Episode 10 (formerly 1510): Halloween


Halloween is celebrated on October 31 every year. It is celebrated more widely in the United States than in the rest of the world. It is a very popular celebration, but it is not a federal holiday. That means no one gets a day off with pay for Halloween. But that doesn’t stop people from having a good time.

Americans start celebrating Halloween at the beginning of October, or maybe even earlier, by decorating their houses and workplaces. Traditional Halloween decoration colors are black and orange. Standard decorations include black cats, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, monsters, goblins, cobwebs, spiders, rats, tombstones, vampires, zombies, skeletons – anything scary.

Jack-o-lanterns are pumpkins that have been hollowed out with a face carved in one side. After dark, a candle is lit and placed inside to light up the face. Making a jack-o-lantern can be very creative; you can make the face scary, ugly or pretty. It’s up to you.

Children, and often adults, dress up in costumes for Halloween. Some people dress up their dogs and cats, too. You can buy costumes in many stores just before Halloween or make your own. In fact, seasonal costume stores open in many towns only in the weeks before Halloween. Costumes can be ghosts, goblins, historical figures, zombies, pirates, princesses, popular movie characters – anything at all.

On Halloween night, children dress up in their costumes, go to houses in their neighborhood, knock on the doors and say, “Trick or treat!” At that, the homeowners open the door and give the children candy. This is called trick-or-treating.

A common candy found only at Halloween is candy corn. Also, candy manufacturers sell special Halloween bags of candy around this time of year. The bags have individually wrapped, small-sized candy ready for people to hand out to the trick-or-treaters.

Some people give out items such as small toys instead of candy. In addition, shopping malls hold special trick-or-treating events at their stores. Churches and other organizations may have trick-or-treat parties at their locations as well.

Also, many people have Halloween parties either on Halloween or the weekend before. Halloween parties are usually costume parties, which means guests are required to wear a costume. Often, a prize is given for the best or scariest costume. At the parties, the host may serve food that looks scary or disgusting. In fact, the food tastes good, but it looks quite bad. An example is cookies that look like severed fingers with almond slices for fingernails.

Haunted houses are another popular activity for Halloween. In October, a building is decorated and rigged with props and people to scare visitors. Guests pay a fee and walk through the haunted house knowing they will be scared many times by fake monsters and corpses before they leave.

Halloween is a unique holiday because there are no obligations to be with family, give gifts or attend religious services like on other holidays. Instead, it is a fun time involving the whole family and special treats to eat. What’s not to like?

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