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Halloween Is For Everyone

Halloween FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Halloween

What is Halloween?

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31, usually by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting candy. It is celebrated in much of the Western world, though most commonly in the United States, Ireland, Scotland and Canada. Irish, Scots and other immigrants brought older versions of the tradition to North America in the 19th century.

What is the Day of the Dead?

n Great Britain in particular, the pagan Celts celebrated the Day of the Dead on Halloween. The spirits supposedly rose from the dead and, in order to attract them, food was left on the doors. To scare off the evil spirits, the Celts wore masks. When the Romans invaded the Britain, they embellished the tradition with their own, which is the celebration of the harvest and honoring the dead. These traditions were then passed on to the United States.

What are Halloween symbols?

Halloween's theme is spooky or scary things particularly involving death, black magic, or mythical monsters. Commonly-associated Halloween characters include ghosts, witches, bats, black cats, goblins, zombies and demons, as well as certain fictional figures like Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. Homes are often decorated with these symbols around Halloween.

Black and orange are the traditional colors of Halloween. There are also elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins and scarecrows, reflected in symbols of Halloween.

The jack-o'-lantern, a carved vegetable lit by a candle inside, is one of Halloween's most prominent symbols. In Britain and Ireland, a turnip was and sometimes still is used, but emigrants to America quickly adopted the pumpkin because it is much larger and easier to carve. Many families that celebrate Halloween will carve a pumpkin into a scary or comical face and place it on the home's doorstep on Halloween night for fun. Traditionally, something like this was done in order to scare evil spirits away.

What are some fun Halloween games?

There are several games traditionally associated with Halloween parties. The most common is bobbing for apples, in which apples float in a tub or a large basin of water; the participants must use their teeth to remove an apple from the basin. Another common game involves hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings; these must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity which inevitably leads to a very sticky face.

What are some good Halloween foods?

Because the holiday comes in the wake of the annual apple harvest, candy apples (also known as toffee apples) are a common treat at Halloween. They are made by rolling whole apples in a sticky sugar syrup, and sometimes then rolling them in nuts. At one time candy apples were a common treat given to children, but this practice rapidly waned after widespread rumors that some individuals were embedding items like pins and razor blades in the apples that they would pass out to children. The vast majority of the reported cases turned out to be hoaxes, and the few that were real caused only minor injuries, but many parents were under the assumption that the practice was common. At the peak of this hysteria, some hospitals were offering to x-ray children's Halloween haul at no cost in order to look for such items.

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What is All Hallow's Eve?

The form "Halloween" derives from Hallowe'en, an old contraction, longer retained in Scotland, of "All Hallow's Eve," so called as it is the day before the Catholic All Saints holy day, which used to be called "All Hallows," derived from All Hallowed Souls. In Ireland, the name was Hallow Eve and this name is still used by some older people. Halloween was formerly also sometimes called All Saints' Eve. The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries (along with Christmas and Easter, two other traditional northern European pagan holidays) and given a Christian reinterpretation. Halloween is also known as the Day of the Dead, and it is a day of celebration for Wiccans and other modern pagan traditions, though the holiday has lost its religious connotations among the populace at large.

What is Trick-or-Treating?

The main event of Halloween is trick-or-treating, also known as guising in Scotland, in which children dress up in costume disguises and go door-to-door in their neighborhood, ringing the bell and yelling "trick or treat!" (or, less frequently, "Halloween apples!") The occupants of the house (who might themselves dress in a scary costume) will then hand out small candies, miniature chocolate bars or other treats. Some parents opt to give "healthy" treats, such as small boxes of raisins, but this practice does not please the children. Homes sometimes use sound effects and fog machines to help set a spooky mood. Children can often accumulate many treats on Halloween night, filling up entire pillow cases or shopping bags.

In Scotland children or guisers will have to impress the members of the houses they visit with a song, trick, joke or dance in order to earn their treats.

Tricks play less of a role in modern Halloween, though the night before Halloween is often marked by pranks such as soaping windows, egging houses or stringing toilet paper through trees. Before indoor plumbing was so widespread, tipping over or displacing outhouses was a popular form of trick.

What is a costume party?

A costume party (also referred to as fancy dress party in the United Kingdom) is a type of party where the guests dress up in a costume. These are especially popular around Halloween;many teenagers have this instead of going out to trick-or-treat;and during the Carnival season.

What is a Jack-o-lantern?

A jack-o'-lantern is a pumpkin whose top and stem have been carved off and inner membranes and seeds scooped out to leave a hollow shell. Sections of a side are carved out to make a design, usually a face. It is possible, using thicker and thinner sections cut with differing tools, to create surprisingly detailed and realistic designs. A light source (traditionally a candle) is placed inside the pumpkin and the top is put back into place (often after a "chimney" is carved in the lid in order to allow heat to escape). The light illuminates the design from the inside. The practice of carving jack-o'-lanterns began in Ireland. Jack-o'-lanterns are generally made for Halloween, and were originally made from large turnips, beets and rutabagas, before the introduction of the pumpkin from the Americas.

Halloween - The Spooky Holiday!