Read about Halloween celebrations in the USA today
Halloween is celebrated by nearly all American children and over 70% of adults also participate in some Halloween activity. College students and other young adults may attend masquerade parties or Halloween parades. Many families carve pumpkins and decorate the outside of their homes with the traditional Halloween symbols. Business get into the act, too. Store windows dispaly jack-o’-lanterns, scarecrows, and witches. Servers in restaurants and salespeople in supermarkets and bookstores are often in costume. Many night clubs and bars encourage customers to come in costume by offering prizes for the best disguises.
Part of the fun of Halloween is to get scared out of your wits. This can easily be done by visiting a haunted house. Supposedly, the spirits of dead people “live” in haunted houses. These spirits try to scare away living residents or visitors so that the spirits can enjoy their afterlife (which really means a life after death) in peace. Why do spirits hate the living? The living always want to clean up and brighten their surroundings, while ghosts and skeletons prefer dust, spiders, cobwebs, and darkness. These days, it’s hard to find a real haunted house. But every year shortly before Halloween, many charities and communities create fake haunted houses. They hire actors to dress up in scary costumes and hide inside. Customers pay a few dollars each to walk through these places and have “ghosts” surprise them with a loud “Boo!” and “skeletons” clang chains in their ears. Chilsdren usually love these haunted houses, but sometimes their parents are scared to death! For those who have no haunted house nearby, another way to share a good scare is to go with friends to see a horror movie in a theater or watch it together on Halloween night at home (in a dark room, of course).
Most American children have a wonderful, exciting day on Halloween. If Halloween falls on a schoolday, they sometimes bring their costumes to school and spend the last few hours of the schoolday with spooks instead of books. After school and perhaps on into the evening, they go trick-or-treating. Often there’s a party at a friend’s home or at the local community center. At most Halloween parties, prizes are given for the best costumes. Bobbing for apples, telling fortunes (predicting the future), playing scary games, and snacking on caramel-covered apples, candy apple cider, and pumpkin pie are all part of the fun. Some communities build a bonfire, just as Celts did. Children may sit around the bonfire telling scary stories while roasting hot dogs or toasting marshmallows. Halloween, which began hundreds of years ago as an evening of terror, is now an occasion of great fun.
However, some words of warning are needed. Halloween is a time when children can become overexcited and careless, and it is a time when care is especially needed. To be sure that cars will see children in dark, parents should dress them in light-colored costumes or put reflecting tape on their clothing. When trick-or-treating, children should go in groups. Younger children should go with older children or an adult. Kids should be told never go inside the house or apartment of a stranger but to wait outside for their treats. Even if no treat is given, children should be told not to damage property. Kids should stop trick-or-treating by 8:00 p.m. When they get home with their candy, parents should inspect it and throw out anything not wrapped and sealed. (There have been rare incidents of harmful ingredients found in Halloween treats.)
On Halloween celebrations, adults should be careful, too. Robbers could take advantage of the casual, open-door Halloween spirit to gain access to strangers’ homes.