Flowers, Sympathy

William Paul’s Simple Guide to Sympathy Flowers

One of the many wonderful things about flowers is their fascinating ability to help us express our feelings at times in life when words are simply not enough.

We send a dozen red roses when saying “I love you” doesn’t seem strong enough. A heartfelt “thank you” goes a long way, but a handwritten thank you note attached to a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers does a much better job of conveying our appreciation.

This is especially true when we have to say, “I’m sorry.” Those words never seem like enough in any situation, especially when they are used to express feelings of sorrow instead of offering an apology. Fortunately, sympathy flowers from William Paul Floral Design can help in a big way when we cannot find the words ourselves.

Things to consider when selecting sympathy flowers

The experience of grief effects everyone in different ways, and every situation is unique. So, (with a few exceptions) there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to selecting appropriate sympathy flowers. But there are several factors that can help make the choice much easier.

  • Consider your relationship with the recipient(s). The size and type of flowers you choose to send for the funeral service is a visual display that plays an active role in the service for all in attendance. While most may never know who gave each individual gift, they will know that each display represents an important person, family, or group in the life being celebrated. The family will distribute the sympathy flowers after the service and will certainly acknowledge and appreciate every gift they receive.
  • Consider honoring the deceased in a special way, but do not worry too much about the details. Throughout history, different flowers have been considered symbolic of specific feelings such as honor, love, peace, and tranquility. But in modern times, most people will not even try reading deep enough to decipher the meanings behind each individual flower and will simply view the entire gift as a thoughtful, and beautiful gesture.
  • Consider the fate the sympathy gift after the service. In most circumstances the family of the deceased will distribute the gifts as they see fit to family members and friends. Sometimes, the family donates any extra flowers to local care centers or senior facilities so the flowers can later be enjoyed by others. If you wish to give a gift; a lush plant will not only look beautiful at the service but will also serve as a long-lasting memorial afterwards.

Let us take care of the details

The best advice for sympathy flowers is to give what you feel is appropriate without worrying too much about the details – because we’re here to take care of them for you. The experienced sympathy flower specialists at William Paul Floral Design will not only help you select an appropriate sympathy gift, but we will also confirm the delivery time with the venue prior to the service whether it takes place in Atlanta, San Francisco, Sacramento, or anywhere else in the USA.

Flowers

8 Great Spring Flowers From William Paul Floral Design

We’re just days away from March 20 – the first official day of spring! After a long, dark winter with plenty of grays and browns, it is time once again for some springtime color! While spring’s arrival signifies the season of rebirth and growth, a few seasonal floral superstars stand head and shoulders above the rest. Here are eight of our favorite spring-blooming flowers to brighten up your world while we celebrate the first day of spring.

Peony

Loved throughout the world for their extravagant blooms, Peonies are colossal flowers that have an elegant natural beauty and a delicate, unforgettable aroma. Peonies make perfect companions for other spring flowers such as iris, alliums and roses and are a popular choice for spring and summer wedding bouquets.

The peony’s distinctive feature is its large, eye-catching flowers that have 5 to 10 petals each. Depending on the variety, their color can vary from pristine white to “bubble-gum” pink, and also bright red and gorgeous shades of yellow.

Iris

Irises are one of our favorite springtime flowers because of their incredibly colorful blooms. The name Iris was adopted from Greek goddess of the rainbow to represent the spectrum of colors of the many different species.

Throughout history, the Iris has been a symbol of power and elegance for monarchs and royal families around the world. In fact, the renowned “Fleur de Lys” symbol is a graphic representation of the Iris bloom that was known for centuries as the symbol of French royalty. Irises are also common themes in many priceless paintings by artists like da Vinci, Renoir, Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, and of course, Georgia O’Keeffe.

Hyacinth

This bright and beautiful spring flower boasts a unique shape which adds the perfect floral touch to any springtime bouquet. Hyacinths are deeply fragrant flowers that are available in shades of white, blue, purple, red, and pink. The flowers grow in thick clusters on tall spikes that are filled with small, bell-shaped blooms.

Tulip

Tulips are another spring favorite with their rainbow of color options. Aside from their beauty in gardens and planters, tulips are one of the most popular types of cut flower. As one of the most popular and recognizable spring flowers, tulips are said to symbolize perfect love and can pull together a wedding, anniversary, or birthday bouquet. Tulips can make a perfect bouquet among other tulips of the same color or within a mix of other exquisite flowers.

Daffodil

With their cheerful bright yellow, orange, and white trumpet-shaped flowers, daffodils are a crowd favorite come springtime, especially since they are one of the first blooms to pop up each spring. Frequently seen growing in large clusters throughout most of the U.S., daffodils are one of the first signs that spring finally has arrived!

Lilac

Lilacs are among the most popular and most recognizable spring flowers. Their bushy elongated cluster of small blooms feature a sweet and strong fragrance and are available in in purple, blue, violet, pink, and white. The fragrance of lilacs is often used in perfumes and other aromatherapy products for its relaxation properties while the essential oil extracted from lilac plants are used to treat infections, fevers, skin problems, and stomach ailments. Lilac flowers are also edible and make beautiful garnishes on desserts and in drinks.

Gerbera Daisy

These large daisy variations are the fifth most popular flower in the world. The gerbera daisy symbolizes cheerfulness, which makes it a perfect addition to this bouquet. The flower’s yellow center adds a bright pop of color to give this bouquet the right amount of cheer. A staple in the cut flower world, gerbera daisies come in almost every color and have sturdy stems that will not hollow out like other cut flowers. They also have an exceptional vase life, usually lasting up to 10 days.

Calla Lily

The Calla Lily, which is neither a calla nor a lily, is another popular choice for spring floral bouquets. With a single petal that wraps to create a beautiful statement, these sleek, elegant blooms are both recognizable and unparalleled. But the colorful part most people think are petals is actually a leaf. The Calla Lily’s real flower is on a spike inside that leaf.

Spring flowers are the perfect way to welcome the spring sunshine as we shed our winter layers. Fresh floral bouquets from William Paul Design make unique and thoughtful gifts to celebrate a loved one or simply send a smile. We offer same-day delivery in San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta, and surrounding areas for birthdaysanniversariesnew babiesget well soonsympathy, or even just because. Call us today at (415) 481-3024 or shop online 24/7.

Flowers, Holidays

Six Ways to Help Support Small and Local Businesses

Looking back, 2020 was a devastating year for small businesses. Many closed permanently, and most that survived were forced to downsize or racially alter their business model in order to keep operating. In many instances, customers stepped in a big way with innovative efforts to support their favorite local and small businesses. Here are six things you can do if you wish to help in 2021.

1) Follow and engage with the business on social media

Sweet Thing by William Paul Floral Design, San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta

One of the easiest and most effective ways to support a small business without spending a dime is by following them on social media. It is easy to engage with their posts and stories by commenting, sharing with a friend, or simply liking their posts.

Social media engagement is extremely important to a small business. If their content receives enough good engagement, algorithms begin pushing it to the feeds of other users with similar interests. This exposure helps a small business get noticed by people who may not know it even exists yet, which is a very powerful way of helping them grow.

2) Share your experiences with a small business by writing a review or offering a testimonial

People love sharing their experiences on social media but are much less likely to leave a review unless their experience was either outstanding or terrible. Unfortunately, many of those reviews come from extreme circumstances that fall outside the norm and do not necessarily reflect the overall reputation of the business or the views of their regular customers.

You can help by writing reviews and offering testimonials for the brands and small businesses you love. You can even go a step further and become an influencer by posting about them on social media to let your followers know about them. Good reviews will encourage new customers.

3) Buy a gift card to a local business

Another fantastic way to support small business is by purchasing gift cards. Their versatility makes them a great gift idea because the recipient can use them to order online or can choose to save them for a time when they feel comfortable enough to use them in person.

Gift cards also make wonderful gifts for the friends and loved ones when you cannot get together to celebrate. While many large gatherings have been put on hold for a later time, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays are still taking place. Gift cards are easy to put in a card and mail anywhere in the country for the cost of a stamp.

4) Be understanding and patient

For local business reopening after the pandemic, the retail landscape looks completely different than it did before COVID-19. While some of the larger businesses were able to return to normal operations, many of the smaller shops have taken longer to adjust.

In most cases, small business owners rely on a number of constantly changing factors in order to make difficult business decisions. While they are doing what they feel is best to keep employees and customers safe, they are often forced to rely on trial and error until they discover what works best.

5) Sign up for their email list

Email lists are extremely valuable for small business owners because email is a direct line of communication to you. Many businesses offer exclusive discounts and sales through email and some even offer a special promotion just for signing up.

6) Make someone smile with flowers from William Paul Floral Design

At William Paul Floral Design, our expert floral designers are still working hard every day to arrange beautiful flowers and our delivery drivers are out every day of the week making same-day contactless deliveries. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, or even “just because,” now is the perfect time to send some love with the gift of flowers. We offer same-day delivery in San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta, or anywhere nationwide! Call us today at 415-481-3024 or shop online 24/7.

Holidays, Valentine's Day

Beyond Red Roses: A Valentine’s Day Guide for Selecting Something Unexpected

Valentine’s Day is one of our favorite holidays of the year because it is all about love and happiness! It is a chance to show loved ones – or those we secretly admire – that we think they are special, and we reward them with gifts to show our appreciation.

Be My Love by William Paul Design, San Francisco

On the surface, that sounds fantastic. We all spread love around and everyone gets presents, what could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot if you do not know what your Valentine’s expectations are and you underdeliver on an occasion that is practically set up on a tee for you to knock it out of the park.

Couples celebrating their first Valentine’s Day together without knowing the other partner’s expectations ahead of time could be headed for hurt feelings, or even disaster if they are not on the same page and the gift misses the mark.

For those who do not know a daisy from a daffodil, we’re here to help you find the perfect gift of flowers for Valentine’s Day that should exceed just about every expectation. Although you should definitely consider some chocolates and perhaps a plush animal just to be on the safe side!

Red Roses

Red roses are the quintessential gift for Valentine’s Day. If your Valentine is expecting flowers, this is likely what they have in mind. You cannot go wrong with a dozen (or two) long-stem roses, but you CAN be more creative than that!

Heart and Soul by William Paul Design,
San Francisco

A dozen roses show you care, but they also suggest that you did not put a great deal of thought into the gift and instead just went with the safe choice. For many, this is more than enough, but if you really want to make this Valentine’s Day one to remember, you need to consider additional options in order to watch your Valentine’s face light up after you exceed their expectations.

One of our favorite Valentine’s Day bouquets is William Paul’s Be My Love Bouquet With Red Roses. This jaw-dropping design not only features the signature red roses but enhances them with lovely carnations, Asiatic lilies and daisies to make it extra special.

Another terrific option is our William Paul’s Lavish Love Bouquet which perfectly pairs red roses with a variety of lovely red and pink flowers to truly make it stand out from a crowd. For something completely different, why not surprise your valentine with William Paul’s Heart and Soul? This wonderful bouquet bucks the trend of traditional Valentine’s Day flowers by putting a new spin on a classic traditional gift.

No matter which gift you give your Valentine, be sure to order as early as possible in order to choose from the best selection. Just like a great bakery or a terrific barbeque restaurant, the early bird gets the worm and the selections become limited the closer we get to the big day. Ordering early will also help you secure your preferred delivery date before they are full.

Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? William Paul Floral Design has you covered with an incredible selection of Valentine’s Day flowers and gifts. We offer same-day delivery in San FranciscoSacramentoAtlanta, and surrounding areas for birthdaysanniversariesnew babiesget well soonsympathy, or even just because. Call us today at (415) 481-3024 or shop online 24/7.

Flowers

Illuminating and Ultimate Grey are Colors of the Year for 2021

For 2021, two colors – Ultimate Grey and Illuminating – have been selected as the Pantone Color of the Year. This practical color combination that was chosen for its ability to help us feel optimistic and uplifted while reflecting what is taking place in our global culture and inviting us to embrace the value of our differences. This year’s selection provides a stark contrast from last year’s Color of the Year, Classic Blue, a reflective blue tone evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky.

As the global color authority and provider of professional color language standards, the color experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new color influences in order to select a new color each year. Pantone chose Illuminating as its 2021 Color of the Year first, only months later deciding to add a second hue, with the intention of them being seen and interpreted as a pair.

What difference do these color declarations make? Plenty, because they are the colors you can expect to see well-represented in 2021 across a wide range of products, from fashion to beauty to home décor and even floral design!

Hope and Optimism for the New Year

By choosing bright and soothing colors that take inspiration from natural elements, the biggest color trends of 2021 are taking a cue from this last tumultuous year and giving people a renewed sense of hope and optimism that many are looking for in the new year.

This year’s spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality. Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow shade filled with vivacity while Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation of composure, steadiness, and resilience.

Two colors are better than one

A marriage of strength and optimism, Ultimate Grey and Illuminating are two independent colors that come together to create an aspirational color pairing, conjoining deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the optimistic message of sunshine and strength.

But the two colors do not have to be used in equal proportions, as either color can take precedence in design with both synchronously representing stability, hope, and unity.

Sweet Sunlight Bouquet by William Paul Design, San Francisco, Fair Oaks, Atlanta

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explained: “The selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one color or one person, it’s about more than one. The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”

Pantone puts a tremendous amount of thoughtful consideration into choosing their Color(s)of the Year. They arrive at their decision by pouring over trend analysis and combing the globe in search of new color influences. Their decision is ultimately based on several different factors, but the end result is typically a good indication of the state of global and political climate and the emotions that many people are feeling at the time – if that feeling can be described as a color.

This year’s selection is all about optimism and the hope that many people can use to start 2021 on the right note, but that does not mean it has to represent your year. A fresh new year means a fresh new start and now is the perfect time to begin writing your own story – and choosing your own color – that will define your world in 2021.

Do not miss out on the hottest new color trends for 2021: Illuminating and Ultimate Grey! William Paul Design has many beautiful floral designs featuring this intriguing color combo. We offer same-day delivery in San FranciscoSacramentoAtlanta, and surrounding areas for birthdaysanniversariesnew babiesget well soonsympathy, or even just because. Call us today at (415) 481-3024 or shop online 24/7.

Christmas, Flowers

‘Tis the Season for the Holiday Magic of Sacramento’s Own Thomas Kinkade

Christmas is a holiday steeped in tradition. One of the most beloved is the holiday artwork of Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light. Kindade was born in Sacramento in 1958 and achieved success by mass marketing his work as printed reproductions of Christmas scenes, realistic, pastoral, and idyllic subjects.

Thomas Kinkade’s Hero’s Welcome Bouquet by William Paul Floral Design, Sacramento, San Francisco, Atlanta.

Kinkade passed away in 2012 after spending most of his life in northern California. He grew up in Placerville and attended the University of California, Berkeley in addition to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. In the mid-1980s, Kinkade earned his living as a painter selling his original artwork in galleries throughout California.

His artwork lives on and is enjoyed by millions of people across the United States and throughout the world, especially during Christmas time. By his own estimation, one in every twenty American homes owned a copy of one of his paintings. Licensing with corporations like Teleflora have made it possible for his images to be used in incredibly detailed containers for holiday floral arrangements.

New for 2021 is Thomas Kinkade’s Hero’s Welcome Bouquet, a hand-painted, light-up Thomas Kinkade collectible set atop a magnificent bouquet of festive holiday flowers and fresh Christmas greens.

This arrangement from William Paul Design includes red roses, miniature red roses, white button spray chrysanthemums, seeded eucalyptus, noble fir, and flat cedar. Hand-delivered in Sacramento or anywhere in the USA with a Thomas Kinkade’s Hero’s Welcome Keepsake. We also feature an incredible selection of  holiday flowers and gifts. We offer same-day delivery in San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta, and surrounding areas for birthdaysanniversariesnew babiesget well soonsympathy, or even just because. Call us today at (415) 481-3024 or shop online 24/7.

Christmas, Holidays

Holiday Shopping in 2020

The good news is we have reached the end of 2020 – a year will forever be remembered by the unprecedented impact it had on our world. The reality is that the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in many changes throughout every aspect of our lives, from how we live and work to how we interact and shop.

The small-business owner, in many cases the heart and soul of a city or neighborhood, was hit particularly hard by the restrictions, mandatory closings and sudden rule changes that often left them scrambling to keep their lights on. Shoppers too were forced to adapt to new methods of procuring goods and services while trying to remain as safe as possible.

There are many lessons to be learned from 2020, but perhaps the most important is refocusing on serving each individual customer and offering them the safest and most efficient way of shopping. When corporations like Amazon allow people to shop for nearly anything they can dream of and have it delivered to their door in two days, it sets the bar high for rest of the retail industry.

But why wait that long?

Your friends at William Paul Design can deliver your gift by hand – the same day your place your order!  Not only that, but you can order online any time you like from the safety and comfort of your own home. Christmas flowers, wreaths, boxwood trees, orchids, and centerpieces from William Paul Design make outstanding holiday gifts for everyone on your list.

The Ultimate Christmas Basket by William Paul Design, San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta

For something extra special, our holiday baskets are the perfect choice for even the most difficult person to shop for, because they can be personalized to include anything you want. We have a selection of pre-made baskets available in store that include fresh fruit, gourmet snacks, holiday treats and more, or we can design a themed holiday package especially for you.

At William Paul Design we take every precaution to keep our customers and our employees safe and healthy, so you can rest assured that our professional staff of drivers will safely delivery your gift to the recipient’s door. We even offer touchless delivery options if preferred. Our delivery times and dates are filling up fast, so please order early for the best selection.

If you prefer a more traditional Christmas shopping, you will love to see what we have in store for you at William Paul Design. Our holiday flowers and gifts are sure to put you in the holiday spirit this Christmas! Stop by and see with our incredible selection of holiday flowers and gifts. We offer same-day delivery in San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta, and surrounding areas for birthdaysanniversariesnew babiesget well soonsympathy, or even just because. Call us today at (415) 481-3024 or shop online 24/7.

Christmas, Holidays

What is mistletoe and why do we kiss under it at Christmas?

Greenery and plants including holly, laurel, boxwood bushes, poinsettias, pine trees, wreaths and mistletoe, play important roles in many of our holiday celebrations. Kissing under the mistletoe is one Christmastime’s most romantic – and most unusual – traditions.  But what is mistletoe and how did it become such a fabled part of Christmas while being mostly ignored the rest of the year?

Unlike most other holiday flowers, mistletoe isn’t exactly known for its beauty. In fact, the infamous yuletide plant is an invasive shrub that grows from the dung of birds and extracts nutrients from trees. While that may not be a glowing introduction to mistletoe, it does begin to explain why this plant has held people’s fascination for so long.

While it is true that mistletoe is semi-parasitic and could eventually kill its host plant, it is generally not considered a serious enough threat, in most cases, to warrant control measures. In fact, there is evidence that the plant could have benefits for birds as well as humans.

Several studies – including one from Billabong Creek in New South Wales, Australia and another from central Mexico have shown a significant drop in the populations of birds and other species in areas where scientists removed mistletoe from the ecosystem while populations increased or stayed the same in areas with mistletoe.

Those findings, along with other studies suggest that mistletoe is a keystone species that not only plays a critical role in its ecosystem but may also provide some promising health benefits to humans. Doctors at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine are studying mistletoe’s effects on cancer patients as a way to relieve side effects of chemotherapy, and physicians in Europe are able to prescribe mistletoe to their patients.

How did it become a holiday tradition?

Long before the internet, neighbors and relatives frequently visited each other during the holidays for fellowship. Houses were kept tidy and decorated for the holidays in order to be ready for any guests or visitors, so the decorations needed to be hearty enough to last for several weeks. Although the origins of kissing under the mistletoe are unclear, it was likely chosen in part because it stays green all winter long without being rooted in soil.

Tannenbaum Basket by William Paul Floral Design

The earliest documented cases of kissing under the mistletoe date back to 16th century England where it was a very popular custom at the time, but it likely started even earlier. One Norse myth claims people began kissing under the plant as a peace offering after the god Balder was killed with a mistletoe arrow. Early European were so enamored with mistletoe plants that they became interwoven into myths, legends, and religious beliefs.

Literature is filled with examples of different uses that range anywhere from preventing fires to scaring away demons and protecting livestock from witchcraft. Throughout the ages, mistletoe was also commonly tied to fertility, which may be where the tradition started. Washington Irving wrote that men commonly gave women a kiss for each berry hanging on the mistletoe above them – plucking one off for each kiss.

Despite mistletoe’s continued popularity in Christmas carols, songs, and tales, the plant is not nearly as common as it used to be even though nearly everyone has heard of it. And, unlike the jolly old elf, there is nothing seasonal about mistletoe – it does not disappear when the season is over, it is simply forgotten about for several months each year until it makes its appearance in doorways across the world next year.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at William Paul Floral Design! Start your holiday shopping today with our incredible selection of holiday flowers and gifts. We offer same-day delivery in San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta, and surrounding areas for birthdaysanniversariesnew babiesget well soonsympathy, or even just because. Call us today at (415) 481-3024 or shop online 24/7.

Holidays

Cornucopias and Thanksgiving Centerpieces

Ready, or not – the holiday season is upon us and Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Thanksgiving is a special holiday for many reasons, but what makes it so unique is the fact that it is the one major holiday where the meal is the main event.

Fall Chic Bouquet by William Paul Floral Design, San Francisco, CA

Not only that, but It is also the holiday that will set the tone for the remainder of the holiday season. So why not make it beautiful with a cornucopia of your own, or some Thanksgiving flowers from William Paul Floral Design?

According to lore, Thanksgiving began as the celebration of a bountiful harvest. It was – and still is – a time to reflect and give thanks through a meal shared with friends and loved ones.

One of the most iconic symbols of Thanksgiving is the cornucopia. Typically hollow and made out of wicker in the shape of a horn, it is often called the “horn of plenty.” Cornucopias represent an abundance of food and nourishment and serve as a visible reminder of the meaning of the holiday while also giving the table a finished, polished, look.

Bountiful Blessings by William Paul Floral Design, San Francisco, CA

While cornucopias are most closely associated with Thanksgiving, their origin can be traced all the way back to Greek and Roman mythology. Cornucopias are even depicted on the state flags of Idaho and Wisconsin, as well as the coats of arms for Columbia, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

With food being the center of attention at Thanksgiving, the table itself an important part of the holiday as it often serves as the hub of the day’s activities. Long after the food is enjoyed and the dishes are put away, the cornucopia and other autumn-inspired centerpieces remain to serve as a reminder of the prosperity and good things in life for which we give thanks.

It’s never too soon to start thinking about Christmas

Peace and Joy Bouquet by William Paul Floral Design, San Francisco, CA

Since Thursday is Thanksgiving, that means Black Friday is here as well to kick off the official start of the holiday shopping season. Wouldn’t it be nice if you already had your holiday shopping done before the calendar even turned to December?

You’re in luck because William Paul Floral Design is your one-stop-shop for all your holiday needs. Of course, flowers always make an outstanding gift, but we also carry a wide assortment of other holiday presents for everyone on your list.

Make things extra-easy for yourself and order your holiday flowers and gifts at the same time you place your Thanksgiving order.

Let everyone else fight the traffic and the crowds this year while you enjoy the holiday season from the comfort of your own couch – knowing your shopping is already complete with the help of your friends at William Paul!

The holidays are here at last! Visit William Paul Floral Design for all your Thanksgiving flowers and centerpieces. We offer same-day delivery in San Francisco, California, and surrounding areas for birthdaysanniversariesnew babiesget well soonsympathy, or even just because. Call us today at (415) 481-3024 or shop online 24/7.

Holidays

Where Do Our Bizarre Halloween Traditions Come From?

We love to honor tradition by celebrating holidays, especially ones with seemingly absurd origins which bring about colorful characters like the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns, Cupid, and Father Time.

We typically don’t delve too deep into why these particular characters show up, or how they got to be so popular in the first place, because it’s more fun just to go along with it than to question every little detail. But sometimes you just have to wonder why every October we let our kids dress up as pirates and princesses and take to the streets of the neighborhood searching for sugary treasure.

Warm Fall Wishes Bouquet by William Paul Floral Design, San Francisco

When left to the imagination, there aren’t many holidays that are more fun than Halloween. From carving pumpkins to trick-or-treating and haunted houses, Halloween has become a whimsical celebration of things that most people find scary or downright chilling any other time of the year.

Carving jack-o-lanterns is a tradition that began several hundred years ago in Ireland, but back in those days, they were carved from potatoes and turnips. It wasn’t until years later, after the Irish immigrated to the United States, that they discovered that pumpkins made for a much better medium due to their abundance in the new world, thus a new tradition was born.

Legend has it that the jack-o-lanterns were originally intended to frighten away the wandering soul of Stingy Jack, who was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity after tricking the devil and later finding out he wasn’t allowed into heaven or hell.

Burst of Autumn by William Paul Floral Design, San Francisco

This also loosely explains why we dress up in costumes – to disguise ourselves from the souls wandering amongst us – including Stingy Jack!

Or perhaps it doesn’t.

According to Lisa Morton, author of “Trick or Treat: A history of Halloween,” dressing up as a way to scare off evil spirits is a common misconception about the holiday. Morton contends that people didn’t start dressing up until much later – as in the 1800s.

By that time, Halloween was known for pranks which were becoming more and more elaborate and dangerous. So much so that towns and cities were thinking about canceling Halloween because many felt that the pranks were getting out of hand.

That led to a gradual push from families, communities and civic organizations to change the nature of the holidays from pranks to the “trick or treat” traditions we know today.

Sadly, Morton’s version of buying off kids with treats and costumes is probably a bit closer to reality than the warding off evil spirits angle, but as with most holiday traditions, you never really know for sure!

Don’t forget, the holidays are just around the corner! Visit William Paul Floral Design for all your Thanksgiving flowers and centerpieces. We offer same-day delivery in San Francisco, California, and surrounding areas for birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, get well soon, sympathy, or even just because. Call us today at (415) 481-3024 or shop online 24/7.