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The Halloween card failed (although it has seen a recent resurgence in popularity), but the witches stayed.
So, too, in the late 1800s, ill-informed folklorists introduced the jack-o’-lantern.
They thought that Halloween was druidic and pagan in origin.
Lamps made from turnips (not pumpkins) had been part of ancient Celtic harvest festivals, so they were translated to the American Halloween celebration.
It was a capital offense to say Mass, and hundreds of priests were martyred.
Occasionally, English Catholics resisted, sometimes foolishly. One of the most foolish acts of resistance was a plot to blow up the Protestant King James I and his Parliament with gunpowder.
During the penal period of the 1500s to the 1700s in England, Catholics had no legal rights.
They could not hold office and were subject to fines, jail and heavy taxes.
We know these representations as the “Dance Macabre” or “Dance of Death,” which was commonly painted on the walls of cemeteries and shows the devil leading a daisy chain of people — popes, kings, ladies, knights, monks, peasants, lepers, etc. Sometimes the dance was presented on All Souls’ Day itself as a living tableau with people dressed up in the garb of various states of life.But, by the time of the American Revolution, old King James and Guy Fawkes had pretty much been forgotten.Trick or treat, though, was too much fun to give up, so eventually it moved to Oct. And in America, trick or treat wasn’t limited to Catholics.This was supposed to trigger a Catholic uprising against their oppressors.The ill-conceived Gunpowder Plot was foiled on Nov. 5, Guy Fawkes’ Day, became a great celebration in England, and so it remains.