American Holidays & Traditions: Halloween

Halloween is one of the holidays exchange students most look forward to experiencing during their year, as most of them don’t do much (if anything) in celebration of this at home.  Halloween didn’t actually originate in the U.S. though.

Halloween is celebrated on October 31st and stems from the Christian observance of All Hallows’ Eve.  It is also influenced by the ancient Celtic fall harvest celebration of Samhain.  The word Halloween means “hallowed evening (e’en).”  These observances brought about the modern day traditions of trick or treating, wearing costumes, lighting bonfires and making jack o’lanterns.  Halloween and All Saints Day celebrations do take place in other places around the world; some countries do have similar traditions to those held here.

Halloween costumes started out as more scary or supernatural beings, such as vampires, ghosts, witches, devils and skeletons.  Over the years, costumes have evolved quite a bit and can usually be whatever the wearer decides.  Some can be quite elaborate, while others more simple.  Adults and children alike can be found getting into the spirit of Halloween by dressing up in costume.

Tomorrow night, local communities will have trick or treating time, when the neighborhood children will go door-to-door for candy and goodies.  Perhaps exchange students can be the ones to answer doors and hand out candy!  Or maybe they want to really go all out and trick or treat themselves or with younger host siblings.  Either way, it’s a great way to experience something American!

Jack-o-lantern

Jack-o-lantern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our Thai exchange student, Ra, went with us to choose our pumpkins for jack o’lantern making.

Our son and exchange student cleaning out the pumpkin guts 😛

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