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.
Evolution of Modern Day Customs in Halloween
Modern Day Customs of Halloween have slowly shaped and reformed to present celebrations – ‘Day of the Dead’ or Hallow’s Eve.
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.
Halloween Flickering Candles
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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.
Halloween Flameless Candles
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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...
Halloween Party Games
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.