Here it is, the fall holiday. If autumn had a mascot, it would be a kid draped in a sheet with holes cut out for the eyes, carrying a plastic pumpkin.
The holiday came from All Hallow’s Eve. It was believed that on that night, the border between the living and the dead became thinner and things such as ghosts could get through.
Before that, it was Samhain, a holiday that reminded people it was time to perserve and store food for the coming winter and lay in supplies.
The Irish and Scots brought traditions such as costume parties, carving pumpkins, and having bonfires to the United States. From the U.S. Halloween traditions have spread to many other countries, and each has put its own spin on the holiday.
A bit of trivia about trick-or-treating: in parts of Ohio and Iowa, Halloween is “Beggar’s Night.” I don’t know if knocking on a door and offering the person who answers a choice between giving you something or having a trick played on him is begging, exactly, but “Blackmail Night” sounds awful, so…
My most successful Halloween costume, in terms of candy collected? Santa Claus! Mom made my costumes. One year, I wanted to be a tomato. Yes, I was a weird kid. Anyway, Mom was talented and she really tried, but she just couldn’t come up with a good tomato costume, so she converted it to Santa Claus. I was horrified. Santa Claus? On Halloween? But I went trick or treating, and people loved it. “You’re way to early!,” they’d laugh, or “Santa Claus! That’s great — I’m tired of scary costumes!” They dropped extra candy into my sack (because Santa carries a sack, of course, not a plastic pumpkin). I made out that Halloween. Other kids were openly jealous (and yes, I shared).
Halloween is a chance to try on other personalities, play games, eat treats and either be a kid, or remember being a kid. Wherever you are, we hope you have a wonderful (safe), happy Halloween!