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31 October 2022
Halloween, observed on the evening of October 31, is a popular celebration around the world, loved by adults and children alike. It takes place on the day before All Saints’ Day and is also known as Hallowe’en, All Hallows’ Eve; All Saints’ Eve, and Samhain. In the United States, it is not a public holiday, therefore businesses and stores follow normal opening hours.
What is the meaning of Halloween?
The meaning of the word “Halloween” is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve to literally mean “hallowed evening”. The holiday that is Halloween is believed to have come to America by American colonists in the 19th century when thousands of people moved to the United States from Ireland and Britain. They brought their Halloween customs with them and combined these with traditions coming from Germany and other parts of the world.
In the early 20th century, Halloween became a nationwide holiday in the United States. Today, it is a multibillion-dollar industry celebrated worldwide. Many people, particularly children, choose to dress in spooky costumes in honor of the haunted holiday, parading the streets trick-or-treating.
What to do on Halloween and how to celebrate it:
Many of these ancient customs and rituals are still followed today. Many people embrace the spirit of Halloween and celebrate in a variety of ways, be it spending the night trick-or-treating – children going from house to house, or staying at home and watching a scary movie. Some host Halloween parties with games and activities such as apple-bobbing, costume competitions, and pumpkin-carving, accompanied by Halloween-themed food and candy.
The symbols of those ancient Celtic customs can still be seen in costumes and decorations today: vampires, witches, zombies, goblins, ghosts, carved pumpkin heads (Jack O’Lanterns), bats, cats, toads, skeletons, spiders, and so on.
Since Halloween has come to play a huge part in modern culture, with movies and music inspired by the holiday, cinemas often show re-runs of classic movies in honor of the holiday. The most notable movie franchise is arguably the aptly named Halloween series featuring Michael Myers, originating in 1978. If you’re wondering how many Halloween movies there are, you might be surprised to know there are 11 films in total – and that’s just the Halloween movie franchise!
There are plenty more Halloween-inspired movies that exist such as Scream, Halloweentown, Beetlejuice, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, The Addams Family, Hocus Pocus, A Nightmare on Elm Street, among many others. In music, Michael Jackson’s Thriller and the Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett are among popular songs associated with Halloween.
Many US States host a variety of different events around Halloween, so why not look up what’s happening in an area near you. For example, Hudson Valley hosts The Great Jack O’lantern Blaze each year.