What is Halloween?

I’m an immigrant. I did not feel comfortable about the scary spiders and skeletons and did not understand why so many Americans like it. Who ever thought of the idea of walking around in weird costumes, trick-or-treating, and/or putting a carved-out pumpkin in the windows? If you are new to Halloween, hope this article helps you understand a little bit about it.

Halloween is a holiday that’s celebrated every year on the night of October 31. It is originated in Ireland, and is celebrated in many countries including Ireland, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden and many other Countries. It’s celebrated in many different ways and activities including trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, “haunted house” tours, carving pumpkins (Jack-o’-lanterns) and reading scary stories or watching scary movies.

Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

What does the name ‘Halloween’ mean?

The name Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is a contraction of All Hallows Even, meaning the day before All Hallows Day, better known as All Saints Day, a Catholic holiday commemorating Christian saints and martyrs observed since the early Middle Ages on November 1.

Trick-or-treating

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, “Trick or treat?” The word “trick” refers to a “threat” to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In some parts of Scotland children still go guising. In this custom the child performs some sort of trick, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, to earn their treats.

Halloween Costumes

Halloween costumes are traditionally modeled after supernatural figures such as monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Over time, the costume selection extended to include popular characters from fiction, celebrities, and generic archetypes such as ninjas and princesses.

Dressing up in costumes and going “guising” was prevalent in Scotland at Halloween by the late 19th century. Costuming became popular for Halloween parties in the US in the early 20th century, as often for adults as for children. The first mass-produced Halloween costumes appeared in stores in the 1930s when trick-or-treating was becoming popular in the United States. Halloween costume parties generally fall on, or around, 31 October, often falling on the Friday or Saturday prior to Halloween. Though it was regarded up until the last few decades of the 20th century as primarily a children’s holiday, in more recent years common Halloween activities such as mask wearing, costume parties, themed decorations, and even trick-or-treating have grown quite popular with adults as well, making Halloween an “all-ages” holiday.

What Is Halloween Really About?

Some people may say Halloween is the devil’s birthday. Some may say that it’s just the time to eat a lot of candy. Some may say it’s just a fun day to dress up. But what is Halloween really about?

By the history, people danced around giant fires in the hopes of encouraging the sun to stay in the sky, life continues to require us to find ways to deal with sadness, illness, natural disasters, death, and people who commit evil.

Nowadays, Halloween, to most of us, is nothing more than that one day at the end of October, when children and adults dress up, have parties, get candy, and have fun.

If you are interested, please refer to “Halloween Books For Kids” and “Halloween Costumes for Kids“.

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