Happy Halloween! On October 31, it is time for spooky pumpkins, costume parties, horror movies and trick or treating. Then, the popular holiday is celebrated in the USA and many other countries. In this article, you will learn more about Halloween and its origins. We will also share some of the best party ideas for Halloween, so you can have an unforgettable night with your friends, family and children.
Halloween – Origin and History
“Halloween” is another word for “All Hallows´ Eve”, the night before the Catholic holiday “All Hallows´ Day”. Its background is not fully understood, but many historians suspect Celtic or Gaelic origins. At the very least, we know that the last day of October had a special importance in this culture. It was believed that on this day, the dead souls would rise and roam the earth.
The early Halloween was at least in part a pagan holiday that was celebrated with bonfires, fortune telling and costumes. In the 19th century, this custom was brought to America by Irish immigrants. In the USA, it was soon celebrated by all ethnic groups. Since the 1990s, Halloween has also become increasingly popular in other parts of the world.
Whether you want to go shopping or craft your Halloween costume yourself – the possibilities are endless. Popular Halloween costumes for men include zombies, devils and movie characters like Freddy Kruger. When it comes to female costumes, many women like to combine spooky themes with revealing outfits: Sexy vampires, witches or evil nurses are a common sight at most Halloween parties.
Even the little ones can have their big night in October. Halloween costumes for children are available in every toy store. But why not get creative yourself? Making a Halloween costume together with your children is the perfect way to get into the right mood.
In addition to time-tested outfits, there are new costume trends this years: For example, the scary nun from the horror movie “Conjuring 3”, or the terrifying clown Pennywise. Fans of the series “Stranger Things” can put on their grooviest 80s outfit, and we will probably see a lot of female DC fans dressed as Wonder Woman this year.
There are also a lot of options for Halloween Makeup: from orange pumpkin faces, painted scars and warts to corpse paint worn on the Mexican Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead
Halloween parties are the perfect opportunity to show off your costume and meet new people. Of course, the drinks should also follow the spooky theme of this occasion: Apple Vodka, for example, looks similar to green slime, cherry liquor resembles blood, and there is hardly a more suitable drink for Halloween than the classic “Bloody Mary” with tomato juice and vodka.
Of course, you can also visit one of the many Halloween parties in the USA. For example, Florida’s cities like Cape Coral and Fort Myers offer ample opportunity to celebrate this fest – be it in bars, clubs or on a spooky cruise. Most shopping malls in Florida have their own Halloween activities for children: for example, face painting, balloon animals and trick or treating.
If you want to invite friends and family, you will probably want to create the right mood with a Halloween decoration: Spider webs, skulls, light-chains and pumpkins are just some possibilities.
Black curtains, candles with blood-red wax and cut out bats made from felt are perfect for your living room. Outside, you could place spooky scarecrows, lanterns or Styrofoam tombstones. But of course, you do not have to craft everything yourself. Many gift stores sell Halloween decoration in September and October.
Halloween – typical Food and Drinks
The spookiest night of the year is a perfect opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. Popular Halloween recipes include:
- Hollowed out peppers with carved faces, filled with chili
- Mini pizzas with toppings arranged as faces
- Pretzel sticks in the shape of bones, with ketchup as blood
- Oven potatoes with carved eye sockets and mouths
- Halloween muffins with eyes made of sugarcoating and chocolate – a delicious Halloween snack.
By the way: Pumpkins are not only decorative, but can also serve as a bowl for spicy Halloween curry. Pumpkin soup is an ideal starter, and for dessert, you could make pumpkin pie. Blood orange juice has the right color for little vampires, and adults can enjoy a strong Halloween punch. If you really want to surprise your guests, you should serve ice cubes made with skull-shaped trays.
The custom of carving pumpkins for Halloween is more than a hundred years old and goes back to the Irish legend of Jack O´Lantern. This folk hero was denied access into hell after tricking the devil, and now has to wander the earth as a glowing pumpkin.
Today, you can see this decoration in many yards, not only in America. You can easily make it yourself. All you need to do is cut off the top of your pumpkin and carve out the inside. Afterwards, you can cut a spooky face and place a candle or LED light inside. On the internet, you will find many Halloween pumpkins ideas and designs – from classic Jack O´Lantern patterns to funny templates. If you want create a colorful look, you should use acrylic paints.
Tip: To prevent the pumpkin from drying out quickly, coat the inside and edges with vaseline. Special sprays that contain hydrogen peroxide, water and citric acid also help to preserve your pumpkin.
Halloween in Movies and on TV
One glance at the TV program is enough to know: Halloween is a prime time for horror fans. Classic flicks like the Michael Myers films, “Friday the 13th” and “The Exorcist” are always ideal for a spooky night. In addition, Hollywood likes to release new horror flicks in October, and you will find a huge variety of scary movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Are you looking for Halloween films for children? In this case we can recommend the following movies:
- The Adams Family
- Hotel Transsylvania
Halloween movies made by Disney are another popular choice for the whole family: e. g. “The Haunted Mansion”, “Monsters, Inc.” or the Halloweentown franchise.
Halloween for Children
On Halloween, many grownups wish they could be children again. For the little ones, this night is definitely a highlight of the year. Not only are they allowed to stay up late. On Halloween, many children also enjoy “trick or treating”, going from door to door in their costumes and asking for candy. This game has become so popular that it is now played in many other countries.
Looking for more activities for kids? How about a nightly walk on the spookiest of evenings – accompanied by a bone-chilling ghost story, of course. If the weather is bad, you can also play Halloween games at home: for example, egg and spoon races with ping pong balls painted like eyeballs; or “mummy”, a game where participates have to mummify each other with rolls of toilet paper. Another beloved classic is called “Sensory Bin”: Just fill a box with ingredients like grapes, dried corn and spaghetti. Tell the kids these are eyeballs, teeth and intestines, and let them feel around in the dark – a deliciously spooky game, especially for young children.
Halloween FAQ – frequently asked Questions
What is the origin of Halloween?
Halloween is influenced by many ancient customs, such as the Celtic fest “Samhain”. The Celts believed that on the last day of October, dead souls, demons and other otherworldly beings were particularly active. This helped strengthen the supernatural themes Halloween became known for in later times.
Is Halloween a Christian holiday?
In the Catholic calendar, Halloween or “All Hallows´ Eve” denotes the evening before the church fest “All Hallows´ Day”. It marks the beginning of the season in which dead saints and martyrs are remembered. However, for most people today Halloween has lost its religious importance.
Where is Halloween celebrated?
Halloween originated in Ireland and came to America in the 19th century. Today it is celebrated in many countries in the world – especially in the USA, Ireland, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand.
Where does “Trick or Treat” come from?
Today, children wear costumes and knock on the doors of their neighbors to ask for sweets, half-jokingly threatening them with a “trick” if they are turned down. Historians think that this game stems from a Celtic custom that saw poor members of society go from door to door to beg for alms. Rejecting them was believed to bring bad luck.
Why do we carve pumpkins on Halloween?
This custom goes back to the Irish legend of Jack O´Lantern who walks the earth at night, only armed with a glowing ember placed in a hollowed out turnip. When Irish immigrants came to America, they replaced the turnip with the widely available pumpkin. This decoration was meant to keep evil spirits away.