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#22 Trick or Treat!

Halloween has come to be a day meant for dressing up, having fun and trick or treating.People host Halloween parties and children (and maybe some grown-ups!) dress up as witches, ghosts, monsters and other creepy creatures! Children go trick or treating around their neighbourhood and collect candy. People light up jack-o’-lanterns (those pumpkins with scary grins!) and decorate their houses with ghostly decorations such as spider webs and skeletons.

But do you know the real reason why people celebrate Halloween? The word ‘Halloween’ comes from All Hallows Eve, which was the last day an individual could be declared as a saint. Hallow’s Eve later came to be known as Hallow Evening or Hallow E’en. Halloween is celebrated every year on the evening of 31st before All Saints Day.

How did Halloween start?

Around 6000 years old, Halloween drew its origins from an old Celtic festival called Samhain, which was celebrated a day before the Celtic New Year began, i.e., 31st. People believed this was a time when ghosts and spirits came out to haunt, and the Celts would please these spirits by giving them treats. While it was a time for honouring the dead, it also marked the onset of winter.

Why do children go Trick or Treating on Halloween?

Nowadays, Trick or Treat means, “If you don’t give us a treat/candy, we will play a prank on you!” But do you know the actual meaning of Trick or Treat? The Celtics believed that the spirits of the dead would visit the living world on the night of Halloween, and they would come disguised as poor people, who would go begging door to door during Samhain. They believed that it was not a good thing to send them back empty handed, so they gave them food or money. This tradition was known as ‘souling’. Today, children go door to door, dressed up in different kinds of costumes and shout, “Trick or Treat?” and collect sweets.

Why do people light Jack-O’-Lanterns?

These days, people make lanterns out of pumpkins. However, originally people used vegetables like potatoes, beet and turnips to make lanterns that were lit during Halloween. The practice of lighting the lantern originated from an Irish myth, about a stingy man named Jack. One day, Jack invited the Devil for a drink but he didn’t want to pay for it so he asked the Devil to turn into a coin. The Devil did as asked, but clever Jack put the Devil (as a coin) in his pocket, along with a cross. This trapped the Devil! Jack told the Devil that he should neither bother him for a year nor claim his soul, if he wanted to be free. The next year, Jack once again tricked the Devil and trapped him in a tree. Jack told the Devil not to bother him for the next ten years. When Jack died, Heaven did not allow him entry and the Devil did not allow him to enter Hell. Jack was sent off into the dark night with just burning coal to light his way. He then carved a turnip and put the coal inside it. This came to be known as the Jack-O’-Lantern.



  It is believed that if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and walks backwards, he/she will see a witch, at midnight on Halloween!  


What are the animals/creatures associated with Halloween?


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TEAM EXPLORE: Owls, Bats, Black Cats and Spiders are associated with Halloween. Owls and bats normally come out at night. Also, during Samhain, bats and owls were attracted to the bonfire that was lit as part of the tradition. Black cats were believed to be witches who had transformed while spiders are always associated with graveyards and haunted houses, as well as being known as a witch’s companion....

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