There are many Halloween traditions or games practiced during this holiday, some are based on customs that are as old as the 1800's, next are a few traditions that are practiced during this holiday:

Halloween Tradition

On Halloween night kids go door to door asking for candies, this is call "trick-or-treat". This Halloween tradition is believed that started thanks to the Celtics that gave food to Samain, so he would be flexible while judging the dead.

Another tradition believed to be the origin of "trick-or-treat", is a practice from the 9th century in Europe. On November 2 poor people would knock door by door, asking for "soul cakes" (piece of bread with currants) in exchange of prayers to the souls of the relatives of the donors.

One more of the Halloween traditions is to carve lanterns out of pumpkins, better known as "Jack-o-lantern", the name comes from the legend of Jack:

"Jack was a drunk and trickster, one night he tricked Satan into climb a tree. Jack the carved a cross on the tree's trunk, this way he trapped the devil up in the tree. Then Jack made a deal with Satan, that he never would tempt him again,he would let him down the tree.

The story says that after Jack died, he could not get into Heaven for all of his evil ways when he was alive, but he could not get into Hell because he tricked the Devil. Satan only gave him a single ember to light his way through the darkness, Jack placed the ember inside of a hollowed-out turnip so it wold glow longer".

On Halloween night, on Scotland and Ireland, was one of the Halloween traditions for kids to dress up and go door to door asking for food or coins, this tradition started on 1895. On the present day, these costumes are based on supernatural figures or celebrities.

Another nice tradition is that UNICEF go out on the streets and ask for donations during Halloween, but during the 1950's schools banned the boxes from UNICEF, because they thought was a communist plot.

Play games are another of the Halloween traditions, some of these games are:

  • On Halloween night, single people would take a bite out from an apple that is bobbing in water, or is suspended from a piece of string, the first person that can do it, its believed to be the next to get married.
  • Some people like to play a slightly different version of the dunking game: They kneel on a chair and then with their teeth on a fork, try to drop it into an apple.
  • A funny game is to hang up scones coated on syrup by strings and people should try to eat them without use the hands.

Beside the games, some people like to watch horror movies or visit attractions such as haunted houses,mazes or hayrides.

But Halloween is not celebrated only on the United States,some other countries around the world celebrate Halloween , or the dead with their own traditions, for example:

  • On Austria during Halloween night, its believed that the dead come back, so to welcome them, people leave bread, water and a lamp. Also, kids like to play pranks on neighbors, such as "knock-a-dolly" (knock on doors and run away before the door is open).
  • In Belgium candles are lit in memory of their deceased, also is consider bad luck to allow black cats inside of people's homes.
  • The celebration of Halloween in China is known as Teng Chieh. During this celebration, they put food and water in front of photographs of their dead, and to illuminate the way to their home, lanterns are use.

    Also, Buddhists make "Boats of the Law" out of paper, that are burned during the evening, the meaning of this is to set free the spirits of the "Pretas" (spirits of the people whose bodies never were buried).

  • During Halloween night in Czechoslovakia families place a chair for every member, living and dead by their fireplace.
  • Punkies (large beets that are used to carve) are a tradition in England, once they are done, children would take them out while they sing "Punkie Night Song" and ask for money door by door, also on October 31 its celebrated Guy Fawkes Night.

    Another one of the Halloween traditions practiced is place turnips lanterns and throw to a bonfire bones and fruits to scare the spirits away.

  • Halloween was unknown in France until 1982, when the American Dream Bar/Restaurant in Paris started to celebrate it, and by 1995 french were familiar with this holiday. Now people in France dress up with costumes and "trick-or-treat", but only go store to stores.
  • A superstition in Germany says to hide the knives on Halloween because they hurt the spirits.
  • Yue Lan (Festival of The Hungry Ghosts), its the celebration to honor the dead in Hong Kong. People burn down pictures of fruit or food, because they believe this will way, the images will reach the spirit world and will confront them.
  • In Japan, the festivity is call "Obon Festival" (also is call Matsuri or Urabon). Food is prepared and people hang all over the place red lanterns. Also at night, lit candles are put into lanterns and put afloat on rivers, so the spirits can know where their families are. During the day graves are cleaned and "welcome fires" are lit in front of the homes, the celebration takes place on July or August.

  • In Korea during the "Chusok", families get together in August to thank the spirits of their ancestors for everything they did while they were alive. Another tradition is to visit the tombs and bring rice and fruits.
  • The celebrations to honor the dead in Mexico, takes place between October 31st and finish on November 2nd, its call "Dia de los Muertos" (Days of the Dead). On November 1st, the spirits of the children com back home,and on November 2nd the adults are allowed to return home.

To welcome them, families create an altar decorate it with the spirit's favorite foods and drinks, flowers, photographs, candles and incense. Also families get together and adorn the grave of their deceased and put flowers,also bring food, tequila and mariachi, and stay overnight at the graveyard.

In some villages, as one of their HAlloween traditions, people dress up as skeletons, also they put a living person inside of a coffin and parade while people throw flowers and fruit.One traditional food at home is eat "Pan de Muerto" (Bread of the Dead), or a skull made of sugar that is embossed with ones own names.

As you can see, there are many different Halloween traditions around the world, but the common point of all its to celebrate the return of the spirits of the loved ones to be together one more time.

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