Halloween (sometimes called 'All Hallow's Eve') is a non-statuatory holiday celebrated every year on October 31.
It has a long history with many different traditions such as watching scary movies, carving pumpkins, dressing up in costumes, and trick-or-treating.
It's thought that Halloween began as a Christian holiday but with older Celtic roots. Celtic peoples had a harvest festival called Samhain on the evening of October 31. They dressed up in costumes to scare away bad spirits. Christians adopted samhain for their 3 day holiday period called Allhallowtide, probably sometime in the 700s CE. The 3 days for Allhallowtide are All Hallow's Eve (Oct. 31), All Saints' Day (Nov. 1), and All Souls' Day (Nov. 2).
During these days people were supposed to honour saints and pray for souls that had recently died and had not yet reached heaven. They thought this was the last day for spirits to be on Earth until they had had go to Heaven. Over the centuries people began making ‘soul cakes’ and children would go around from house to house collecting these soul cakes in exchange for them praying for the souls. They called this ‘souling’ and it is thought to be the origin of trick-or-treating.
While they were ‘souling’ they carried carved out turnips (later pumpkins) called jack-o'-lanterns to scare away bad spirits. The people who stayed at home had jack-o'-lanterns on their front doors and windows to guide friendly spirits (and spirits of their loved ones) into their homes.
These traditions were suppressed by the Protestant Reformation in England, but they survived in Ireland and Scotland. When North America was discovered many Scottish and Irish immigrants came in the 1800s. They brought these traditions and they became popular. Over time, they created the holiday of Halloween.
Due to the holiday having a focus on the dead, it's no surprise why the holiday has many horror things in it. This is why people often decorate their houses with things like ghosts, vampires, witches, murderers, zombies, mummies, werewolves, etc.
People like to scare themselves around Halloween. This is why people will often watch horror movies and will go to haunted houses or graveyards, so that they can scare themselves. You'll see a lot of horror movies on TV around Halloween.
Jack-o'-lanterns are carved out pumpkins people put outside their houses. They used to be done to guide friendly spirits into their homes. They used to be made with turnips back in Ireland and Scotland, but once Halloween came to Norrh America pumpkins were used (as there were many more pumpkins).
You'll often find jack-o'-lanterns outside homes around Halloween. They csn be either real or fake. Many people use real pumpkins and carve out faces and shapes into it. Many families still do this tradition.
When it starts getting dark outside little kids will often dress up and go from house to house collecting candy and other goods. This is based on the old ‘souling’ tradition. The kids, usually with their parents or in groups, will go up and knock on the door or ring the doorbell shouting “trick or treat?” and an adult will answer the door and give them each some candy (how much you want to give is depending on you).
You'll have to buy some candy in advance if you want to participate in giving out candy. If you don't want to give out candy then keep your front lights off so that kids will know to go to the next house.
*Be extra careful when driving at night on Halloween as there will be many kids on the sidewalks and crossing the street.
The biggest way to celebrate Halloween is to dress up in a costume. Adults and kids both do this around the holiday. Due to the holiday scary costumes are common but you can dress up as almost anything you like!
We hope you have a lot of fun this Halloween!!