It is the end of October, and tonight children will be trick or treating around the world. Although the holiday is considered to be a US holiday – it is celebrated there more than anywhere else – the tradition originated in Ireland.
There it was called Hallowe’en, and celebrated on All Saints Eve. The origins are a blend of pagan and Christian and honour the dead with festivities linking to departed loved ones.
The iconic Jack-o’-lantern which today brightens the path of many revellers was originally a carved turnip. Eyes and a mouth were gouged from the inside to form a grotesque depiction of a face.
Even the earliest practitioners of Halloween celebrations “dressed up.” However, ancient Celts would don animal heads and skins over their bodies, while the leader of the parades would walk around the village wearing a white sheet and carrying a wooden horse head.
Until a few years ago, animal shelters in the US did not allow people to adopt black cats, fearing the furry felines would be sacrificed on this day. Today, however, “many, many shelters are actually [holding] a special black cat promotion around the holiday,” says Emily Weiss, a senior official as the US’s ASPCA.
But Halloween today is all about the candy, right? If we base our assumptions on the amount of sweets sold, that assessment could be right on the money. An absurd 90 million pounds (40.82 million kg) of chocolate candy is sold during Halloween week in the US. In fact Halloween week alone accounts to around 10 percent of Annual candy sales in the country. That is a lot of painful tummies!
The most popular sweet this time of the year? Candy Corn! The super-sweet confection is made up of three colours of processed sugar. It was invented in the 1880s by a Philadelphia confectioner. Children eat it by the bucketful.
Whatever you do. Stay safe tonight, and happy Trick or Treating!