Evolution of Modern Day Customs in Halloween

by WriterArtist

Modern Day Customs of Halloween have slowly shaped and reformed to present celebrations – ‘Day of the Dead’ or Hallow’s Eve.

Customs of the Scottish and Irish immigrants to United States slowly got assimilated into the mainstream and Halloween became a regular celebration and holiday festival. Modern day Halloween is mainly celebrated on the American model while following customs of old pagans. Today’s Halloween is all about candies, mysterious creatures, witches, ghouls and spooky decor.

Trick-or-Treat

 

Children wear costumes and go from door to door in the neighborhood saying "trick or treat". The neighbours open the door and give treats, mostly candies to the children. There is an implied and light hearted threat of playing tricks if treat is not given. The costumes can be of any gory theme, scary creatures like ghouls, monsters, zombies etc.

Carving Halloween Jack-O'-Lanterns

 

Carving pumpkins into Jack-O'-Lanterns is one of the most popular Halloween traditions. Their origin lies in an Irish myth regarding Stingy Jack, who tricked the Devil for his own monetary gain. On death, Jack didn’t get to go heaven or hell. Jack got stuck on earth forever. The practice of carving demonic faces out of turnips is to frighten away Jack’s wandering soul. When Irish immigrants moved to the U.S., they began carving jack-o’-lanterns from pumpkins, as these were native to the region.

Wearing Scary Costumes

 

The tradition has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhains. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.  Halloween costumes drew inspiration from figures such as vampires, ghosts, skeletons, scary looking  witches, and devils. Over time, the costumes extended to include popular characters from fiction, celebrities, and generic archetypes such as ninjas and princesses.

Attending Costume parties

Halloween Dinner Party Celebrations

 

Halloween parties can have some theme wherein, guests are expected to come in some dress code. Peculiar dress codes could be of werewolf, vampires, pumpkin outfits, Frankenstein’s, skeletons, witch’s costumes etc.

Watching scary movies

 

As part of bonding with the family and keeping traditions alive, modern families sit down to watch scary movies together. Probably, the fun and fear factor gets enhanced besides getting into fun and frolic.

 

Soul cakes for prayer:

 

 Cakes are specially baked to be given as alms for those who pray for the dead...

 

Bobbing For Apples

 

Game where apples are put in a tub of water and people are required to pull them out with a bite from mouth with hands behind their back is one of the popular games of Halloween. One who takes minimum time wins the game

Lighting a bonfire

 

Lighting a bonfire to ward away evil is an old tradition. People prayed for their dead ancestors wishing them a good afterlife.

Decorating homes in Orange and black, the symbolic colours.

 

The modern imagery of symbolizing Halloween consists of scary Frankenstein, the modern Prometheus and Dracula. Imagery of the skull, a reference and a reminder of death reminds the ephemeral nature of human life a well suited theme for Halloween. Therefore, skulls are commonplace in Halloween.  Motif of graves opening and the dead rising, with a heaven filled with angels and a hell filled with devils", ghosts, owls, death, evil, mythical  monsters are also common symbols for Hallow’s eve. Other symbols like Black, witches, Black, orange, and sometimes purple also find place in modern Halloween's traditions and celebrations.

Halloween Costumes

Updated: 08/22/2022, WriterArtist
 
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Your favourite Halloween custom?

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DerdriuMarriner on 08/22/2022

WriterArtist, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.

In particular, I appreciate the cultural, historical backgrounds that you give for such standard Halloween activities as baking cakes, lighting bonfires and wearing costumes.

You have an array that appeals to the range from those who want to be scared not at all to a little to a lot. But I particularly like the flameless and flickering candles.

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