Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween 'Possesses' Clay Aiken Fan Sites

HAPPY HALLOWEEN -- AmazingCA created a Halloween setting for this Timeless Tour photo of Clay Aiken by kareneh. Click to enlarge.

NIP Rallies Votes for $50k Grant

Goblins Invade Clay Cyberspace

A brief tour of Clay Aiken message boards, blogs, and Facebook walls reveals that ghosts and goblins this Halloween Weekend have once again possessed the Internet landscape as well as real life terrains.

The same talented graphic artists who treat fans to handsome designs year round have taken the lead in decorating Clay Cyberspace for Halloween 2010. Seasonal decor in Clay Land features creative banners, avatars, as well as graphic designs.

Fledgling composers have blossomed within the ranks of my music students as many have created spooky songs for their instrument. High tremolos abound in songs by violinists while pianists have utilized the lowest and highest ranges of the keyboard, minor modes, and generous helpings of the damper pedal.

Text & Treat for Inclusion Project

Amidst all the Halloween fun, the campaign for a $50,000 grant for the National Inclusion Project is still top priority as supporters continue reciprocal voting with other charities in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge and enlisting new votes from friends, family, and associates.

A key project this weekend is to download the PDF version of the above Text and Treat fliers to hand to eligible voters (US citizens 13 and older) all weekend, including Sunday's bewitching hour for trick-or-treaters.

The October campaign closes at midnight Sunday ET, and the Inclusion Project needs every vote -- Internet, Facebook, and text -- foundation supporters can rally.

Register and vote through the National Inclusion Project website for a chance to win a new iPad if the foundation is successful. You can also vote for the NIP, alliances, and several reciprocating partners with the widget in the Carolina sidebar.

Origin of Holiday Customs Varied

Ever wonder where this October celebration originated? The word Halloween comes from a contracted corruption of All Hollows Eve (or "All Saints Day"), a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints.

In 5th century BC Celtic Ireland, the holiday marking the official end of summer, Oct. 31, was called Samhain (sow-en), heralding the Celtic new year.

The Romans adopted Celtic practices as their own. In the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of other Roman traditions, among them their day honoring Pomona, Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which may be the precursor for the modern day Halloween tradition, bobbing for apples.

From Souling to Trick-Or-Treating

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated with a ninth-century European practice called souling. On Nov. 2, All Souls Day, early Christians walked from village to village begging for soul cakes. The more soul cakes the beggars received, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the donors' dead relatives.

W3Schools.comFrom Irish folklore comes the Jack-O-Lantern custom. Jack, an evil, fun-loving man, made a deal with Satan that backfired; and when he died, he was denied access to both Heaven and Hell.

To light his way through the frigid darkness, Jack was given a single ember, which was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip.

Though some cults have adopted Halloween as their favorite holiday, it is important to remember the tradition did not come from evil practices. Today many churches sponsor Halloween parties, traditional pumpkin patches, as well as pumpkin-carving events and "haunted houses."

Halloween is as evil or as festive as we choose to make it.

HALLOWEEN CELEBRATIONS: Selected for their spooky themes, these clickable graphics are just in time for this weekend's ghosts and goblins. Featured are designs by Claystruck, 1; Clayquebec1, 2; AmazingCA, 3; Ashes, 4; and Fountaindawg, 5. Thank you for giving the visual artists a shout-out in the comments below.

Ghost Stories a Carolina Tradition

As a North Carolinian, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the plethora of famous Tar Heel ghost stories.

Even the titles are scary: Blackbeard's Queen Anne Revenge; A Colonial Apparition; Buried Alive; The Scull Hangs High; Bells, Books, and Rafters; The Headless Haunt; The Peg-Legged Ghost; The Greensboro Hitchhiker, The Devil's Tramping Ground.


For this Wilmington native, The Maco Light easily tops the list of favorite ghost tales. Visiting the Maco Light was the theme of many an autumn hayride in my youth. Maco is located in Brunswick County, 12 miles northwest of Wilmington and in the past was a stop along the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.

W3Schools.comBriefly, in 1867 conductor Joe Baldwin was riding the last car of his train when it somehow became uncoupled from the engine.

As he watched another train fast approaching his slowing car, Joe wildly waved his lantern back and forth in warning; but his efforts were in vain. The oncoming train barreled into the car, and Joe was decapitated in the accident.

Just seconds before the crash, Joe's lantern was hurled away by a mighty, unseen force, landing in an upright position. Shortly after the horrible accident, the Maco Light began appearing along the tracks. To this day, Joe's ghost "appears" swinging his lantern and searching for his head.

Tar Heel ghost stories have their own websites. For example, see The Maco Light and The Devil's Tramping Ground. Listen to, view, or read Ghost Stories of North Carolina here. For further spooky reading, see John Harden's books on Amazon.

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!

Special thanks to Linda (ABM)
for my sassy pumpkin signature
and the above Halloween greeting!

Here is one more Halloween greeting: Midnight Madness

Thank you for your visits and remarks in the Carolina blogs. To leave a comment, scroll to the bottom, click on the "Post a Comment" link, and write in the box provided.

I appreciate your props for the contributing visual artists. Have an awesome Halloween Weekend! - Caro


claysweetea said...

This is a fantastic blog full of fun and interesting information! Im saving photos and going to listen to the stories.

Anonymous said...

Hi Caro,

Love this blog and the Origin of Holiday Customs.....I love reading about how things originated. So good to see one of "Ashes" graphics, Thank You for including in your blog. The opening graphic sure is spooky!!!

Now I have to go listen to the "ghost stories." and VOTE again!!!

Have a fun Halloween Sunday.....


fgs said...

Interesting blog and love the graphics! Thanks to all those who make them!

Anonymous said...

Happy Halloween!! Love all the graphics and always enjoy your blogs!! D. in Wi.

MissSally said...

I grew up hearing wonderful ghost stories as only my Irish family could tell. The spookiest ones were about relatives long-since dead, producing goosebumps and delightful chills with each retelling. Great memories.

The Halloween graphics from some of our most talented artists are especially delightful.

Thanks for this great blog!

T said...

Happy Halloween! It's always a delight visiting your blog with all the special goodies. Thanks so much for featuring the graphic and all the other beautiful graphics of our dear friends especially Ashes (miss her). So good to see them.

You always bring so much info and it's so interesting to read. Many thanks for the great blog.

Trick or Treat! :D

anaturegirl said...

What a fun blog today. thanks so much Caro for a fun, fun read. Happy Halloween to you and yours. Thanks so much for wonderful, fun and enlightening blogs.

Anonymous said...

Caro thank you for this great blog. It was fun reading aboout the origins and customs of Halloween. Loved the ghost story too. You always do such a wonderful and interesting blog.

Happy Halloween

Sandy said...

Happy Halloween Caro!

Enjoyed reading all the stories related to Halloween, especially the folk lore from the Carolina's! I'm sitting her waiting patiently for the first little gremlins to appear on my doorstep for their "Treats"! We had a snowfall last night and it is quite cold so I am not sure just how many kids are going to make it out tonight! I for one am glad I don't have small ones to take out tonight!

I will be saying some prayers over and over tonight for the National Inclusion Project to reach the top 10. It has definitely been a challenge!

Have a great week!