October 31 is celebrated as an annual holiday of Halloween in many Western countries and in North America. It is difficult to pin point as to whether it is religious festival or a social occasion. There is no record of the church celebrating it as a religious even but in many communities, the celebration has strong religious streak. The Romans seem to have used the occasion to please nature or the departed in the family. The celebration as summer’s end is only because of different names given for that event by the Celtic people. In many communities it is a children’s event where they hunt for gifts from the neighborhood. Some people interpret the name Halloween as representing a day of Mass after All Queen‘s Day.
Dress forms an integral part of Halloween. These dresses again vary from community to community region to region and country to country. Traditionally these costumes are taken from mythological characters and imaginary supernatural figures. Variation in selection of costumes is great but what is common is they represent all things that normally frightened ordinary people particularly children. Dressing like monsters, devils and the like is not funny but somehow people seem to enjoy it on Halloween day. You can imagine the eerie feeling you are likely to get when someone dresses as a skeleton dances before you. Children enjoy comical dresses for going out in them. Such children’s dresses are popular and dress stores do good business during that period.
Children have fun on Halloween day. According to local customs in many communities, children love day because they get good treats from their neighbors. Disguising in funny costumes the children visit their neighboring houses in what is called “Trick or Treating”. This particular way of enjoyment seems to have originated in Sweden and spread other countries.” Trick” actually means an empty threat that the children make demanding treat from the neighbors. The implied meaning of the threat is that the children are up to some mischief if they do not get the treat denuded by them. The children in some communities tell ghost stories, songs etc; to give some enjoyment to people who give them the treats very willingly.
The celebration of Halloween is done in different ways in various countries bur disguising in costumes is common to all forms of celebration. It has been recorded that children use to visit neighbors with lanterns in turnips which are scooped out. The children are usually rewarded for their efforts by presenting them with fruits, cakes etc; some people even give money. Being a children’s event this practice of celebrating Halloween widespread and could be seen in many countries of the Western world. In whatever way Halloween is looked at has turned out to be a fun event enjoyed by all people particularly children and the young. Halloween customs are not limited to any particular country or community but spread very fast because of the lightheartedness with which the entire event is celebrated.
Children have an appeal and people’s response to the Trick or Treat celebration has promoted even the UNICEF and some company sponsors to use the occasion to collect funds and donations for their world wide activity. The sponsors provide small boxes to the children when they go around in their costumes. People know that the boxes are meant to collect donation for UNICEF. Box being extended by children the response from people has been positive and encouraging. Halloween has thus helped UNICEF to collect substantial donations. Unfortunately this way of celebration had to be discontinued on consideration for the sake of the children when they move about carrying substantial amount of money. UNICEF had to redesign their programs for collection of money.