What is Halloween?
- Halloween is an annual holiday where people, especially children, enjoy various activities related to anything which is scary!
- Ghosts, ghouls, goblins, witches, skeletons, bats, spiders and wizards are typical of the supernatural beings represented at Halloween.
- People typically dress up as a scary supernatural creature and go to Halloween themed parties. Children will go trick or treating whereby they knock on the doors of houses and ask for a treat – otherwise they will play a trick!
- Halloween is celebrated in western culture on the 31st October every year. The biggest observance of Halloween is in America although it is becoming a bigger celebration in other western cultures.
Why do we celebrate Halloween?
- No one is entirely sure where Halloween came from or why it became such a big celebration. It is thought that Halloween originated in Britain – as a pagan festival – and was originally called ‘All Hallows Eve’ (All Hallows Evening)
Why do we carve Pumpkins or ‘Jack O’Lanterns’?
- People didn’t originally carve pumpkins at Halloween. They originally carved Turnips (especially the Irish and Scottish) and this was to make lanterns which remembered the souls of the dead. When immigrants from these countries moved to the USA, they started using pumpkins which were native to the USA and easier to carve due to their size. They soon became the new tradition. In fact, 99% of pumpkins sold are for Jack O’Lanterns!
What is Trick or Treating?
- Children dress up as supernatural characters and walk door to door in their local neighbourhoods. They call out ‘Trick or Treat’ at each door – hopefully getting candy or small amounts of money from the house. The ‘Trick’ is supposed to be an idle threat but in Scotland, the ‘Trick’ is actually the child’s act – they may sing a song or perform an act in the hope of getting a treat. Trick or treating used to be called ‘Guising’ in Scotland.
Why do people dress up at Halloween?
- People thought that Halloween was when witches, ghosts and evil spirits came out. If you dressed up as a scary supernatural creature, the real witches, ghosts and ghouls would not realise you were a human and leave you alone and safe.