Everything you need to know about Halloween

Learn the origins of Halloween and get inspired about how to celebrate this year!
Halloween pumpkin-owl-bat-spider

Halloween is known for its frightening décor, chilling costumes, and a heavy focus on candy. There are so many fun things that are happening during the Halloween season – it’s always a good time for the whole family. Here’s a bit of information about why we celebrate this holiday every October 31st, and a few ideas for you to consider for your Halloween festivities this year. 

What are the origins of Halloween?

This holiday wasn’t always about tricks and treats. Instead, it originated from a pagan festival called Samhain. This Celtic festival actually marked the time of the harvest, which basically does involve treats if you think about it. However, while the modern celebration of Halloween only lasts on the night of October 31st, Samhain was celebrated over three days, according to texts written during the time. As with most traditions, Halloween evolved from its original purpose slowly as the years progressed.

Where is Halloween celebrated?

Halloween is celebrated differently all around the world. Some countries do not celebrate it, while others are enthusiastic participants in the tradition. As word travels about the holiday, it is getting more popular with children around the globe. Most people consider America to be the epicenter of Halloween celebrations, but you will find themed parties happening in more countries than you probably would expect!

How is Halloween celebrated?

Usually, Halloween celebrations have a few key components. First, costumes are essential as they are often showcased in school dress-up days, local parades, parties, and trick or treating, of course. Costumes range from scary to funny, depending on the wearer's choice. Families or friend groups sometimes choose to create joint costumes based on the same theme. From popular television shows to historical figures, you can find a lot of different group costumes to help everyone get involved.

Another extremely widespread tradition is buying and carving pumpkins. Many farms and markets have hayrides that take visitors up to a pumpkin patch. The customers can then select the pumpkin they’d like to carve and bring it home. Pumpkin carving sometimes means just cutting a simple smiling face, but a few people prefer to create more intricate designs. These more complex pumpkins can be entered into local carving competitions. During pumpkin carving, many people also scoop out the seeds and bake them for a delicious fall-inspired snack.

Why do we trick or treat?

Actually, the custom of traveling around to different houses to get food on Halloween has been going on for centuries. In both England and Ireland, this practice was quite common. However, the actual phrase “trick or treat” isn’t used in every area. Some regions simply ask for candy or sweets. In fact, in many cases, there are no tricks, and they are not expected by candy-seeking visitors. Typically, this yearly holiday is mostly about the collecting of treats and not playing tricks or pranks.

In most cases, trick or treaters are younger children. They are often accompanied by a parent, or they go with a group of similar aged children. Some carry pails to gather their treats, while other children in large neighborhoods carry pillowcases because they get so many sweets. Generally, when kids hit their early teens, trick or treating is considered somewhat childish. Staying at home to pass out sweets to the neighborhood visitors is a fun way to keep celebrating Halloween long after your trick or treating years are over.

Do people exchange gifts for Halloween?

It depends on the person, but generally, candy is one of the most popular Halloween gifts. In addition to trick or treating, some schools and offices will have Halloween parties where sweets can be enjoyed. If you are looking for a good Halloween gift, a box of candies is generally a great choice. Many retailers create special Halloween treats for people to exchange. Some are even wrapped like little pumpkins or ghosts to give them a festive look!

It is also popular to send Halloween ecards to spread excitement about the holiday. There are almost as many different Halloween ecard themes as there are costumes! Choosing an ecard that is a bit scary with a skeletons is perfect for adults who want to share a spooky message on Halloween. After all, it’s supposed to be the season of frights and chills. For children, cuter, more friendly ecards like singing pumpkins are the ideal choice. Halloween is the best time to send a scare or a friendly “Hello!” so choose the type of card that will match your recipient best.

As Halloween evolves, it will be interesting to see what new and exciting traditions arise. Surely, as more countries around the world adopt this holiday, there will be even more great ways to celebrate. Take time this year to make your Halloween celebrations special by participating in all of the wonderful events happening. Don’t forget to spread Halloween cheer with treats, ecards, and some spooky illuminated jack-o'-lanterns!