Halloween dates back 2000 odd years. Unlike what so many people believe, it did not originate in America.
It was originally the Celtic New Year which commenced November 1. This marked the end of summer. It also marked the beginning of the dark, cold, bitter winter months. A time when death would also come calling.
The night of October 31, it was believed that the ghost of the dead returned to earth to wreak havoc on the living by causing all sorts of trouble including the damaging crops.
The 31st October became an event where bonfires were lit to burn crops and animal sacrifices to the Celtic deities whilst wearing costumes generally made from the heads of animals and skins.
The celebration of Halloween gathered momentum in the States as the beliefs of the various immigrating European groups started to meld together and a distinct American-take on Halloween was formed.
As the belief of the wrecking- havoc also evolved, the States adopted the rejigged, ‘trick or treat’.
In some areas of Australia, there are families that are trying to ‘keep up with the Jones’ and are making some efforts to follow in our American cousin’s footsteps. Although there are Halloween parties and products and way too much candy on sale at this time of year, Australian’s have not quite jumped into the full, over-the-top approach that our northern cousins go to.
And when kids are asked what they believe Halloween is all about, the response, more often than not is, ‘free candy’.