When the Celts occupied Europe, long before the birth of
Christ, Halloween was a time for all who lived good lives to
feast - similar to Thanksgiving.
This All Hallow's Eve was
also the night when ghosts and goblins walked the earth.
People lit candles and masqueraded in frightening costumes
made of animal skins to ward off the spirits of the dead,
who returned to earth as wandering cats, witches and
ghosts. People in costume began to visit homes, asking for
treats - those who gave them would be assured of having a
good year; those who did not were warned to watch out
The Romans, after conquering England and
France, introduced their own touches to Halloween. They
bobbed for apples and gave nuts to their neighbors. The
Italians left bread and water, and lit lamps before going to
bed to appease visiting ghosts.
Other Europeans put out
doughnuts and milk for returning spirits while still others
placed empty chairs in a circle, one for each member of the
family and one empty for an expected ghost. In the
nineteenth century, Irish immigrants brought the holiday to
North America, where it has evolved to become a national
Halloween has become an international Mardi Gras of
sorts. It is the perfect family holiday for parents and
children enabling them to spend time together creating
costumes, carving pumpkins, planning trick or treat
activities and participating in family parties.
Halloween is the
one time of year everyone can act out their fantasies and
become who they want to be. For children, Halloween is
an exciting time. It appeals to their imaginations, stimulating
any inner urges to be something or someone else, to do
things they would never think of doing on other days, to
dress up and have fun.