On Monday, October 31, many of us will celebrate Halloween. We will dress up in costumes and attend parties. Children will go door-to-door “trick or treating.” Of course, some will use the holiday as an excuse to create mischief or even mayhem, but for most of us it will be a day of fun and games and an opportunity to gorge ourselves on candy. But, few, if any, of us will bother to stop and think about the origins of the holiday. When and where did it begin? How did it evolve? Why do we dress up in costumes? Why do we go “trick or treating?” Glad you asked. Read on.

The origin of Halloween is a Celtic holiday dedicated to the dead. Although the Celts were interspersed in many areas of Europe, they were concentrated in what is now, England, Ireland and Scotland. The Celts divided the year into four sections, each of which was marked by a major holiday. The beginning of the winter season was November 1, which was celebrated by a festival called “Samhein,” pronounced “Sah-ween,” which means “end of summer” in old Irish. The word “Halloween” can be traced back as far as 1745. It means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening.” It is derived from a Scottish term for “All Hallows Eve,” the evening before “All Hallows Day,” aka “All Saints Day.” Over time, the word “evening” was contracted to “e’en,” thus Halloween.

The Celts were a pagan people and very superstitious. They believed that the ghosts of those who had died during the year had not yet completed their journey to the “otherworld,” and at Samhein they were able to mingle with the living. Accordingly, to placate these ghosts and other spirits the Celts offered sacrifices and lit bonfires to aid them on their journey. It has been suggested that the origin of wearing costumes was to disguise oneself from any lost soul that might be seeking vengeance on the living before moving on the next world. Some, believing that the souls of those who had died recently were still wandering in a sort of purgatory, set a place for them at dinner. Many of these ancient traditions have persisted to this day in some locales.

In 601 Pope Gregory I issued an edict, the gist of which was that missionaries were to combine Christian holidays and festivals with existing pagan holidays and festivals and, hopefully, eventually supersede them. The ultimate objective was to foster the conversion of pagans to Christianity. As a result, All Saints Day, aka All Hallows Day, was moved to November 1 to coincide with Samhein.

By the end of the 12th century other Halloween traditions had developed. For example, the clergy would ring church bells for the souls stuck in purgatory; and “criers,” dressed in black, would parade through towns reminding the citizens to remember these poor souls. In about the 15th century people began to bake “soul cakes,” which are small round cakes, a practice called “souling,” which is believed to be a forerunner of “trick or treating.” Poor people would go door-to-door and collect these cakes in exchange for saying prayers for the dead. Interestingly, Shakespeare mentioned “souling” in “The Two Gentlemen of Varona” in 1593. Over time, celebrations of All Hallows Day began to include additional customs, such as “trick or treating,” lighting bonfires, attending costume parties, carving “jack-o’-lanterns, apple “bobbing,” and attending church services.

As mentioned above, it is believed that the practice of “trick-or-treating” was derived from “souling” or “mumming,” which is going house-to-house in disguise singing songs in exchange for food. This was believed to have originated in Scotland and Wales in the 16th century. Sometimes people would paint their faces and threaten mischief if they were not welcomed. This evolved into the customs of wearing costumes and playing pranks. Nocturnal pranksters needed illumination, hence the development of jack-o-lanterns. In England, people would fashion them out of turnips or mangel wurzels, which are large, thick roots suitable for carving. In America, pumpkins were used, because they were plentiful and better suited for carving anyway. Jack-o-lanterns are believed to frighten evil spirits. In France, people believed that the dead buried in cemeteries would rise up and participate in a wild carnival-like celebration known as the “Danse Macabre,” or “Dance of Death.”

“Trick or treating,” as such, is a relatively modern development. As I said, it is believed to have evolved from “souling” or “mumming.” The earliest mention of it in print was in 1927, and it did not become widespread until the 1930s in the US. Also, costuming has evolved. Popular fictional characters have been added to the traditional skeletons, ghosts and ghouls. Basically, now, anything goes. As I said celebrating the day is no longer exclusively limited to children. Many adults also wear costumes and attend Halloween parties.


At the present time, Halloween, like other holidays, has become highly commercialized. Selling costumes and other related paraphernalia has become big business. Several movie franchises, such as Halloween and Friday the 13th have become very popular, especially at this time of the year. The actress, Jamie Lee Curtis has made a career of starring in seven Halloween movies over the years beginning in 1978.

The original religious significance of the holiday has been eclipsed and forgotten by most people. Yes, some people still attend church, but many more attend parties. Many if not most people, especially children, know Halloween merely as a day to dress in costumes and go “trick or treating.” We do love our candy. Speaking of which, special kudos to my grandkids who, aware of my fondness for Snickers, remember to save a bar for me every year.

In the last few years, the “PC Police” have inserted themselves into the holiday. Some of them have maintained that certain costumes are “racist” and should be avoided. I think we can all agree that a Caucasian should not dress up in “blackface.” But, the PC Police go much further. They also disapprove of any costumes that could be perceived by anyone as mocking or derogatory. Some examples would likely include Disney’s Moana, Aztec Indians, Tom Thumb, or Pancho Villa, which, in their minds, could be objectionable to Polynesians, Indigenous People, short people (or should I say “vertically challenged?” I have trouble keeping up with all the PC buzzwords.), or Hispanics, respectively. I say, if your five year-old loves Moana and wants to dress up like her, go for it. Is that really being insensitive or racist? Really? Do the people who are marketing Moana costumes really expect to sell them only to Polynesians? I think not! To me, these objections are just another example of some people who want to dictate to others how to act and live.

Hopefully, after reading this blog you will have gained some knowledge of and perspective as to the origin and meaning of the holiday. Enjoy, and stay safe!



There is a “red wave” coming, and, in my mind, it is long overdue. To be clear, by “red wave” I’m not referring to a Russian invasion. I’m referring to the GOP winning on Election Day big-time.

Predicting election results has always been unreliable. In politics, it is axiomatic that the only “poll” that matters is on election day. Polls can be misleading for a variety of reasons even with modern models and polling techniques. (See Truman over Dewey in 1948 and Trump over Clinton in 2016.) I have discussed the reasons for this in previous blogs, and time and space preclude me from repeating them now.

That said, in handicapping off-year election results there are certain historical factors that have proven to be reliable indicators. According to John Woolley, professor of political science at UC Santa Barbara and Co-Director of The American Presidency Project website, one historical fact is that in the 22 most recent midterm elections from 1934-2018 the President’s party has lost, on average, 28 House seats and four Senate seats. In 2022 the Dems have a nine-seat majority in the House, and the Senate is dead even at 50-50. So, if the historical averages hold, the GOP is likely to gain majorities in both chambers.

More bad news for the Dems. Historically, the two most reliable correlations have been (1) the personal popularity of the president and (2) the number of incumbent seats the party in power has to defend. In essence, the midterms have normally amounted to a referendum on the president’s performance.

As we all know, all the polls have been reporting that Biden’s approval rating has been historically low (in the low 40s%). Furthermore, according to a conglomeration of the latest polls, including RCP, Reuters and Emerson, among others, some 2/3 of voters are of the opinion that under Biden’s leadership the country is “headed in the wrong direction.” In the last six occasions where the president’s approval ratings were as poor as Biden’s the average loss of seats was four in the Senate and 36 in the House. There were no instances in which the president’s party gained seats in the House. In addition, the latest generic ballot poll gives the GOP a 50-45% edge.

In 2022 the Dems are defending 222 seats in the House and 14 of the 34 being contested in the Senate. Although the GOP is defending more Senate seats, as you will see below, the Dems are defending more vulnerable seats.

According to most polls in 2022 the most significant issues are the economy, energy, inflation, the southern border and crime. To be sure, there are others, such as abortion and healthcare, but those are the most important to most people. Bad news for the Dems – their performance on all of those has been dismal. Inflation is at a 40 year high; gas at the pump is more than twice what it was when Biden took office; energy costs are historically high and we are relying on other countries that don’t like us to provide it; we are facing a home heating shortage this winter; the southern border is virtually non-existent; and crime is running rampant. Moreover, we are reminded of these issues every day in the news and on tv. The mainstream media has no longer been able to suppress these stories.

Back to the Senate. There are several seats that are up for grabs notably AZ, GA, NV, OH, PA, and WIS. Earlier in the year the Dems had the lead in virtually all of them. As I write this, the situation has flip-flopped. Now the GOP has closed the gap in all of these races and is leading in some of them. As I write this, RealClearPolitics’ latest survey predicts the GOP will “flip” seats in AZ, G, and NV. In AZ Dem Mark Kelley’s once comfortable lead over GOP Blake Masters has shrunken to a mere 2 1/2 points, a virtual toss-up. Moreover, Masters has the momentum. In GA, and PA Walker and OZ have closed the gaps on Warnock and Fetterman, respectively, and those races are each now in a virtual dead heat. In the GA contest there is a strong possibility that neither Walker nor Warnock will garner 50% of the vote. That would require a run-off, which would give a decisive edge to Walker. In NV GOP Adam Laxalt has a narrow lead over Catherine Masto. In WIS GOP incumbent Ron Johnson has opened up a sizeable six point lead over Dem Mandela Barnes. In OH Dem Tim Ryan holds a small lead over GOP J. D. Vance. It should be noted that in each of the above races the GOP candidate has the momentum, so on ED the GOP could win them all.

The GOP is even making inroads in solidly-blue NY where 46% of the registered voters are Dem compared to 24% GOP. Newsday predicts that the GOP will win “several” House, State Senate and State Assembly seats. According to House Republican chair, Elise Stefanik, the GOP “could have [as many as] 15 Republicans in Congress from NY.” Even better, in the governor’s race Kathy Hochul’s once-sizeable lead over GOP Lee Zeldin has disappeared. According to Newsday the race is now in a dead-heat with Zeldin having all the momentum. He is riding the anti-crime wave and has broad support among whites and Hispanics, GOP and independents, men and women, upstate and downstate. He even has 36% support in NYC where generally GOP candidates only need about 30% to win a statewide election. If Zeldin were to win he would be the first NY GOP governor since 2000.


I believe that the so-called “red wave” is primarily attributable to the fact that the overwhelming majority of voters are worse off today than they were when Biden took office, and despite the Dems’ efforts to “spin” they know what they see and feel. They see it whenever they buy food or gas or clothes or pay for healthcare or pay the rent or mortgage. They see it when they get their financial statements with a diminished 401K or IRA balance. They feel unsafe due to rampant and random crime and an insecure border. They feel uneasy by the aggressiveness of our enemies, such as Russia, China and Iran, who are taking advantage of Biden’s weakness.

Worst of all, the Dems seem to be tone-deaf. They seem out of touch with reality. They are focused on climate change, abortion and Donald Trump rather than the those issues that are most critical to most voters. They claim the border is “secure.” They claim inflation is “transitory” or non-existent. They blame high gas prices on Putin, or Trump, or the GOP. They deny the existence of soaring crime. They appear more sympathetic to the needs of illegal aliens rather than their own citizens. In summary, how can they solve the above problems when they won’t even acknowledge they exist?

To sum up, Americans are afraid. They don’t feel safe physically, economically, or socially. They perceive that the “American Dream” is slipping away, and their country is deteriorating before their very eyes. They worry what America their children and grandchildren will inherit. They want a change. They want to return to the America they knew. Luckily, in America we have the means to effect change. It’s called an election. On November 8 I expect voters will take the first step toward change. I expect a “red wave.”


Most politicians and political observers believe that the 2022 elections will be crucial in determining the direction of the country for the next several years – politically, economically and socially. In my opinion, it is likely that the GOP will gain control of the House, but control of the Senate is up for grabs. Currently, the count is 50-50 with VP Harris able to cast the deciding vote, if necessary. Control of the Senate is crucial for a number of reasons, such as determining the chairmanship of various committees that will shape legislation and deciding whether or not to hold hearings and conduct investigations with respect to certain matters.

As I write this, there are a small handful of Senate races that are too close to call. These races are critical to both parties for the above reasons. One such race is the contest in Georgia between Raphael Warnock, the Democrat incumbent, who won a special election in 2020, and Herschel Walker, the GOP challenger. There are several others, such as AZ, NV, WI, PA and O, among others, but this blog will focus on Georgia. As I write this, the latest polls show Warnock with a 3-4% lead, well within the margin of error. We can debate the validity of this poll and polls, in general, but that is not the focus of this blog. My point is why is Warnock leading at all? How anyone who is cognizant of his past comments and political positions could possibly vote for him is a big mystery to me. Perhaps, his supporters are unaware of how radical he is. Perhaps, the biased media has covered up or ignored his past. Therefore, as a public service I will provide the information. Then, voters can decide for themselves.

  1. Warnock has been a virtual “rubber stamp” of President Biden’s policies. He has voted in support of Biden 96% of the time. Since Biden’s approval rating in GA is a mere 33% this, alone, should disqualify him. But, there more, much more.
  2. Warnock is on the “wrong side” of all the issues that voters care most about in this election.
  3. He opposes cash bail.
  4. He is “soft” on crime, for instance, he favors defunding the police and has characterized them as “thugs.”
  5. He favors open borders.
  6. He opposes energy independence.
  7. He favors no restrictions on abortion, even up to the moment of birth.
  8. He wants to eliminate the filibuster.
  9. He has made various anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments. He has been a supporter of Louis Farrakhan , Reverend Wright and Fidel Castro.
  10. He was actually arrested for obstructing an investigation of child abuse at a church summer camp he ran.
  11. He has failed to keep up with child support payments.
  12. He has a violent past. For instance, he once ran over his ex-wife’s foot with his car.


As I said, many, if not most Georgians are probably unaware of the foregoing. Instead, they have been bombarded with the story of Walker allegedly paying for his girlfriend’s abortion. Notice, I said “allegedly.” It has not been proven. It could very likely be more Dem disinformation to distract voters from the more serious issues. This is what Dems always do, and unfortunately it often works. However, I maintain that even if true it pales beside the foregoing.

Georgians should focus on what’s important and avoid being distracted. The key questions are (1) are you better off today than you were two years ago, (2) do you want six more years of the same, and (3) do you want to be represented by the man described above – a Biden “rubber stamp,” a bigot, and a person prone to violence? If you are thinking clearly and logically the answer should be a resounding NO!