Halloween is celebrated in Canada on October 31. It is a day to mark the single night in the year when, according to old Celtic beliefs, spirits and the dead can cross over into the world of the living. Some people hold parties and children may trick-or-treat in their neighborhood.Halloween has Celtic origins. In pre-Christian times, many people believed that spirits from the underworld and ghosts of dead people could visit the world of the living on the night of October 31. These spirits could harm the living or take them back to the underworld. To avoid this, people started dressing up as ghosts and spirits if they left their homes on October 31. They hoped that this would confuse the ghosts and spirits.
Halloween was also a time, when spirits might give messages to people. In some areas, it was traditional for unmarried girls to poor molten lead into water. The shape that the lead took when it hardened was seen as a clue to the professions of their future husbands. Halloween traditions were brought to Canada by Irish and Scottish immigrants.
Some people put a lot of effort into decorating their homes, yards and drives. They may even construct life-size replica graveyards or dungeons and invite people from the neighborhood to view their creations or hold a themed party. Other people may organize fancy dress parties for adults or children. Popular activities at parties include watching horror films and trying to make fellow guests jump in fright.
Many children go out to play trick-or-treat. They dress up as ghosts, witches, skeletons or other characters and visit homes in their neighborhood. They ring doorbells and, when someone answers, they call out "trick-or-treat". This means that they hope to receive a gift of candy or other snacks and that they are threatening to play a trick if they do not get anything. Usually, they receive a treat and tricks are rarely carried out.
There are special types of food associated with Halloween. These included candies in packets decorated with symbols of Halloween, toffee apples made by coating real apples with a boiled sugar solution, roasted corn, popcorn and pumpkin pie or bread. After several incidences of dangerous objects in apples and other food, now the treats are usually something purchases and packaged. Halloween beer, which is made by adding pumpkin and spices to the mash before fermenting it, is also available in specialist stores.
Children also take part in a long-standing Canadian tradition of "Trick-or-Treat for Unicef". Pumpkin-carving contests, pumpkin art tours, a reading marathon, and symbolic Walks for Water are just a few examples of the educational and fundraising activities schools and children develop to help provide thousands of children developing countries with basic quality education.
Do you have any special Halloween traditions? Do you decorate your house?