Happy Halloween

Tomorrow evening little ghosts and goblins will be crisscrossing City streets in the search for plenty of treats.

For many of us, we have fond memories of choosing our costumes, carefully staking out the houses that give out the best candy, and running from house to house in hopes of an overflowing candy bag at the end of the night.

Halloween dates way back but the meaning has changed over the years. And now, for the most part, Halloween is a light-hearted and fun day that is enjoyed by both young and old.

According to Wikipedia, Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of it’s original title All Hallows’ Evening) also known as All Hallows’ Eve is a yearly holiday observed around the world on Oct. 31, the eve of the western Christian feast of All Hallows.

According to some scholars, All Hallows’ Eve was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic ‘Samhain’. Others maintain that it originated independently from ‘Samhain’ and has Christian roots.

The word Halloween was first used in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even (‘evening’), that is, the night before All Hallows’ Day.

Today, trick or treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house asking for treats such as candy with the question “Trick or Treat?”

The word trick refers to a (mostly idle) ‘threat’ to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given.

In this custom, the child performs some sort of trick. For example, sings a song or tells a ghost story or joke to earn their treats. Other typical activities include carving pumpkins, attending costume parties, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories and watching horror films.

The traditions and importance of the Halloween celebration vary significantly among countries that observe it. In Scotand and Ireland, traditional Halloween customs include children dressing up in costume, going ‘guising’, holding parties while other practices in Ireland include lighting bonfires and having firework displays.

Mass trans-Atlantic immigration in the 19th century popularized Halloween in North America and celebrations in the United States and Canada have had significant impact on how the event is observed in other nations.

This larger North American influence, particularly in iconic and commercial elements, has extended to places such as South America, Australia, new Zealand, continental Europe, Japan, and other parts of east Asia.

Whatever the tradition, you can be sure that tomorrow, there will be a parade of children on the streets in search of one thing only – candy.

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