Children, Zombies and Halloween Apples

Oh spare me from all these zombies and Spidermen, and artificial cobwebs. What’s all that about? I know that Halloween evokes dark, sometimes sinister emotions, images of ‘delightful horror’ so to speak, but it didn’t just start with Hollywood films.

In Celtic folklore, Hallowe’en or Samhain marked the end of one year and the passing into the next and it was believed that at this time, a window into the ‘otherworld’ was temporarily opened so that mortals and spirits could communicate. The souls of the dead were thought to return home for this one night and therefore candles were lit, prayers were offered and then, the festivities began – eating, drinking and various divination rituals and games, involving nuts and apples.

oil painting of Halloween Apple by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Hallowe’en Apple no.3,  20 x 20cm, oil on canvas, 2014

People also went from house to house in costume (or in disguise), usually reciting verses or songs in exchange for food – impersonating the souls of the dead and accepting offerings on their behalf. That doesn’t sound too sinister to me. I wonder when it all got taken over by the zombies?

Anyway, the children love it so who am I to argue? And International Children’s Day is celebrated in November each year and for all these good reasons, the Olivier Cornet Gallery will be presenting an exhibition at “VUE” next weekend – based around childhood memories and children’s games.

“VUE” is Ireland’s National Contemporary Art Fair. All the best galleries under one roof – no need to walk around town in the rain! It opens at 6pm next Thursday (5th of November) at the RHA and it continues until Sunday the 8th – it’s the big event of the year for the galleries.  The artists showing with the Olivier Cornet Gallery this year will be:
Annika Berglund, Michelle Byrne, Conrad Frankel, Hugh Cummins, John Fitzsimons, Jordi Fornies, Jason Lowe, Yanny Petters, Kelly Ratchford, Adrienne Symes and myself.

I’ll be exhibiting a series of ‘Hallowe’en Apples’, remembering the old Hallowe’en games we played as kids – trying to bite the apple as it was floating in a bowl of water or, hanging by a string in a doorway –  Good fun, of course, but the significance of those games too is lost in the mists of time.

Your comments are always welcome.  Click on the little brown speech bubble up at the top right of this post and put your comment there.



  1. Yes, I am relying on that window to the otherworld being opened, so it is not really a ‘celebration’ of death but a chance to meet up, is that message being suppressed for Commercial gain? I wonder do families still play those Hallowe’en games with the apples?


    • When we went from door to door, we used to say: “Help the Hallowe’en Party”. Now it’s “trick or treat” I don’t know what that means 😦 Are they supposed to do a trick for us? or are we supposed to do one for them? – if we don’t give them a treat, that is? Big questions… Thanks for the comment, Eve


  2. Thanks Eoin for your observations on Halloween and the rituals, old and new… (and the neither here nor there convoluted ones we see much of too).

    You’re Scéalta are always a breath of fresh air and you are as fine a wordsmith as you are with brush and paint….BIG TIME!


    Sent from Windows Mail


Leave a Reply, I'd like to hear your viewpoint.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s