The History of Halloween
Halloween is just around the corner, and this year, we are particularly excited because we have a special visitor! From 17th until 31st October, every team that visits The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience in either London and Manchester, will come face to face with a cryptic crystal gazing Fortune Teller, sent by Mumsey to test teams with an unnerving game of high stakes riddles.
The History of Halloween
The ancient Celts believed that on October 31, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred, as they celebrated Samhain. On Samhain, it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth! In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the Romans conquered the Celts in 43 A.D., two Roman traditions were combined with the Celtic festival. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honour Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this into Samhain celebrations probably explains the Halloween tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today.
The History of Fortune Tellers
The first recorded instance of fortune telling dates back to the ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui, which was used to determine the best placement of objects in order to achieve balance and harmony. The use of astrology to predict the future was also popular in ancient China, and fortune tellers would often use the positions of the stars and planets to make predictions. The ancient Romans also had a belief in the power of fortune telling, and there are many records of Roman emperors consulting with soothsayers before making important decisions. In the Middle Ages, fortune telling became associated with the occult, and people would often consult fortune tellers to find out about their future husbands or wives, or to find out if they would be rich or poor. During the Renaissance, the practice of fortune telling was often looked down upon by the Church, but many people still consulted fortune tellers in secret. In the 19th century, the practice of fortune telling became more popular again, and there was a surge in the number of people who claimed to be able to tell fortunes. The 20th century saw a decline in the popularity of fortune telling, but it has experienced a resurgence in recent years. There are now many fortune tellers who operate both online and offline – or in The Crystal Maze…!
Halloween and 90s TV
The 90s were a golden age for TV – we should know! Halloween episodes were always a lot of fun.
Here are some of our favourites:
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" - The first Halloween episode came in season 2, where Buffy and her friends are cursed by a spell, where everyone turns into whatever they were dressed up as. In the second, called, “Fear, itself” they go to a Halloween party at a haunted house, where they have to deal with an accidentally summoned demon!
"Friends" – Who can forget the iconic pink bunny outfit and “spudnik”. Classics.
"The Simpsons" – Reigning supreme with their "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, the Simpson family always find themselves in terrifying yet hilarious Halloween fun.
"Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" – Unsurprisingly, Halloween episodes were a staple for Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Check our “Good Will Haunting” from season 3 for a real treat.
Happy Halloween, everyone!