Family Ghost tour in Sydney
Are you looking for a spooky, yet safe way to celebrate this Halloween with your "Little Monsters"?
Real life is always creepier than anything an author can ever imagine.
In the tradition of the Warner Brothers cartoons of the 1930's and '40s where they are scripted so that a child gets a child's understanding, and an adult percieves many more levels of understanding - we have put our "Family Friendly" ghost tour together. That way you you and the younger members of your family can enjoy the Ghost tour, without feeling like you had a "one size fits all - small, that is.." experience.
We will show you a whole different side to Sydney that never seems to make it into History classrooms, that will change your impressions of much of what you see in Sydney every day. Everything from major landmarks to suburb names have a rich story that is buried with the skeletons of Sydney's hidden past.
We will also explain how Halloween came about, it's history, and things like halloween costumes, evil spirits, vampires bonfires, fortune telling, trick or treat, and finish the tour with a "Halloween Skull & Sweets Hunt" in a graveyard. If you would like to dress up and come along to play - knock yourself out! ( and that goes for big kids, too!).Click on the "Our tours" tab to find out more!
My vote for this year's best Halloween costume
"TRICK OR TREAT – DON’T DO IT!”
SydneyGhostTour.Com founder comes out against Australians adopting US style “Trick or Treat” ‘sugar soliciting’ this Halloween…
“Don’t put your ‘Little Monsters” on the door step of a REAL Monster this Halloween”! Ghost Tour operator and local historian Daniel Phillips, of SydneyGhostTour.Com warns …
“Trick or Treat” originally was an extortion demand from Scottish hooligans of the 15th and 16th centuries, of “Give me food or alcohol to go away & party, or I will play a trick by hiding something you own.” Today, more and more parents are being pressured into the North American custom of “Trick or Treat” or “Sugar Soliciting”. Children dressing up in costume, either on their own, in a group, or dragging a parent, are landing on the doorsteps of people they don’t know , expecting to be given sweets.
At first, it seems like an innocent request, asked by a child saying things like “ Mum / Dad, all of the kids are doing it now...” Yet parents have to consider the wider implications of what their kids do. At best, as a parent you would have to be very trusting of what total strangers are giving to your children to eat, most of which is not good for them. It is also imposing on your neighbours for your kids to turn up uninvited, and then demand things . Yet there are much more uncomfortable things to be concerned about than upset stomachs, rotting teeth, and angry neighbours.
Paedophiles have to abide by rules, as terms of their release from prison, like staying away from schools, parks and places that children frequent. “For a parent, as a practical matter, you won’t know where paedophiles live – they can literally be anywhere. Having your kids “Trick or Treat” by going house to house, asking for sweets, is like a home delivered, moving smorgasbord for a paedophile. We have to be mindful that there are people in the community who have committed crimes driven by a mental illness we still don’t know how to treat, and as a result, they have a high chance of re-offending." With this in mind, if you “Trick or Treat” you might as well be painting a bullseye on your child’s forehead – you are making them a target. “Rather than put your kids at risk – it makes more sense to have a Halloween party at home or with other parents, in a controlled, safe environment. Music, food, party games and fun activities like decorations, costumes, and fortune telling, have a long and established Halloween history. www.sydneyghosttour.com has links to party, music, and decoration ideas to keep your little kids – and your “big kids” – happy and safe."
Of course, if you would like to have a spooky, yet safe night out this Halloween, SydneyGhostTour.Com & Beyond the Grave History tours are approved by the NSW Commission for Children & Young People, and vetted by the Australian Federal Police, as passing the “Working with Children Check”. SydneyGhostTour.Com Ghost tours are run on the lower North Shore of Sydney, in Cammeray / Crows Nest, and in St Leonards / Gore Hill. ‘Family friendly” tours are running from 6.15pm to 8.00pm during Halloween week, and “Adults Only” Ghost tours start at 8.20pm
Enquiries or Bookings for either of these Ghost tours can be made on 02 8197 0363, or here on the web at SydneyGhostTour.com
What is Halloween?
It would be easy to think that Halloween is a creation of the United States of America, and spread through popular mediums like television and movies to other parts of the English speaking world. But you would be wrong - it goes back much, much further than that, to the Celtic peoples of Western France, Scotland and Ireland, pre-dating the Roman empire.
Halloween is an annual holiday observed on October 31. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain, that was taken over by the later creation of the Christian holiday All Saints Day, but is today largely a non-religious celebration.
Common Halloween activities include trick or treating, wearing costumes, and attending costume parties, carving jack-o-lanterns, ghost tours, bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, committing pranks, telling ghost stories or other frightening tales, and watching horror films.
History of Halloween
According to Wikipedia, historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, whose original spelling was Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)".
The name is derived from Old Irish, and means roughly "summer's end". A similar festival was held by the ancient Britons and is known as Calan Gaeaf ( pronounced Kálan Gái av).
The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half", and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year".
The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the OtherWorld / spirit realm, became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honoured and invited home, while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise yourself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid being harmed. Evil spirits were stated to go looking for bodies to possess – and dressing up as a ghoul was a way of discouraging them, by effectively hanging a “no vacancy” sign over your head. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces. Samhain was also a time to take stock of food supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. All other fires were doused and each home lit their hearth from the bonfire. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. Sometimes two bonfires would be built side-by-side, and people and their livestock would walk between them as a cleansing ritual.
Another common practice was fortune telling, which often involved the use of food and drink.
The name 'Halloween' and many of its present-day traditions derive from the Old English era.
Origin of the name Halloween
The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Eve, that is, the night before All Hallows Day. Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (ealra hálȝena mæssedæȝ, the feast of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556.