Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween

Is it true what I've heard, that outside the US Halloween is no big deal? Halloween is October 31 and it is celebrated widely and diversely here in the US.

Do you have any special plans for Halloween? Have you done or will you do anything fun or interesting this year at a Halloween party or event?

Here in the states, the stores depend on Halloween to sell a lot of merchandise. There are parties, costume contests, what amounts to theatre in front of (and inside, sometimes) the homes of people as they try to scare or entertain neighbors and strangers with things ranging from silly to sexy, spooky to gory. In some places, kids (and often parents) in costumes go from door to door collecting candy or other treats.

Many amusement parks, ranging from small to the largest, do special entertainment in the weeks leading up to Halloween, and this is a favorite time of the year for movie studios to release horror movies, and for broadcasters to show ones from years past.

For some, there are religious or spiritual aspects to the day, and it might be called by other names.

Some interesting things can happen when people are having fun at costume parties, or cuddled up together watching scary movies.

So, as always, feel free to comment or share your stories.
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  1. Perhaps you consider Canada to essentially be part of the US, but we definitely celebrate it here.

    In midwestern Canada, you'd recognize our trick-or-treating, costume parties, haunted houses, pop-up Halloween stores, and seasonal sections in department stores. You'd probably also recognize the criticism of Halloween and attempts to suppress all or part of it, though ours is probably mostly from the political Left, who worry about fun, uncontrolled, and politically incorrect expression rather than the tradition's challenge to Christianity.

    As an adult, I mostly enjoy carving jack o'lanterns and seeing the costumes that other people wear. It's a very colorful time of the year.

  2. I don’t know about the rest of Europe, but due to the origin of Halloween I guess it is celebrated on Ireland and probably in the UK. Here in Sweden (and other Nordic countries, I suppose) it has become quite a big thing during the last two decades or so (about the same time as Valentine’s Day was introduced). My first experience of Halloween was at the end of the 1990s with a friend whose stepmother was American. A few years, but not this, I’ve been to costume parties. There is pretty much merchandise and the larger amusement parks have horror themes here as well. Some kids dress up and go from door to door asking for candy, although that is more common at Easter. Generally on Maundy Thursday or Holy Saturday young girls and boys in Sweden and Finland disguise as witches who, according to the myth, are flying with their black cats on brooms to Blåkulla (Blockula or literally Blue Hills in English); in reality a small windswept island renamed Blå Jungfrun, meaning The Blue Maiden, in the Baltic Sea.

    Actually, the original Celtic version of Halloween might have been influenced by the Vikings’ autumn feasts – in that case it has returned somewhat modified. Nowadays barely half of the Swedish population celebrate Halloween. Compared to other annual occasions I would say that it – combined with All Saints’ Day (see below) – definitely is top ten in popularity here (except among older people), after Christmas, Midsummer, New Year, Easter, Lucia (Saint Lucy’s Day, 13 December, in memory of a martyr and heavenly protector who lived on Sicily in Italy, 283–304 AD), Walpurgis Night/International Worker’s Day, Alfred Nobel Day (when The Nobel Awards Ceremony is held), and maybe Advent.

    However, we don’t necessarily celebrate Halloween at 31 October. Instead this often happens the day before Alla helgons dag (All Saints’ Day), which falls on a Saturday between 31 October and 6 November in my country. This is the day that people light candles and lanterns at the graveyards. In addition, there is another day called Allhelgonadagen (the definite form of Alla helgons dag), always 1 November. Confusingly it isn’t a holiday or recognised by the Church or by anyone else for that matter. As I understand it you don’t have this system overseas.

    Speaking of what could happen cuddled up together watching scary movies I once, at a website about relationships and health for young adults and teenagers, read a tender description by a girl of how she fell in love with her close friend. It happened one night in the couch during a horror film (she was very fearful and they were teasing each other for fun until he suddenly kissed her). I remember this because she regarded him as her brother.



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