Samhain, Neewollah, and Vampire Weekend (is a new album coming soon?).

Halloween (Samhain) was celebrated in ancient Celtic times. People wore costumes and lit bonfires in attempts to scare ghosts and spirits away. Pope Gregory III (8th Century) designated November 1 to be All Saints’ (All Hallows’) Day. The night before became All Hallows’ Eve / Halloween; Samhain costumes and customs were incorporated. Pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and sweet treats were added.

An attempt to reverse dangerous Halloween pranks and to keep everyone safe began in Independence, Kansas, in 1919. Neewollah is Halloween — reversed. The Neewollah festival has become a huge late October festival — lasting 10 days and attracting 75,000 fans. The event now includes several parades, cook-off competitions, kids’ activities, public performances, great pumpkin contest, and more.

Vampire Weekend released a whole new take on scares with Modern Vampires of the City (their third album), in 2013. The themes are a little more serious, and the instrumentation is definitely more mature than their earlier work. Musical tributes to Paul Simon, to Junior Reid, and to Tom Petty (RIP) are part of the project, too. Modern Vampires of the City debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Word is that they are working on a new album, due out soon (relatively).

Kelp’s Pumpkin Patch, Indiana. Photo, Carol M. Highsmith. 2016