Bash! Wear your costume for the famous Monster Ball with the Bears, Trick or treating through the campground, ceramics, cartoons, wagon rides, bingo and much more! Keep those sites decorated – awards for the best decorated campsites!

October 8-10 “Spooks & Spirits” Another spooky weekend at our Jellystone Park in Indiana! Bring your costume for the costume parade with judging, trick or treating through the park, ceramics, cartoons, wagon rides, bingo and best decorated site awards!