The Halloween custom is rooted in Celtic Christianity and was first celebrated in both Ireland and the Isle of Man during medieval Gaelic times. Marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of Winter or ‘darker’ days, offerings of food, drink and portions of the crops were left for the souls of the dead. These spirits would return home for that one night each year for one last chance to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving on to ‘the next world’. Spreading to Scotland and Wales, people would go house-to-house in costumes (disguise), usually reciting verses or songs in exchange for food. Wearing costumes at Halloween expanded to England in the early 19th century, as did the custom of playing pranks. The turnip (Halloween falls in the wake of the pumpkin harvest in North America, hence their use of pumpkins) was traditionally carved at Halloween to represent grotesque faces of spirits or goblins.
One might assume that practises have somewhat changed, in that the scariest creature to knock on my door last Thursday evening was an angry bumble bee with his posse of Tinkerbell, Bob the Builder and a sparkly bat with clashing ballet tutu. But if you were to have entered the dark, eerie gates of the Expand a Sign factory and head office earlier that day, you would have been truly terrified. And not for the usual reasons, like our shockingly impressive product range or our frighteningly superior quality. Halloween at Expand a Sign was scary. Seriously scary. Everyone (General Managers are supposed to be daunting, but Les Harrison took spooky to a whole new level as Dracula) dressed up in their most fearsome garb for the day.
With prizes for best dressed (Kent, our IT Manager won as a freakish zombie. Shaun in Printing was awarded second prize as another walking dead zombie, and Brynn in the Art Studio took home bronze with his awkwardly brilliant interpretation of a trashy nurse), great effort was made by everyone to outdo each other. The Planning department won best prize for decorating their work space as a shrine to the dead (we worry slightly about where they come up with such dark notions and ideas). Factory won second place for best decorated department, and the day culminated in a company video being shot as team building for a fun marketing campaign.
When back in their normal work attire and with the make up wiped clean, you wouldn’t recognise our employees as the sinister beings that they embodied last week. But as Mark Twain once stated, ‘Everyone is a moon and has a dark side. Yet you may only rarely ever get to see it.”