Halloween is coming, so now’s the time to have some hauntingly good fun!
This year, we present: The origins of Halloween, a nice little Florida ghost story, and a fun and easy treat to make!
The Origins of Halloween
Before Halloween became the holiday we know, it was an old Celtic festival called Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. This superstition was passed down from generation to generation until the eighth century, when Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as the time to honor all saints. Soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain, and the evening before became known as All Hallow’s Eve…and this eventually turned into Halloween.
Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, and of course, costumes. Oh. And candy. We mustn’t forget the candy! Did you know that one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the United States is bought for Halloween? Naturally, it’s one of a child’s favorite holidays!
And For the “Scary” Story
If you travel to St. Augustine, you might get a chance to meet the ghost that haunts Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grill.
The building was constructed somewhere around 1745 and was home to Juana and Fransisco de Porras and their nine children. One of their youngest children was Catalina.
In 1770, when Catalina was about 18, she married Xavier Ponce de Leon. At this point, the house was owned by the British, who had used it as a storage barn. In 1783, the Spanish regained Florida from the British and they returned to St. Augustine. She found the house and she and her husband asked the governor to return it to her. They regained ownership in 1789, but she didn’t get to enjoy the house for long.
In 1785, a mere six years after being back in her childhood home, Catalina passed away. This all was pretty normal, and not much happened until about 1887 when the house was destroyed by a big fire that swept through St. Augustine. Thankfully, there were drawings of the house made in 1840, so a year later, the house was rebuilt on its original foundation to look just the way it had when Catalina had lived there.
There isn’t any particular story of why this house seems haunted, although there are two possible ghosts: Some believe the ghost may be Catalina, but others claim the ghost is a woman named Bridget who appears in a wedding dress. They say it’s a fleeting glimpse: Here and gone in a moment. Most of these sightings happen around the ladies room.
Some people have even caught a scent of the perfume. Of course, sometimes the aroma of the delicious food being cooked at the restaurant do cover that.
And they are not the only ghosts! There’s also supposedly a man in a black suit and hat who has been seen. As two men did die in the building: one in the 1887 fire and the other of illness in 1900.
Breathe easily, though! These ghosts don’t cause harm, and are believed to be friendly. You might get the feeling that someone is watching you, and the lights might flicker…but maybe, just maybe, they just want to enjoy a good meal with you?
Speaking of Food…
Do you like Devilled Eggs? Well…here’s a fun twist…
Devilled Egg Eyeballs!
First, hard-boil eggs and then peel the shells off. Want to make the perfect hard-boiled eggs? Click here to find out how!
Next, cut them in half and scoop out the yolk.
Combine the yolks with pesto, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise and mix until it’s smooth and creamy, then set it aside.
Here’s where the fun comes in: Dip a toothpick into red food dye and draw “veins” on the flat part of the whites.
Fill the holes with the yolk mixture then put a round dab of mayo in the center.
Stick a sliced olive in the middle of the whites, and there you go! A yummy Devilled Egg Eyeball!