MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

Credit the Irish

Roger Allen, publisher. “Rockford is the Humor Capital of the World”

The Irish tend to seize any excuse for a celebration. What we call Halloween goes back to an ancient Celtic festival that observed a supposed overlapping of the worlds of the living and the dead. The name of the festival, Samhain, derives from Old Irish and means, roughly, “summer’s end.”

Carve those veg

The folks in old Ireland and Scotland must have had a surplus of turnips in the fall. They carved them into lanterns as a way of remembering souls held in purgatory. Immigrants to North America started using the native pumpkin instead. That’s good. They’re easier to carve and, in my opinion, a whole lot cuter.

It was only in America (in about 1837) that carved vegetables became associated with Halloween.

Black and Orange

Trick-or-treating? Costumes? These are later additions that have made the holiday such a hit with kids. Such a deal—dressing up and walking around the neighborhood scoring free candy.

The imagery of Halloween includes harvest themes combined with elements from the original festival featuring death. Aha! Black for death (scary) and orange for fall colors (pretty).

It has evolved into a memorable holiday. Happy Halloween, everybody!

Too old?

You know you’re too old for trick or treating when…

• you have to carefully choose a costume that doesn’t dislodge your hairpiece.

• you’re the only superhero in the neighborhood using a walker.

• the door opens and you yell, “Trick or…” and can’t remember the rest.

Just for laughs

A couple was walking home after a Halloween party and decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery just for laughs.

Right in the middle of the cemetery they heard a tap-tap-tapping noise coming from the misty shadows. Clutching each other and trembling, they approached. An old man with a hammer and chisel was chipping away at the one of the headstones.

“Holy cow, Mister,” said the man after catching his breath. “You scared us half to death. We thought you were a ghost! What are you doing working out here so late?”

“Those fools!” grumbled the old man. “They misspelled my name!”

Dirty trick

Outside a drug store on a busy street, a man clutched a pole for dear life, hardly breathing, not moving, not even twitching a muscle—just standing there, frozen.

The pharmacist noticed this strange sight out in front and asked his assistant, “Wasn’t that guy in here earlier? What’s the matter with him?”

“Yes, he was here,” said the assistant. “He had a terrible cough and none of my prescriptions seemed to help.” “He’s not coughing now,” observed the pharmacist.

“I finally gave him a box of the strongest laxatives on the market,” said the assistant. “He doesn’t dare.”

Final words

Why was the skeleton afraid to cross the road?

It didn’t have any guts.

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.