As summer slides into autumn, many people around the world begin to get excited about the prospect of Hallowe’en, but if you’re unfamiliar with it, you may be a little bemused as to exactly what it’s supposed to be all about…
Spooky Goings-on – But why?
Hallowe’en has its origins in Christianity, in that when you break down its name, it becomes ‘Hallows’ Eve’; that is, the evening before ‘All Hallows Day’ (November 1st), which could also be referred as ‘All Saints Day’. So, Hallowe’en is effectively looked on as the evening when all the mischievous and bad spirits can run amok before *all* the saints reassert themselves. That said, many claim that it’s effectively a Christianised take on the older Celtic festival of the dead named Samhain. Either way, it’s become a firm fixture of the calendar year throughout the Western world, where the act of carving faces into pumpkins and dressing up as ghoulish characters is commonplace – especially in the United States, where it’s so popular it’s an unofficial ‘holiday’.
Trick or Treat?
One of the most enduringly popular traditions of Halloween is, of course, trick or treating. This sees costumed children going door-to-door in their neighbourhood seeking ‘treats’ (i.e. sweets) from neighbours. Should they not receive treats they’ll deliver the hapless neighbour a ‘trick’ – that is, do something mischievous. The latter, naturally, rarely happens, as it’s all mild, communal fun. After all, who’d want to refuse sweets to a gang of intent kids when they’re wearing devil horns!
Carve a pumpkin and party on!
For those who are older, probably the biggest appeal of Hallowe’en is the fact it’s a great excuse for dressing up and having a good party. Indeed, should you find yourself in London at the end of October, there’s no end of fantastic Hallowe’en events to enjoy; everything from themed-nights at bars and nightclubs to family-focused fun at hugely popular daytime attractions – just the ticket then if you’re already taking advantage of London city break packages at the likes of Montcalm Suites London. Indeed, in the US, there used to be something of a tradition of trying to find one’s soulmate when you go out at Hallowe’en, presumably because of the occult-ish quality of the occasion sometimes coincided with people visiting fortune tellers and the nature of one’s soulmate supposedly being unearthed. See, who knew – Hallowe’en’s as much about true love as it is ghouls and ghosts!
Dress to impress – or scare!
Overall, though, Hallowe’en may nowadays be most recognised for being a fine opportunity to dress up. As you may have assumed, traditional costumes for the evening revolve around the supernatural (witches, vampires, werewolves and the like), but in recent years they’ve also come to encompass horror characters from literature and movies and even fictional characters and celebrities that have no horror or supernatural connections at all. Should you be looking to head out on the London tiles come Hallowe’en then, be sure to don a costume – and let your imagination run free!