Winthrop, AR Halloween 2023 Events, Activities, and More | WikiXM

Tuesday 31st, October 2023

Halloween Celebration with Winthrop, ARWikipedia

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Etymology

The word appears as the title of Robert Burns' "Halloween" 1785, a poem traditionally recited by Scots.

The word Halloween or Hallowe'en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. The word Hallowe'en means "Saints' evening". It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve (the evening before All Hallows' Day). In Scots, the word eve is even, which is contracted to e'en or een. Over time, All Hallow(s) Even evolved into Hallowe'en. Although the phrase "All Hallows'" is found in Old English, All Hallows Eve is itself not seen until 1556.

 

History

Christian origins and historical customs

Halloween is thought to have roots in Christian beliefs and practices. The English word 'Halloween' comes from All Hallows Eve, being the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows' Day All Saints' Day on November 1st, and All Souls' Day on November 2. Since the time of the early Church, major feasts in Christianity such as Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost) had vigils that began the night before, as did the feast of All Hallows'. These three days are collectively called Allhallowtide and are a time when Christians honor saints and pray for recently departed souls who have yet to reach Heaven. Commemorations of all saints and martyrs were held by several churches on various dates, mostly in springtime. In 4th-century Roman Edessa, it was held on May 13th, and on May 13, 609, Pope Boniface IV re-dedicated the Pantheon in Rome to St Mary and all martyrs". This was the date of Lemuria, an ancient Roman festival of the dead.

Beginning in the 4th century, the feast of All Hallows' in the Western Christian Church commemorated Christian martyrs, and in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III (731–741) founded an oratory in St Peter's for the relics of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs, and confessors. Some sources say it was dedicated on November 1st, while others say it was on Palm Sunday. By 800, there was evidence that churches in Ireland and Northumbria were holding a feast commemorating all saints on November 1st. Alcuin of Northumbria, a member of Charlemagne's court, may then have introduced this November 1st date in the Frankish Empire. In 835, it became the official date in the Frankish Empire. Some suggest this was due to Celtic influence, while others suggest it was a Germanic idea, although it is claimed that both Germanic and Celtic-speaking peoples commemorated the dead at the beginning of winter. They may have seen it as the most fitting time to do so, as it is a time of 'dying' in nature. It is also suggested the change was made on the "practical grounds that Rome in summer could not accommodate the great number of pilgrims who flocked to it" and perhaps because of public health concerns over Roman Fever, which claimed a number of lives during Rome's sultry summers.


 

On All Hallows' Eve, Christians in some parts of the world visit cemeteries to pray and place flowers and candles on the graves of their loved ones. Top: Christians in Bangladesh lighting candles on the headstone of a relative. Bottom: Lutheran Christians praying and lighting candles in front of the central crucifix of a graveyard.

By the end of the 12th century, they had become holy days of obligation in Western Christianity and involved such traditions as ringing church bells for souls in purgatory. It was also "customary for criers dressed in black to parade the streets, ringing a bell of mournful sound and calling on all good Christians to remember the poor souls." The Allhallowtide custom of baking and sharing soul cakes for all christened souls has been suggested as the origin of trick-or-treating. The custom dates back at least as far as the 15th century and was found in parts of England, Wales, Flanders, Bavaria, and Austria. Groups of poor people, often children, would go door-to-door during Allhallowtide, collecting soul cakes in exchange for praying for the dead, especially the souls of the givers' friends and relatives. This was called "souling". Soul cakes were also offered for the souls themselves to eat, or the 'soulers' would act as their representatives. As with the Lenten tradition of hot cross buns, soul cakes were often marked with a cross, indicating they were baked as alms. Shakespeare mentions souling in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593). While souling, Christians would carry "lanterns made of hollowed-out turnips," which could have originally represented souls of the dead; jack-o'-lanterns were used to ward off evil spirits. On All Saints' and All Souls' Day during the 19th century, candles were lit in homes in Ireland, Flanders, Bavaria, and Tyrol, where they were called "soul lights" that served "to guide the souls back to visit their earthly homes." In many of these places, candles were also lit at graves on All Souls' Day. In Brittany, libations of milk were poured on the graves of kinfolk, or food would be left overnight on the dinner table for the returning souls, a custom also found in Tyrol and parts of Italy.

Christian minister Prince Sorie Conteh linked the wearing of costumes to the belief in vengeful ghosts: "It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints' Day, and All Hallows' Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving to the next world. In order to avoid being recognized by any soul that might be seeking such vengeance, people would don masks or costumes". It is claimed that in the Middle Ages, churches that were too poor to display relics of martyred saints at Allhallowtide let parishioners dress up as saints instead. Some Christians observe this custom at Halloween today. Lesley Bannatyne believes this could have been a Christianization of an earlier pagan custom. Many Christians in mainland Europe, especially in France, believed "that once a year, on Hallowe'en, the dead of the churchyards rose for one wild, hideous carnival" known as the danse macabre, which was often depicted in church decoration. Christopher Allmand and Rosamond McKitterick write in The New Cambridge Medieval History that the danse macabre urged Christians not to forget the end of all earthly things. The danse macabre was sometimes enacted at village pageants and court masques, with people dressing up as corpses from various strata of society, and this may be the origin of Halloween costume parties.

In Britain, these customs were attacked during the Reformation, as Protestants berated purgatory as a popish doctrine incompatible with the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. State-sanctioned ceremonies associated with the intercession of saints and prayer for souls in purgatory were abolished during the Elizabethan reform, though All Hallow's Day remained in the English liturgical calendar to "commemorate saints as godly human beings". For some Nonconformist Protestants, the theology of All Hallows' Eve was redefined; "souls cannot be journeying from Purgatory on their way to Heaven, as Catholics frequently believe and assert. Instead, the so-called ghosts are thought to be in actuality evil spirits". Other Protestants believed in an intermediate state known as Hades (Bosom of Abraham) In some localities, Catholics and Protestants continued souling, candlelit processions, or ringing church bells for the dead; the Anglican church eventually suppressed this bell-ringing. Mark Donnelly, a professor of medieval archaeology, and historian Daniel Diehl write that "barns and homes were blessed to protect people and livestock from the effect of witches, who were believed to accompany the malignant spirits as they traveled the earth." After 1605, Hallowtide was eclipsed in England by Guy Fawkes Night November 5th, which appropriated some of its customs. In England, the ending of official ceremonies related to the intercession of saints led to the development of new, unofficial Hallowtide customs. In 18th–19th century rural Lancashire, Catholic families gathered on hills on the night of All Hallows' Eve. One held a bunch of burning straw on a pitchfork while the rest knelt around him, praying for the souls of relatives and friends until the flames went out. This was known as teen lay. There was a similar custom in Hertfordshire, and the lighting of 'tindle' fires in Derbyshire. Some suggested these tindles were originally lit to "guide the poor souls back to earth." In Scotland and Ireland, old Allhallowtide customs that were at odds with Reformed teaching were not suppressed as they "were important to the life cycle and rites of passage of local communities" and curbing them would have been difficult.

In parts of Italy until the 15th century, families left a meal out for the ghosts of relatives before leaving for church services. In 19th-century Italy, churches staged "theatrical re-enactments of scenes from the lives of the saints" on All Hallow's Day, with "participants represented by realistic wax figures." In 1823, the graveyard of Holy Spirit Hospital in Rome presented a scene in which bodies of those who recently died were arrayed around a wax statue of an angel who pointed upward towards heaven. In the same country, parish priests went house-to-house, asking for small food gifts which they shared among themselves throughout that night. In Spain, they continue to bake special pastries called "bones of the holy" (Spanish: Huesos de Santo) and set them on graves. At cemeteries in Spain and France, as well as in Latin America, priests lead Christian processions and services during Allhallowtide, after which people keep an all-night vigil. In 19th-century San Sebastián, there was a procession to the city cemetery at Allhallowtide, an event that drew beggars who appealed to the tender recollections of one's deceased relations and friends for sympathy.

Gaelic folk influence

Today's Halloween customs are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the Celtic-speaking countries, some of which are believed to have pagan roots. Jack Santino, a folklorist, writes that there was throughout Ireland an uneasy truce existing between customs and beliefs associated with Christianity and those associated with religions that were Irish before Christianity arrived. The origins of Halloween customs are typically linked to the Gaelic festival Samhain.

Samhain is one of the quarter days in the medieval Gaelic calendar and is celebrated on 31 October – November 1st in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. A kindred festival has been held by the Brittonic Celts, called Calan Gaeaf in Wales, Kalan Gwav in Cornwall, and Kalan Goañv in Brittany; a name meaning "the first day of winter". For the Celts, the day ended and began at sunset; thus the festival begins the evening before 1 November by modern reckoning. Samhain is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature. The names have been used by historians to refer to Celtic Halloween customs up until the 19th century and are still the Gaelic and Welsh names for Halloween.

Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the darker half of the year. It was seen as a liminal time when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld thinned. This meant the Aos Sí, the 'spirits' or 'fairies', could more easily come into this world and were particularly active. Most scholars see them as degraded versions of ancient gods whose power remained active in the people's minds even after they had been officially replaced by later religious beliefs. They were both respected and feared, with individuals often invoking the protection of God when approaching their dwellings. At Samhain, the Aos Sí were appeased to ensure the people and livestock survived the winter. Offerings of food and drink, or portions of the crops, were left outside for them. The souls of the dead were also said to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Places were set at the dinner table and by the fire to welcome them. The belief that the souls of the dead return home on one night of the year and must be appeased seems to have ancient origins and is found in many cultures. In 19th century Ireland, candles would be lit and prayers formally offered for the souls of the dead. After this, the eating, drinking, and games would begin.

Throughout Ireland and Britain, especially in the Celtic-speaking regions, the household festivities included divination rituals and games intended to foretell one's future, especially regarding death and marriage. Apples and nuts were often used, and customs included apple bobbing, nut roasting, scrying or mirror-gazing, pouring molten lead or egg whites into water, dream interpretation, and others. Special bonfires were lit, and there were rituals involving them. Their flames, smoke, and ashes were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers. In some places, torches lit from the bonfire were carried sunwise around homes and fields to protect them. It is suggested the fires were a kind of imitative or sympathetic magic – they mimicked the Sun and held back the decay and darkness of winter. They were also used for divination and to ward off evil spirits. In Scotland, these bonfires and divination games were banned by the church elders in some parishes. In Wales, bonfires were also lit to prevent the souls of the dead from falling to earth. Later, these bonfires kept away the devil.

From at least the 16th century, the festival included mumming and guising in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Wales. This involved people going house-to-house in costume (or in disguise), usually reciting verses or songs in exchange for food. It may have originally been a tradition whereby people impersonated the Aos Sí, or the souls of the dead, and received offerings on their behalf, similar to 'souling'. Impersonating these beings, or wearing a disguise, was also believed to protect oneself from them. In parts of southern Ireland, the guisers included a hobby horse. A man dressed as a Láir Bhán (white mare) led youths house-to-house reciting verses – some of which had pagan overtones – in exchange for food. If the household donated food it could expect good fortune from the 'Muck Olla'; not doing so would bring misfortune. In Scotland, youths went house-to-house with masked, painted, or blackened faces, often threatening to make mischief if they were not welcomed. F. Marian McNeill suggests the ancient festival included people in costume representing the spirits and that faces were marked or blackened with ashes from the sacred bonfire. In parts of Wales, men went about dressed as fearsome beings called gwrachod. In the late 19th and early 20th century, young people in Glamorgan and Orkney were cross-dressed.

Elsewhere in Europe, mumming was part of other festivals, but in the Celtic-speaking regions, it was particularly appropriate to a night upon which supernatural beings were said to be abroad and could be imitated or warded off by human wanderers. From at least the 18th century, "imitating malignant spirits" led to playing pranks in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. Wearing costumes and playing pranks at Halloween did not spread to England until the 20th century. Pranksters used hollowed-out turnips or mangel wurzels as lanterns, often carved with grotesque faces. By those who made them, the lanterns were variously said to represent the spirits, or used to ward off evil spirits. They were common in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands in the 19th century, as well as in Somerset (see Punkie Night). In the 20th century they spread to other parts of Britain and became generally known as jack-o'-lanterns.

Spread to North America

The annual New York Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, is the world's largest Halloween parade.

Lesley Bannatyne and Cindy Ott write that Anglican colonists in the southern United States and Catholic colonists in Maryland "recognized All Hallow's Eve in their church calendars", although the Puritans of New England strongly opposed the holiday, along with other traditional celebrations of the established Church, including Christmas. Almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th century give no indication that Halloween was widely celebrated in North America.

It was not until after mass Irish and Scottish immigration in the 19th century that Halloween became a major holiday in America. Most American Halloween traditions were inherited from the Irish and Scots, though in Cajun areas, a nocturnal Mass was said in cemeteries on Halloween night. Candles that had been blessed were placed on graves, and families sometimes spent the entire night at the graveside. Originally confined to these immigrant communities, it was gradually assimilated into mainstream society and was celebrated coast to coast by people of all social, racial, and religious backgrounds by the early 20th century. Then, through American influence, these Halloween traditions spread to many other countries by the late 20th and early 21st century, including to mainland Europe.

 

Symbols

At Halloween, yards, public spaces, and some houses may be decorated with traditionally macabre symbols including skeletons, ghosts, cobwebs, headstones, and scary looking witches.

Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time. Jack-o'-lanterns are traditionally carried by guisers on All Hallows' Eve in order to frighten evil spirits. There is a popular Irish Christian folktale associated with the jack-o'-lantern, which in folklore is said to represent a soul who has been denied entry into both heaven and hell.

On route home after a night's drinking, Jack encounters the Devil and tricks him into climbing a tree. A quick-thinking Jack etches the sign of the cross into the bark, thus trapping the Devil. Jack strikes a bargain that Satan can never claim his soul. After a life of sin, drink, and mendacity, Jack is refused entry to heaven when he dies. Keeping his promise, the Devil refuses to let Jack into hell and throws a live coal straight from the fires of hell at him. It was a cold night, so Jack places the coal in a hollowed out turnip to stop it from going out, since which time Jack and his lantern have been roaming looking for a place to rest.

In Ireland and Scotland, the turnip has traditionally been carved during Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which is both much softer and much larger, making it easier to carve than a turnip. The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century.

 

The modern imagery of Halloween comes from many sources, including Christian eschatology, national customs, works of Gothic and horror literature (such as the novels Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus and Dracula) and classic horror films such as Frankenstein  and The Mummy. Imagery of the skull, a reference to Golgotha in the Christian tradition, serves as a reminder of death and the transitory quality of human life and is consequently found in memento mori and vanitas compositions; skulls have therefore been commonplace in Halloween, which touches on this theme. Traditionally, the back walls of churches are "decorated with a depiction of the Last Judgment, complete with graves opening and the dead rising, with a heaven filled with angels and a hell filled with devils", a motif that has permeated the observance of this triduum. One of the earliest works on the subject of Halloween is from Scottish poet John Mayne, who, in 1780, made note of pranks at Halloween; What fearfu' pranks ensue!, as well as the supernatural associated with the night, "Bogies" ghosts, influencing Robert Burns' "Halloween". Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween. Halloween imagery includes themes of death, evil, and mythical monsters. Black cats, which have been long associated with witches, are also a common symbol of Halloween. Black, orange, and sometimes purple are Halloween's traditional colors.

Trick-or-treaters in Sweden

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" implies a "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. The practice is said to have roots in the medieval practice of mumming, which is closely related to souling. John Pymm wrote that "many of the feast days associated with the presentation of mumming plays were celebrated by the Christian Church." These feast days included All Hallows' Eve, Christmas, Twelfth Night and Shrove Tuesda Mumming practiced in Germany, Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, involved masked persons in fancy dress who paraded the streets and entered houses to dance or play dice in silence.

 

Girl in a Halloween costume in 1928, Ontario, Canada, the same province where the Scottish Halloween custom of guising was first recorded in North America

In England, from the medieval period, up until the 1930s, people practiced the Christian custom of souling on Halloween, which involved groups of soulers, both Protestant and Catholic, going from parish to parish, begging the rich for soul cakes, in exchange for praying for the souls of the givers and their friends. In the Philippines, the practice of souling is called Pangangaluwa and is practiced on All Hallow's Eve among children in rural areas. People drape themselves in white cloths to represent souls and then visit houses, where they sing in return for prayers and sweets.

In Scotland and Ireland, guising – children disguised in costume going from door to door for food or coins – is a traditional Halloween custom. It is recorded in Scotland at Halloween in 1895 where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit, and money. In Ireland, the most popular phrase for kids to shout (until the 2000s) was "Help the Halloween Party". The practice of guising at Halloween in North America was first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, reported children going "guising" around the neighborhood.

American historian and author Ruth Edna Kelley of Massachusetts wrote the first book-length history of Halloween in the US; The Book of Hallowe'en (1919), and references souling in the chapter "Hallowe'en in America". In her book, Kelley touches on customs that arrived from across the Atlantic; "Americans have fostered them, and are making this an occasion something like what it must have been in its best days overseas. All Halloween customs in the United States are borrowed directly or adapted from those of other countries".

While the first reference to "guising" in North America occurs in 1911, another reference to ritual begging on Halloween appears, place unknown, in 1915, with a third reference in Chicago in 1920. The earliest known use in print of the term "trick or treat" appears in 1927, in the Blackie Herald, of Alberta, Canada.

 

An automobile trunk at a trunk-or-treat event at St. John Lutheran Church and Early Learning Center in Darien, Illinois

The thousands of Halloween postcards produced between the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s commonly show children but not trick-or-treating. Trick-or-treating does not seem to have become a widespread practice in North America until the 1930s, with the first US appearances of the term in 1934, and the first use in a national publication occurring in 1939.

A popular variant of trick-or-treating, known as trunk-or-treating (or Halloween tailgating), occurs when "children are offered treats from the trunks of cars parked in a church parking lot", or sometimes, a school parking lot. In a trunk-or-treat event, the trunk (boot) of each automobile is decorated with a certain theme, such as those of children's literature, movies, scripture, and job roles. Trunk-or-treating has grown in popularity due to its perception as being more safe than going door to door, a point that resonates well with parents, as well as the fact that it "solves the rural conundrum in which homes [are] built a half-mile apart".

 

Costumes

Halloween costumes were traditionally modeled after figures such as vampires, ghosts, skeletons, scary looking witches, and devils. Over time, the costume selection extended to include popular characters from fiction, celebrities, and generic archetypes such as ninjas and princesses.

 

Halloween shop in Derry, Northern Ireland, selling masks

Dressing up in costumes and going "guising" was prevalent in Scotland and Ireland at Halloween by the late 19th century. A Scottish term, the tradition is called "guising" because of the disguises or costumes worn by the children. In Ireland the masks are known as 'false faces'. Costuming became popular for Halloween parties in the US in the early 20th century, as often for adults as for children, and when trick-or-treating was becoming popular in Canada and the US in the 1920s and 1930s.

Eddie J. Smith, in his book Halloween, Hallowed is Thy Name, offers a religious perspective to the wearing of costumes on All Hallows' Eve, suggesting that by dressing up as creatures "who at one time caused us to fear and tremble", people are able to poke fun at Satan "whose kingdom has been plundered by our Saviour". Images of skeletons and the dead are traditional decorations used as memento mori.

"Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" is a fundraising program to support UNICEF, a United Nations Programme that provides humanitarian aid to children in developing countries. Started as a local event in a Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood in 1950 and expanded nationally in 1952, the program involves the distribution of small boxes by schools (or in modern times, corporate sponsors like Hallmark, at their licensed stores) to trick-or-treaters, in which they can solicit small-change donations from the houses they visit. It is estimated that children have collected more than $118 million for UNICEF since its inception. In Canada, in 2006, UNICEF decided to discontinue their Halloween collection boxes, citing safety and administrative concerns; after consultation with schools, they instead redesigned the program.

The yearly New York's Village Halloween Parade was begun in 1974; it is the world's largest Halloween parade and America's only major nighttime parade, attracting more than 60,000 costumed participants, two million spectators, and a worldwide television audience.

Since the late 2010s, ethnic stereotypes as costumes have increasingly come under scrutiny in the United States. Such and other potentially offensive costumes have been met with increasing public disapproval.

 

Pet Costumes

According to a 2018 report from the National Retail Federation, 30 million Americans will spend an estimated $480 million on Halloween costumes for their pets in 2018. This is up from an estimated $200 million in 2010. The most popular costumes for pets are the pumpkin, followed by the hot dog, and the bumblebee in third place.

Games and other activities

In this 1904 Halloween greeting card, divination is depicted: the young woman looking into a mirror in a darkened room hopes to catch a glimpse of her future husband.

There are several games traditionally associated with Halloween. Some of these games originated as divination rituals or ways of foretelling one's future, especially regarding death, marriage and children. During the Middle Ages, these rituals were done by a "rare few" in rural communities as they were considered to be "deadly serious" practices. In recent centuries, these divination games have been "a common feature of the household festivities" in Ireland and Britain. They often involve apples and hazelnuts. In Celtic mythology, apples were strongly associated with the Otherworld and immortality, while hazelnuts were associated with divine wisdom. Some also suggest that they derive from Roman practices in celebration of Pomona.

 

Children bobbing for apples at Hallowe'en

The following activities were a common feature of Halloween in Ireland and Britain during the 17th–20th centuries. Some have become more widespread and continue to be popular today. One common game is apple bobbing or dunking which may be called "dooking" in Scotland in which apples float in a tub or a large basin of water and the participants must use only their teeth to remove an apple from the basin. A variant of dunking involves kneeling on a chair, holding a fork between the teeth and trying to drive the fork into an apple. Another common game involves hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings; these must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity that inevitably leads to a sticky face. Another once-popular game involves hanging a small wooden rod from the ceiling at head height, with a lit candle on one end and an apple hanging from the other. The rod is spun round and everyone takes turns to try to catch the apple with their teeth.

Several of the traditional activities from Ireland and Britain involve foretelling one's future partner or spouse. An apple would be peeled in one long strip, then the peel tossed over the shoulder. The peel is believed to land in the shape of the first letter of the future spouse's name. Two hazelnuts would be roasted near a fire; one named for the person roasting them and the other for the person they desire. If the nuts jump away from the heat, it is a bad sign, but if the nuts roast quietly it foretells a good match. A salty oatmeal bannock would be baked; the person would eat it in three bites and then go to bed in silence without anything to drink. This is said to result in a dream in which their future spouse offers them a drink to quench their thirst. Unmarried women were told that if they sat in a darkened room and gazed into a mirror on Halloween night, the face of their future husband would appear in the mirror. The custom was widespread enough to be commemorated on greeting cards from the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Another popular Irish game was known as púicíní ("blindfolds"); a person would be blindfolded and then would choose between several saucers. The item in the saucer would provide a hint as to their future: a ring would mean that they would marry soon; clay, that they would die soon, perhaps within the year; water, that they would emigrate; rosary beads, that they would take Holy Orders (become a nun, priest, monk, etc.); a coin, that they would become rich; a bean, that they would be poor. The game features prominently in the James Joyce short story "Clay" (1914).

In Ireland and Scotland, items would be hidden in food – usually a cake, barmbrack, cranachan, champ or colcannon – and portions of it served out at random. A person's future would be foretold by the item they happened to find; for example, a ring meant marriage and a coin meant wealth.

Up until the 19th century, the Halloween bonfires were also used for divination in parts of Scotland, Wales and Brittany. When the fire died down, a ring of stones would be laid in the ashes, one for each person. In the morning, if any stone was mislaid it was said that the person it represented would not live out the year.

Telling ghost stories, listening to Halloween-themed songs and watching horror films are common fixtures of Halloween parties. Episodes of television series and Halloween-themed specials with the specials usually aimed at children are commonly aired on or before Halloween, while new horror films are often released before Halloween to take advantage of the holiday.

Haunted attractions are entertainment venues designed to thrill and scare patrons. Most attractions are seasonal Halloween businesses that may include haunted houses, corn mazes, and hayrides, and the level of sophistication of the effects has risen as the industry has grown.

The first recorded purpose-built haunted attraction was the Orton and Spooner Ghost House, which opened in 1915 in Liphook, England. This attraction actually most closely resembles a carnival fun house, powered by steam. The House still exists, in the Hollycombe Steam Collection.

It was during the 1930s, about the same time as trick-or-treating, that Halloween-themed haunted houses first began to appear in America. It was in the late 1950s that haunted houses as a major attraction began to appear, focusing first on California. Sponsored by the Children's Health Home Junior Auxiliary, the San Mateo Haunted House opened in 1957. The San Bernardino Assistance League Haunted House opened in 1958. Home haunts began appearing across the country during 1962 and 1963. In 1964, the San Manteo Haunted House opened, as well as the Children's Museum Haunted House in Indianapolis.

The haunted house as an American cultural icon can be attributed to the opening of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland on 12 August 1969. Knott's Berry Farm began hosting its own Halloween night attraction, Knott's Scary Farm, which opened in 1973. Evangelical Christians adopted a form of these attractions by opening one of the first "hell houses" in 1972.

The first Halloween haunted house run by a nonprofit organization was produced in 1970 by the Sycamore-Deer Park Jaycees in Clifton, Ohio. It was cosponsored by WSAI, an AM radio station broadcasting out of Cincinnati, Ohio. It was last produced in 1982. Other Jaycees followed suit with their own versions after the success of the Ohio house. The March of Dimes copyrighted a Mini haunted house for the March of Dimes in 1976 and began fundraising through their local chapters by conducting haunted houses soon after. Although they apparently quit supporting this type of event nationally sometime in the 1980s, some March of Dimes haunted houses have persisted until today.

On the evening of 11 May 1984, in Jackson Township, New Jersey, the Haunted Castle Six Flags Great Adventure caught fire. As a result of the fire, eight teenagers perished. The backlash to the tragedy was a tightening of regulations relating to safety, building codes and the frequency of inspections of attractions nationwide. The smaller venues, especially the nonprofit attractions, were unable to compete financially, and the better funded commercial enterprises filled the vacuum. Facilities that were once able to avoid regulation because they were considered to be temporary installations now had to adhere to the stricter codes required of permanent attractions.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, theme parks entered the business seriously. Six Flags Fright Fest began in 1986 and Universal Studios Florida began Halloween Horror Nights in 1991. Knott's Scary Farm experienced a surge in attendance in the 1990s as a result of America's obsession with Halloween as a cultural event. Theme parks have played a major role in globalizing the holiday. Universal Studios Singapore and Universal Studios Japan both participate, while Disney now mounts Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party events at its parks in Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo, as well as in the United States. The theme park haunts are by far the largest, both in scale and attendance.

 

Food

Pumpkins for sale during Halloween

On All Hallows' Eve, many Western Christian denominations encourage abstinence from meat, giving rise to a variety of vegetarian foods associated with this day.

A candy apple

Because in the Northern Hemisphere Halloween comes in the wake of the yearly apple harvest, candy apples known as toffee apples outside North America, caramel apples or taffy apples are common Halloween treats made by rolling whole apples in a sticky sugar syrup, sometimes followed by rolling them in nuts.

At one time, candy apples were commonly given to trick-or-treating children, but the practice rapidly waned in the wake of widespread rumors that some individuals were embedding items like pins and razor blades in the apples in the United States. While there is evidence of such incidents, relative to the degree of reporting of such cases, actual cases involving malicious acts are extremely rare and have never resulted in serious injury. Nonetheless, many parents assumed that such heinous practices were rampant because of the mass media. At the peak of the hysteria, some hospitals offered free X-rays of children's Halloween hauls in order to find evidence of tampering. Virtually all of the few known candy poisoning incidents involved parents who poisoned their own children's candy.

One custom that persists in modern-day Ireland is the baking (or more often nowadays, the purchase) of a barmbrack (Irish: báirín breac), which is a light fruitcake, into which a plain ring, a coin, and other charms are placed before baking. It is considered fortunate to be the lucky one who finds it. It has also been said that those who get a ring will find their true love in the ensuing year. This is similar to the tradition of king cake at the festival of Epiphany.

List of Halloween foods:


Barmbrack (Ireland)
Bonfire toffee (Great Britain)
Candy apples/toffee apples (Great Britain and Ireland)
Candy apples, candy corn, candy pumpkins (North America)
Chocolate
Monkey nuts (peanuts in their shells) (Ireland and Scotland)
Caramel apples
Caramel corn
Colcannon (Ireland; see below)
Halloween cake
Sweets/candy
Novelty candy shaped like skulls, pumpkins, bats, worms, etc.
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Roasted sweet corn
Soul cakes
Pumpkin Pie

No holiday history available

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