It’s almost that time of the year when trick-or-treat rhymes rent the air. In case you are wondering, the Halloween season is just around the corner. Every last day of October, kids in the neighborhood dress up in fancy, customary regalia, and move from door to door requesting for various treats such as candy, cakes, chocolate bars or even money. Woe unto you if you fail to treat these Halloween kids, as you will only have yourself to blame for the ensuing prank.
Interestingly, different countries celebrate Halloween in their own unique way. For instance, the Brits celebrate Halloween different from how the Americans do it. In Mexico and Latin America, the celebrations are held for three days starting from October 31 to November 2.
Are you curious to learn how other countries celebrate Halloween? Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
The United States Halloween
Halloween originated in Ireland. However, the United States is considered the home of Halloween due to the commercial nature of the celebrations. Billions of dollars are spent on candy, decor, costumes, and pumpkins, just to mention but a few.
The American Halloween is without a doubt one of the most eagerly awaited holidays in a kid’s calendar. Participants dress up in fancy vampire outfits or superhero costumes, as they move from house to house trick or treating between 7 PM and 9 PM. The events culminate into huge parties within the neighborhoods where revelers indulge in food and drinks.
There are plenty of indoor or outdoor games to play, including bean bag toss, candy hunt, and hide and seek among many others.
The United Kingdom Halloween
Halloween celebrations are consistent in all the four countries that form the United Kingdom. Halloween customs in the UK date back to as early as the 16th century, and celebrations revolve around throwing chestnuts and stones into large bonfires to scare away evil spirits. Both kids and adults dress up as witches, pirates, fairies, superheroes, ghost, and vampires.
Interestingly, pets are not left out on the act as they form part of the carefully planned cast. While the Americans love pumpkin lamps for Halloween, the British use turnip and “punky” lanterns to commemorate the occasion. Storytelling is also part of the Halloween celebrations in the UK, and it revolves around narrating scary stories such as “Shine a torch under your chin” and “Turn the lights off.”
Halloween in Austria is celebrated as the All Saints Day and the All Souls Day in honor of departed Catholic saints and religious martyrs. Unlike other countries where trick-or-treating is the norm, Austrians do not serve up candy during the celebrations. Instead, participants light up candles and leave foodstuffs and water at designated locations to welcome restless departed souls back to earth. Laying of wreaths is also common during the celebrations. Nevertheless, the festivities are much lively in towns such as Pulkau and Retz, where the locals commemorate the yearly pumpkin festival in addition to the traditional Halloween parade. The streets are decorated with lit up pumpkin lanterns and participants dress up in scary costumes to fight off evil spirits.
In Mexico, Halloween is known as the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos), in remembrance of the departed souls. Unlike American and British Halloween celebrations, participants visit cemeteries and pay homage to fallen heroes by building altars and offering food sacrifices. The altars and sacred places are decorated with coffins, candles, and skeletons to set the right mood for the celebrations. Dia de Los Muertos might sound somber and scary, but Halloween festivities in Mexico and Latin American countries are fun and exciting.
The three-day celebrations start on October 31 and end on November 2. Just like American Halloweens, kids dress up in fancy clothing when they go trick or treating different homes in their neighborhoods. The festivities culminate in parties, singing, dancing and fireworks displays.
Before the turn of the century, Halloween in France was widely regarded as a different festival. However, things have changed for the better, and it is now considered a significant celebration in the French calendar. Unlike other countries where Halloween is celebrated, the French do not trick-or-treat from home to home. Instead, the costumed kids and adults move from store to store requesting for candy and chocolate bars.
The costumes used are traditionally scary, and they are themed in the form of witches, goblins, ghosts, mummies, and vampires. Besides, participating stores are decorated using pumpkin lanterns and another decor. Candy shops and pastries prepare special cakes, desserts, and candies to commemorate the celebrations.
Paying homage to the departed souls is an important part of life. However, the occasion does not have to be sad and somber, and this is where the importance of Halloween comes into play. This festival allows us to remember the lost souls in a fun and exciting way. So how will you celebrate your Halloween?
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