Halloween is a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”. It is a yearly celebration on 31 October. According to many scholars, All Hallows’ Eve is a Christianized feast influenced by Celtic harvest festivals, with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain: it marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year, it was seen as a transitional time, when the spirits or fairies could more easily come into our world and were particularly active. The belief that the souls of the dead return home on one night or day of the year seems to have ancient origins and it is found in many cultures throughout the world. Throughout the Gaelic and Welsh regions, the household festivities included rituals and games intended to prophesy their future, especially regarding death and marriage. Nuts and apples were often used in these rituals. Special bonfires were lit and there were rituals involving them. Their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers, and were also used for prophesy. Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating attending costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. Halloween costumes are traditionally modeled after supernatural figures such as vampires, monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as sweets or sometimes money, with the question, “Trick or treat?” The word “trick” refers to “threat” to perform mischief on the homeowners if treat is not given.
Walking down the street,
on Halloween night
Lots of scary
monsters, and other strange sites
• Harvest: a crop or yield of one growing season: a harvest of wheat.
• Gaelic: relating to the Celtic people of Ireland, Scotland, or the Isle of Man or their language or customs
• Welsh: the people born or living in Wales.
• Jack-o’-lanterns: a pumpkin that has been hollowed out and cut with openings to represent a human face, traditionally displayed at Halloween, often with a candle or light inside.
• Trick or Treat: a children’s Halloween custom, in which they call on neighbors, using this phrase, and threaten to play a trick if a treat is not given.