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Carla Caruso - author picTonight I’m thrilled to introduce the lovely and hugely talented Carla Caruso to my blog. Carla is a mother of twin boys and in her spare time (not sure when she gets any with twin boys, but she seems to be able to make it. Or maybe she’s Superwoman. My bet is on Superwoman, but that’s probably because I’m rather partial to superhero/heroine stories! 🙂 ) she is also a journalist, the co-editor of Hearts Talk magazine (Romance Writer’s of Australia monthly magazine that goes out to our 1000 members) as well as being the author of five romance novels.

Her writing is contemporary and witty and often has a little fantasy/paranormal style twist that speaks to my heartstrings. Given Halloween is nearly upon us, Carla has decided to talk about the superstitions of All Hallow’s Eve (a topic that is sure to be a favourite in my household at the moment, with my two boys revving up to get dressed up in ghoulish costumes like they did last year!)

Take it away Carla.

Trick or treat? Halloween superstitions!

Thanks, Leisl, for letting me take your blog hostage for a little while [insert evil cackle]!

My name’s Carla Caruso and I’m a romantic comedy author from Adelaide, Australia. My latest releases have a sprinkling of the ‘spooks’, which has had me thinking about Halloween…. Unlucky for Some by Carla Caruso(My novella, Unlucky for Some, is about an ultra-superstitious journo who is given an assignment, ending on Friday the 13th, which will put all her fears to the test. And my novel, A Pretty Mess, is the first in a rom-com mystery series about a neat-freak professional organiser who gets caught up in messy mysteries with a sexy builder!)

But back to Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve! Us Aussies have always considered the October 31st tradition to be more of an American thang… until recently. Have you noticed how our supermarkets are routinely filling up their shelves with faux Jack-o’-lanterns and Halloween-inspired choccies this time of year?

In my hometown, we also have a Zombie Walk at October’s start, where 8000 “living dead” walk from the city’s Rymill Park to Light Square – in costume – to raise funds for Foodbank SA. (Apparently Brisbane and Melbourne has such a walk, too.) That’s a lot of bad makeup and drooling…

I’ve also had an increasing number of trick-or-treaters knock on my door on Halloween. Not that I’m ever prepared. One year I gave a bunch of costumed girls gold coins when we were all out of chocolate (I blame the hubby!), and then another kid, without a costume, showed up, hoping he could get in on the money train, too…

To keep in the ‘evil’ spirit of things, I thought I would share some Halloween superstitions with you, dear readers…

  • Trick-or-treating actually became customary in the US around the ‘50s after it was brought over by Irish immigrants.

    Halloween pic-Freeimages.com

    Halloween pic-Freeimages.com

  • Carving Jack-o’-lanterns has its roots in a tragic fable. As the story goes, a drunken farmer, named Jack, tricked the devil, but his deception resulted in him being turned away from both the gates of heaven and hell following his death. Having no choice but to wander around the darkness of purgatory, Jack made a lantern from a turnip and a burning lump of coal that the devil had tossed to him to help guide his ‘lost soul’. So the belief became that placing Jack-o’-lanterns outside your pad would help guide lost spirits home when they wandered the streets on Halloween. Since turnips were hard to come by in the US at the time, pumpkins were quickly adopted as the substitute. The vegetable’s spookily carved faces were also said to be useful in frightening evil spirits away. (I’ll refrain from making any jokes here about mothers-in-law…)
  • Seeing a bat on Halloween is considered an ominous sign, according to myth. If a bat is spotted flying around your house three times, apparently someone in your abode – eek! – will soon die. And if a bat flies into your house on Halloween, it’s a sign your place is haunted as ghosts let the bat in…
  • Another superstition is that if a spider falls into a candle-lit lamp and is gobbled up by the flame, witches are nearby. Further, if you spot a spider on Halloween, the spirit of a deceased loved one is said to be watching over you. Which, for some reason, had me thinking of Ghost and that famous pottery scene…
  • In olden times, it was believed that during Samhain – or ‘summer’s end’ – the veil between our world and the spirit world was the thinnest, hence, ghosts of the deceased could mingle with the living. (We know – ugh!) The superstition was that the visiting ghosts could disguise themselves as humans, for example, as a beggar, and knock on your door asking for dosh or food. If you turned them away, you risked being cursed or haunted. Another myth was that dressing up as a ghoul would fool the evil spirits into thinking you were one of them, so they wouldn’t try to steal your soul. Crafty.A Pretty Mess-Carla Caruso
  • And finally, the Halloween hues of orange and black actually stem from the pagan celebration of autumn and the harvest. Orange symbolised the hues of the crops and turning leaves, and black marked the ‘death’ of summer…

Thanks for reading! For more on my books, visit www.carlacaruso.com.au or http://bit.ly/1pb3mix. And happy, spooky Halloween to you!

Happy Halloween to you too, Carla, and thanks for sharing those fascinating facts with us – I love stuff like this. Make sure you check out Carla’s novels – they really are excellent reads. And share with us any fascinating superstitious facts you know – who knows, they might end up in one of Carla’s books (or even mine!)

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