Halloween is that exciting time of year that like Christmas only comes around once a year. And just like Christmas is steeped in its history and traditions. Fun for the whole family, children love it for the costumes, the candy and the overall specialness of the evening. Parents love it for finding their perfect outfit with their kids. Adults love it for the fun lead up of preparing their homes, their costumes and look forward to the parties that are always a big hit on the social calendar
The History Behind Haloween
Halloween is the shortened and best-known term for what was once Hallows Evening, All Saints and All Hallos Eve and was formerly a Celtic harvest festival that celebrated the memory of deceased saints and martyrs. Over decades and centuries, the tradition traveled to America with Irish settlers in the 1800’s and over time became the tradition that it has become today.
Jack o lanterns
As a part of the Irish folklore, the jack o lantern was a tale of a man named Jack who encounters the devil on his way home and who tricks the devil into climbing a tree. Once the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the bark forever trapping the devil in it. Jack makes a deal with the devil that he will never take his soul, to which the devil agrees. Upon Jacks death, he is refused entry into heaven, and the devil, true to his word refused to let jack enter hell, instead throwing a fiery hot coal at him that came from the fires of hell itself. Jack took the ember and placed it into a turnip that had been hollowed out to stop it from going out and to keep him warm.
In other parts of the world such as Ireland and Scotland, they still hold to the folklore and continue to carve turnips as a part of their traditional celebration. Americans opted to use a pumpkin due to the ease of cutting the soft, smooth flesh of the giant vegetable.
Reports as early as 1837 cited the use of pumpkins which fitted well with the traditional harvest festival of the day and the plentifulness of them. You can refer to more of Halloweens history at :
Trick Or Treat
This famous saying has also come through history and from those earlier harvest celebrations when those celebrating the festival would go doo to or requesting food for the dead on All Souls Day and repaying the kindness with saying prayers for the property owners. Over the centuries this has been devolved down it “Trick or Treat,” where the trick was a prank that would be played on residents that would not give them a treat. While the number of tricks has lessened in today’s Halloween celebrations, the treats are still abundant, meaning that children can return home from an evening of Trick Or Treating with a bag or bucket full of candies.
Costumes have also transported through time to still be a part of today’s Halloween celebrations. During the first harvest festivals villagers dressed in costumes to hide from evil, and so that they were protected from the spirits. The early costumes were based on the spirits and the superstitions of the time. Villagers would dress as ghosts and witches, scarecrows, skeletons, black cats. Over the years this has become a time where any costume is suitable the original costumes still hold a tremendous fascination with the younger Trick Or Treaters and adults alike.
Today there is no real sense of a traditional costume as Trick Or Treaters dressing as their favorite heroes like Spiderman, Wonder Woman or Superman. Another popular dress category is based on occupations that have taken children’s imaginations. Some of these are Nurses, Policemen, Firemen, adventurers, and explorers.
Todays best dresses on Halloween may also include evil clowns, Zombies, astronauts and favorite celebrities and politicians such as Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton, Beyonce, Madonna, Cher, and the list is almost endless. Halloween is the day where any costume is appropriate and the more fun you can have in designing and creating your costume, the more fun you will have on the night.
Who Else Celebrates Halloween?
Today, Halloween is very much a community-spirited event with a large number of people participating all across America as well as an extensive range of countries also joining in on the fun. Some of the other countries who participate are Mexico, Ireland. Canada and Australia to name a few, with some areas, particularly the more regional areas celebrating with special twists that work for their areas with any traditions that make sense to them. There are also pockets of residents in a large number of countries that group together to celebrate the date, particularly when there are pockets of Americans working and living overseas.
Today Halloween has left much of its history behind, and while it still uses some of the charm and backdrops of the original harvest days, today it is better known as a community celebration where communities can come together and share an evening. In most societies, this means getting to walk the streets of your neighborhood meeting and greeting neighbors and others that share our suburbs and communities. With parents and older children mixing in with the younger children, it is generally considered a night of community safety as most houses are well lit and parents patrol the streets making sure that there are no terrible influences out to ruin the night for those that enjoy it more.
It is also a night for the parents to enter the fun in their own right by dressing up in their own party and joining the local neighborhood parties that go on into the early hours. It is a night to enjoy the strengths of the community, ponder on the origins of the historic event and basically enjoy being in a caring community that is our home place. If you don’t win the best costume of the night its OK, at least you should be able to make your way home with a basket of candy for the keeping.