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Imagining the origins of Halloween

Long ago and far away, a small assemblage of English people gathered in England to cook hotdogs on an open fire.

The sticks they used to impale the wieners lengthwise were quite large, diameter wise, whereupon a large portion of the insides of the wieners was inevitably removed when pulled from the stick.

However, this pleased the small assemblage no end, since they enjoyed the tasty and much healthier result, which caused them to vow to officially name their group the “Hollow Wieners.”

Also, they decided to dress up in scary costumes whenever they met to make these special hotdogs, because they were all members of a local amateur theatre group, which was, and still is, extremely common in the United Kingdom to this very day.

As is the custom, just when the Hollow Wieners were having too much fun, the government stepped in and the name was changed by the Minister of Doing Nothing At All, or DNA.

Unfortunately, the marginally dyslexic minister (who was a notoriously poor speller) misspelled “Hollow Wieners” and filled in all the official declaration documents declaring the “Halloweeners” official founders of the event known as “Halloween.”

And whereupon soon after, at one of the fateful hollow wiener roasts, the Halloweeners’ bonfire accidentally caused some Houses of Parliament to almost burn down and blow up, due to copious amounts of gunpowder laying around.

The minister of DNA blamed one particular Halloweener on account of he, the minister, didn’t like the scary face mask the Halloweener was wearing.

This Halloweener’s name was John Smith, but the minister, being marginally dyslexic, arrested (and executed) a hapless fellow named Guy Fawkes instead.

And as disastrous events so often go, a celebratory remembrance of this fateful night ensued every year henceforth on every subsequent Oct. 31, the birthday of John Smith.

The event caught on like a House on fire. Why?

One word: hotdogs.

No, sorry, that word would be: candy.

Historically, once the Halloween tradition of dressing up in scary costumes, cooking wieners and almost burning down important buildings leapt across the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in North America, wieners had been replaced by candy (candy being much healthier), and instead of starting fires, Halloweeners only threatened to be pyromaniacs by yelling “trick or treat” at people’s houses and then demanding candy by holding up large pillow cases.

This led to the invention of very small chocolate bars and tiny packages of red or black licorice Twizzlers, which meant that the homeowners would gain less BMI (body mass index, also known as BF – being fat) after Halloween because the leftover TFTT (treats for television time) were much smaller.

And, at Halloween, we can’t forget pumpkins, try as we may. Pumpkin carving became popular early on when one of the original Hollow Wieners (John Smith) discovered that if he put the resulting pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and sprinkled them with olive oil, butter and seasoning salt, and popped them in the oven at 300 F for 45 minutes, he would have a delicious roasted snack to compliment his hotdog.

Years later, someone (John Smith Jr.) came up with the idea to carve a face on the pumpkin, and later still, someone (Guy Fawkes Jr.) started putting fire inside the pumpkin.

He called it a “Guy-o’-lantern.” This was later recorded dyslexically by the minister as “jack-o-lantern,” and Guy Jr. was so angry, he tried to burn down the Tower of London.

He changed his mind when the minister complimented his costume and gave him an extra handful of miniature candy, and called him Donald.

And forevermore, all was well on Halloween.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

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