In the United States, Halloween candy sales average about $2 billion annually. Chocolate bars are the most popular candy of trick or treaters, and Snickers is the most popular candy bar. In fact, 72% of the treats handed out for Halloween are chocolate.
How much do you know about this sugar high holiday?
Fear of Halloween is known as Samhainophobia.
Halloween, also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve and All Saint’s Day was originally a Druid holiday in Ireland, Britain, and Northern Europe celebrated by the Celts on the last day of the Celtic calendar (October 31).
Samhain (summer’s end) was a harvest festival with huge sacred bonfires. Halloween has its roots with the Feast of Samhain held to honor the dead. The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets of the villages at night. To appease any unfriendly spirits, on the Feast of Samhain, they left treats outside to pacify the evil spirits and ensure next years’ harvest would be plentiful. Celts began to wear masks and costumes to disguise themselves on this night, so evil spirits would not know they were human. “Souling” is the Christian custom of baking and sharing soul cakes for all Christian souls. The poor (especially the children) went door to door on Halloween collecting soul cakes in exchange for praying for the souls of the givers’ friends and relatives. These customs evolved into trick-or-treating.
Wealthier adults and children usually attended parties wearing costumes or masks and participated in fun activities such as bobbing for apples, dancing or making jack-o-lanterns. Jack-o-lanterns which originated in Ireland were hollowed out turnips with candles inserted to keep evil spirits away during the Feast of Samhain.
Europeans brought the observance of Halloween to the United States. European immigrants celebrated the harvest around bonfires telling scary ghost stories, singing, dancing, and telling fortunes. Pumpkins, which are native to North America, soon replaced turnips for making jack-o-lanterns because they were larger and much easier to hollow out.
Trick or treating door to door in the United States started about 100 years ago. Previously, youths celebrated by causing mischief, playing pranks or attending parties. It became popular nationwide by the late 1940’s. Treats were commonly coins, nuts, fruits, cookies, cakes or toys.
Candy makers typically advertised heavily for Easter and Christmas and ignored Halloween. In the late 1950’s, concerns about tainted treats made the idea of giving out factory sealed treats seem safer and candy became the treat of choice. Candy makers started making smaller, individually wrapped, inexpensive versions of their treats especially for Halloween, and the concept took off.
Halloween has evolved from a time of superstitions, ghosts, goblins and evil spirits to an evening for fun, putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties.
- The best way to have a fun and safe Halloween is to follow these simple Trick or Treating safety guidelines:
- Wear properly fitting flame retardant costumes and comfortable shoes with double-tied laces.
- Do not wear masks or wigs that obstruct your vision.
- Apply reflective tape to all sides of your Halloween costume, so you can be easily seen.
- Use only hypoallergenic non-toxic makeup.
- Don’t carry fake swords, guns, or knives that look real.
- Make sure any accessories you carry are lightweight, flexible, and won’t harm others.
- Only trick or treat during the approved hours for your township.
- Carry a flashlight with new batteries.
- Plan your route and only trick or treat in familiar neighborhoods.
- Younger children should only treat or trick accompanied by an adult.
- Always go with a group and make sure an adult knows where you will be trick or treating.
- Stay with your group and visit only well-lit houses.
- Watch out for Jack-o-lanterns with open flames.
- Be polite and say thank you.
- Never go inside the home of someone you do not know & never go in any home alone.
- Do not approach unfamiliar pets or other animals.
- Do not eat any treats until they have been inspected in a well-lit space by an adult.
- Never eat unwrapped candy or accept homemade treats.
- Stay on sidewalks and respect people’s property (don’t run through flower beds, etc.).
- Walk don’t run - keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings.
- Watch out for cars and follow traffic rules.
- Never approach a strange car or accept a ride from a stranger.
- Report any suspicious activity to an adult or the police.
- Consider donating some of your candy to children at an area shelter who may not get to go trick or treating this year.
Have a fun a safe Halloween!
Some information for this article was taken from www.halloween-website.com