Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Origins of Halloween Candy

When the time comes each autumn to stock up on loads of trick-or-treat candy, craft a costume and trot around door-to-door demanding treats of neighbors, you can thank a culture from 2,000 years ago for starting the whole thing. How did this bizarre practice of passing out Halloween candy to any stranger who asked for it get started in the first place?

Old Traditions

Halloween Candy

Travel back to Medieval Europe of the Iron Age and meet the Celts, a precursor culture of Ireland, Scotland, Great Britain and northern France. For centuries, they believed that ghosts returned from the dead on Samhain (meaning “summer’s end”), October 31st, the eve of their new year. This was an observance that noted the end of harvest and long days of sunlight, and the onset of darker days and harsher conditions. On that night, the people built bonfires, wore disguises to mimic and frighten off evil spirits, and made burnt offerings of crops and animals as sacrifices to their many gods in an effort to protect themselves from harm. This ancient idea of offering gifts in exchange for protection crept into the activities associated in today’s practice of trick-or-treating.

Eventually, the Catholic church established a church-sanctioned celebration to honor and remember those who have passed on. This feast was called All-hallows (All Saints, or All Hallowed) Day, and originally took place in the spring, but finally ended up being observed on November 1st., very likely as a means to replace the pagan celebration of the dead. Moving this Catholic holiday to the day after Samhain attempted to redirect the focus off of ghosts and evil spirits, centering the attention instead on remembering and praying for the dead. The night before All-hallows Day came to be known as All-hallows Eve, a word which, over time, evolved into the familiar word “Halloween.”

How Halloween Trick-or-Treating Got Started

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Irish and English immigrants coming to America brought some of their old world traditions with them. In those festivities, people gave “soul cakes” to poor beggars. Later, disguised children would “go a-souling” or “go guising,” carrying lamps fashioned from turnips–not pumpkins–and offer a small performance of some kind in exchange for receiving tidbits of food or small amounts of money. They were rewarded with ale, money and food as they traipsed door to door. Soon, the practice of dressing up and going house to house to ask for food or money on the eve of All-hallows took hold in America. As the observation of Halloween developed in the States, the practice of giving out food or small gifts grew right along with it.

Why Candy?


Halloween parties for kids and grown-ups were the fashion at the turn of the 20th century, with costumes, games and festive seasonal foods served in homes across the country. In the 1920s and ‘30s, trick-or-treating rose again in popularity, but the holiday was marked with vandalism. Civic leaders countered that by the 1950s, positioning Halloween as strictly a children’s holiday. Trick-or-treating was encouraged as a way for communities to share the celebration with children, with the idea that giving kids small treats and goodies would keep them from playing tricks on the neighborhood. Various gifts and snacks were given over the years, and today, the most popular and expected treat is candy, the ultimate kid prize.

Sweet Treats for Goblins to Eat!


Halloween has grown to be a huge holiday in the United States, second in popularity only to Christmas. About $6 billion is spent on this holiday every year in the U.S., and it’s estimated that one quarter of all candy sold in America each year is purchased specifically for Halloween. All sorts of candies fill up trick-or-treat bags, from sweet or tart treats to unique chocolates to novelty candy items. Vintage candy items are becoming more popular, sparking throwback memories for trick-or-treaters of yesteryear and delighting new generations with discoveries of tasty delights from days gone by.

While kids still go door to door, community harvest festivals are also popular, and many Americans incorporate home parties to celebrate the holiday. Decorations are hung, and a large spread is laid out with all kinds of candy and snacks, including treats that kids don’t typically get in their trick-or-treat bags. Cakes, handmade fudge, caramel apples and other goodies are often accompanied by a bowl of punch, sometimes with an ice “hand” floating in the middle of the beverage bowl!

For thousands of years and across continents, people have observed this annual rite of demanding and receiving goodies. Aren’t we lucky that today, instead of burnt crops or animal sacrifices, we get to celebrate it with candy!

10 Great Spider Scenes in Movies

It’s Halloween! We can’t let the last list of the day disappoint so not only are we publishing a great list about one of natures most horrifying creatures, it is also written by one of out most loved writers: Flamehorse. So read the list then head on out to your nearest Halloween party – don’t eat too much candy! Oh – WARNING: tarantulas!

This was a campy, 1950s, giant monster movie. King Kong put this genre on the map, and with the advancements in technology, the special effects progressed beyond stop-motion by the time of this film.

It came out one year after Japan struck freakin’ gold with Godzilla, and some American genius said, “We’re all afraid of spiders! Let’s make one big one!” It didn’t really work, though, because the poor dumb monstrosity couldn’t skitter-skitter-skitter down the streets like a real spider would. Not all that scary, but still worth watching a giant spider tearing up a city and munching people. Especially to see Clint Eastwood bring the heat with a bombing run.


Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo

A good, old-fashioned, ’70s exploitation film. This one exploits arachnophobia to the nth degree. A plane flying from South America has tarantula stowaways, just a few tens of thousands.

They get loose on the plane and actually bring the plane down in a California town by swarming over the pilots! Then the townspeople open the plane and let ‘em loose.

They need to remake it with SAMUEL L. JACKSON!!


Apparently, even James Bond is terrified of them. It’s a huge tarantula, and the film makes it out to be extraordinarily poisonous. The moviegoers were fairly uneducated at the time.

Bond lies still, scared to death, until it gets off him, then all Hell breaks loose. Shame about the spider, but you don’t mess with Bond.

Joe Pesci probably took this part so people would stop thinking he’s a member of the Mafia. He and Daniel Stern are the best things in the movie.

They almost catch Macaulay Culkin in a hallway, and Stern leaps and grabs his ankle. Culkin looks around and finds his brother’s pet tarantula, picks it up and sets it right down on Stern’s face.

The scream should’ve gotten him an Oscar. He throws the spider away, it lands on Pesci, and Stern gets a hold of himself long enough to smash Pesci right in the sternum with a crowbar.

One of the few scenes in which the tarantula looks rather cute. He lives.

This is a notorious Italian horror film from 1981, a cult classic now. Quentin Tarantino loves it. It involves a lynch mob crucifying a man at the beginning, whose death opens up a portal to Hell. Mm-hmm. Shakespeare. Pure Shakespeare.

In one of the shenanigans that transpires later, a librarian is startled by lightning, and falls off a ladder, knocking himself out. Then all the tarantulas in the world, including ridiculously fake ones, descend on him and rip his face apart! The sound effects are what make it so great. The spiders squeak like rusty hinges as they walk, and all the while, you hear something like boiling pretzels, that must be their chewing.

One of the best comedies that few people appreciate. Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence team up (talk about differences). In one scene, Robbins has just been out in the desert at night, and is now driving his SUV back to town with Lawrence beside him.

“There’s a spider on your head, man.”

“Look, I’m sorry, I’m not up on all this jive talkin’, home boy lingo, what’s that supposed to mean? ‘There’s a spider on your head?’”

“It means there’s a spider on your motherf___n’ head, man!

Then the tarantula skitters around from Robbins’ temple right onto the center of his face. All while he’s driving. He slams on brakes, jumps and does what they used to call “the tarantella.” To “Scatman.” He sprayed his shoes with gasoline earlier, and somehow finds his matches with his heels. Lawrence is falling out of the car laughing.

It was supposed to be in The Two Towers, as Tolkien wrote it, but the producers decided to hold off and make more money. I guess it was worth the wait, because computers can now make one creepy, hellacious, giant spider. The kind that moves fast, has foot-long fangs, plenty of eyes, hair, and even a stinger.

The spider is actually an amalgam of various New Zealand species that scare Peter Jackson for various reasons.

Trivia: If they ever decide to film The Silmarillion, Tolkien’s precursor to The Lord of the Rings, there’s a character in it named Ungoliant, who is a giant spider that makes Shelob look like…well, like spiders look in real life. Ungoliant dies in the book by becoming so hungry that she eats herself.

One of the very few good movies dedicated to an accurate depiction of what makes spiders scary. Not the giant ones. If they moved fast, that would be something, but really, all you need is one about the size of your palm. Make that hundreds about the size of your palm.

The spiders used in the film are Avondale spiders from New Zealand, Delena cancer ides. They’re scary-looking, but actually, they’re very friendly, as spiders go, and will crawl all over you without biting. You have to work hard to make them bite.

The creep-you-out-of-your-pants scene is at the end, when they all leave the nest and infest Jeff Daniels’ house, spreading all over the walls, the door, the TV, spewing out of the sink drain, up under the doorknobs, under the doors, hanging down from the ceiling. And in the film, they’re so poisonous that one bite will kill you in 5 seconds. Daniels pitches over the stairs and crashes into the basement, where Big Mama and Daddy are nesting.


This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse

This is a little known 1960s masterpiece of creepiness. It’s a sequel to a film in which the main character is the villain, Coffin Joe. Sounds great, already, doesn’t it?

In the sequel, Coffin Joe is on the prowl again, looking for a woman to rape and have a son by. In one scene, he sets several dozen black tarantulas loose into a bedroom of several sleeping women. The spiders go everywhere, nice and slow, while he looks on. They crawl all over the women’s bare flesh, even on their faces. Then they wake up and it’s SCREAMING time!


Something Wicked This Way Comes

Once and for all, now and forever, Ray Bradbury hit the nail on the head with this idea. The lead characters, two preteen boys, have ticked off a supernatural villain running a demonic carnival. He manages to invade their dreams, and when they wake up, their bedrooms are swarming with hundreds of big, fat, black, hairy tarantulas. They’re covering the beds, under the sheets with the boys, all over the floors, on the doorknobs, up the walls! And they’re REAL TARANTULAS! Skitter-skitter-skitter.

10 Successful 3rd Party Election Candidates

In the light of the coming up election in the United States, I have compiled a list relevant to Americans’ historical attitudes when it comes to electing the ‘’leader of the free world’’.

The United States has had throughout most of its history a two party system, arguably a consequence of the Electoral College vote, This system has effectively prevented a third party from gaining the ultimate goal in election cycles, The Presidency. However this does not mean that minor parties have not played a major role in American politics. Below a list of the most successful and influential third party presidential bids in US history.


William Wirt

Anti-Masonic Party 1832 (7.6% votes)


After leaving Washington, D.C., Attorney General William Wirt was ran an unsuccessful candidacy for President in the 1832 as the candidate of the Anti-Masonic party. This was perhaps ironic because he was, in fact, a former Freemason and, according to some sources, even gave a speech at an early Anti-Masonic convention defending the organization although it has also been said that he regretted his membership afterwards. The Anti-Masonic Party holds the distinction of being the nation’s first third party, and amongst the most successful. In the 1832 election, the William Wirt won the state of Vermont and received an impressive 100,000 votes for that time, and thus was the first candidate of an organized third party to carry a state.


James B. Weaver

Populist party 1892 (8.5% votes)


James B. Weaver, a representative from Iowa, was an independent thinker and third party activist who has the distinction of being the only third party presidential candidate to gain Electoral College votes from Oregon. In 1892, James B. Weaver was the Presidential candidate of the Populist People’s Party. As a presidential candidate he stumped the entire country, calling for a “free and fair ballot” in the South and civil rights for black Americans. He won 22 electoral votes, polling roughly a million and a half votes, 9% of the total cast. He won all of the electoral votes of Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, and Nevada and also received some electoral votes from North Dakota and Oregon. His popular vote percentage makes him earns Weaver a spot among the most successful third-party presidential bids in US history.


Martin Van Buren

Free soil party 1848 (10.1% votes)


A third party, the Free Soil Party, was organized for the 1848 election to oppose further expansion of slavery into the western territories. The party was led by Salmon P. Chase and John Parker Hale. Former President Martin Van Buren defeated Hale by a 154-129 delegate count to capture the Free Soil nomination. Unlike many other politicians at the time, there was no ambiguity in Van Buren’s position on the abolition of slavery during his political campaign in the 1848 election. Van Buren considered slavery morally wrong but sanctioned by the Constitution, and he advocated a constitutional amendment. Ultimately Van Buren obtained nearly 300,000 popular votes for a 10.1% percent of the electorate support. Van Buren Free-Soil Party’s “spoiler” effect in this election put Zachary Taylor into office in a narrowly-contested election.


John Bell

Constitutional Union Party 1860 (12.6% vote)

240Px-Lt. Gen. John B. Hood

Annoyed by the continuous sectional strife in the Senate, Tennessee congressman John Bell had pondered forming a third party to attract moderates from both the North and South throughout the 1850s. In May 1860, disgruntled ex-Whigs and disenchanted moderates from across the country convened in Baltimore, where they formed the Constitutional Union Party, amongst them was the enthusiastic John Bell. The party’s platform however was very broad, and made no of the mention of slavery (at the time a major political issue). On May 10, Bell and was declared the Constitutional Union’s candidate.

While Bell had supporters throughout the Northern states and the Border States, most of his Northern allies had thrown their support behind Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln or Democratic candidate Stephen A. Douglas. Bell however managed to obtain a surprising near 13% of the total popular votes; 39% of Southern popular votes, and won 39 electoral votes.


George Wallace

American Independent Party 1968 (13.5% vote)

200Px-George C Wallace (Alabama Governor)

Wallace was the 45th governor of Alabama, having served four nonconsecutive terms. After four runs for U.S. president (three as a Democrat and one on the American Independent Party ticket), he earned the title “the most influential loser” in 20th-century U.S. politics, according to several biographers.

Wallace ran for President in the 1968 election as the American Independent Party candidate. Wallace’s pro-segregation policies had been rejected by the mainstream of the Democratic Party. The impact of the Wallace campaign was substantial, winning the electoral votes of several states in the Deep South. Although Wallace did not expect to win the election, his strategy was to prevent either major party candidate from winning a preliminary majority in the Electoral College, which would then give him bargaining power to determine the winner.

George Wallace obtained 9,901,118 popular votes for 13.5% in the race and 45 electoral votes. He was ultimately successful in preventing the other candidates from obtaining over 50% of the votes.


Robert La Follette

Progressive Party 1924 (16.6% vote)

220Px-Robert M La Follette, Sr

In 1924, the Federated Farmer-Labor Party (FF-LP), a left wing social justice party, sought to nominate Wisconsin’s District Attorney La Follette as its candidate. The FF-LP sought to unite all the many tiny progressive parties into a single national Labor Party.

However, after a bitter convention in 1923, the Communist-controlled Workers Party gained control of the national organization’s structure. Just prior to its 1924 convention in St. Paul, La Follette denounced the Communists and refused to be considered for the FF-LP endorsement.

Instead, La Follette formed an independent Progressive Party and accepted its nomination in Cleveland. The American Federation of Labor, the Socialist Party of America, the Conference for Progressive Political Action and most of the former supporters of the FF-LP along with various former “Bull Moose” Progressives and midwestern Progressive movement activists then joined La Follette and supported the Progressive Party.

La Follette’s platform called for socialism and policies to nationalize most privately owned corporations providing common services.

He came in third behind incumbent President Calvin Coolidge and Democratic candidate John W. Davis. La Follette won 17% of the popular vote, carried Wisconsin (winning its 13 electoral votes) and polled second in 11 Western states. His base consisted of German Americans, railroad workers, the AFL labor unions, the Non-Partisan League, the Socialist Party, Western farmers, and many of the Progressives who had supported Roosevelt in 1912. He is as of today the third party candidate that has most successfully united many minority political parties and coalitions into a single voting alliance.


John C. Breckenridge

Southern Democratic Party 1860. (18.2% votes)

245Px-John C Breckinridge-04775-Restored

In 1890 the Democratic Party witnessed a new faction split, the Southern Democrats, These were members of the U.S. Democratic Party who resided in the American South, and were dissatisfied with the Democrat’s lack of leadership prior to the civil war. This newly formed party was the definitive pro-slavery wing of the democrat ideology, opposed to both the anti-slavery Republicans (GOP) and the more liberal Northern Democrats. John C. Breckenridge, a young U.S. Senator from Kentucky and the14th Vice President of the United States , was the southern democratic party’s candidate. He is perhaps the most important spoiler in US history, after carrying 11 states and 72 electoral votes; he tipped the balance in favor of Abraham Lincoln, which forever changed the course of American Politics.


H. Ross Perot

Independent 1992. (18.9% vote)

Ross Perot

Perot, at the time a very successful Texan entrepreneur, appeared on February 20, 1992 on CNN’s Larry King Live and announced his intention to run as an independent candidate in the 1992 election if his supporters could get his name on the ballot in all fifty states. With such declared policies as balancing the federal budget, a firm pro-choice stance on abortion, expansion of the war on drugs and ending outsourcing of jobs, he became a potential candidate and soon polled roughly even with the two major party candidates.

Perot’s candidacy received increasing media by polling as high as 39% by June 1992.

Perot severely damaged his credibility by dropping out of the presidential contest in July and remaining out of the race for several weeks before re-entering. He compounded this damage by eventually claiming, without evidence, that his withdrawal was due to Republican operatives attempting to disrupt his daughter’s wedding.

In the end, he received 18.9% of the popular vote, approximately 19,741,065 votes (but no electoral college votes), making him the second most successful third-party presidential candidate in terms of the popular vote.


Millard Fillmore

Know Nothing Party 1856 (22% vote)


He ran in the election of 1856 as the Know-Nothing party’s presidential candidate. This Party was known for its radical xenophobic and anti-catholic views that often translated into violent bouts targeting minorities. Millard Fillmore attempted through this Party to win a nonconsecutive second term as President (a feat accomplished only once in American politics, by Grover Cleveland). His running mate was Andrew Jackson Donelson, nephew of former president Andrew Jackson. Fillmore and Donelson finished third in the general election, carrying only the state of Maryland and its eight electoral votes; but he won 22% of the popular vote, one of the best showings ever by a Presidential third-party candidate. And a testimony to this decade’s intolerant nature.


Teddy Roosevelt

Bull-Moose Party 1912 (27.4% vote)

220Px-President Theodore Roosevelt, 1904

Roosevelt left office in 1909. He had selected William Taft, his Secretary of War to succeed him as President, and Taft easily won the 1908 presidential election. Roosevelt became disappointed by Taft’s increasingly conservative policies. Taft alienated Roosevelt when he used the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to break up U.S. Steel. By 1912, the two were openly hostile, and Roosevelt decided to seek the presidency.

Roosevelt far outpolled Taft in the primaries. But Taft controlled the party organization and the convention, which renominated him in June. Before the final vote, Roosevelt had said he would accept nomination from a new “honestly elected” convention and so the Progressive Party (better known as the Bull-Moose party) was born.

Roosevelt ran a vigorous campaign, but the campaign was short of money, as the business interests which had supported Roosevelt in 1904 either backed the other candidates or stayed neutral. Roosevelt was also handicapped by the fact that he had already served nearly two full terms as President, and thus was challenging the unwritten “no third term” rule.

In the end Roosevelt fell far short of winning. He drew 4.1 million votes—27%, well behind Wilson’s 42% but ahead of Taft’s 23%. This marked the first time a third party candidate did better than a 3rd place in a general election.

Top 10 Nightmares and their Meanings

Most people suffer from the occasional nightmare, and some seem to experience them almost every night. What exactly do these night terrors mean? Although nightmares can sometimes be random creations of the subconscious brain with no particular deeper interpretation, in many cases nightmares actually do have specific causes or meanings behind them. They can allow you to look deeper into your thoughts and feelings to get a better gauge of your current mental or emotional state. Listed below are ten of the most common types of nightmares that people tend to experience as they sleep, along with insights into what they most often mean.


Have you ever found yourself dreaming about being caught in a violent hurricane, or perhaps an approaching tornado that is ripping apart houses and trees? These types of nightmares are said to indicate a sense of impending fear or anxiety in the person having the dream. Since the weather is often unpredictable and cannot be controlled, this relates to the individual holding stress and anxiety throughout their day to day life. This can be caused by anxiety or nervousness about anything from a test, to a doctor’s appointment, to a required speech, to relationship issues.

Zombies By Icedcoffee

In this chilling type of nightmare, you feel as though you are being contacted or approached by someone who is dead. This can either be by someone you know who has recently passed away, or random people whom you feel in the dream that you do not actually know. These types of nightmares can be associated with an inability to let go. For example, if you are having nightmares about your recently deceased grandmother, the cause could be that you are struggling emotionally to cope with her loss. These nightmares can also be linked with terror of the unknown and anxiety about personal illness. People with terminal or life-threatening health problems often experience these types of nightmares.


Missing Important Events


Nightmares about missing your wedding, an important appointment or some other special event are particularly common in people who live a fast-paced and high-pressure life, although they can happen to anyone. These types of nightmares are often linked to anxiety about failing or not being able to perform up to expectations. People who experience these nightmares might be surprised at how much suppressed anxiety and negativity they have about failing or coming up short.

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Being naked in public seems like a funny dilemma – at least, after you wake up – but this type of nightmare can be related to a much bigger issue. These nightmares are often experienced by individuals that suffer from self-image issues and low self-esteem issues. Being naked in public may relate to fear of being judged by other people. To the person having the nightmares, this can be very unsettling.

Teeth Nightmare By Jacquijax

This is another type of dream that plays on the insecurities of the person having it. Much like the nightmare about being naked in public, nightmares about teeth falling out are often a representation of the individual being filled with anxiety and inner turmoil about being judged by others on his or her physical appearance.


When people experience nightmares of being injured or wounded, the cause is often some feeling of weakness in their own personal lives. Dreaming about breaking bones or injuries can be your brain’s way of alerting you that you are feeling weakness or vulnerability in one part of your life or another. Finding out what your weaknesses are and working on improving them can often help relieve this type of nightmare.


Nightmares about a person’s spouse or significant other leaving them are definitely one of the types most rooted in the real world. This can be a straightforward nightmare that simply represents a feeling of dread from the individual about their partner leaving them and being alone. This type of nightmare can also be caused by feelings of insecurity in the relationship where the individual feels they are sub-par or not good enough for their partner.


Dreams about being trapped are quite common for individuals who suffer from claustrophobic anxiety, a condition in which a person has a fear of being in small spaces where they cannot move and become trapped. However, this type of nightmare can also be experienced by types of individuals who are afraid of not being able to get out of their current situation, including financial problems, a dead end job or a negative relationship they feel they cannot escape. The nightmare can be a manifestation of fear of not being able to reach your full potential due to circumstances.


Nightmares about falling are often a representation of anxiety in your personal life about not being in control of yourself. These anxieties are often due to issues with money, relationships, careers or some kind of abuse. The feeling of falling to certain death relates to the person feeling that they are unable to control a certain aspect of, or situation in, their life. These nightmares are often shared by people who are in high places of power, but still feel that they cannot control certain parts of their life.


Being Chased or Attacked


This is by far the most common of all the nightmares that people tend to experience. Nightmares in this category can deal with being chased or attacked by people, animals or paranormal creatures. These types of dreams are frequently manifestations of being afraid of confrontation regarding something in your life. This can be a pushy boss, an unruly teacher, an abusive parent or even an unhealthy romantic relationship. The feeling of being chased is often a sign of not being able to confront difficult scenarios within your personal life. Also, your actions within the dream to get away from the attacker may also be influenced by your real life. For example, if you find yourself hiding in fear in the dream, this may indicate that that is how you are dealing with your problems in the real world. Taking note of your actions within the dream may help you find a correlation between the nightmare and your real life actions that can help you deal with the problem.

10 Best Windows 8 Wallpapers 2012

The next generation of the operating systems is finally here. Microsoft has now released the new version of windows which everyone had been waiting for a long time. This version of is one of the hottest topics on the internet and it seems like everyone is after it. The same also holds true for the windows 8 beta version. But your experience of the windows is always going to remain fragmented unless you download some of the most spectacular wallpapers. These high definition and holistically designed windows 8 wall papers will really come to make your windows 8 experiences pretty exciting and out of the world. With the hope that you would love this post on 10 best windows 8 wallpapers 2012.