1. Halloween originated as a pagan festival
Halloween was not always an excuse for children to stuff their faces with sweets. It was first celebrated under the name of Samhain by the Celts, an ancient tribe of people who lived in contemporary Britain, Ireland, and Northern France. Samhain was celebrated to commemorate the end of summer and the beginning of the long winter. It was also believed to be the day in which the world of spirits and living collided, which likely led to the horror themed holiday we celebrate today.
2. Jack-o-lanterns used to be Jack-o-turnips
The modern-day Jack-o-lanterns carved from a pumpkin has become an ingrained tradition. Yet, they did not start out as pumpkins but turnips! In Ireland, the first Jack-o-lanterns were made using turnips as pumpkins are not native to the island. The turnips were carved with scary faces and lit with a candle in order to ward off evil spirits on the night of Hallow’s eve.
A resident of Kitchener, Ontario is having a nightmare of a situation. What was supposed to be a nice vacation with his wife has turned into the kind of story only an insurance company could print, finely. Now he’s stuck in Thailand with a fatal brain tumour.
Alex Witmer and his wife Jennifer Witmer had been living in Moncton for the last five years before quitting their job and travelling to Thailand for a six-week excursion. The plan was to return home and relocate to Toronto. Alex, 30, unfortunately, began suffering from a migraine.
“He got a migraine that didn’t go away,” Jennifer Witmer told CTV News Toronto from a hospital in the southern Thailand.
Jennifer Witmer was expecting to acquire some pain medication for the migraine however a brain scan revealed that is was a “massive tumour deep inside his brain” that was cancerous.
“My husband was extremely healthy, he was an international athlete. He has never had any issues,” said Jennifer.
Alex Witmer was given medication to reduce the pressure inside his brain that was causing the headache but was told that it was only a temporary solution. Doctors told him he needs immediate brain surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Alex was told furthermore that the medication they gave him would only work for a couple of days and it was in that window of time that he best fly back to Canada.
“We have travel insurance, so we opened a claim and there was no issue we just got the go-ahead yesterday. They were sending an air ambulance,” Jennifer told CTV news.
“A few hours later they called back and said they received his medical records and it showed he checked into an emergency room in Moncton a month ago and had symptoms of the flu. He reported a mild headache and because he said that they cancelled our claim based off having a pre-existing condition.”
“They offered to still send an air ambulance service and quoted me $265,000 but that’s obviously not an option.”
“We are right now waiting for them to call and give the final word on our claim but they have been telling me it doesn’t look good.”
“It’s just cruel. Our neurosurgeon here said his flu symptoms are not pre-existing conditions. It’s insane they are flagging this.”
A GoFundMe page has been organized to help raise funds for Alex Witmer’s care and has received more than $10,000 in six hours.
Sometimes you get a whole lot more than you wanted.
According to two Nova Scotian parents from Coldbrook, their child received a candy that looked like cannabis-based edibles.
In response, Police are investigating the area, including running tests on the product and searching for other kids who may have received edibles while trick-or-treating.
According to the Mounties, the parents found a Halloween-themed package containing several jujube-style candies.
“We’re having the item analyzed to make sure what is actually in it,” said Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, an RCMP spokeswoman, based in Halifax.
According to the parent, the central location of where the candy came from will be hard to determine, as the kids visited homes in Cambridge, Kentville and Coldbrook.
While the idea of edibles in Halloween candy is exceptionally worrying, after further investigation, Police have said that no other child received edible cannabis while trick-or-treating.
The presence of consumable marijuana products in Halloween candy comes at a precarious time as edible items made with THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in Marijuana, became legal for adults nationwide only this October.
While the product has become legal, due to the regulatory process, no merchandise is expected to hit the Canadian legal market until December at the earliest.
A seven-year-old girl has become the latest victim of gang violence after being shot while trick-or-treating in Chicago’s Little Village.
According to the Chicago Tribune¸ a single masked assailant shouted a gang slogan from a nearby alleyway before firing at least seven shots on the crowd of Halloween goers.
Police say that the suspects target was a member of the Latin Kings who was walking amidst the crowd of children in costume.
The targeted gang member was shot once in the hand, while the seven-year-old girl, described as dressed in a Minnie Mouse costume, was struck in the lower neck and upper chest.
“The girl’s father was screaming: ‘My little girl’s been shot!’” witness Lali Lara told the Chicago Tribune. Lara was working at a nearby store when she heard the shots and rushed to help the young victim.
“I was pressing on her and calling her name so she won’t close her eyes,’’ Lara said. ”She was looking at me, and I was calling her name. She was holding my hand for three minutes and then she let me go. I have kids—I would go crazy if something happened to my kids.”
The incident occurred at roughly 5:30 p.m., police say. An ambulance arrived within 5 minutes of the shooting.
The girl was rushed to hospital, described as “clinging to life,” but was fortunately stabilized and is still in hospital.
“The shooting yesterday was reprehensible,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Friday. “Those involved don’t deserve to be in our city. I’m disgusted but committed to doing everything we can to find the cowards that would engage in a gun battle in the early evening hours while our children were trick-or-treating.”
“That little girl clings to life this morning,” he said, adding that she was in critical but stable condition.
NBC Chicago has since acquired a 30-second witness video. It shows several men running down the street. Seven gunshots can be heard in quick succession, before the men run past the camera, again. All appear to be wearing masks, with the shooter seen wearing what appears to be a ‘Jason’ Halloween mask.
The intended target, the Latin Kings’ member, is in stable condition, but has not been cooperative with police.
Police say there is also surveillance camera foot capture near the scene.
So far, no arrests have been reported.
“This is unacceptable,” Chicago police spokesman Rocco Alioto said. “This was a 7-year-old girl that was trick-or-treating and happened to be shot because a group of guys wanted to shoot another male with a street full of kids trick-or-treating.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a man who is not known to shy away from a good costume party, will not wear a costume for this year’s trick-or-treat photo op.
Trudeau will be “trick or treating with kids, but not going to Rideau Hall or doing a photo op,” a spokesperson told the Canadian Press.
Trudeau’s office did not provide a reason for the decision, though some are pointing to obvious reasons that remain in the public consciousness, specifically the blackface scandal.
The 2019 Canadian federal election made international headlines in September due to Trudeau’s admitted wearing of racist blackface makeup on multiple occasions, as well as lying about the number of times he wore the makeup.
“I should have known better but I didn’t, and I’m really sorry,” said Trudeau to reporters hours after the photo had surfaced. “The fact of the matter is that I’ve always … been more enthusiastic about costumes than is somehow — is sometimes appropriate.”
Trudeau and his costumes made headlines again in 2018 during his trip to India in 2018. The leader was subject to fierce backlash for him and his family’s traditional Indian attire, a full wardrobe made up of multiple different outfits that had many wondering if his enthusiasm may have crossed into mockery.
Indian politician Omar Abdullah even shared several photos of the Trudeaus on Twitter during the trip, stating: “FYI we Indians don’t dress like this every day sir, not even in Bollywood.” He added that the “choreographed cuteness” was “a bit much.”
In other years of his leadership, Trudeau has dressed up along with his family to go trick-or-treating. Trudeau has dressed up as Clark Kent, Han Solo, Sherlock Holmes, and the pilot from The Little Prince in years prior.
If Trudeau did want to dress up for the occasion, though, TPM has compiled a nice list of six totally appropriate costumes for Trudeau to wear this Halloween. Just saying!