Fall is a little bittersweet around the Mosquito Joe office. The same time of year that brings beautiful foliage, pumpkin patches, hayrides, and apple cider also brings an end to our mosquito spraying season in most locations. But instead of focusing on the negatives, we’re already looking forward to the fun (and sometimes strange) fall activities yet to come! If you’ve ever wondered where the tradition of apple bobbing came from, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re going to explore some of the fall activities we enjoy every year and dig a little bit deeper to find out why we enjoy things like dunking our heads in water to retrieve an apple with our mouths instead of grabbing a dry one out of a bowl with our hands.
Oktoberfest is a 16 to 18 day festival that takes place every year in Munich, Germany to commemorate the Bavarian culture. A combination of a beer festival and carnival, Oktoberfest attracts millions of people every year. Interestingly enough, this festival is typically held in September instead of October. Wonder why? The first Oktoberfest was held in mid October 1810 to honor the marriage of a Bavarian royal couple. As this tradition continued throughout the years, organizers moved the festival to September to allow for better weather and enjoyment of the festivities! Last year’s event saw over 7 million visitors and just as many litres of beer served. Cheers!
Trick-or-treating, one of the most beloved fall traditions is a little strange if you really think about it. Going door to door in costume asking strangers for candy has a few contested origin stories. The ancient tradition of mumming was practiced at the Samhain celebration. This predecessor to Halloween was celebrated over 2,000 ago by the Celts. People would dress in costume to drive away evil spirits while gathering together to honor the dead and would perform acts in exchange for food and drink.
Samhain transformed into All Souls’ Day, a large festival with costumes, food, and treats to honor the deceased. Poorer classes would visit the homes of wealthier people and ask for treats in exchange for a promise to pray for the souls of their relatives. Eventually, the promise to pray for souls was dropped and replaced with the performance of a trick or joke, hence the name trick-or-treat.
As these traditions came to the United States, the innocent “tricks” gradually devolved into vandalism, the height of which was during The Great Depression. To evade thousands of dollars in damage and unnecessary violence, communities organized a trick-or-treating program in the 1930s to keep young people focused on something else. These programs saw huge success and continue to this very day!
Bobbing for Apples
What is now a messy and innocent game has its roots in courtship and love from European colonists. Young girls were assigned an apple, and the amount of tries it took their male partner to bite the apple determined the success of their relationship; one try meant eternal love, two tries meant a short romance, and three tries meant nothing would ever happen. The apple was often regarded as a sign of fertility and youth as apple blossoms usually signal the beginning of spring. Eventually, this game lost its romantic undertones and became a popular game for everyone to enjoy at fall parties!
As is becoming tradition here, we went around to office to ask the Mosquito Joe crew about which fall activities they love. Here are some of their favorites!
Watching my son play fall tee-ball – Jake
Coming from New England, we always did the typical stuff; apple picking, hot apple cider, etc. But for me, the highlight is when we carve the pumpkins! Now with kids, it’s fun to see personalities come out in their carvings. You can always tell who’s pumpkin is whose. My pumpkin is always scary. Dad’s is traditional and NEVER deviates. Our 8-year-old daughter does something a little different and creative, and our 5-year-old does a goofy pumpkin. – Gwen
While I am a total summer girl at heart and hate to see it end, I do love heading out to the farm and watching our four year old select the perfect pumpkin and cut it off the vine! And of course, I always scoop up a few mums to get me in an autumn state of mind. – Julie
I love drinking beer and supporting my favorite NFL teams – Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers! – Jodi
As you plan your fall festivities and Halloween parties, remember how important it is to continue your mosquito control sprays until the very end of the season. Ending your treatments early will give female mosquitoes a chance to not only make your yard a home but to lay more eggs before the first freeze of winter. Along with the barrier spray, Mosquito Joe technicians can treat areas of standing water that are unavoidable such as pool covers and flower pots. If the last spray and treated areas of water are completed, then you’ve completed the first step in winterizing your yard!