Looking back to my childhood, there for one or two annual events that the rest of the year seemed to revolve around. Christmas, for example, was something you were either headed to, or had recently enjoyed. Once the excitement of Christmas had come and gone, there was a birthday to look forward to, then the summer vacation.
Once you have left the summer season behind we enter what is for many people a favorite time of the year, Autumn, or, for those in the US, fall. This season marks the transition from summer to winter, with the ever shorter days and the leaves on the tress turning brown and falling to the ground to form a golden brown carpet which makes woodland walks so memorable at this time of year.
The highpoint of this period, at least for Children, is Halloween, which originated at a Celtic festival which celebrates the end of the harvest season. The word Halloween, incidentally, derives from the phrase ‘All Hallows Even’, October the 31st being the eve of All Hallows Day, now known as All Saints Day.
These days the period is celebrated with such gleeful events as ‘Trick or Treating’ where Children dress up in a variety of Christmas costumes, the spookier the better, and ‘terrorize’ the neighborhood, in a hopefully friendly way!
Another symbol of the season is the appearance of pumpkins, often carved out and containing lit candles, which make for a colorful spectacle to brighten the dark Autumnal nights.
The lit pumpkin originated in Europe and were used to frighten off evil spirits, as the Celts believed that the head was the most powerful part of the body, where the spirit resided, and thus used the head-like turnip or pumpkin as a representation.
The great thing about Halloween in modern times is that it gives a chance for all the family to get together to celebrate this time of year and have some gold old wholesome family fun, and everyone can take part, from preschoolers to Grandma and Grandpa. whether it’s decorating the front lawn, painting the Children’s faces or carving out the pumpkin, there is a roll for everyone, which for me, makes it one of the most special times of the year.