There is some unique magic linked to the month of October. With a wide palette of colorful leaves, ambiance of incoming fall and smiling faces of pumpkins, October is exciting and awaited month of the year. But, there is more to this orange themed period than just the vibrant color. Come 1st of October and we are already excited for the last weekend to ring the celebration of Halloween. Interesting occasion for both kids and adults alike, Halloween is filled with loads of activities, adventures, costumes and yes most important of all – candies! Children love this festival for the fun-filled opportunity of dressing up as fun characters and gathering sweet delicacies from door to door.
So, what is this festival of Halloween? What is the significance of its celebration? And why do our kids children love the day so much?
A look into its meaning:
Halloween also called as ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ or ‘All Saint’s Eve’ is celebrated on 31st October every year in many countries around the world. It is celebrated to remember ancestors, saints, departed souls or the dead as a mark of honoring their good deeds. As a symbol of honor and respect, candles are lighted, lanterns are carved into pumpkin and decorations are done to remember the memories of the deceased.
This celebration dates back to the early 19th century. It is celebrated in several countries with variations in the customs and traditions. Some customs include evening mass and prayers in church to honor the dead. Modern celebration involves two significant factors practiced all around the globe- ‘Trick or treat’ by children and ‘Halloween costume parties’.
Trick or treat – Children dress in fancy costumes of their favorite cartoon characters, animals, objects or fictional characters from story books. This is then followed by knocking on doors of houses and shouting out ‘Trick or treat’. As homeowners respond to their call, they hand out candies into their buckets. Treat implies candies and chocolates to fill their innocent lives with goodies, while trick is a threat to create havoc in the house, just in case if one denies to treat them. This threat is nothing but a gesture filled with laughter, fun and innocence to celebrate the festival with neighbors and loved ones. As kids go door to door with their friends and family, the fun simply escalates to higher levels.
No wonder kids enjoy this occasion that gives them a chance to do something away from the usual routine. It instills the value of sharing, cooperating and interacting with loved ones, while dressing up as some character. As kids look forward to their favorite cartoon character or a superhero image, it can inculcate good morals, values and ideas. Deciding a costume, reading about it and planning forms significant part of the process, allowing kids to learn something beyond books. With access to kids learning songs and educational videos on the internet, children decide their outfit well in advance, while being excited to buy it from the stores.
Kids love this occasion to engage in some unusual fun. Besides visiting houses in the neighborhood, children enjoy trick or treating in schools, malls, community centers and extra-curricular classes to savor some extra fun. As long as kids enjoy this activity under adult supervision and eat acceptable and appropriate portion of candies in a day, the celebration is good to go.
While allowing our kids to savor this off-beat experience, care should to be taken to avoid excessive competition or comparison between friends. Often children tend to compare their costumes, number of candies collected or the kind of props used for their outfit with friends, leading to feelings of disappointment and sorrow. This makes it essential to discourage unhealthy competition and unnecessary bitter comparison between each other. If we teach our kids to enjoy the occasion without putting stress over the materialistic aspects, they will definitely remember it for a lifetime.
Decorations and costumes
Since Halloween honors the dead, haunted attractions form its basic theme. Haunted houses, decoration of spider webs, pumpkins, witches, evils and haunted figures are used to decorate the front yard of houses. Besides this – costume parties, Halloween costume parades and special events in restaurants, community centers or open areas invite adults to enjoy the occasion as much as little kids.
As Halloween marks the arrival of fall, it revolves around food delicacies of apples, cinnamon and pumpkin. Pumpkin pies, apple candies, candy corns, Halloween themed cakes form the primary treats during the festival.
Remembrance and honor
Though the customs and traditions differ in different countries, faith and religions, the underlying theme is to honor our ancestors. Halloween offers an opportunity to pause for a moment in the present and express gratitude towards our elders from the past. Instead of forgetting and ignoring the past, the occasion can teach us to remember their good deeds and tasks.
As we celebrate the day with our kids, we can introduce them to the magic of past, present and doing well in the future always.