Mask Up! It's Time To Celebrate Halloween!

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Halloween will be celebrated on Saturday, October 31, 2020 (Credit: Alexas Fotos/Pcc0/Pixabay)

Halloween, which is observed annually on October 31st, is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. Many families begin preparing for the fun celebration, which centers around dressing up in creative costumes and collecting candy, weeks in advance by giving their homes spooky makeovers. Filmmakers use the occasion to release horror movies, while enterprising entrepreneurs cash in on the holiday with creative haunted homes, corn mazes, and hayrides. So how did an obscure holiday transform into the fun, spooky celebration that we know today? Read on.

History of Halloween

Image from the Book of Hallowe'en (1919) showing several Halloween activities, such as nut roasting (Credit: Ruth Edna Kelley, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Halloween's origin can be traced to the Samhain festival observed by the Celts, who resided in what is now Ireland over 2000 years ago. Celebrations for the holiday, which was commemorated annually on November 1 to mark the end of the harvest season, began in earnest on October 31st, with revelers dressing up in animal heads and skins and dancing around bonfires.

The Romans, who conquered the Celtic territory in 390 BC, adopted the traditions in 1000 AD for All Soul's Day, which honored the dead by dressing up as saints, devils, and angels. Originally held on November 2, the celebration was later moved to October 31st and renamed All-hallows or All-hallowmas, which later evolved to Halloween. The holiday was introduced in America in the mid-1800s and became an instant hit with residents of the southern colonies. They celebrated the event by sharing ghost stories and dancing and singing in remembrance of the deceased. By the mid 19th century, Halloween's popularity, buoyed by the newly-arrived Irish immigrants, had spread across the country.

Trick-or-treating

Favorite Halloween candy by state (Credit: Candy Store)

The fun Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating dates back to the Roman All Soul’s Day holiday. On this day, residents in need would knock on the doors of the wealthy and offer a prayer for their dead in exchange for small, round spiced cakes, known as soul cakes. "Souling," as it was known, took a twist in Ireland and Scotland, when kids, parading in costumes, began receiving treats in exchange for singing, reciting poems, or performing "tricks." Immigrants from the two countries introduced the fun custom to America in the early 19th century, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Jack O' Lanterns

The Irish used to carve Jack O' Lanterns from turnips (Credit: Anne Peterson/CC-BY-SA- 2.0/Flickr)

No Halloween is complete without spending copious hours transforming pumpkins into scary or funny Jack O' Lanterns. This fun custom was started by the Irish, who used turnips or beets for their ghoulish creations. When the immigrants arrived in America, they discovered pumpkins, and since then, carving the orange gourds has become a Halloween staple.

Candy corn

Candy corn is one of the most iconic Halloween treats (Credit: Sabeawesome/CC0/Pixabay)

Candy corn, which is believed to have been invented by George Renninger of Philadelphia's Wunderle Candy Company, became popular after the Goelitz Confectionery Company began mass production in the 1880s. The candy manufacturer initially marketed the treat as “Chicken Feed” and sold it in a box that featured a rooster on the front with the tagline, “Something worth crowing for.”

However, as trick-or-treating started to become popular in the 1940s and 1950s, the harvest-themed treat became the candy of choice for rural Americans steeped in agricultural traditions, and a Halloween custom was born. Today, over 95 percent of shoppers stock up on the iconic tri-colored yellow, orange, and white sweet during the holiday.

Halloween celebrations during COVID-19

Halloween can be safely enjoyed during the COVID-19 pandemic (Credit: Fotoshahutnah/CC0/Pixabay)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on regular "trick or treating" and Halloween parties, there are many safe ways to enjoy the holiday. Here are a few suggestions from experts.

Host a virtual costume party

Invite your friends, family, and neighbors to don their creative and wacky costumes and join you on a video conference call for a fun-filled evening of song, dance, and a costume parade.

Decorate and carve pumpkins

The age-old tradition of pumpkin carving can be safely conducted outdoors with a group of friends — sitting socially distant, of course— or in your homes with family members.

Seek out, or plan, a "trunk or treat" event

Many communities are hosting trunk or treat events this Halloween (Credit: Tojosan/Flickr/CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Many cities and towns are offering kids a "trunk or treat" this Halloween. The organized event, usually held in a large public parking lot, entails adults safely handing out treats to young children from spookily-decorated cars. If you cannot find one in your area, talk to your parents and neighbors, and plan your own!

Candy hide-and-seek

Convince an adult in your family to set up a fun Halloween candy hunt within your house or yard, or even better, get a pinata to rain the treats on you!

Have a spooktacular and safe Halloween!

Resources: history.com, wikipedia.org,

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382 Comments
  • readerezra
    Mr. EzraWednesday, November 18, 2020 at 1:26 pm
    Wow so much candy! Better brush your teeth!
    • swirly
      swirlyTuesday, November 17, 2020 at 6:16 pm
      I LOVE CANDY CORN😋
      • janan10
        janan10Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 7:48 am
        i didnt have to wear a mask and well alought of people habded out goody bags
        • nessr12345
          nessr12345Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 6:51 am
          I love any candy, Halloween is the only time we get to really eat a lot of candy. Also I never trick - or -treated. SO SAD!😭😭😭😭
          • pandagirl1235
            pandagirl1235Monday, November 16, 2020 at 5:41 pm
            the dog pitcher was so cute
            • rainbow800
              rainbow800Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 5:17 pm
              I was someone from descendants 3, I have blue hair, and I love making clothes!
              • falyjyse-159916541808
                falyjyse-159916541808Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 5:43 am
                I was a scary clown for Halloween! We still have so much Halloween candy!
                • 21smartcow74
                  21smartcow74Monday, November 9, 2020 at 4:41 pm
                  I love candy corn and Twix but I live in California.
                  • gabbie1004
                    gabbie1004Monday, November 9, 2020 at 3:39 pm
                    I love candy corn!
                    • winningdude
                      winningdudeThursday, November 19, 2020 at 3:39 am
                      This is a beutiful event! Everyone is happy.
                    • cabovepy-159725837292
                      cabovepy-159725837292Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 12:56 pm
                      I LOVE CANDYCORN
                      • xboxseriesx
                        xboxseriesxTuesday, November 10, 2020 at 11:19 am
                        My favorites are Trolli, OREO, Skittles, Warheads, and Reese's